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» Manga deal with sensitive nuclear issues in Japan

Farmers in Fukushima try to convince skeptical visitors that their crops are safe from radiation. Blood trickles from the nose of a reporter who visits the area.

These are two story lines found in manga — those ubiquitous comics for adults and teens — that have taken up Fukushima on an unprecedented scale even as Japanese film largely avoids the topic.

“Ichi Efu,” which centers on workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, has sold 170,000 copies in book form in nearly two months, a rare success for a debut manga. Another comic book set off a furor that sparked angry responses from the government, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years fades from the public spotlight in Japan, publishers say they hope manga will spark debate about uncomfortable topics such as the health impact of the accident, which released radiation over a wide swath of the northeast.

In contrast to the more than 30 manga published since the disaster, there has been only one mass-market film to date on Fukushima — “Homeland,” released in March. Its director was careful to emphasize the human story over any political statements during publicity tours.
“Movies take a lot of money and backers tend to flinch away from this topic. . . . Manga are a lot more independent and can go where even news programs might hesitate,” said Kenichiro Shinohara, an editor at popular “Morning,” the manga weekly in which “Ichi Efu” is also published.


<Media Report>
Comic books champion debate on Fukushima disaster (Japan Times)

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