Cartoon on Radiation Poisoning and Fear

  Alex, the scholar from Bristol University (see yesterday's blog entry) left Japan with his family for the UK this morning; my colleague (professor of glaciology) took them to the Narita Tokyo International Airport by his car (he invited the Bristol scholar in glacier bio-geography and family to Japan).


  Yesterday, while having lunch together with them, we talked about cartoon (manga) culture in Japan. Cartoon in Japan is not only for fun but also serves as an excellent communication tool. It often explains otherwise difficult scientific concept. In the bookshelf of my office, I have about 20 cartoon books on science (both in English and Japanese), ranging from highschool physics, via statistics and chemistry, to math (differentiation) and astrophysics. It is such a fun to read through these cartoon books, and sometimes I even feel guilty for not studying "hard enough" to learn various scientific and mathematical topics.

  So as a farewell gift, I gave my most favorite manga book from my bookshelf to the Bristol family yesterday. The book is titled "Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms". It is translated into English, French, Chinese, and Korean, and they have rave reviews at Amazon sites of their countries. Check the review of the English version at Amazon:


Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
Last Gasp of San Francisco
夕凪の街 桜の国 [DVD]

  This cartoon book is about three generations of a family from Hiroshima, and how they were (even in decades later) mistreated by many citizens simply because these citizens were ignorant of the health efffect of radiation, which the family (first and some of second generations) suffered in 1945 by A-bomb explosion in Hiroshima.


  Though the third generation's story took place with a time setting of around year 2000 (and this book in its original Japanese version was published in 2004), these descendants were treated by others as if the descendants carry cancigenic genes, notably when it comes to an issue of marrying with "ordinary" people.


  Very touching and moving story, and the drawing art by the author Fumiyo Kono well depicts this touchy and otherwise unspoken issue. It was made into a live-action film in 2007, but it could not win an award, probably because another great Japanese film Departures (Okuri-bito) was released in 2008, which won the oscar as the Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Award in 2009 . So this book and the movie was in the shadow of the Departures film.

Departures [DVD] [Import]
おくりびと [DVD]



Posted on Wednesday 11 April 2012