Manifesto for Project Fukushima!

On August 15, we will hold a festival in Fukushima.

We will organize numerous events before and after the festival, and carry out projects in and out of Fukushima under the name Fukushima! for a continuous and long-term basis.

After the disaster, Japan was faced not just with the damage from the earthquake and the tsunami, but also with the accident at a nuclear power plant for which solutions are nowhere in sight.
Some may feel that this is no time for holding a festival, given that many people are faced with the potential loss of their hometowns, schoolyards are unusable due to elevated radiations levels, and many evacuees are not allowed to go back to their own homes.
But we have not given up on Fukushima by any means.
Even if some places have been made uninhabitable, we want to believe in Fukushima’s rebirth.
That is why we need a festival. We need music.
We need a place where people can gather to converse.
We need hope, a motivation to live. In order to prevent Fukushima from being forgotten, and to retain Fukushima’s connection with the outside world, we want to make the festival a stepping-stone for the future.

The name Fukushima that was unknown outside of Japan until recently has now become international accompanied by the stigmatic connotation of having caused a nuclear accident.
There is little point in us people on the streets, and least of all in musicians and poets, trying to solve the nuclear issue when not even specialist engineers can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
However, this problem cannot be reduced to the radioactive leakage and the problems stemming from it. It is rather bringing into question how we should deal with electricity from now on including that which is produced by nuclear power plants, and more to the point, how we should reconsider our lifestyles that are largely supported by electricity.
It is also a chance for us to rethink about this civilization that allows people to be deprived of their land, alongside the histories and cultures that were nurtured there. We believe that this is not a problem peculiar to Fukushima, but rather one that should be faced together with people around the world.

It is an undeniable fact that Fukushima is the place that caused the nuclear accident.
There is no getting away from that. However, we should be allowed to dream about making Fukushima’s name circulate around the world not with the purely negative connotations of the accident, but also as a name to be marked in man’s history for having prompted a reflection on the future of humanity.
And there is no reason why we people on the streets should not be the first to speak about such a dream.
We were not simply beset by a great misfortune, but by facing the situation squarely, we became the catalyst for the happiness of the children of our children… We should be allowed the freedom to dream of such a future.
And we believe that we have the power to make that dream a reality.

One of the roles of music and art is to think with others about how to confront reality.
We named the festival Fukushima! with the hope of achieving just that.
Not No More Fukushima, nor Stand Up Fukushima, but simply Fukushima!, without any adjectives.
Fukushima! written in letters that can be read around the world.
Fukushima! with the courage to face reality squarely without looking away.
Fukushima! with the belief that the future can only be born there.

Come to Fukushima in August. Here, we will hold Fukushima!, a festival with music and other related events.
We will let all the world know about Fukushima!.
We intend to hold a festival that could only happen in Fukushima and nowhere else, with musicians and diverse artists from Fukushima and those that showed interest in the project.
We will hold many events, not just on August 15, but also before and after that.
Multiple acts including not only music, but also dance, art, poetry, theatre, film and new forms of expression that defy definition will be presented live on stage as well as on diverse media.

On top of that, there are countless hot springs around the area.

This summer, Fukushima may become the most interesting place to be in Japan.
I dare say that it will mark the dawn of a new history.


22 April 2011
Project Fukushima! Executive Committee
Otomo Yoshihide

Translation Naoki Matsuyama