Futaba

New Fukushima school gets uniforms designed by the AKB48 costume designer

The new Futaba Future School, a combined junior and senior high school set to open in Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture this April, is getting some pretty snazzy uniforms. They were designed by Shinobu Kayano, the woman behind AKB48‘s colorful and memorable costumes.

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Nosebleeds, food, and fear: How a popular manga became the centre of a debate about Fukushima

In the West, comics are often considered predominantly for younger audiences, and adults who spend more time scrutinising the contents of speech bubbles than printed paragraphs might be looked down on by some. But in Japan, comics are considered a perfectly acceptable pastime whatever one’s age.

More often than not, comics, or manga to use the Japanese term, provide their readers with a break from reality, much like a TV drama or soap, and allow readers to peek into the kinds of worlds that they might not ordinarily be able. But there are times when fiction and reality come together, and real-world events become fodder for a writer’s imagination or in some case the main focus of a story. In the case of popular manga series Oishinbo (美味しんぼ), one particular plotline has raised not just eyebrows but objections on a national level, and what was once just a comic about food has become the centre of a debate about health, radiation, and whether the Japanese government is telling the truth about Fukushima.

Today, we delve a little deeper into the “Oishinbo Nosebleed Problem”, as it has become known, and consider whether, after the resulting backlash, this controversial topic is one that the manga’s writer perhaps ought to have left well alone.

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Fukushima Refugees Rather Gamble than Work, Claims Iwaki City Mayor

The city of Iwaki lies 30km south of the Fukushima Daiichi just outside of the evacuation zone created after the nuclear disaster struck.  As such it has become home to approximately 25,000 displaced people from Futaba District, where the Daiichi reactor is located.

On 9 April, Iwaki Mayor Takao Watanabe had this to say about the evacuees: “With the compensation money they received from TEPCO, most people are choosing not to work.  The pachinko parlors, however, are packed every day.”  Pachinko is a highly popular game similar to pinball that is often used for gambling much like slots or video poker in other parts of the world.

Although this may sound like another case of a Japanese politician putting his foot in his mouth, it appears Mayor Watanabe is not alone with his opinion.

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