Tag Archives: kajino

Our second year with Fukushima farmers fighting for their land

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Organic farmer Akihiro Asami's wife and daughters evacuated in March 2011 from Aizu, 130 km west of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The girls only saw their father a few times last year. In the winter, the family reunited in Aizu.

The organic farmers of Fukushima have spent the past year coping not only with the contamination of their ancestral land with radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, but also bureaucratic barriers to compensation, inconsistent guidelines from a government scurrying to project an illusion of normality, scarcity of accurate information and equipment to understand the contamination, hostility from a frightened public, and a steep drop in sales that threatens to undermine the regional economy and shatter their way of life.

23-year-old Mizuho Sugeno spends the growing season working on her family's Playing-With-Clouds-Land organic farm in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima. But in the winter she competes internationally in the Southeast Asian sport Sepak Takraw.

The farmers have steadily educated themselves about the threat of radiation and how to cope with it, adapting traditional methods, acquiring testing equipment and incorporating experimental techniques to prevent their crops from absorbing cesium and try to decontaminate the land with minimum loss of its fertility. But will their efforts be enough to keep organic farming alive in northeast Japan?

After spending five months in 2011 following the farmers through the growing season, filmmakers Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski are back in Japan to capture the second year of the nuclear crisis for our documentary Uncanny Terrain. We thank you for joining us on this journey. And we hope that you will continue to support us by spreading the word about this project, and making a tax-deductible contribution to our IndieGoGo campaign, which runs through May 1.

In March we held a series of preview screenings in New Jersey and Massachusetts, with lively and thoughtful audience discussions after each screening.  We can provide preview footage for your school, organization, or venue, and either travel there or join you via teleconference.  Please write us to inquire.

Michigan screening, save the date: we will screen preview footage at an exhibition of photography from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, April 20 at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Details TBA.

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Asami Girls

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Organic farmer Asami’s wife and daughters evacuated in March 2011 from Aizu, 130 km west of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Asami only saw his daughters a few times last year. In the winter, the family moved back to Aizu.

To the East Coast and On to Fukushima

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Today Uncanny Terrain codirector Junko Kajino begins an East Coast mini-tour, presenting scenes from the in-progress documentary for schools and community groups. Please join her if you’re in the area.

Filmmakers Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski spent five months inside Japan’s nuclear contamination zone for our documentary Uncanny Terrain - living and working with the farmers, researchers and volunteers who have committed themselves to take the nuclear crisis as an opportunity to build a better society.  We’re going beyond disaster reporting, to show what it is really like for these people who refuse to bow to devastating odds.

Now we need your help to return to Japan and revisit those working on the front lines of the nuclear crisis, as they mark the one-year anniversary and the farmers prepare to plant again.

We need to raise $10,000 by March 31 to cover the cost of traveling to Japan and shooting there through the April planting. Please join us by donating to and sharing our new IndieGoGo campaign.  We encourage PayPal contributions because they are tax-deductible, and funds are available to us immediately. Thank you to everyone who has already supported  Uncanny Terrain. Please send this invitation to your friends.  Join the campaign on Facebook.

The organic farmers of Fukushima prefecture toiled for 40 years to grow safe, nutritious and delicious crops on their ancestral land while two nuclear power plants in the prefecture helped feed Tokyo’s increasingly voracious energy appetite.

Since the March 2011 tsunami triggered the meltdown that spread radioactive contamination on much of the lush farmland of Fukushima and eastern Japan, the farmers have been caught between a government in constant denial of the risks of radiation, and outraged citizens who brand the farmers “child murderers” for continuing to cultivate irradiated land.

But the farmers, researchers and volunteers are committed to building a comprehensive monitoring and reporting network to inform citizens about contamination levels in food, air, water and land, so families can make their own informed decisions; and advancing experimental methods to decontaminate soil or prevent crops grown on contaminated soil from absorbing radiation.

Fukushima has demonstrated the need for greater public vigilance to keep all our food and energy producers honest, not just about radiation but about all the potential contaminants that our collective appetites introduce into our bodies and our communities.

Please support Uncanny Terrain and help generate dialogue about these vital issues and assure that the struggles of people in Fukushima can stimulate positive change in the world.  Thank you!

 

Uncanny Terrain in the Chicago Reader

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Rice Harvest

by Sam Worley
Chicago Reader

Along with Junko Kajino, occasional Reader contributor Ed M. Koziarski is codirector of Uncanny Terrain, a documentary about effects from last year’s tsunami and nuclear crisis on Japan’s rice farmers. This preview screening event includes music by Tatsu Aoki and his band the Miyumi Project, and David Tanimura shows digital collages about the nuclear threat. RSVP required; e-mail uncannyterrain@gmail.com.

Uncanny Terrain reception Sunday and more

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This is video we shot of the December performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago by Uncanny Terrain composer Tatsu Aoki‘s group Tsukasa Taiko Legacy at JASC.

Tatsu and his band The MIYUMI Project will accompany preview scenes from Uncanny Terrain with their fusion of jazz and Japanese classical music from 6-7 p.m. at High Concept Laboratoriesbenefit reception this Sunday, Feb. 5, 5-8 p.m. at 1401 W. Wabansia in Chicago.

Featuring art by David Tanimura, sushi by Chef Atsushi Iwamoto of Mizu Yakitori (thanks to Mayumi Miyazaki and Asako Hoichi), organic Daishichi Sake courtesy of JFC International, kurimanju and inarizushi by Jo Anne Yamamoto of Auntie Jo’s Yummies, and appetizers courtesy of Shino Tamura from Murasaki Saki Lounge.

All this for no cover charge! But a portion of art sales and all donations benefit our return to Japan in March to capture the first anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdown. If you’re coming, be sure to rsvp here or here.

Can’t miss the first half of the Superbowl? Not in Chicago? We still invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to fund the completion of the film.

Make checks payable to our new fiscal sponsor, Asian Improv aRts Midwest (AIRMW), c/o Japanese American Service Committee, 4427 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60640 (memo: Uncanny Terrain).

And we continue to accept online donations through our ongoing fiscal sponsor Ionia Inc.

Illinois Arts CouncilUncanny Terrain has been awarded a grant from the Illinois Arts Council‘s Individual Artist Support fund for media arts. Thanks!

Eating Fukushima

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Some floating lantern ceremony

by Ed M. Koziarski
North Avenue Magazine
Jan. 28, 2012

When does a victim become a perpetrator? That’s the question that kept coming up as we made our way across the irradiated landscape.

Many foreigners fled Japan after the tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant last March. My wife Junko Kajino and I went the opposite way, spending five months inside the U.S.-declared 50-mile no-go radius for our in-progress documentary Uncanny Terrain.

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A pair of Chicago indie filmmakers captures farmers in the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear disaster

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cows2By Jake Malooley
TimeOut Chicago

Jan. 25, 2012

One steamy day last July, Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski found themselves in Fukushima, Japan, hiding beneath a tarp in the back of a pickup truck full of cow feed. The farmer behind the wheel smuggled the filmmakers into a government-mandated 20-kilometer evacuation zone that became highly contaminated with radioactive cesium after a massive earthquake 43 miles off the city’s coast in March. The quake triggered tsunami waves that smashed into the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing meltdowns of three reactors.

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Fukushima 1 Year After the Meltdown

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Fukushima farmers’ rice harvest sits in stockpiles, mostly unsold after radioactive cesium was detected in samples in and outside of the prefecture.

Unable to sell their rice, Fukushima organic farmers have become educators, promoting understanding among their customers about the interconnections of land use, energy consumption, and traditional culture.

Despite staggering odds, most of the farmers remain committed to preserving and recovering their land for future generations.

We return to Fukushima this March to capture the recovery efforts a year after the 3/11 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster.

High Concept LaboratoriesTo support this endeavor, nonprofit arts support organization High Concept Laboratories presents Fukushima: 1 Year After the Meltdown, a benefit reception for Uncanny Terrain, Sunday, Feb. 5, 5-8 p.m. at 1401 W. Wabansia in Chicago.

From 6-7 p.m. we’ll screen a preview video with live accompaniment by our composer Tatsu Aoki and his band The MIYUMI Project, which performs a fusion of jazz and Japanese classical music.

Tatsu is a jazz bassist and a leader of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and Tsukasa Taiko Legacy.

David Tanimura will showcase his digital collages inspired by the nuclear crisis. Refreshments will be served. The reception is free but rsvp is required, and tax-deductible donations to the film are welcome.

Not in Chicago? Can’t make it? Want to help today? We continue to gratefully accept online tax-deductible donations in support of Uncanny Terrain.