and Nuclear Meltdown
Edited by Elmer Luke and David Karashima
VINTAGE BOOKS A DIVISION OF RANDOM HOUSE.MARCH WAS MADE OF YARN
Reﬂections on the Japanese Earthquake. NEW YORK
. Tsunami. INC.
. The following pieces were originally published separately in Japan in 2011.” ISBN 978-0-307-94886-1 1. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data March was made of yarn : reﬂections on the Japanese earthquake. David James.
All rights reserved.E1M29 2012 895. Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. 2011 by Hiromi Kawakami “March Yarn” copyright © 2011 by Mieko Kawakami “Ride on Time” copyright © 2011 by Kazushige Abe “Words” copyright © 2011 by Shuntaro Tanikawa The remainder of the pieces were commissioned for this book and are copyright © 2012 in the name of their respective authors. Inc. cm.6'080358520512—dc23 2011050010
Book design by Claudia Martinez
www. II. Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. 3. III. New York. a division of Random House. 2.com Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
. PL782. tsunami. Karashima. Elmer. Japan. 1993” and “God Bless You.A V I N TAG E B O O K S O R IG I N A L . Vintage and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House. Japanese literature—21st century—Translations into English. I. and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited. Luke. “A Vintage Books original. Title. except where otherwise noted: “The Crows and the Girl” copyright © 2011 by Brother & Sister Nishioka “The Charm” copyright © 2011 by Kiyoshi Shigematsu “Box Story” copyright © 2011 by Tetsuya Akikawa “Nightcap” copyright © 2011 by Yoko Ogawa “God Bless You. Inc. M A RC H 2 012
Introduction and compilation copyright © 2012 by Elmer Luke All translations are copyright © 2012 in the name of their respective translators. Published in the United States by Vintage Books. This book is published with the support of the Read Japan program of The Nippon Foundation. Japan. and nuclear meltdown / edited by David Karashima and Elmer Luke. p. 2011—Literary collections.vintagebooks. Toronto. 2011” copyright © 1993. 2011—Literary collections.
Foreword John Burnham Schwartz xiii Introduction Elmer Luke and David Karashima xvii
THE ISLAND OF ETERNAL LIFE
Yoko Tawada 3
Kiyoshi Shigematsu 13
Yoko Ogawa 35
GOD BLESS YOU. IN THE SAME PLACE
Hideo Furukawa 127
THE CROWS AND THE GIRL
Brother & Sister Nishioka 137
2011 Hiromi Kawakami 37
Mieko Kawakami 55
Shinji Ishii 71
ONE YEAR LATER
J. McClatchy 93
Natsuki Ikezawa 95
Mitsuyo Kakuta 109
SIXTEEN YEARS LATER.
BEFORE THE DISASTER
David Peace 197
Authors 207 Translators 211
Tetsuya Akikawa 151
DREAM FROM A FISHERMAN’S BOAT
Barry Yourgrau 157
Kazumi Saeki 163
RIDE ON TIME
Kazushige Abe 183
LITTLE EUCALYPTUS LEAVES
Ryu Murakami 189
AFTER THE DISASTER.
surging inland six miles. Nor do the aftershocks. type megathrust— unleashes a ﬁfty-foot tsunami that within ﬁfteen minutes slams its way ashore. duration six minutes. The waves do not stop. crushing all in its path. But this is just the beginning. then ﬁve nuclear power plants. they recede and rush back in without ceasing. In one’s wildest imagination.
. then three. Nor does the overwhelming sense of loss and despair. or the number of missing. this is beyond conceivable. which seems to be controlled incrementally.INTRODUCTION
arch 11. and triggering the slow. 2011. Nor does the death toll.0. or the danger from radiation. relentless leak of radiation from ﬁrst two. which are themselves rolling earthquakes of terrifying magnitude. until the meltdown begins. An earthquake off the northeastern coast of Japan—magnitude 9.
brown. In this anthology. indifferently and pitilessly. including a manga. and poetry—with perspectives near and distant. thrown off course. Life might have seemed to go on. But no writer from Tokyo— the uncomfortable middle ground— or. Speciﬁc in reference. however
. seemingly secure and in forward motion. which bore the physical (let alone emotional) brunt of the disaster. these singular heartfelt contributions comprise an artistic record of this time. a wideranging selection of writers offer their response to this uncharted moment— signiﬁcant for the double blow we have sustained from both nature and man—a portentous marker in modern human history. ﬁction. and our future— as well as nightmares. but not without evacuation packs. were in a matter of minutes altered. elsewhere distant (and safe) went unaffected or untouched. Some of the pieces were written for this anthology. reconceive the catastrophe. This theme is most evident for writers from Tohoku. imagine a future and a past. but life is not the same. and prayers. where history provides a sense of continuity. and life will have been reconsidered. worst memories. depression. Here. beyond repair. impel purpose.outs. Tohoku natives Hideo Furukawa and Kazumi Saeki draw upon the immediacy of family and locality. empty store shelves. for that matter. point blame. interpret dreams. unwashed clothes. all amid the initial horror and uncertainty immediately following the disaster when lives. in northeastern Japan.xviii
Life goes on. pray for hope. some were first published in literary magazines in Japan. universal in scope. aftershocks. worry for young ones— and elder ones. worry about contamination. The pieces—nonﬁction.
suggests redemption where we least expect it. while Natsuki Ikezawa. Hiromi Kawakami. inhabits the world of Ryunosuke Akutagawa as he experiences the social trauma of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Yoko Ogawa writes of repose—and our need for it. sitting at his desk in New York. connects fragments of the Japan of his imagination to create a dreamlike narrative of post–March 11 life. Kazushige Abe takes us to a place where we are perhaps most reluctant to go—into the ocean and beneath the waves—in an ironically positive tale about the irrational obsession to prevail. who has returned to Tokyo after several years in England. Ryu Murakami seeks
. From Tokyo.INTRODUCTION
tenuous it may be under the circumstances. David Peace. if painfully—in the story from which the title of this collection was taken—how an earthquake far away can change the terms of something as “simple” as pregnancy. And Tetsuya Akikawa. From the greater distance of western Japan. revisits the story that launched her career eighteen years before—with a landscape physically and emotionally changed. Similarly. in a tale lined with bureaucratic obsession. focuses on the unexpected scope of emotions of those who give care. Meanwhile. with Mitsuyo Kakuta. Her “updated” story is accompanied with a postscript and the original story that the new work was adapted from. whose work represented here was the ﬁrst literary piece to emerge in Japan from the stunned silence after March 11. who himself spent weeks delivering emergency supplies in stricken areas. Barry Yourgrau. for whom the entire notions of intimacy and dependency are called into question. Mieko Kawakami depicts poignantly.
watching from near and far as March 11 and its aftermath unfolded. and the poets Shuntaro Tanikawa and J. simply written. even as the cleanup in northeastern Japan proceeded but radiation continued to leak. in a change of pace. It has been that kind of year. as ﬂoods raged through Bangkok. at Vintage. while in Shinji Ishii’s “Lulu. in the depth and breadth of their response. as storms struck the East Coast of the United States. We thank the translators who responded with care and generosity to their tasks. at Harvill Secker. at Kodansha—for their patronage. Tohoku.
The idea for this project took gradual shape as we traveled among Tokyo. London. Then. D. McClatchy remind us. the Brother & Sister Nishioka team have drawn a cautionary manga for the day. as a heat wave hit Tokyo. Liz Foley. and New York. In Yoko Tawada’s “The Island of Eternal Life.” a group of doctors gathers ﬁreﬂies to harness for evening light as they seek a cure of radiation sickness. A thought became a shared idea that was developed further as we shoveled debris into the back of trucks in Tohoku. We wish to thank the writers who have seen through the thick haze of the moment to clarity to offer us these pieces. encouragement.xx
meaning—and hope—in the twigs from a felled eucalyptus tree that he has stuck into dirt. We acknowledge our excellent editors— Lexy Bloom.” translucent women descend each night to comfort children orphaned by the disaster. as riots racked London. and advocacy of this project on
. of the value of words. gently spoken. and Kazuto Yamaguchi.
homes. New York David Karashima. and individual lives in Tohoku.
—Elmer Luke. Tokyo
three continents. Proceeds from the book will go to support charities that have been sparing no effort in helping to rebuild towns. We wish to acknowledge the Read Japan program of The Nippon Foundation for its support of the publication of this anthology.
P R H S AC P U C AE O Y
V t e A c o B os i a / n h r ok ng