Accepted Paper:

Lives of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster  


Naoko Horikawa

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents the lives of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. I aim to look at the way in which people cope with relocation by examining narratives of evacuees living in Tokyo and Yamagata. Ethnographic methods will show how their lifestyles have changed.

Paper long abstract:

The number of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster was, at the end of 2013, estimated to be about 49,000. In this paper I shall look at the way in which victims made their decision to leave and at how they cope with a new social milieu. In many cases it was a mother with children who evacuated while the male remained in Fukushima because of his job. My enquiry includes the impact that the arrangement has had on family life.

In the new location evacuees form a Fukushima community, and the role of social networking among them is significant in maintaining ties with Fukushima. I shall consider how a social boundary has formed between displaced families and the established local population.

Some three years after the event, a number of evacuees living in Tokyo made a return to Fukushima in order to seek residence where the risk from radiation is diminished. By taking an ethnographic approach I will examine the relationship between returnees and people who did not leave Fukushima.

Panel P023
Living with disaster: comparative approaches (JAWS/JASCA joint panel)