Oishinbo 美味しんぼ is a long-running cooking manga written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki. It has been the 8th longest manga released in Japan to date and has sold over 130 million copies (1.2 million copies per volume).
In one of the first chapter of Oishinbo (subtitled the Truth of Fukushima”), published in the magazine Big Comic Spirits, Kariya san depicted the manga protagonist, Shiro Yamaoka, as he returned from a visit to the nuclear-disaster-suffering prefecture when he suddenly has a random nosebleed. Visiting the stricken plant two years after the 2011 nuclear catastrophe, a group of characters, all newspaper journalists, are momentarily exposed to hourly radiation levels of 1,680 microsieverts. After their tour, which takes them near the plant’s six reactors, lead character Shiro Yamaoka begins to complain of “extreme exhaustion” as well as sudden nosebleeds that span days. His colleagues confess to suffering similar symptoms.
Later in the comic, they meet a character named after Katsutaka Idogawa — based on the real-life of former mayor of Futaba shi, Fukushima — they learn that he too has suffered repeated nosebleed attacks, felt “unbearably sick” since the accident and suffer from the same symptoms.
The latest chapter of the manga depicts personal experience by Kariya san following his visit to Daiichi – Nichigo Press
It was completely different. The worst is the radiation. You can’t see it, and it doesn’t affect you immediately. But the fact that you can’t see it makes it much scarier. This is a personal experience, but after I got back [from Fukushima] and was having dinner, I suddenly started bleeding from my nose, and it wouldn’t stop. I thought, “what on Earth?” I’ve rarely ever had a nosebleed so it was quite a shock. After that, I had nosebleeds at night for days after. But when I went to the hospital, they said “there’s currently no medical connection between nosebleeds and radiation” and they severed a capillary in my nose membrane with a laser.
Also, after I went [to Fukushima], I felt a great deal of fatigue. The staff who went with me and the chief of Futaba-machi suffered from nosebleeds and fatigue. They say the radiation levels are low so there’s no harm, but I wonder about that.
But telling the truth in Japan has its price …..
THE CONTROVERSY AND CENSORSHIP
Shogakukan, the publisher, was immediately flooded with complaints and criticism that the manga was showing Fukushima in a negative way.
The town of Futaba-machi wrote an official complaint, stating that there was no truth to the claim that “lots of people suffer from nosebleeds and other symptoms” and that the manga was damaging the image of Fukushima that they were trying hard to rebuild. The complaint notes that ever since the manga came out, there have been cancellations of visits and product orders and that Fukushima residents were afraid that the manga was cultivating discrimination against the prefecture and its residents.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, Minister Masako Mori (the traitor) and PM Abe publicly denounced that the comic fosters unfounded fears.
“The government will make the best effort to take action against baseless rumors,” – PM Abe
However, Kariya san remains firm in his stance, saying that people are trying to sugar-coat the disaster with euphemisms and falsely positive language to hide the truth – something he hates more than anything else.
Having researched Fukushima for two years, he was not about to write that Fukushima was safe and all was well — even if that may be what people wanted to hear.
“I can only write the truth,” he said.
Kariya san and editor Hiroshi Murayama anticipated people would be offended by this manga series.
“We hope the various views on the latest ‘Oishinbo’ will lead to a constructive debate into assessing our future”
That debate however was clearly suppressed very rapidly;
Upon pressure from local and central authorities, Oishinbo is now discontinued temporarily in the magazine. But the publisher said that it had been the plan even before the controversy. It is not clear when it will run again. The manga will not appear in the publisher’s weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine for some time from the issue released on May 26. In the final episode of “The Truth about Fukushima”, the main characters visit a livestock farming family that moved from Iitate, near the stricken plant, to Hokkaido. The characters conclude that those who leave the disaster-hit prefecture must call for state compensation for anyone who wishes to leave it.
The upcoming issue will devote 10 pages to the opinions of 13 experts about the scenes in question. It will also run letters of protest from the Fukushima Prefectural Government, the town of Futaba, which cohosts the damaged nuclear plant, and letters from both the city and prefecture of Osaka.
Censorship is alive and well in Japan.
Numerous people in Fukushima and beyond suffer the same symptoms. But authorities are ever so quick to dismiss any correlation with radiation exposure. They call it “radiophobia” or even “harmfull rumors”. The “lucky” residents of Fukushima who have not had these symptoms (yet) are eagerly siding with the propaganda and prefer to turn a blind eye.
Unfortunately, such lack of apathy and complacency is further singling out the victims as “unpatriotic”, “selfish”, “crazy” and … “bothersome”. It is getting more evident as time goes by that these innocent Hibakushas are being abandoned by the entire nation. Japan won’t escape its inevitable demise if they don’t face the ugly truth. Government, corrupt medias, vile pseudo scientists, irresponsible local authorities, sociopaths running ETHOS, cowards running WHO, clowns at the UN, the criminals running IAEA etc … can pretty color this truth ALL THEY WANT, but the truth is the truth … and the truth is that Fukushima is continuing to bleed!
The hardest part in all of this is to separate truth from fiction.
We know from Chernobyl that nosebleeds and fatigue are two of the most common radiation induced symptoms.
There has been numerous Japanese tweets claiming people getting chronic nosebleeds all over the country. It does not mean that all are associated to radiation exposure. But no one can deny the increase of these “incidents” from the residents of Fukushima, who are complaining about unusual chronic nosebleeds, fatigue etc … But as soon as the victims pay a doctor’s visit, they end up being sent home with a “clean” bill of health and the usual “you worry too much”. Some patients are often mocked by these doctors or neighbors, even by their own families. Nowhere or no one to talk to, discriminated in such a violent passive aggressive way; they finally give up and end up living in fear … left to themselves.
A group of Fukushima residents, who say they have suffered dizzy spells and nosebleeds since the disaster, came out last week in defense of “Oishinbo.” They said through their lawyer that they will speak out in Tokyo, but on condition of anonymity, perhaps wearing a traditional demon’s mask to protect themselves against ostracism and other social backlash over going public with fears about radiation.
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