Konch Magazine - An Ode to a Nuclear Disaster by Yuri Kageyama



By Yuri Kageyama



they wander like a whisper


over this city

blending with the sea breeze

the soft light

the cracks of scars

not just one ghost or two

but tens of thousands

who all looked up and saw a flash

turning people into dead globs of charcoal;

there are no photos from that day,

they wander, crawling, naked, moaning,

flesh hanging like tatters;

they’re asking that question,

we did nothing wrong

why oh why

when all it can do is

kill kill kill kill

nothing else

turning skin eyeballs laughter head back legs

into a keloid of hell,

but no one really answers.





Y’all, it’s a Meltdown nation

Since Three-Eleven

Covered in the fear

Of unseen radiation

But Don’t you expect

Any revolution

All you will find

Is fear and contamination.






Here in Fukushima

It rhymes with Hiroshima

Instead of a holler

Hear just a whimper

They say it is safe

The kids like Chernobyl

Are coming down sick

With Thyroid cancer.


Y’all, it’s no hallucination

The refugees’ life

No compensation

No resolution

Just nuclear explosions

Get your dosimeter

Cesium in the water

Lost Imagination






Here in Fukushima

It rhymes with Hiroshima

The radiated Brothers

Faces are hidden

Goggles and masks

Like an astronaut

From head to toe

The Invisible workers


Tsunami Demolition

God’s DeCreation

Genetic Devastation

Our next Generation.

Here in Fukushima

It rhymes with Hiroshima

No-go zones forever

The World must remember.









Tiny cars gobbled up

In a crescendo of raging water 

They are not plastic toys

Floating in a tub

They drop from

Concrete, suddenly bending like rubber

We see people moving

Flecks of flesh, faces inside

Are they screaming?

Are they laughing?

Are they thinking of death?

As we all watch

Hundreds of miles away,

It is all televised

The flickering screens and broadcaster voices

Remind us of what we have already felt

Our own skins shaking

Hard breathing, fear of dying,

The swaying building 

A giant quake not seen for centuries

Rattling in a bolt of God’s wrath

Or uncaring

Tipping the bath tub of

The Pacific Ocean

 Blanketing miles of coastlines with junk and mud

Buses on top of roofs

Ships climbing into towns 

Thousands dead

Thousands dead

Thousands dead

Brothers, children, farmers, teachers, truck drivers   

Our prayers aren’t over

When it is again all televised

The shuddering explosion

At Fukushima Daiichi

Nuclear power plant

Oh, my God

Oh, my God

Oh, my God


Tokyo Electric Power Co. is reporting that about 3:36 p.m. today there was a vertical sharking, an explosion going boom, and white smoke rising at Reactor One of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  As a result of this explosion, two Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees and two other workers have been injured. The cause of the explosion is under investigation, and other details are not immediately available. 

We don’t know it yet

We are living the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl

That phrase

We write and hear


Over and over

The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl

A fume of noise and error

Spewing invisible radiation

Names we know like plutonium

And iodine but with strange numbers after it, like 131

Or stranger names we do not know  





Part of our everyday lives

福島原子力発電所第一号機では 炉心を冷却する水の水位が急激に下がり続けるなど不安定な状況が続いています。こうした状況で燃料が溶け出す炉心溶融が起きている可能性があります。

Unstable conditions are continuing at Reactor One of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant as the water level continues to drop for the coolant designed to cool the reactor core.  Under these conditions, there is likely a meltdown. 

We are all witnesses

We are all victims

We are all reporters.

We are all mothers

We are all children 

We are all perpetrators

We are all culprits

Although no one knows

And no one is accountable   

Although it is all televised

Smoke billowing from

A giant fire with no flames   

A ghostly skeleton of bleeding

Gnarled steel

Please stay indoors

Please shut your doors and windows.

Massive radiation has arrived.





The Catfish sleeps

Buried in the mud

Of meltdown metal

A black-light coastline

Fifty reactors

Tomari to Genkai

The Catfish moves    

And the Earth rumbles

Sways its tail

And skyscrapers crumble   

Swishes a whisker

Bridges, roads shatter

The Catfish grows

Bigger and bigger

Eight snake faces

Eight dragon tails 

Volcanic eruption

Yamata no Orochi

The Monster lives

Our daughters and sons

Every year, a sacrifice

Hundred eight brave samurai

They’re all dead,

Trying to kill it





Please listen and tell the world.

How our children in Fukushima are getting thyroid cancer, one by one.

My daughter is one of them.

Pediatric thyroid cancer is rare.

The chance for getting it is under one in a million.

One in a million.

But in Fukushima, it’s 112 out of some 380,000 children tested, and the tally is growing.

This is Fukushima after Three-Eleven.

Beautiful Fukushima, where rice paddies stretch between lazy mountains.

Beautiful Fukushima, where snow falls everywhere like fluffy rice.

Beautiful Fukushima, where, when spring finally comes, cherry trees explode in pink chiffon.

But this is Fukushima after Three-Eleven. 

No other place in Japan is like that.

No other place in the world is like that _ except for the Ukraine and Belarus.

But they say these cases are turning up, these cases that should be under one in a million, because we are looking so much harder, testing all the children in Fukushima.

The authorities say they are just playing it safe.

When no one really feels safe

After Three-Eleven in Fukushima.    

My little girl got surgery and so her tumor was removed.

And the doctor told me: Aren’t you so lucky?

Aren’t you so lucky we did those tests to save your child?

If we hadn’t, the cancer might not have been found.

But I don’t feel lucky.

I don’t feel lucky at all.