Final month of Red Kimono In The Window

Red Kimono In The Window at Conway Hall ends on 31st August 2016.

This installation of eight of the thirty portraits, with text and booklets, opened in March 2016, to mark the 5th year of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

The accompanying booklets, are available for visitors to take, free of charge, in the Conway Hall Entrance on Red Lion Square, or by post if you send a request to: contactredkimono@gmail.com

RKWindow3723

https://www.artrabbit.com/events/red-kimono-in-the-window

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Red Kimono booklet – version 4

Version 4 was produced in the UK for the Red Kimono In The Window installation at Conway Hall, London, 1st March – 31st August 2016, for visitors to take away, free of charge.

The contents are the same as version 1 – containing the English translations of the letters, memoirs and speech by evacuees from Fukushima and excerpts from the statements by ’50 complainants for the criminal prosecution of the Fukushima nuclear disaster’ in the e-book  titled: Fukushima Radiation: Will You Still Say No Crime Was Committed?More about the statements here.

The cover of version 4 now includes information about Osaka-based organisation  Thanks and Dream, The Great East Japan Earthquake & Nuclear Disaster Evacuee Association  of which Akiko Morimatsu (pictured on the back cover) is a key member.

Booklets are available in the Conway Hall Entrance on Red Lion Square, or by post if you send a request to: contactredkimono@gmail.com

RK-BOOKLET-COVER-May-2016-web

Fukushima witness accounts, English translation in digital format

Fukushima Radiation: Will You Still Say No Crime Was Committed?

by 50 Complainants for Criminal Prosecution of the FUKUSHIMA Nuclear Disaster

Norma Field (Translator), Matthew Mizenko (Translator)

This booklet is a translation of statements by 50 citizens who were residing in Fukushima at the time of the triple disaster of March 11, 2011.
They range in age from 7 to 87, and they wrote these statements as part of the criminal complaint filed with the public prosecutor by the Fukushima Complainants for Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. What, exactly, is a criminal complaint, and who is a “complainant”? In this case, the complaint is the formal legal procedure initiated by citizens in response to the failure of both prosecutors and police to investigate the criminal liability of Tepco and government agencies for their roles in the nuclear disaster. The group complaint, filed at the office of the public prosecutor, is a demand for investigation and indictment of the responsible parties.

Because this is a criminal and not a civil procedure, these citizens are “complainants” rather than “plaintiffs.”

True, some of the Complainants are also plaintiffs in the various civil cases generated by the Fukushima disaster, such as the “Give Us Back Our Livelihood, Give Us Back Our Community” Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Lawsuit; “Denounce Nuclear Power Generation: Redress for the Villagers of Iitate”; or “The Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial for the Right to Education in a Safe Place.”

Although several Complainants in this booklet draw a connection between the failure of the state to pursue criminal liability and the difficulty of getting anything resembling adequate compensation from Tepco, it is important to keep in mind that as Complainants, they do not stand to gain anything individually even under the best-case scenario: if, after all the prosecutorial refusals, an indictment is brought, a trial held, and some parties found to be criminally responsible for the nuclear disaster.

Rather, the Complainants are driven by grief, anger, and incredulity. So much harm had been inflicted, with demonstrated negligence not only leading up to the disaster but in its aftermath, with dire consequences not only for themselves but flung far into the future. After all this, how could it be that no one was held responsible? How could it be that the police, let alone the prosecutors, had not conducted a thorough investigation? Did the rule of law not prevail in Japan? As victims bearing witness, they seek to exercise their responsibility to future generations, that the calamity not be repeated, that the harm be contained by all means possible.’

available from Amazon here. No need for a Kindle – readable via the Kindle app:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XKIZRX4

A mother’s Letter to Governor of Hyogo Prefecture re housing subsidy ending in December 2015

PINKRHODEDENDRON515titled    Nishinomiya from Fukushima city

Ms M.A.’ evacuated from Fukushima City to Nishinomiya City, Hyogo prefecture with her two children in 2012.

She was welcomed to Hyogo with a three year housing subsidy.

In 2012 she thought that three years would be enough time for her hometown to be decontaminated, but now she understands that it will take far longer than this.

Yet the housing subsidy she receives from Hyogo prefecture comes to an end in December 2015.

She wrote the following letter to the Governor of Hyogo and delivered it to the Prefecture Office on May 12, 2015.

It is now 10 June but she has not yet received a reply.

.


May 12, 2015

Hyogo Prefecture Governor

Toshizo Ido

Dear sir,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the kind policy of Hyogo Prefecture to accept Fukushima evacuee families with its public housing subsidy.

My name is M. A. who moved to Nishinomiya city from Fukushima city in December, 2012.

The reason I am writing this letter to you is that I would like to make a petition for the many victims and evacuees created by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accidents.

I had had no knowledge about the danger of radiation like many other Japanese before the accident. However, I started having suspicion that something truly serious had been going on through the repeatedly presented TV programs and the Internet information about radiation and hibaku issue. But the whole society seems to have been split between two opposing groups of people: one saying that the present condition in Fukushima is safe and the other claiming it is dangerous.

Let me first give you my account of the chaotic situation right after the accident. At first, I tried every possible means to protect my family, especially my two little children from radiation exposure while we were still living in Fukushima. My son wore a mask, a long-sleeve shirt and long pants no matter how hot it was. My daughter’s kindergarten forbade the children to play outside longer than 10 minutes a day. Their favorite past time, such as playing with mud and picking wild flowers and plants were out of question. We were living daily with increasing uncertainty and anxiety without any concrete ways or courage to evacuate.

Four months after the nuclear accidents, my two children and I had an opportunity to participate in a recuperation camp held in Toyooka city. It made me so happy that I was moved to tears to see my children enjoying playing outdoors, which had been taken for granted before the nuclear accidents. I was shocked to be reminded that it was the natural, matter-of-fact daily life which we had forgotten in Fukushima because everyone was enduring a forced, unnatural way of life there. The way of living forced upon us was becoming unbearable. For the first time, I questioned our life under strict control with limited freedom while being told by the officials that staying in Fukushima posed no problems. I started to think that we had overly depended on the authorities for our protection. After all, I came to feel that only parents could save their own children. That was how we started to look into an evacuation option seriously.

We encountered many problems such as economic feasibility, gaining understanding from my extended family members, children’s schooling, etc. But we were especially attracted by the reception policy of Hyogo Prefecture among others due to the following three factors.

1. Only a few prefectures, including Hyogo, were still accepting evacuees from Fukushima as of December, 2012, when we decided to evacuate.

2. The national housing subsidy was limited to 60,000 yen a month, but Hyogo offered to pay the difference if the rent exceeded it.

3. Hyogo offered rental air-conditionings, gas cooking stoves, and lighting apparatus if we needed.

I found out from my friends who evacuated to other prefectures that the above policies were made by Hyogo Prefecture’s own judgment. We were deeply touched by the special thoughtfulness of the prefecture as one that had gone through another great earthquake disaster earlier in 1995. That is why we decided to evacuate to Hyogo.

The housing contract was limited to three years; in our case, until December, 2015. I trusted three years would be long enough for TEPCO to put the nuclear accident under complete control so that people would be able to return without any anxiety. However, what is the reality today? Would it be possible to call it “under control” even as a compliment?

Contaminated and radioactive water from the nuclear power plants has been discharged into the ocean every day. Would you be able to move to Fukushima yourself now if you were in our shoes?

There is one great difference between the earthquakes in Hanshin and Fukushima, i.e., there is the invisible disaster in Fukushima. The visible disaster there has shown remarkable recovery from damages now after more than 4 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster hit the area. However, the situation seems to be getting worse for us evacuees from the invisible radiation contamination. Thyroid abnormality was found in both my daughter and myself. We cannot return to Fukushima now with this reality. I plead you to please listen to the evacuees’ voices one by one. You will be able to see a different reality from the recovery news that the media disseminate.

We don’t mean, however, that we want to become your burdens. Please remember how deeply we have been moved by your acceptance, both physically and mentally. When we found out that there were people who would accept us evacuees lost in the ambiguous apprehension with the unknown future of the radiation contamination, it was beyond description how much we were relieved and felt rescued. We hope you will continue your supportive stance and listen to our voices.

We don’t know what policies the national and Fukushima authorities will come up with for us evacuees from now on. We would like to choose an option that will enable us to live on without regrets, no matter what the authorities decide. If Hyogo Prefecture can continue to stand by us, our appreciation will know no limits. We hope you can continue to offer us your housing support since you are well-known as an earlier, another disaster stricken prefecture and have pioneered and established the well-advanced disaster relief policies.

Thank you for reading my long letter. I appreciate your consideration for our future very, very much.

Sincerely,

M. A.

2015年5月12日兵庫県知事 井戸敏三 様

突然のお手紙失礼致します。
2012 年 12 月より、福島県福島市から西宮市の被災者受け入れ住宅に入居させていただいております M. A. と申します。井戸知事にお願いをしたく、不躾ではありますが、筆をとらせて頂きます。

東京電力福島第一発電所の爆発事故により、多くの犠牲が生まれ、沢山の人が避難決めました。私自身、原発事故が起きるまで多くの日本人がそうであったように、放射能の危険性について全く知識を持っていませんでした。しかし繰り返し流されるテレビからの映像、インターネットで調べる情報から、とんでもない事が起こっている、という認識を持ち始めました。しかし現在でも続いている事ですが、今の状態を危険だという人もいれば、安全だという人もいます。事故直後はなおさら、混乱していました。私は福島に住み続けながら、出来る限りの放射能防護をし、生活をしていました。息子は毎日マスクをし、どんなに暑い日でも長袖長ズボンで登校しました。

一日の外遊びが 10 分までと決められながら、娘は幼稚園に通いました。
大好きな泥遊びや、草や花を摘むことも禁止されました。おかしいおかしいと感じながらも、避難をするあてもなく、勇気もなく、毎日不安に思いながら生活していました。

震災から 4 か月後の夏休み、兵庫県豊岡市で行われていた保養のキャンプに親子で参加しました。

そこでは原発事故前までは当たり前に出来ていた外遊びを子供たちがしている姿を見ただけで、涙が出るくらい嬉しかったのを覚えています。そうだ、これが当たり前の日常だったと、福島の中で生活していると周りのみんなが一緒なので気づかない日常でした。知らず知らずのうちに沢山の我慢を強いらされている現実に打ちのめされてしまいました。住み続けていて問題がないと言われながら、制限されながらの生活に初めて疑問を持ちました。それまでは国や自治体が私たちの生活を守ってくれると過信していましたが、子供を守れるのは親しかいないのではないか、と考えるようになりました。それから真剣に避難して生活していく選択肢を考え始めました。お金の問題や、家族の理解、子供たちの学校の問題、など解決しなければいけない事は山のようにありました。日本中の地方自治体が受け入れ表明をしてくれていた中でも、兵庫県の受け入れ態勢は目を引くものがありました。

1私が避難してきた 2012 年の 12 月時点、多くの自治体が受け入れを終了しているなか、継続していたのは、兵庫県を含め 3 つほどしかありませんでした。
2国からの家賃補償は 6 万円までなのに、差額を避難者負担にしていませんでした。3入居物件には、希望すればエアコン、ガスコンロ、照明器具を貸与してくれました。

以上、他県に避難した人達から聞いた限りでは、兵庫県独自の判断でやってくれている施策なのだと分かりました。もと被災県ならではの心遣いに感激し、縁もゆかりもない兵庫県に避難を決めました。

入居当初から住宅延長は最大 3 年という約束でした。私の場合 2015年の 12 月まで、ということになります。
その時は 3 年も経てば原発事故も収束を迎えて、安心して福島に戻れるだろうと信じていました。

しかし、どうでしょう?お世辞にも原発問題が収束したといえるでしょうか?汚染水が海に流され、毎日放射性物質が大量に大気に放出されています。
自分や家族に置き換えて、福島県に住み続けられますか?阪神大震災との大きな違いは、目に見えない被害があるということです。
東日本大震災から 4 年の歳月が流れ、目に見える被害は、めざましい復興をとげました。しかし放射能汚染を懸念し避難を決めた私達にとっては、ますます状況が悪化しているとしか思えないのです。どうか、兵庫県下に避難している一人一人の声を拾ってください。報道される復興の情報とは全く異なる部分が見えてくると思います。私と私の娘にも、甲状腺に異常が見つかっています。このような状況で福島に戻って下さいと言われても、とても受け入れられません。しかしながら、私達はお世話になっている兵庫県に迷惑をかけたいわけではないのです。受け入れ当初そうであったように、誰にも分からない放射能汚染の将来の懸念を持っている人は逃げてもいいんだと、自分達を受け入れてくれた所があったことに、私達は本当に心も体も救われ感謝しました。是非今後も継続して、私達に寄り添い、声に耳を傾けてほしいのです。これから先、国や福島県が、私達避難者に対してどのような措置をしてくるのか分かりません。どのような決定がでても、最後まで後悔のない選択をしたいのです。

兵庫県が私達に寄り添っていただけたら、どんな結果が出ようと感謝の念に絶えません。願わくば被災県の経験を生かし、独自の判断で住宅補償を継続していただけたらと思います。

長々と失礼致しました。今後ともよろしくお願い致します。

西宮市

M. A.

‘An Evacuation Memoir’ by Akiko Morimatsu, May 2012

MORIMATSU          KORIYAMAtoOSAKA

I evacuated from Koriyama city in Fukushima to Osaka after the Golden Week (a holiday period in Japan, from the end of April to the beginning of May) in 2011. I have a family of four: my husband, a four-year-and-four-month-old son, a one-year-and-eight-month-old daughter, and myself. I am here in Osaka with my two children while my husband stays in Fukushima alone to support us.

On March 11, 2011, the day of the earthquake, I was alone with my five-month-old daughter at home in an apartment on the eighth floor of a ten-storied apartment building. My daughter and I were relaxing in the afternoon as usual. My son, who had just turned three, was at the kindergarten that he was supposed to enter in April the following year but had been allowed to go since when he was two. He had got on the bus to the kindergarten at 8:00 in that morning, as usual.

At 2:46 in the afternoon, I felt an intense quake and immediately recognized it was an earthquake. First, I thought of my daughters’ safety and picked her up holding her head to protect it. It was quite different from minor quakes of level 3 or 4. The quake was also increasing its intensity, so I couldn’t keep standing. I felt, for the first time in my life, the danger of my life then. At the same time, I felt the danger of my daughter’s life, as well.

The earthquake of seismic intensity 6 lasted only for a moment, but I lost my composure and was almost panicked by the terrible sounds and intense quakes. Since I couldn’t keep myself steady due to the extremely intense quaking, I laid my daughter under a low table. My daughter who had just become five months old was laughing happily, misunderstanding the quake as something cradling her. It may seem to be simply a funny story now since her life was saved, but it was far from being funny at that time.

It was a pretty long quake. I saw, in the living room, heavy pieces of furniture like a cupboard tipping over from the wall and a sofa jumping up and down like in a slow motion film, coming close to us in the center of the room. It is frightening to recall it even now. To be honest, I thought it was something much more sinister than an earthquake, for it was so intense and terrible. The long quake filled me with so much terror that I thought it might be endless and I might be kept shaking forever.
Fortunately, neither my daughter nor I were injured. I didn’t know when the quake stopped. When I noticed, my house was full of rubble and there was no space to walk. The fear I felt, however, was not over yet. I looked at the door of the living room to find somewhere to escape, only to find water slowly coming in covering the floor like an ameba.

The apartment house was an old-fashioned, completely-electric one. Each apartment unit had a tank that could keep warm water for about two days. The tank seemed to have tipped over or had collapsed by the level-six earthquake, and the distribution pipe was cut and broken. Water streamed out from the living room to other rooms, and after an hour or so, the whole apartment was under water about ten to fifteen centimeters deep.

I took my daughter to the bedroom and laid her down on the futon bedding on the floor. After a while, water started dropping from the ceiling, walls, and beams. In short, the tanks of upper units, the ones on the 9th and 10th floors were also broken. At first, it was like leaking due to rain. Rusty-colored water was dripping in all of the rooms. I was worried about the house’s strength, for aftershocks of level 4 or so had occurred often. There was no dry and safe place where my baby daughter could lie down in the house because of the flooding and dripping water. I didn’t want the cold and dirty water to wet my daughter. Although it was still cold and a little snowy outside, I made up my mind to go out of the house. I carried my daughter on my back for the first time though she was only five months old.

I put on the baby sling, a present from someone celebrating the birth of my second child. The instruction of the baby sling said it was to be used after a baby’s head becomes stable, i.e., six months or so after birth. It was yet brand-new, and had never been used. But I tried it on anyway due to the emergency. The elevator of the apartment house had stopped. And I didn’t know how many steps I would have to go down the stairs between the eighth and first floor. So I judged it was impossible to do it holding my baby in front of me. I took the risk of carrying her on my back, praying that her head was already stable.

Besides, I had to go out to search for my son who, I thought, was at the kindergarten. I had never stopped thinking about my three-year-old son even a moment from the beginning of the quake. “The kindergarten building was newly built in the previous summer… But it was shaken by this intense earthquake… He might not be OK…” I was thinking of worst-case scenarios about him already in the middle of the earthquake. On the other hand, I was praying and trying to convince myself that the kindergarten staff were protecting him. I wasn’t able to go to the kindergarten immediately to see him, because my apartment had dripping water and I had to keep my daughter safe. When I noticed the time, two hours had passed since the earthquake had occurred. It was the time when kindergarten’s bus was usually to arrive at the apartment entrance, but it didn’t.

I didn’t want anything bad to happen to my son, but there was no safe place for him even if he came back. So I was just hesitating without knowing what to do or where to go, carrying my baby girl on my back. Then, a nursing home across the street opened its large room and kindly let people with babies in. I finally got a place to keep my child safely. Now I could go to look for my son. When I started to do so, it was before 7:00 p.m., already after dark. I was lucky enough to see the car sent by the kindergarten taking children home for their parents who couldn’t go to pick them up. At last, I got together with my son in peace. Fortunately, he was safe and sound. When he woke up to the first shock of the level-6 quake, he had been taking a daytime nap. So the quake didn’t seem to become traumatic for him, and he seemed to have no fear for earthquakes even after going through aftershocks. It might have been a blessing in disguise.

My husband had gone to work as usual in the morning, saying “I am going to go on a business trip to Sendai tonight.” It takes an hour or so from Koriyama, where we live, to Sendai by a Shinkansen “bullet train.” When the earthquake occurred, I instantly thought, “It is bad for him, if he is on a Shinkansen train now… for it stops.” I wasn’t informed of his time schedule. I got worried and wondered, “Is he already in Sendai or is he in a Shinkansen train? I wonder if I can meet him today. Above all, is he all right?” I later learned that he had finished his work at the usual time and was on the way to the Shinkansen station when the earthquake occurred. He quickly went back to the office. Fortunately he was not away from Koriyama. After straightening the chaotic office a little, he jumped in the car he had parked at the office, and came back home around at 11:00 p.m.

I wrote “Kids are OK! We are all at the nursing home across the street” on two pieces of paper with a felt pen, and pasted them on the entrance door and the mail box down on the first floor. He saw them and sought us out. Thus, we could get together in peace within the day. We experienced the life in an evacuation center for a month after that.

In this way, we lost our house and all of our household belongings. Radioactive pollution caused by the nuclear power plant accidents just after the earthquake was so serious that it was impossible to rebuild our life in Fukushima. It forced us to choose a double life in Fukushima and away in Osaka. This was in May, last year. Almost one year has passed since we came to Osaka. I still feel as if I were dreaming. I do hope to settle down, but this double life has been a burden for me. I haven’t been able to recover the stability of living ordinary days as we had had before the disaster. Although we decided to take up a double life in order to keep our young son and daughter healthy, the evacuation life has been harder than expected.

Economic weight due to maintaining a double life (double payment of our house rents and utilities) and the travel cost for my husband to come to Osaka to meet his children makes our family finances tight. However, we aren’t receiving any subsidy from the central government or a local government. This is because Koriyama, about 60 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is out of the area designated for evacuation or an evacuation order. So our evacuation was completely “voluntary.”

Nonetheless, the numerical value of the quantity of radioactivity that Geiger counters showed in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, was so high that I felt like covering my eyes, even in the spots supposedly “thoroughly decontaminated.” In reality, however, playing in the sandbox in playgrounds was out of question. Even letting children go out for shopping or for kindergarten was risky. It wasn’t an environment where you were able to raise your children normally. Such a situation hasn’t changed even after a year. On the contrary, we can’t take our eyes off of the on-going reality, for even the general public carry Geiger counters now. I think things are really serious.

Mandating only expectant women and mothers with infants to evacuate might be better… I don’t remember how many times I thought so. They are wasting human resources and money only on decontamination that looks unscientific even to my amateur eyes, and just dispersing debris nationwide. I don’t think it could be more irrational. I think that taking young people (children who have futures) out of polluted areas, no matter how much money it might require, is much better than taking out debris. I believe so from the bottom of my heart.

My husband could come to see our children once a month this year – at most. Sometimes he couldn’t come for over a month. I am taking care of my children by myself, persuading myself, “This is just like the case of many families who have a father living apart in another city in Japan or abroad for business.” However, there is no such fixed term for us as for families split due to business reasons. When I consider that this situation will probably continue for a pretty long time, I get worried about its influence on our children’s mental peace. I can’t remember how often I wondered if it was good for us to go out of Fukushima this year.

Was it really right that we separated our son who loves his father very much from his father? My daughter, who was five months old at the disaster time, is growing up without knowing much about her father. Doesn’t it create any unnatural distance in the relationship between father and daughter in the future?

Above all, I worry about the mental health of my husband, who stays alone in Fukushima for our sake and can’t even see his children’s sleeping faces every day. Is he really OK? On his days off, he drives his car more than 700 km to Osaka to see them, but he doesn’t (can’t) stay here for 24 hours. He returns the same way without enough rest. Although he came all the way to see them, I yell at our children, “Your daddy is tired with his job and has driven a long way. Let him sleep!” In such a case, I wonder what I am doing.

Ever since the disaster occurred, not one of my family members has enjoyed full rest either mentally or physically. The fear of invisible radioactivity in Fukushima weighs heavily on our minds. Outside Fukushima, we are forced to live an unstable life, apart from my husband. Our ordinary lives as ordinary people living in Fukushima prefecture changed drastically after that day. However, a year after evacuation, I’m gradually trying to move forward, accepting the present state, however gradually it may indeed be.

More than a year after the disaster, while official support programs are being terminated one after another, we, a mother and two children, have managed to survive so far in Kansai. For one thing, it is because I understand that we have to accept the present state. But, above all, it’s because there are many kind people who take supportive action for disaster victims and evacuees always keeping our wellbeing in their minds.

I am really thankful to any kind of support. I am simply grateful. Let me mention the one I feel especially thankful for. My children love playing outdoors very much. However, since I am managing to live day by day, it was impossible for me to take them out somewhere even on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. In such a situation, volunteer college students, men and women, played with evacuee children. This kind of activity was really great. My children and I are all deeply grateful.

In summer, the students invited children to a campout. Children were very happy to play with “big brothers and big sisters.” Since I have a baby, it is impossible for me to take children out for such things as camping or playing in the river, even living in Osaka unpolluted by radiation. I am truly grateful for the young volunteers.

Although I am the only one who can take care of my children in our daily life, I am too busy managing our day-to-day life itself to provide fun and pleasure to my children. I have consequently been suffering from a guilt feeling. I feel sorry for them. But having a lot of young people play with evacuee children and being helped in various ways, we have been given great mental support and hope. We Fukushima evacuees cannot thank them too much.

In addition, members of the social welfare council helped those without male family members to transport heavy pieces of furniture. While I was unpacking after our move, childcare volunteers in the area kindly took care of my baby. Indeed, various people have helped us in so many different ways. I couldn’t be more thankful for the support given in the Kansai area. I have no words to adequately express my appreciation. I simply thank them very much from the bottom of my heart.

In the magazine for the disaster-affected people that the Osaka social welfare council publishes there was an announcement of an exchange party for the disaster-afflicted people and evacuees. I participated in it, shared common problems and worries, and could gain emotional support. I met people in the same circumstances at the party and learned I was not alone.

I can’t tell how much I am relieved to be able to talk about my problems because I sometimes feel isolated and have no one to ask for advice.

I have managed to get through this difficulty so far, owing to the supportive organization that offered the exchange party with childcare volunteers. Now, I think I have to keep managing and will be able to keep living somehow.

A year ago, I was always spending my evacuation life without confidence, asking myself, “Was evacuation really right?” But now, I think we may have been rather lucky being able to get out of Fukushima, even though the “mother and children only evacuation” has a lot of problems. As many kinds of facts come out, and as I witness the reality that there are so many people who are sometimes called “refugees” or something, my inconsistency over our decision to evacuate has disappeared almost completely. On the contrary, now, I am convinced that our evacuation has been right.

As far as I know, there are no mothers with an infant living in Fukushima who has no worries. They are always looking for a place where they can let children play outdoors. They always seek for some kind of recuperation program during longer holidays. However, some can’t get out of Fukushima even for a short time, for all of their relatives live in Fukushima…There are many such trapped families.

While I was not able to move anywhere in the evacuation center in Fukushima for a month, I contemplated considerably seriously and deeply – the most deeply in my life – about rebuilding our life in Fukushima. I was trying to figure out how we could work it out, keeping the idea of rebuilding our life in Fukushima, despite feelings of anxiety about radioactive pollution in a situation where information about it was much more confusing than now. My conclusion was, however, “If there is a place to evacuate to, and if it is possible for us to evacuate, we should do so. Doing so is the best way for our children.”

Nothing is as stressful as spending a life in indefinable worries and fears, and being regulated in a lot of ways. For example, I used to always dry futon (Japanese-style bedding) outdoors, in order to put it under sunshine. But I had to do it with a futon-drying-machine after the accident. Washed clothes also had to be dried indoors, although my house was not so large.

It is pretty cool in the morning and at night even in summer in Fukushima.
So people were able to live without air conditioners even in summer. They used to open their windows to let in fresh air. But now they have to use their air conditioners in summer after the accident. It might be nothing for those who are used to doing so. But people in Fukushima have to change such small customs one by one, considering the damage that radiation might give to children in the future. The above is nothing but a minor example in their lives. Indeed, literally one by one, each small thing has affected our lives.

Since radioactivity is invisible, it was easy, to be honest, to imagine myself saying, “Take it easy. Forget about radioactive pollution. Take it as something that didn’t happen. Things will be OK.” However, when I considered my children’s health, I couldn’t compromise. At the same time, thinking about it seriously was making me almost neurotic. Thus, I was agonizing every day.

What is most unbearably difficult is that we have to be nervous about small points in our lives in general due to quite ambiguous worries or fears. That is, the officials don’t say that you have to take preventive measures because radiation is certainly harmful to your health. They say, instead, that you’d better do it because it might be harmful. This ambiguity really shatters us and makes us mentally exhausted. I think it is easy for mothers to understand this anxiety. No mother would choose an option that looks harmful to the children if there is only a little bit of health risk.

My son, four years old now, goes out to the playground in front of our house every day. Once he goes out, he is never back until sunset. He was too young to ride a bicycle a year ago. Although I knew that playing outdoors is important for children, the embarrassing fact is, I admit, that I have never thought they love playing outside so much. My son, who is being allowed to play outdoors enough in the kindergarten, goes out again to a nearby playground soon after he is back home. Seeing him do so convinces me every single day that it was right to have come to Osaka.

My one-year-old daughter likes playing in the sand in the playground very much. Only babies can stay inside the house for some months. Once they begin to walk, it’s utterly impossible for them to spend their lives indoors only. Now, my daughter plays in the sand every day, and loves taking walks outdoors, toddling. When she goes to the street, she walks on small side ditches or the roadside, where, in radiated areas, radioactive materials tend to gather to make what is called “hot spots.” While she is walking, she stumbles at least once. Every time she does it, she naturally lands on her hands. Now in Osaka, I only have to worry if she might injure her face or not. I don’t have to worry, as I would in Fukushima, about the potential long-term health hazard caused by radioactivity in such an ordinary, common happening as a one-year-old child stumbling on the road. An “ordinary life” that I speak of is really simple.

Going through the earthquake and the subsequent nuclear power plant accidents has affected and changed my idea about what is natural and what is ordinary. My sense of value, view of life, and evaluation standard on ordinary things have drastically changed. I would like my children to acquire an ability to survive and to live on in the true sense of the term. I would like to educate them so that they can do it. We are now living in such trying times.

Last of all, please let me introduce to you the subtitle of a book I recently read that impressed me. It is “The best crisis management is to use your own mind.” Despite the fact that Japan witnessed serious nuclear power plant accidents, this nation is planning to reboot other nuclear power plants without considering alternative means or countermeasures, nor thoroughly investigating into the causes of the accident. Having noticed that this nation has learned nothing while people in certain areas are still being victimized, I am appalled and deeply disappointed. I am taking it into my heart every day that we have to eventually make our own judgment or decisions, and accept self-responsibility. I have become aware of it through the disaster experience.

Even so, my children and I are able to spend our days supported by the warm kindnesses and thoughtfulness of those who truly care: volunteers and local people in the area. I deeply appreciate them.

I thank you very much sincerely.

Akiko Morimatsu

The Japanese version of the letter is below, underneath Akiko’s bio

…………………………………………………………………………………….

MORIMATSU, Akiko

Akiko Morimatsu was born in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture in 1973. She and her family, her husband, a 3 year-old son and a five-month old daughter then suffered the Great East Japan Earthquake while living in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011. After living in a temporary shelter for about a month, Akiko fled to Osaka with her two children in May, 2011. She could get employment through the Osaka City Earthquake Victim Support Employment Promotion and now works as a part-time office worker at the Osaka North District Council of Social Welfare.

Currently, she is representative of the Nuclear Liability Litigation Kansai Group which filed a lawsuit at Osaka District Court claiming the human right to evacuate from nuclear contaminated areas. The plaintiffs claim that the human right to live free from the fear of radiation exposure and to enjoy healthy living must be applied equally to all victims, including evacuees, returnees and those who have remained in the areas afflicted by nuclear accidents. They define their lawsuit as a lawsuit for human right relief and seek permanent disaster relief for victims of any kinds of nuclear disasters. She has been very actively engaged in her social activities to see how our society as a whole can change since 3.11.

Representing:
東日本大震災避難者の会 Thanks & Dream (Association of the Evacuees from the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster)
http://sandori2014.blog.fc2.com/
Cooperating with:
原発賠償関西弁護団 (The Kansai lawyers’ group for the nuclear liability litigation)
http://hinansha-shien.sakura.ne.jp/kansai_bengod…/index.html
Working closely with:
原発賠償関西訴訟KANSAIサポーターズ ( the nuclear liability litigation Kansai supporters)
http://kansapo.jugem.jp/
Publication:
Evacuating Fukushima with My Children: Mental Locus to Reach the Family Decision to File a Lawsuit
http://www.kamogawa.co.jp/kensaku/syoseki/ha/0676.html

手記 森松明希子
この手記は、さらに詳細を加筆し、震災から2年半までを綴った母子避難本と して出版されました。『母子避難、心の軌跡~家族で訴訟を決意するまで~』 (2013年12月・かもがわ出版)
http://www .kamogawa.co.jp/kensaku/syoseki/ha/0676.html

森松明希子 (2012年5月・記)
私は、福島県郡山市から昨年のゴールデンウィーク明けに、 大阪に避難してき ました。 家族は、夫と、現在4歳4ヶ月の息子、1歳8ヶ月になる娘の4人家 族です。 大阪へは母子3人だけで避難して来ており、 夫は今もひとり、福島 に残って私たち妻子の為に働いてくれています。 震災当日の2011年3月1 1日、 私は当時生後5ヶ月の娘と2人きりで自宅マンションにいました。 自宅 マンションは、10階建ての8階の一室でした。 その日の午後もふだんの日常 と何ら変わらず、 娘相手にのんびりと過ごしていました。 当時3歳になったば かりの息子は、 翌月の4月に入園する予定の幼稚園に2歳の頃から通っていた 為、 こちらもふだんと変わらず、 朝8時に迎えに来る幼稚園バスに乗って幼稚 園に行っていて不在でした。 午後2時46分、 とても激しい揺れを感じた私 はすぐに地震だと気づきました。 とりあえず目の前にいる娘の安全を考え、娘 の頭を守るように抱きかかえました。 でも、震度3や4のちょっとした揺れと はまるで違い、 その揺れはどんどん激しくなる一方で、私はその場に立ってい られませんでした。 生まれて初めて、私は自分の命の危険を感じました。 と、 同時に、娘の命の危険ももちろん感じました。 震度6は一瞬冷静さを失うくら い、ほんの一瞬でしたが、パニックに陥りそうでした。 ガーッという凄まじい 音と揺れ、そしてあまりに激しい揺れで立っていられないので、 私は娘を食卓 のローテーブルの下に寝かせたのですが、 当時生後5ヶ月になったばかりの娘 は、 激しい揺れが自分を揺さぶってあやされているものと勘違いして、 キャッ キャ、キャッキャと声を上げて大喜びして笑っていました。 命が助かった今と なれば笑い話ですが、 当時はそれどころではありませんでした。 かなり長い 揺れでしたが、 リビングにいた私が目にしたのは、 食器棚などの重たい家具や ソファーが壁から離れ、 ピョン、ピョン、とまるでスローモーションのように 部屋の中央にいた娘と私の方に迫って来る様で、今思い出してもゾッとします。
正直、地震だと最初に思ったのは間違いで、 何か別のもっとすごい事が起こ っているのかと思ったくらいです。 それと、あまりに長い揺れで『終わりはな いのか?永遠に揺さぶられ続けるのかしら?』と本当に恐怖でいっぱいでした。
幸い、娘も私もケガはありませんでした。 いつ長い揺れが収まったのかは分 かりませんが、気づいた時には家中、 瓦礫の山で足の踏み場もない状態に唖然 としたのを覚えています。 でも私の味わった恐怖はこれで終わりではありませ んでした。 逃げ場を確保しようと、ふとリビングの端、ドアの方に目をやると、
廊下の辺りから水がアメーバのように滲み出ているのです。 自宅は古いタイ プのオール電化のマンションで、 各戸(室内)に2日分くらいの温水を溜めて おける大きな給水タンクが備え付けられているのですが、 そのタンクが震度6 の揺れで傾いたり倒れたりしたらしく、配水管も切断、破壊したことによって、
地震発生から1時間後くらいには、 自宅のリビングから各部屋に水が流れ出し て、 全部屋が水に浸かってしまいました(水深10~15センチくらい)。 娘 は布団を敷いた寝室に避難させていたのですが、 そうこうするうちに今度は天 井からも、 ようするに、9、10 階の上階にある部屋も同様にタンクが倒れて浸 水し、 その水が漏れて壁や梁の隙間から水が降ってきました。 はじめは雨漏 りのような感じで、 赤茶色のおかしな色の水がポタポタと全部屋から落ちて来 て、 まだ震度4くらいの余震も頻繁に起こる中、 私はマンションの強度が心配 になりました。 しかも浸水と上から降ってくる水漏れで、 もう0歳の娘を寝 かせておける乾いた安全な場所が 自宅には何処を探してもありませんでした。
まだ寒い季節で娘を濡らすわけにはいかないので、 外は小雪が舞っていまし たが、 もう家を出るしかないと決意し、 生後5ヶ月にして初めて娘を“おんぶ” しました。 第2子出産のお祝いで頂いていたおんぶヒモは、 「首が据わる生 後6ヶ月頃からの使用可」と書かれており、 頂いたままの新品でまだ着用した ことがありませんでしたが、 私は一か八かで娘を背負ってみました。 何しろエ レベーターの停止したマンションの8階から 何回階段を上り下りする事になる か分からなかったので、 『前抱きのスリングでは無理!』と判断して、 娘の首 がどうか据わってて…と祈るような気持ちでエイヤァっと娘をおぶりました。
それに幼稚園にいるであろう息子を、 自分の足で捜索にも行かなければなりま せんので… 当時3歳になったばかりの息子の事を 地震の揺れの瞬間から一時 も忘れてはいませんでした。 園舎は確か前の夏に新築したばかり… でもこの 揺れだし… ダメならダメかもしれない… 揺れている最中から、息子の生命も覚
悟していました。 幼稚園の先生が守ってくれている(はず)と信じて、 祈るよ うな気持ちでいました。 自宅が水没して下の娘の安全確保やらで、幼稚園へは すぐに向かえずにいました。 気がつけば地震から約2時間が経過し、 午後4時 半の送迎バスの時刻となっていましたが、 ふだんは自宅マンション前までやっ てくる園バスはもちろんやってきませんでした。 息子と行き違いになってはい けないし、 また、息子が帰って来ても自宅に安全な居場所はないしで、 私は余 震が頻繁に起こる中、 娘をおぶってオロオロしていたら、 自宅マンションの前 にあった保育園が広間を開放して下さり、 そこへ「乳幼児を連れている人はお いで」と言っていただけました。 子どもたちにとって安全な場所を確保するこ とが出来たので、 やっと息子を捜しに行ける、探しに行こうとしたのが夜の7 時前で、 辺りは真っ暗になっていました。 幼稚園の先生がお迎えに行けてい ない園児の為に、 1 軒 1 軒園児の自宅まで送り届けて下さる車に運良く遭遇出 来たので、 やっと息子とも無事に再会が果たせました。 息子は幸いにもケガ はなく、 ちょうどお昼寝時間中に震度6の揺れがあったため、 その揺れで目が 覚めたという感じで、 地震の揺れ自体がトラウマになるという事もなく、 むし ろその後の余震を体験し「自分は地震は全然怖くないんだ!」 と思っているよ うで、それは不幸中の幸いだったのかもしれません。 夫はその日「夜は仙台に 出張だから」と言って、 早朝いつもどおり出勤していきました。 私たちの住ん でいた郡山は、仙台まで新幹線で1時間くらいの所にあります。 地震発生時、 瞬間的に『新幹線は止まってしまうだろうから乗ってたらまずいな』と思いま した。 ただ、何時の新幹線で仙台に向かっているのかも聞いていなかったし、 それこそもう仙台にいたり新幹線に乗っている途中だったら、 今日中に夫に会 えるだろうか?そもそも夫は無事なのかしら?と心配しました。 夫は通常勤務 を終えて、 新幹線に乗るために駅に向かって歩いている道路上で地震にあった そうで、 すぐに職場に歩いて戻ったらしく、 幸い郡山市から離れてはいません でした。 被災した職場の片づけをしたあとに、 勤務先に停めていた自分の車 に乗って 夜中の11時頃に自宅マンションに戻って来ました。 自宅の玄関ド アと一階のロビーの郵便ポストのところに、 「子供たちは無事!皆でマンショ ン前の○○保育園にいます」と、マジックで書いた紙を貼り付けておいたので、
それを見て夫は私たちの居場所を何とか探し当て、 私たち家族はかろうじてそ の日のうちに家族四人、 全員無事に再会を果たすことができました。 その日 から約1ヶ月の間、私達家族は避難所暮らしも経験しました。 そんなわけで、
私たちは震災で自宅と家財道具のすべてを失ってしまいました。 そして、震災 直後の原発事故による放射能汚染が深刻で、 福島での生活再建をすることがで きず、やむをえず家族バラバラの福島・大阪の二重生活をする道を選びました。
それが昨年の5月のことです。 大阪に避難してきてちょうど1年が経とうと していますが、 まだ夢の中にいるようで、 早く地に足の着いた生活を送りたい と切に願っているのですが、 やはり、この二重生活が自分の中では様々な負担 となっているようで、 なかなか落ち着いた生活、震災前の普通の日常を取り戻 すには至っていません。 幼い息子と娘の健康を考えて決意した二重生活ですが
想像以上に厳しい避難生活が続いています。 二重世帯の維持(家賃、光熱費 の2重払い)と 夫が幼い子どもたちに会いに来る為の移動交通費がかさんで、 経済的負担が家計を圧迫しています。 ですが原発から60キロメートルほど離 れている郡山市は、 特に避難勧告や避難指示が出されるわけでもなく、 全くの 「自主避難」であるため、 国や自治体からは何の補助も受けていません。 し かし福島県郡山市は、精一杯除染した所でさえも 放射能量測定器の示す値は目 を覆いたくなる数値を示しており、現実は公園での砂場遊びなどもってのほか、
子どもたちを買い物や通園であっても 少しでも外に出すのも恐ろしく、 普通 に子育てを出来る環境とはとても言えません。 一年経ってもその現状は何ら変 わらず、 むしろ個人レベルで測定器を持っているため、 現実から目を背ける事 も出来るはずもなく、 本当に事態は深刻だと思うのです。 いっそ、妊婦さん や乳幼児のいる家庭だけでも 強制的に避難退去命令を出してくれたらいいのに … と、何度思ったか知れません。 素人目にも非科学的だと思われる除染作業 にばかり マンパワーとお金をつぎ込んで、ガレキをせっせと全国にまき散らす など 非合理的なことこの上ないと思うのです。 汚染地帯からはガレキを運 び出すより、 「人」(将来のある子どもたち)を、 それこそいくらお金を積ん でも出すべきだと 切実に思います。 夫はこの1年、 月に一度、子どもたち に会えれば良い方で、 1ヶ月以上会えない時もありました。 『単身赴任や海 外赴任のお父さんを持つご家庭と同じなんだ!』と 自分に言い聞かせて日々の 子育てをしていますが、 「いつまで」という任期があるわけでなく、 おそらく 相当長期に渡ってこの生活が続くと考えると、 子どもの精神面での影響が心配 で、 本当に福島を出て来て良かったのかしら…と この1年、何度悩んだかしれ ません。 お父さんが大好きな息子を引き離してしまったのは本当に正しかった のか? まだ震災当時、生後5ヶ月だった娘はほぼ父親を知らないで育ってしま
って 今後の父娘関係に影響は出ないだろうか? なによりも、 家族の為にたっ たひとりで福島に残って 子どもの寝顔さえ毎日見る事が出来ない生活をしてい る夫の精神状態は本当に大丈夫なのだろうか? 休みがあれば、700キロ以上 離れた大阪まで1人高速道路を車で飛ばして子どもたちに会いに来て、 大阪で は24時間も滞在しない(できない)で、また同じ道をろくに休まずに運転し て戻る… せっかく会いに来てくれた夫ですが、 子どもたちには「お父さんはお 仕事と運転で疲れてるから寝かせてあげて!」と 声を上げる私は母親として何 をやってるんだろう???とか… 震災以降、親子共々、心も身体も休まるとこ ろがありませんでした。
福島に残れば目に見えない放射能の恐怖におびえ、 出たら出たで、不安定な生 活と家族バラバラの日常を強いられる・・・ 普通の福島県民としての暮らしが あの日以来、一変してしまいました。 それでも避難して丸一年が経ち、 本 当に徐々にですが、この現状を受け入れ、 前を向いて歩いていこうとはしてい ます。 震災から一年以上経過し、公的支援もどんどん打ち切られていく中で、
「現状を受け入れるしかない」ということもちろんありますが、 関西に避難し て今まで母子3人で何とかやってこられたのは、 いまだ被災者、避難者の事を 忘れず 心にとどめて下さっている方々がいてくださるおかげです。 どのよう な支援も、本当にありがたく、感謝するばかりなのです。 特にありがたかった ご支援を具体的に申し上げますと、 例えば、 外遊びが大好きな子どもたちです が、 日々の生活がやっとで、 土日や休日でも子どもたちをどこかに連れて行っ てあげるなど 全く出来ませんでした。 そのような中、大学生のボランティア のお兄さんやお姉さんが 子供たちと遊んでくれるという企画などは、親子共々、 心底ありがたかったです。 また、夏にはキャンプなどに子ども達を招待してく ださり、 子どもたちは、大きいお兄さんやお姉さんと遊んでもらえたら 本当に 喜びますし、せっかく放射能汚染のない大阪に来たのにキャンプや川遊びとか、
赤ん坊を抱えてでは、私ひとりではさせてあげられないので、 本当にありがた く思います。 また、普段子どもたちと関わってあげられる大人は私ひとりきり なのに、 日々の生活を回すのが精一杯で、 子どもたちにはあまり構ってあげら れないのが可哀想で、心苦しく思っていたのですが、皆様のお力をお借りして、
また、たくさんの方々に子どもたちとふれあっていただけたら、 それが母子避 難をしている私たち親子にとって、なによりの一番望んでいる支援となります。 本当にありがとうございます。 他にも、 引越しでも男手がなく大きな家具を
運搬することもままならない状況に、 社会福祉協議会の方が手を貸してくださ ったり、 引越し荷物の片付けなどをする間、 赤ちゃんの面倒を地域の保育ボラ ンティアの方が見てくださったり…と、本当に様々な方々に様々な方法で、色々 助けていただきました。 関西で受けたご支援には、本当に感謝してもし足りな いくらいで、 なんとお礼を申し上げて良いかわからないくらいです。 本当にあ りがとうございました。 また、社協の方が届けてくださる被災者向けの情報誌 で、 被災者・避難者の交流会があることも知ってからは、 そちらに参加させて いただき、苦労や悩みを分かち合うことができ、 それが私の心の拠り所、心の 支えとなっています。 交流会で、同じ境遇の被災者、避難者の方たちと出会っ て、 自分だけではないのだということを知り、 ともすれば孤立し、誰にも相談 できない悩みなどを聞いてもらったり、 また話したりすることで、どれだけ救 われているかしれません。 そんな交流会を企画して下さった団体や、その間、 保育のボランティアに協力して下さった方々の存在のおかげで、 私は今まで何 とか乗り切ってこられましたし、 これからも乗り越えて行かなければならない と思っています。 1年前の私は、悩みながら「避難することは本当に正しか ったのか?」と 常にブレながら、悩みながらの避難生活でした。 でも今では、 たとえ母子避難の苦労は大きかったとしても、 それでも福島から出てこられた 私たちはまだラッキーなのかもしれないと思っています。 いろいろな事実が明 るみに出るにしたがって、 そして私を含め、避難民などと呼ばれる人がこれほ ど多くいる現実を目の当たりにして、 避難したことについての迷いは、全くと いっていいほどになくなっていきました。 むしろ「避難は正しかったのだ」と いう確信に、今では変わっています。 私と同じ年頃の乳幼児をもつご家庭のお 母さんで、 福島に住んでいて不安のないお母さんは、 私の知る限りひとりもい ません。 子どもを外遊びさせられるところを日々求めて、 また、長期休暇に はプチ避難(保養)出来る場所を探し求めているも、 ご親戚も全て福島県民と いう方も多く、ほんの少しの間でさえも福島を出られない… そんなご家庭はた くさんあるのです。 私も身動きを取れないでいた避難所にいる間の1ヶ月の間、
なんとか福島県での生活の再建をはかろうと、 相当悩みましたし、人生で最も 多く深く考えた日々でした。 今よりもまだもっと様々な情報が飛び交う中での 放射能汚染についての「不安」感、 福島での生活再建をずっと視野に入れて考 えに考え抜きましたが、 やはり結論は、「逃げられるところがあるなら、 そし て避難できる可能性があるのなら、 避難すべきだし、そうすることが子どもに
とって一番だ」というものでした。 得体のしれない不安感や恐怖の中で、 常 に心配しながら、しかもいろいろなことを制限されて生活することほど ストレ スフルなことはありません。 晴れの日、お布団は必ずお日様に当てるために外 に干していました。 それをすべて布団乾燥機に切り替える。 洗濯物もさほど広 い家でもないのに全部部屋干し。 福島では朝晩は結構涼しいので、 夏でも我 が家はエアコンを作動させることはほぼ皆無でした。 窓を開ければ風が強いの で真夏でも結構涼しく何とかしのげます。 それが、夏も冬も年中エアコン… それが当たり前の人にとってはなんでもない事なのかもしれませんが、 こんな 細かい日々の暮らしを いちいち放射能の子どもに将来あたえるかもしれないと いう影響を考えて 変えて行かなければいけないのです。上記の例はほんの生活 の一部で、それこそ、本当にいちいち、細かいことについていちいちなのです。
正直、放射能は目に見えないので、 「もう忘れて目をつぶって放射能汚染の ことはなかったことにしよう、 大丈夫なんだと思うことにしよう」としてしま う自分が容易に想像できました。 でも、我が子の事を本気で考えたら、やっぱ り妥協はできないし、本気で考えたらノイローゼになりそうだし… 本当に日々 悶々と考え続けていました。 何が嫌かというと「確実に健康被害が出るから予 防的に何か対策をとる」というのではなく、「可能性があるからこうしておいた 方が良い」という、 極めて曖昧な不安感や恐怖感のために、 生活全般の細かい ことについて神経を払うというのが、 本当に疲労困憊を招くし精神的に心底消 耗するのです。 母親だったら容易に理解できると思うのですが、 子どもに少 しでも悪いかもしれない、という選択肢を選択する人はいないと思います。 今、4歳になった息子は、 毎日のように自転車に乗って家の前の公園に出かけ ていき 一度外に出たら帰って来ません。1年前はまだ幼すぎて自転車にも乗れ なかったし、 子どもに外遊びは大切、必要とは頭では分かっているつもりでし たが、 ここまで外遊びが好きな生き物だとは恥ずかしながら考えてもいません でした。 息子が、幼稚園(でも十分外遊びさせていただいてます)から帰って すぐまた、 公園に飛び出していくのを見て、 毎日のように「大阪に来て正解だ った」と思っています。 1歳の娘は、公園で砂浴びをするのが大好きです。 お部屋に閉じこもっていられるのはゼロ歳児のほんの数カ月の間だけです。 歩 き始めたら、屋内のみの生活などおよそ不可能です。 今では毎日砂を浴び、ヨ チヨチ外をお散歩するのが大好きです。 道路はかならず側溝の上(放射性物質 がたまりやすくいわゆるホットスポットとなり易いところ)とかの道の端を歩
きますし、 歩くと必ず1回はコケます。 コケたら当然手をつきます。 今の私 は、コケて顔に怪我でもしやしないか、 それだけを心配すれば良いのです。 1歳の子どもが道路で転ぶ、当たり前の動きに対して、 いちいち放射能による 健康被害のことまで心配しなくて良いのです。 私の言っている普通の生活とは、
そんな本当に些細なことをいうのです。 震災とそれに伴う原発事故を経験し て、 私は「あたりまえ」「ふつう」の概念が変わりました。 価値観も、人生観 も、それから物事に対する評価基準も すっかり変わってしまいました。 自分 の子供たちには本当の意味での「生きる力」「生き延びる力」を つけていってほ しいと考えています。 そう教育していきたいし、今はその試練の時なのだと思 っています。 最後になりましたが、 最近読んだ本のサブタイトルがとても共 感できたのでご紹介します。 「自分の頭で考える事こそ最高の危機管理だ」 というものです。 あれほどの原発事故を引き起こしてしまったのに、 国は何 の手だても、解決策も見出せず、ましてや原因解明すらなされていないままに、
再稼動に舵を切ってしまいました。 一部の地域の国民が犠牲を払いつづけても なお、 国は何も学ばないのだと、驚愕し、心底失望しました。 私は最終的に は、「自己判断」「自己決定」「自己責任」なんだと 日々痛感しています。 被災 を通じてそのことを再認識した次第なのです。 それでも、心ある方々や、ボラ ンティアの方、地域の方々の温かいお気持ちや、 お心遣いに支えられて、日々 私たち親子は暮らしていられることに、 心の底からお礼を申し上げたいです。 本当にありがとうございます。

Geisha

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Ukiyoe depicting a Gion, Kyoto, geisha, from between 1800 and 1833

photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2004

With their exquisite mask-like makeup, elaborate hairstyles and elegant kimonos, Geisha are iconic and recognisable to people around the world as quintessentially Japanese.

Geisha have roots in a culture which emerged during the ‘Edo’ or ‘Togugawa’ period which began in 1603 and ended in 1868. This period in Japan’s history is characterised by a predominantly feudal, non-egalitarian society with a great disparity between a wealthy ruling minority and a poor oppressed majority and between the rights and freedoms enjoyed by men and by women. For this reason Geishas are problematic to some, particularly some younger Japanese people, who feel they signify an oppressive elitist patriarchal culture.

Nevertheless Geisha can also be seen as practioner-guardians of a centuries-old performing arts tradition. With their long, expensive training, and the discipline and self-sacrifice required to qualify and succeed professionally, they could be seen as analogous to the classical prima ballerinas of the west.

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‘Kyouka walking’ Gion, Kyoto

photo: by Malfet_https://www.flickr.com/photos/malfet/5468723504/