The American Dance Festival presentation of A Body in Places is made possible with major support from PNC.
A BODY IN FUKUSHIMA A Body In Fukushima Part of A Body in Places by Eiko Otake and William Johnston
In 2014, dancer/choreographer Eiko Otake and historian/photographer William Johnston followed abandoned train tracks to desolate stations and eerily vacant towns and fields in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. After the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, the radiation released from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant required the immediate evacuation of all inhabitants from a large area. Although some parts are now open for short daytime visits, most former residents are still refugees from their homes and businesses, and the central zone around the nuclear plant will remain uninhabitable for decades or longer. During their time in Fukushima in January and July 2014, Johnston photographed Eiko, amid this deserted landscape, as she danced her grief, anger, and remorse. A Body in Fukushima is a project of witness, remembrance, and empathy. “By placing my body in these places, I thought of generations of people who used to live there. Grappling with a deep sense of human failure, I danced so as not to forget. ” —Eiko “By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important.” —William Johnston A Body in Fukushima is part of Eiko’s first solo project, A Body in Places, which Eiko performs at ADF this summer. There are two other locations where other photos from A Body in Fukushima are exhibited. For more information, visit eikoandkoma.org/abodyinfukushima and americandancefestival.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Raised in Japan and based in New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a dancer/choreographer, who, for over forty years, has partnered with Takashi Koma Otake as Eiko & Koma to create a unique theater of movement. Eiko & Koma received many commissions from the American Dance Festival and were honored with the 2004 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award. Other honors include a Dance Magazine Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and an inaugural Doris Duke Performing Artists Award. William Johnston is Professor of History, East Asian Studies, and Science in Society at Wesleyan University. During the 2014â€“15 academic year, he was the Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor in Japanese Studies at Harvard. He has co-taught two courses with Eiko on the atomic bombings of Japan and mountaintop removal coal mining. As a photographer Johnston works with digital color, 35 mm B & W, large-format cameras, and platinum prints. His recent photography work includes digital panoramas of local Connecticut landscapes and mountaintop removal mining sites in West Virginia.
SPACE 1: REYNOLDS INDUSTRIES THEATER
TOMIOKA STATION, JANUARY 15, 2014 Located 6.6 miles southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors
Tomioka Town in Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture had a population of nearly 16,000 people on March 11, 2011. The following day the entire town underwent immediate compulsory evacuation due to the ongoing nuclear meltdowns, and dangerously high radiation levels have prevented most former residents from returning to live there. They remain among Japan’s nuclear refugees. The tsunami swept across the fishing port, beach, and station, reaching well into town. The graffiti-like painting of the girl on the side of the restroom in ruined Tomioka Station likely appeared after the tsunami.
The tsunami deposited this house on a road running south from Tomioka station. It is unclear what the red marks, the Chinese character for “person,” mean, but they may indicate the location of fatalities in the aftermath of the tsunami.
SHINMAIKO BEACH, JULY 23, 2014 Located 32.4 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors
A resort area that previously brought thousands of people for seashore fun was all but deserted. Commercial fishing there is banned due to the contamination of the sea water by radiation.
TOMIOKA FISHING PORT, JULY 22-24, 2014 Located 6.3 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors The tsunami, 69.2 feet high at this point, swept across Tomioka’s once-vibrant fishing port.
PHOTOS 10-12 PHOTO 16
Water-swept blocks of concrete provided a stage for Eiko’s movements, with the remnants of the sea wall in the background. The damaged reactors were out of sight to the north, but the reactors of Fukushima Daini (number two) Nuclear Generation plant, constantly in our sight just to the south, appear in the background of this photograph.
The tsunami lifted some boats onto the surrounding fields. One boat was thrown into the steel frame of the Tomioka Fishing Cooperatives’ Sales Facility, which was stripped of its roof and walls, leaving nothing but twisted and crushed girders and beams.
TOMIOKA BEACH, JULY 22, 2014 Located 6.5 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Also known at Hotokehama, literally meaning “Buddha beach,” Tomioka Beach was a popular recreational spot for local inhabitants. In these images, Eiko dances in some places that had been beach, and in others that had been parking lot or access road, both of which are sometimes visible in the remaining pieces of asphalt.
SPACE 2: DURHAM ARTS COUNCIL Semans Gallery
YABUREMACHI, JULY 26, 2014 Located 11.7 miles directly south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors
In July, we returned to the same house in Yaburemachi that we had visited in January. SAKAMOTO STATION, JANUARY 17, 2014 Located 35.1 miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors
Sakamoto Train Station, located in Yamamoto Town, Watari District, Miyagi Prefecture, experienced catastrophic damage in the tsunami. Following the tsunami, the remaining structures were razed; a long, concrete platform that rises like a lost runway above the surrounding flats is all that remains. The open expanse of the destroyed landscape made clear the power of the tsunami. MOMOUCHI STATION, JULY 25, 2014 Located 7.4 miles northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Momouchi Station in MinamisĹ?ma is just north of the border of the permanent no-entry zone, where radiation levels generally will remain high for human habitation for many decades to come. The station is poised on a hill above the rural village surrounding it. Vivid green vines grew over large sections of the tracks and some of the platforms. The color and forms generated a sense of vibrancy that belied the fact that they contained high levels of radiation.
SAKAMOTO STATION, JULY 26, 2014 Located 35.1 miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors On the last day of our visit in July, we returned to Sakamoto Station, where we found several gardens had been planted. One was filled with pansies and sunflowers.
YABUREMACHI, JANUARY 15, 2014 Located 11.7 miles directly south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Yaburemachi (which literally means “broken town”) is in Naraha Town, Futaba District, Fukushima Prefecture. It is well within the 20-kilometer exclusion zone.
On the first full day of our January visit we spotted a well built, if badly damaged, old-style Japanese house on a broad, tsunami-swept field. The once-elegant house told the story of a family’s way of life suddenly ending with the triple catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear contamination. The tsunami in this location was approximately 50 feet high where it hit the shore but was probably about eight feet high when it hit this house.
Next to the house was the tsunami swept field and the newly reconstructed road that led to a power plant powered by coal. For decades, Fukushima has been known for producing electricity for greater urban Tokyo, along with fruit and seafood; both of the latter have suffered greatly due to radiation.
SPACE 2: DURHAM ARTS COUNCIL Allenton Gallery
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TOMIOKA FISHING PORT, JULY 24, 2014 Located 6.3 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors
At 69.2 feet, the tsunami was higher here than almost any other point along the coast where it hit. It crashed into the sea wall next to the fishing port in Tomioka, pushing it over in places and pouring across its top in others. While by no means did the sea wall stop the tsunami, it lessened the force with which the waters hit much of the town. TOMIOKA, JULY 24, 2014 Located 6.3 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors.
The clock stopped at the Michi Beauty Salon at exactly the time when the earthquake struck on March 11th. The ruined factory was close to Tomioka Station. The houses were badly damaged first by the earthquake and then by tsunami. A few minutes walk from Tomioka Station.
MAEBARA RADIOACTIVE DUMP, JULY 23, 2014 Located 11.1 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors
Workers sorted through radioactive household goods, neatly stacking them into large piles.
TOMIOKA JULY 22, 2014 Located 6.3 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors. Inside each bag is one ton of radioactive soil, which was shaved off the surface of fields and open spaces, checked for human remains if necessary, and then packaged. There is no schedule for when and to where these bags can be transported. Nearly four years after the explosions, many bags had broken open.
YONOMORI, JULY 24, 2014. Located 4.9 miles southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors The bags of contaminated soil are often stacked into pyramids and covered with large tarpaulins. This pile is in a junior high school playground in an evacuated zone.
KOMAGAMINE STATION, JANUARY 17, 2014 Located 29.2 miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Komagamine Station is located in Shinchi Town, SĹ?ma District, Fukushima Prefecture. It suffered little damage from the earthquake and none from the tsunami, and it did not receive a heavy dose of fallout. Yet because of damage to the stations to the north and the south, it remains unused, its waiting rooms empty and its tracks hardly visible beneath a cascade of vines. Before March 11th, several hundred passengers used this station each day.
SPACE 3: PLEIADES GALLERY
YONOMORI Located 4.9 miles southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Yonomori (literally, “night forest”) is a part of Tomioka Town. The area between Yonomori Station and the Fukushima Daiichi Reactors was subject to heavy fallout. Large parts of Yonomori remain completely off limits to visitors. Despite this, we entered the area twice for a short time. Houses stood much as they were left on March 12, 2011, but had become overgrown with weeds and untended shrubs. YONOMORI STATION, JANUARY 15, 2014
PHOTOS 1 & 14
TOWN OF YONOMORI, JULY 24, 2014
A BODY IN FUKUSHIMA Part of A Body in Places by Eiko Otake and William Johnston
Prints are for sale for $400 each. To purchase, please contact Katie Peeler at 919-684-6402.
EXHIBITS: A Body in Fukushima
PERFORMANCES: A Body in Places
Reynolds Industries Theater Duke University West Campus 125 Science Dr., Durham, NC 27708 June 14-July 23
Cordoba Center for the Arts 923 Franklin St., Durham, NC 27701 Tuesday, July 7-Sunday, July 12 | 7:00pm
Pleiades Gallery 109 E. Chapel Hill St. Durham, NC 27701 June 18-July 25 Durham Arts Council Allenton Gallery and Semans Gallery 120 Morris St., Durham, NC 27701 July 5-July 25 Additional support for performances of A Body in Places provided by the New England Foundation for the Artsâ€™ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Published on Jun 18, 2015
In 2014, dancer/choreographer Eiko Otake and historian/photographer William Johnston followed abandoned train tracks to desolate stations an...