Fukushima, 10th Year - Takashi Kuribayashi + Rai Shizuno (Part 1)

As an artist, Takashi Kuribayashi exhibited his new work GENKI-RO (meaning Energy Plant in Japanese, rhyming with GENSHI-RO, meaning Nuclear Reactor) this year, in the 10th year since Fukushima nuclear disaster. As a photographer, Rai Shizuno is travelling all over the world working on Play with the Earth, a film weaving images of his experience and memory. The artist and the photographer also work together in their collaborative projects with their teammates. Takashi Kuribayashi will be participating an international art event in 2022 as an artist, but for this time, he will be also bringing Rai Shizuno’s Cinema Caravan as his collaborative work. What is underneath their activities and collaborations? The two, still traveling back and forth to visit the Fukushima have many thoughts influenced by their visits.

May 2021, 10th year from Tsunami, on the beach at Fukushima

Own Experience is the Real — Voyage to Reconstruct Information

■ Voyage to know the unknown - WAVEMENT TOUR

Their first encounter is dated back in 2006, when Shizuno found a documentary film about Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Waste Plant "Rokkasho Rhapsody", directed by Hitomi Kamanaka at the community hall in Zushi.  The film was striking for Shizuno and his friends who all are living around the coastline but never had a chance to consider the nuclear or radiation as the issue close to themselves. They decided to travel to Rokkasho with the feeling that they cannot speak about the issue without seeing the real. They have been examining what they can do, what they have to do. In this process, they met the core members of the group including Takashi Kuribayashi who will be working together till today.  Before the 3.11 disaster, it was hard to find a mass media openly questioning the nuclear power plant issues.  They faced difficulties to collaborate with the media as it was generally considered as a political taboo. The first action was raised as an article in surfer’s magazine. Surfers’ community who are sharing the same coastline with Rokkasho had more ability to share the question related closer to their reality.  In order to know more of the real situation, and to share the question, they organized Voyage event “WAVEMENT TOUR”, traveling the coastline of Chiba, Fukushima, and all the way up to Rokkasho, the Northernmost of the island taking two weeks to stop by once in a while arranging camping, and seeing film, making discussions to learn more of the reality.

August 2007 / WAVEMENT TOUR / In front of Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Waste Plant
Preparing for the film on the beach / Miyagi

■ Start Changing Life from the Neihborhood

Shizuno and the members first devoted themselves to the movement against nuclear power plant, trying to make an access from the front door, by submitting 1 million signatures of the protest to the Diet, but in vain.  They also learned that not much of people are open to give them a space to exhibit photographs and video they took. That is why Shizuno decided to run their own free space in 2009, Cinema Amigo, a cinema located on the coastline where they can exhibit anything on their will. Three months later, the first Zushi Beach Film Festival was held.  This was the first activity of their group CINEMA CARAVAN.   It is difficult to change the understanding of people soon by just repeating “Anti-Nuclear” or shouting “We must do something“.  Instead of spending a time criticizing the larger world, they decided to start from the neighbors within 5 km or 10.  This change in the way of approaching the question became the basis of their activities.

May 2010 / The First Zushi Beach Film Festival / Zushi, Kanagawa


Meanwhile, starting CINEMA CARAVAN with Shizuno, Kuribayashi started to work on YATAI TRIP project. (note: Yatai, meaning food stalls).  It is a project to travel the borders.  There are various types of boarders in the world: between human and nature, ecosystem, territories among same species, different culture, and countries. YATAI TRIP travels around those boarders with open food stalls.  Stalls shall be all made in local wood and wheelbarrow. People gather around the stall to eat, drink and talk.  The space suddenly changes from nowhere to a site, erasing the preunderstanding of the place based on mere accumulated information.  Now what they were seeing were a boarder with true lives.  The first YATAI TRIP took place in August 2009 in Sounth Korea traveling around the border line close to North Korea.  It also took place in Singapore, Nepal, Basque area in Spain, and Indonesia. Shizuno also participated in YATAI TRIP from the beginning as a photographer.

Yatai Trip / 2009 / South Korea
Yatai Trip / 2010 / Mori Art Museum / Tokyo
Yatai Trip / 2011 / Nepal
Yatai Trip / 2011 / Nepal
Yatai Trip / 2012 / Basque County, Spain
YATAI TRIP / 2011 / Singapore
YATAI TRIP / 2011 / Takashima,Nagasaki
YATAI TRIP / 2018 / Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Returning from Nepal, on the next day, Japan was hit by Great East Japan Earthquake.  Kuribayashi and Shizuno soon headed for Rokkasho and Fukushima.  They have been visiting the area from time to time since then.  These periodic visits are still giving a large impact to the works and activities of two artists.                

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