Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

From Chernobyl 1986 to Fukushima March 11, 2011

From Hiroshima to Fukushima

Published: March 16, 2011


After March 11, 2011 many reports started to come in about what happened. The first linked the nuclear disaster to Hiroshima, but on a second look it was much more comparable to Chernobyl.

The world was astonished about an earthquake being capable of creating such an enormous tidal wave. Although warned by similar tidal waves in previous years, this Tsunami struck the northeastern shores of Japan. It overrolled easily in its wake a ten meter high wall sought till then to protect precisely against such a disaster. It left everything within the vicinity of six miles inland unprotected. It included the nuclear plant at Fukushima built directly besides the coast.

Joanathan Schell writes:

"But this was not all. Another shock soon followed. Succumbing to the one-two punch of the earthquake and the tsunami, eleven of Japan’s 54 nuclear power reactors were shut down. At this writing, three of them have lost coolant to their cores and have experienced partial meltdowns. The same three have also suffered large explosions.

The spent fuel in a fourth caught fire. Now a second filthy wave is beginning to roll — this one composed of radioactive elements in the atmosphere. They include unknown amounts of cesium-137 and iodine-131, which can only have originated in the melting cores or in nearby spent fuel rod pools. Both are dangerous to human health."

Japn after 3 March 2011 - Kids' Guernica related actions

After the earthquake - a broken sculpture

When Takuza Kaneda attended the Kids| Guernica conference held in Ghent on Feb. 18th, he had no notion that he would soon be doing something similar to what Boudewijn Payens described as an action in the affected area of Chernobyl. The action took place ten years after the accident in 1986. Together with the people not knowing if the food on the table was safe to eat, he created a boat on a frozen playground with all sorts of parts lying around. Once the boat was ready, they all climbed on board to go on an imaginary voyage. It was a way to escape the invisible danger of nuclear radiation. Together with land artist Insa Winkler and other artists Boudewijn Payens had conceived this peace as part of his special skill in using art to further social communication.

It is most tragic to know similar conditions to Chernobyl prevail in Japan after what happened on March 11th, 2011. A key disaster area was declared around the nuclear plant in Fukushima after a powerful Tsunami wave caused by an earthquake hit the nuclear power plant.


"The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (福島第一原子力発電所事故 Fukushima Dai-ichi ( pronunciation) genshiryoku hatsudensho jiko?) is a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.[5][6] It is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986." Source: Wikipedia


Before and after in Sendai


Sendai mural painting done one month before

The Kids' Guernica mural of Sendai Feb. 2011

Takuya Kaneda, international coordinator of Kids' Guernica in Japan, wrote after the earthquake and then the Tsunami had struck on March 11th, 2011:

"Coincidentally, one of the founders of this project, Prof. Toshifumi Abe and his colleague, Prof. Yoshiko Motoya coordinated a Kids' Guernica workshop last month in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, and a part of the affected areas by this massive earthquake on March 3, 2011. The workshop was organized by a group called MAGO3 aiming to realize a lifelong learning project from grandparents to grandchildren. Sendai City is a native place of Prof. Yoshiko Motoya, a leader of this group. Her house was not damaged but an elementary teacher who had supported this workshop lost her house. They are now working for the victims in Sendai city."

- Takuya Kaneda, 19.3.2011

Kids' Guernica related actions in Japan

There has been a lot of criticism about the Japanese culture having kept the general public silent despite many realizing the coalition of interest between atom lobby and government officials meant ignoring the dangers of nuclear energy. Of interest is to hear, therefore, from Takuya Kaneda that amongst the supporters of Kids' Guernica, there is in particular Takao Nagahara who did voice his doubts and sought to impart his knowledge to his students.

Takao Nagahara - his early warnings were not heeded

“Takao Nagahara, physics teacher at high school in Tokyo, has been supporting together with Keiko the Kids’ Guernica project both inside and outside of Japan for more than ten years. Once I asked him why he was teaching physics to young students. His answer was very clear: not to give students scientific knowledge to get good marks in their examination but to provide them enough scientific knowledge to think about their daily life issues such as environmental problems and nuclear power problems 'by themselves'. He always tried to explain the danger of nuclear power in his physic classes but the principal and other teachers didn’t understand his intention well. However, the situation has changed after the catastrophic earthquake of March 11th and now more teachers ask him about the current accident of Fukushima power plant. He also visited the affected areas last month.”

Takuya Kaneda 26.6.2011

Photos of the destroyed areas taken by Takao Nagahara can be viewed at:


July 2011

A Kids' Guernica peace painting was created in Katano City, Osaka, Japan
"Participating children thought on peace very seriously. They expressed their feelings of peace: Our globe has many countries as well as Japan. Various living things and plants are coexisting on the globe, which is connecting to the moon and the universe. Even though their languages are different, they can communicate with each other through music, which is a common language. We really feel happy, when we can play together with our friends or do whatever we like. This is a peaceful moment. We wish for such a lasting peace which gives us a warm and joyful feeling."

All the participating children completed this peace mural with a single purpose as indicated by the symbolic characters of Katono-city having been painted on a rocket and a keybpard of a piano."

Kids Guernica: Kids' Guernica in Katano City, Osaka, Japan

Overcoming traumatic experiences

A crucial question is whether traumatic experiences can be overcome with the help of Kids' Guernica actions?
"I appreciate Prof. Toshifumi Abe’s recent effort to coordinate our Kids’ Guernica project in different ways. Not only in Nagasaki, with Prof. Mizuguchi, he coordinated to exhibit a Kids’ Guernica painting by Osaka elementary school during an educational festival in Ishinomaki City, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L96KDwjrB1s&feature=relmfu one of the most damaged areas by 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. It provided a good opportunity to show solidarity between children of the affected area and children not directly affected inside Japan. I hope such solidarity would be also expanded in an international context.
I went to Ishinomaki City last Saturday. Most of the city functions were recovered but some parts of the city were still devastated. Many students from different primary schools and junior high schools around the city participated in this event and they discussed their hopes and duties to reconstruct their damaged town in front of the Kids’ Guernica painting. I was impressed by their smiling faces even though some of them still have to stay in temporary shelters.
Some of my students also coordinated the first Kids’ Guernica workshop in another affected area, Minamisanriku-cho, the coastal area of which was completely swallowed up by the Tsunami. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zb9JS55yfY . Participant children created an image of their reconstructed town and they enjoyed painting on such a huge canvas.
Short reports of the both places were already uploaded. Please visit  www.kids-guernica.org, or


Takuya Kaneda 22.8.2011


Solidarity between children in Haiti and Japan

Now, children who have experienced the earthquake in Haiti will paint together with children in Japan who suffer from traumatic experiences since March 11th, one peace mural.


Reviving cultural heritage

"Since last year, I have been engaged in a project to revive all the lost traditional costumes for local festival of a community affected by the earthquake and tsunami of 3.11 last year. They lost all their houses and even now they are living in a temporary housing. This project is a kind of cultural support to reunite their community. Their costumes were made by traditional dyeing and stitching and it was very difficult to revive them. Luckily, I could find a dyer who knew the traditional techniques but it took more than seven months to complete all of them. The tsunami also reached five meter before the old dyer’s house. Next week some of the community will be invited to Tokyo to perform their traditional dance with the revived costumes.So I am extremely busy for the preparation until the end of this event next week. After that, I will be able to write my opinion on your proposal.  I am also planning to visit the community again next month to do a Kids' guernica workshop with their children."
Takuya Kaneda

^ Top

« Sendai Mural Feb. 2011 | Actions in Solidarity with Japan »