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Oishinbo Manga's Depiction of Fukushima's Radiation Effects Criticized

posted on 2014-05-02 08:30 EDT
Critical tweet retweeted over 13,000 times; editor defends manga's depiction

A chapter of Tetsu Kariya's Oishinbo manga series is garnering public outcry after being published in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits magazine on Monday. The manga chapter follows a group of newspaper journalists who are exposed to nuclear radiation within a plant in Fukushima. After the character's exposure, they complain of nosebleeds and exhaustion, ailments that are reaffirmed by a character named Katsutaka Idogawa, based on a real-life former mayor of the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture. The reporters also complain of censorship, an issue possibly inspired by Tokyo Electric Power Company's real-life actions.

After the chapter was published, a Twitter user claiming to be a resident of Koriyama, Fukushima with the handle @jyunichidesita objected, writing "never suffered such symptoms over the past three years." The message was retweeted more than 13,000 times.

The managing editor of Big Comic Spirits stated to The Japan Times that the chapter drew on "meticulous reportage" by Kariya and staff who visited Fukushima and that all statements made by the mayor character reflect real statements made by Futaba's mayor. The illnesses experienced by the reporters in the manga chapter were directly experienced by Kariya himself after visiting the plant.

The editor stated that the character's illnesses in the chapter are not directly correlated to their exposure to radiation, as indicated by a doctor within the story. The editor added that doctor and radiation expert Eisuke Matsui, who also appears in the chapter, told the magazine's staff “the connection between sickness and radiation is not exactly zero.”

Big Comic Spirits editorial staff issued the following statement on Monday:

We would like to stress that past ‘Oishinbo’ episodes clearly stated that it would be a huge loss for consumers if they balked at eating (Fukushima) foods proved safe just due to their lack of understanding.

North American publisher Viz Media published Oishinbo on its VizManga.com digital manga service and Viz Manga App in 2011.

Source: The Japan Times


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