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I signed up for ask.fm recently, and it’s certainly been a useful distraction when I’m on the bus or otherwise bored. One thing that I quite like is that this fellow is posing an “Anime Question of the Day”. My response today is long enough to be better presented as a post here[1].

The Question

Anime Question of the Day! March 11th marks the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (2011). Talk about how nuclear radiation has made its impression on Japanese popular culture, as witnessed through visual media, and name some anime that are particularly fixated on this topic.

The Answer

The threat of nuclear annihilation WAS a major part of anime years ago, especially during the Cold War and earlier. Gall Force: Eternal Story and the immediate sequels Destruction and Stardust War are direct products of the Cold War in many ways.

In terms of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the issues with the Fukushima Daiichi plant were a relatively small part of a MUCH bigger disaster[2].

Cultural responses, including anime, have therefore been to the disaster hit region as a whole, and most of the responses that have stuck in my head are idol related.

For example Wake Up Girls[3] is set in Sendai in the Tohoku region, and I believe was popularly received as a way of boosting tourism etc to the region[4].

AKB48 have been making a habit of visiting the region to put on concerts and handshake events as charity work. AKB48 also recorded a charity single at the time, Kaze wa Fuiteru[5].

This song subsequently appeared in episode 26 of the anime AKB0048 in circumstances that evoked memories of the disaster (the song starts at about 2:15, and the video is massively spoilery).

There have also been anime focussing on earthquakes such as Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, which I haven’t seen.

So, mostly, I haven’t seen a lot of focus on nuclear radiation in recent Japanese popular culture with more focus on larger disasters.

[1] Mostly I’ll answer on Ask.fm, but I wanted to do a more substantial answer with better formatting this time.

[2] I’m not saying that issues with a nuclear plant are trivial, far from it’s just that these issues occurred within the framework of a much bigger set of problems.

[3] Which I haven’t seen. I think I bounced off the pilot movie.

[4] I believe Girls Und Panzer had a similar effect in the Oaarai region.

[5] Which translates to The Wind is Blowing to The Future, more or less. The PV can be found on Jpopsuki if you’re prepared to wait for it to buffer.