Jan. 11, 2014 11th anti nuclear power film festival - Keiko Kochiya talk


On January 11th, as the new year, 2014 started, Higashi Hiroba which sets a goal to construct our future through community activities, held the 21th ANP (Anti Nuclear Power) film festival. In this January meeting, we had a special guest, Ms. KOCHIYA Keiko, the woodblock artist/painter, who introduced her Karuta, the traditional Japanese style card game, featuring the theme of ANP.
Here is her excerpt:

Hello everyone, my name is Kochiya Keiko. Thank you for coming today in such a cold weather. I am a woodblock artist. I usually work with carving and printing. Occasionally, I work to create picture book when I find something that particularly interests me in day-to-day events.

When the news of 9-11 broke, I thought it was going to be a war somewhere, in fact anywhere anytime. As an artist with creative mind, I strongly felt that there must be something I could do against this kind of act. I asked my artist friends to work together, and began working to have an “exhibit for No War” with them. I thought that the unspecific, abstract expressions, often adopted in such exhibits, would only leave viewers with the impression in great ambiguity. This time, I decided to make anti-war statement in much more accurate and specific terms and with this determination in mind, I started drawing pictures. The exhibit was a success and had become an annual event. We counted 8 times of this “exhibit for No War” before the 3-11 disaster happened.

Reading the news of 3-11 on the newspapers, I came to realize the scare of radiation and radioactive contamination the NPP accident spreads as the imminent threats to our environment. Further, as it became apparent that the process of news carefully being filtered and tailored, I had a feeling that this manipulation is in larger scale than we might think, involving the whole society.

Gradually the overwhelming anger and sense of betrayal inside of me took the form into phrases and pictures and I had produced a set of card game, in traditional Karuta format.

Here is an example:
Yu: Yuchishita Genpatsu Kuruzo Okkane
(Yu-for the syllabic letter Yu- : The NPP we invited is now coming; does it bring a scare or a lot of money?)

This is a pun, a play on words. NPP launch has double sides to the nearby communities, dividing their residents into two groups: On this card, I draw the picture of two different types of people. Those who welcome NPP and are pleased with the big money in their hands vs. those who are shaking out of radiation scare.

At first, I had made only one set of the Karuta cards. Then with the help of many people it became known and caught on and next thing I knew was I had certain demands for the cards.
Responses and compliments started coming in, through which I learned a lot more. Among the numerous visitors, there was s high school teacher in Fukushima who introduced my Karuta to his class. The students sent their letters thanking for not forgetting them although we live apart in such a distance.
Another man, a cattle farmer said he hoped my Karuta texts be a little more positive as
Fukushima is now the place of accident but he’d made his mind to keep residing for the rest of his life.

At one of the exhibits in Tokyo, I had a chance to talk to one of the Fukushima evacuees
who were not many in Tokyo then. They told me that they were staying in a house that belongs to Toden, TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power Company that caused this NNP accident. The evacuees told me how difficult and stressful to stay in one of the TEPCO houses where they had no other options, living separated from their own family and running into TEPCO people every day. The provided house is so called an all-electric house, with all the equipment powered by electricity.
In Chigasaki where I live, there are also short-stay programs for those evacuees from

Some of my friends suggested me to move out of Chigasaki, Kanagawa, just west of Tokyo, to Kansai, some 600 km west of Tokyo. Those who live in further part of main Japan seemed to think even Kanagawa or Tokyo was not safe.

I would be very happy if you enjoy my Karuta game.

End of excerpt.

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