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Taro Aizu presents "My Fukushima"

I read a beautiful book "My Fukushima" by Mr. Taro Aizu, one of the Japan's eminent haiku poets. I am elated to find and beyond my expectations from the land of haiku, the book is about a beautiful town "Fukushima." The town also happens to be home town of the poet. The poet discusses with me how he came up with the idea of this book and how far it has been appreciated worldwide.

Me: What influenced you to write "My Fukushima" ?

Taro: As I wrote in "Afterword" of the book, my indignation at the radioactive contamination of my hometown made me write those gogyoshi and haiku when I saw my nephews hanging dosimeter around their necks there.

Me:  Which Japanese journals or newspapers or exhibition centers published or reported about your work?

Taro: "Kanagawa Newspaper", "Fukushimaminpo", "Kahokushinpo", "Hadano Town News" Italian newspaper, Crimian Magazine. We held 5 exhibitions in Holland and one exhibition in Brazil and one exhibition in Germany.

Me: Can you tell about your upcoming book shows or exhibits in near future?
Taro: We will hold one exhibition in Portugal this October and one exhibition in Tours in France next February.

The poet has pledged all the profits from the sale of this book to NPO instrumental in protecting the children of Fukushima from cancer.


                                              In Pictures

In year 2011, a tsunami struck Japan and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was disabled. However, there were incidents of radioactive material being released into the environment leading to evacuation to the radius of 30 km.

The poet who visited his hometown in subsequent years as mentioned above observed the changes. As a reader goes through the book, he gradually becomes one with the place, identifies himself with the situation. Be it start of a season or end of it, the poet leads us into a prevalent local consciousness. There are emotions of fear, anxiety, disbelief, happiness, a sudden joy, pride typical of the resident of Fukushima. 

At the end, the reader will realize the consequences of a radiation aftermath but more importantly this does not comes from national statistics or WHO report but looking into the local culture, what they actually go through.

The book has been reviewed by many poets worldwide and I hereby, present few of my favorites.

The poet is able to grip our attention by describing the beautiful local atmosphere.

The river

The rising river
Flows violently
In spring light
From melting snow --
Distant mountains.

and here, he brings up a lovely old couple in one spring morning.

A violet

Chatting together,
An old couple
Looking down at a violet
By the path --
One spring morning.

The incident is still fresh in memory and this haiku presents this side of observance by the poet and most probably of many others too.

As if tsunami
Had been a fabrication --
The calm sea in spring.

There has been assurance too.

I bite into the apple
Without complaining about
Cesium at all.

and a positive energy

A daffodil blooms
In the deserted garden --
Silent energy.

There is constant battle or recuperation in life and pride.

Mt. Aizubandai

Returning to my hometown,
It has changed too much
Yet Mt. Aizubandai
-- My eternal mountain --
Rises above it.

There is reference of seasons and haibun gives us insight into the life of residents and their unbreakable strength and attitude.

"If I'm scared of cesium,
I can't live a happy life."
Laughed an old man.


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