A Body in Fukushima


By Eiko Otake and William Johston

A photographic account of an extended solo performance in irradiated Fukushima between 2014 and 2019

On March 11, 2011 one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history devastated Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and nuclear meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex in a triple disaster known as 3.11. On five separate journeys, Japanese-born performer and dancer Eiko Otake and historian and photographer William Johnston visited multiple locations across Fukushima, creating 200 transformative color photographs that document the irradiated landscape, accentuated by Eiko's poses depicting both the sorrow and dignity of the land. The book also includes essays and commentary reflecting on art, disaster, and grief.

"This is a book of wailing and remorse. It is a book about the body: the body of a performer—an immigrant artist from Japan; the body of a historian who is also a photographer; and a body of irradiated land. Going to Fukushima is my choreography. Being there has changed what it is for me to dance.” —Eiko Otake

"By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important. Through photographing Eiko in many places in Fukushima, we are witnessing not only her body and the locales themselves, but the people whose lives inhabited these places. I do not consider my photographs as documents of Eiko’s performance. Rather, each photograph becomes a performance of its own when placed in front of a viewer.” —William Johnston

Designed by Cara Buzzell and Lucinda Hitchcock

Published by Wesleyan University Press, 2021
Winner of 2021 AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers

Hardcover, 288 pages, 160 color images, 8.75 × 11.25 inches

ISBN: 978-0-81-958026-9

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