Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rotary, Radiation, and a dark joke.

Today I was invited by the Tokyo Itabashi Rotary Club to speak to the members about my experiences filming in Fukushima and to present a 20 minute selection of my work documenting the current situation of the children of Fukushima.

Speaking today at the Tokyo Itabashi Rotary Club

I edited together clips from my documentaries post-"In the Grey Zone" (WEBSITE), including scenes from six months after the nuclear meltdown (HERE), one year after the meltdown (HERE) and 15 months after the meltdown (HERE).

I ended with this scene of children playing on a radiation-contaminated playground:

When the children innocently asked me where I was from, and I answered "America", there a few chuckles in the room.  But when the children said they couldn't play on the slide because it was radioactive and then proceeded to touch it, there were outbursts of laughter in the room (!).

I was shocked.  This was the first time for me to watch this footage with a Japanese audience, and I couldn't believe that they were laughing at such a horrible situation.  

But then it occurred to me:  the little children talking about the radiation in the slide on their playground is one of the most absurd things I have witnessed in the year and half I have been filming in Fukushima.

The laughter of the people seeing this for the first time was the kind of laughter that comes out of complete shock, the kind of spontaneous laughter that erupts out of your mouth when you simply cannot belief that someone has truly just said or done something so terrible.

When I asked if there were any questions or comments at the end of the screening, an elderly man stood up and said, "Thank you for showing us a truth that they don't dare to show us on the news."


Unknown said...

My grandma (who lived through the depression, raised whole family at young age) would always laugh at miserable or sad situations. At some point it's all you can do to cope, just laugh at the madness of it all.

Ian Thomas Ash said...

I totally agree- sometimes there is nothing one can do but "just laugh at the madness of it all." It sounds like your grandma was a wise woman!

mema jane said...

You are doing a fine and important thing by telling about this and in the future it will have made a difference. Keep up the good work Ian. You can be proud!

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Thank you, Mema Jane! I appreciate your support so much!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your job. We have to show how much life after a nuclear accident is not really life. And also show that we have to choose between nuclear power and life power.

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Anonymous, Thank you for reading and for your comment.