橋本あき  Aki Hashimoto

Aki Hashimoto's granddaughter was just over a month old when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded. She wanted to evacuate but her daughter and granddaughter were not in a state to move, and her son-in-law wanted to stay because of his work. It took her a year to convince her daughter's husband to leave Fukushima for the sake of his child. Still, she sometimes feels regret that they didn't evacuate immediately. She deeply hopes that her granddaughter was not affected by the dose of radiation she received in the year after the accident. A softspoken woman by nature, Hashimoto’s anger and discontent with the situation has compelled her to raise her voice in the fight against nuclear energy, calling all women in Japan to join her.

“There is an old saying in Fukushima, ‘Gosei yakeru.’ It means ‘I am beyond angry.’ We’ve been saying ‘Gosei yakeru’ a lot lately.”


黒田節子   Setsuko Kuroda

A veteran activist with three grandchildren, Setsuko Kuroda is direct and to the point. “We have to take down this government.” She evacuated the day after the earthquake (followed by the tsunami, followed by the meltdown), but has returned to Koriyama (a city in Fukushima Prefecture with high radiation levels), even though she knows it’s dangerous, to continue to fight for the right of people to government supported evacuation Since the Chernobyl disaster, she has demonstrated against nuclear energy and, clearly, she is not going to stop.


“The most important things are life, health and raising healthy children. We don’t need nukes to do that.” 

大河原多津子   Tatsuko Okawara

Tatsuko Okawara is an organic farmer from Tamura Village, located in South Eastern Fukushima. The Okawaras decided to become organic farmers 30 years ago because many of their friends were getting sick and passing out in the fields from the pesticides they were using. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant blew up, the Geiger counter in their house registered at 30-40 times its normal level. Their daughter screamed “We’re all going to die with blood dripping from our noses!” as they evacuated their home—only to end up in an area that had even higher levels of radiation than their home. They have since returned to their farm and are working hard to keep it going while participating in demonstrations and doing what they can to make Japan a country worth living in.

“Nukes are a form of discrimination. They only build them in poor areas.”

 

高橋幸子   Yukiko Takahashi

Yukiko Takahashi was in Tokyo when the disaster occurred. Her parents were in Iwaki, only 40km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They evacuated to Fukushima City (80km) but the radiation levels there were higher because of prevailing winds and rain. The government and media withheld information about radiation levels to prevent panic; as a result, her parents were exposed to more radiation than if they had stayed home. She was motivated to protest, but wasn’t sure about what to do or where to go. She connected with a group she found on Twitter that was concerned with protecting children, and ever since she has been actively protesting in public and making impassioned pleas to public officials.

 

“Give us back Fukushima!” 

木田節子   Setsuko Kida

Setsuko Kida and her family will never again be able to live in their home in in Tomioka, as it’s located between the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini reactors. The shock of the disaster so overwhelmed her, she spent most of her time indoors until February 2012, when she attended an event in Tokai Village(where the first nuclear power plant in Japan was built). The mayor of Tokai Village gave a speech in which he said “Japan does not have the competence to have nuclear power.” Inspired, Kida has since become a literate, vocal and well-informed protestor, unafraid to speak out against the lies of the government and media.

“They say beautiful things like “Samurai spirit”, but do you think there are any Samurai in Japan?” 

森園和重   Kazue Morizono

One month after the explosion, Kazue Morizono of Koriyama, fell sick with symptoms of vomiting, cold sores, diarrhea and joint pain. She was bedridden for months, but upon recovery she was out in full force, speaking up at public meetings and making heartfelt appeals to government and electric company officials— all of which fell on deaf ears. Vibrant, compassionate, angry and hurt, Morizono, like all of the Women of Fukushima, bears the burden of keeping the children safe.

“The government is 80-90% men and they are making all the decisions. It’s time for them to become enlightened to the fact that they are wrong. I want them to listen to us women; the women need to speak up, I feel that very strongly.“