Monday, May 27, 2013

281_Anti Nuke's anger at authority is at a critical mass | The Japan Times

More than two years after the triple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, hundreds of thousands of residents of the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu remain displaced, the power station teeters on the brink of further disaster and large swaths of northern Japan are so irradiated they’ll be uninhabitable for generations to come. But today in Tokyo, it is as though March 11, 2011, never happened. The streets are packed with tourists and banners herald the city’s 2020 Olympic bid; the neon lights are back on and all memories of post-meltdown power savings seem long forgotten.
Given this apparent mood of collective amnesia, the large poster on a wall near Shibuya Station comes as a surprise. It shows a little girl wearing a long red dress stenciled with the words “3.11 is not over” — nearby another poster depicts a Rising Sun flag seeping blood and the message “Japan kills Japanese.”
These posters — and dozens of others pasted around Tokyo — are the work of Japanese artist 281_Anti Nuke. While the origins of his chosen name are murky, the way in which his subversively simple images force passersby to stop — and think — has led to comparisons with British street artist Banksy. 281′s designs have also made him a target for Japan’s far right, who have branded him a dangerous criminal and urged the public to help put a stop to his activities.
This degree of controversy has forced 281 to wrap his true identity in a veil of secrecy, but after a convoluted series of negotiations, he finally agreed to his first newspaper interview. Throughout the meeting in a Shibuya coffee shop, 281 wore a cotton face mask and dark glasses; a disguise which helped him blend in seamlessly among the capital’s fashion-conscious hay-fever sufferers.
“On March 11, 2011, I was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit. I’d never experienced anything like that before. It felt like a bad dream,” 281 explained in a soft-spoken voice belying the fury of his designs.
Like the other 13 million residents of Tokyo, he survived the initial quake unharmed, but the following weeks triggered a seismic shift in his political outlook: “Before March 2011, I’d never been involved in activism of any kind. I’d trusted the Japanese government. But then the cracks started appearing,” he said.
First there were the revelations that the government had concealed the meltdowns, followed by news that they had hidden information regarding the dispersal of radiation. 281 came to the conclusion that there was very little natural about this disaster: It had occurred as a result of ties between the Japanese government and the nuclear power station’s operators, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) — both of which were now determined to keep the truth hidden from the public.
Three months after the meltdowns, 281′s anger reached critical mass and he felt compelled to take action. Despite having no background in art, he decided that the best way to spread awareness was to take his message to the streets.
The first design he created was a three-eyed gas mask with two mouth pieces and the word “Pollution” written below it. The image satirized the logo of Tepco, which was as recognizable to most Japanese residents as the golden arches of McDonald’s or the Nike swoosh. 281 printed the gas mask onto 20-cm-tall stickers then stuck them around central Tokyo — on abandoned buildings and construction-site barricades. He avoided private property, but had few qualms targeting the city’s ubiquitous Tepco meter boxes and electric transformer units.

Over the following months, 281 put up hundreds more posters and stickers to remind the public what, he believed, the Japanese government and Tepco were conspiring to make people forget. His best-known image depicts a little girl wearing a poncho and rubber galoshes; beneath her feet is the message, “I hate rain,” punctuated with a triple-triangle radiation mark...

more > 281_Anti Nuke's anger at authority is at a critical mass | The Japan Times

see also
whats up: 281_Anti nuke - Documentary Trailer

食べ物に気を付けろ :: CARE YOUR FOOD • 281antinuke

食べ物に気を付けろ :: CARE YOUR FOOD


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