Talk and Presentation records.

Competing images and "Evidence"

Book at Lunchtime: Don't Follow the Wind

On February 16, 2022, TORCH Book at Lunchtime online webinar held a talk event with Don't Follow the Wind curator Jason Waite and artist Akio Koizumi, Kota Takeuchi. Here is the text transcript of Takeuchi's presentation.
2022年2月16日、TORCH Book at Lunchtime online webinar でDon't Follow the WindのキュレーターJason Waite氏、アーティスト小泉明朗氏、竹内公太のトークイベントを開催しました。ここに竹内の発表部分のテキスト原稿を掲載します。

Competing images and "Evidence"

In a long term disaster it can be difficult to understand the present day situation on the ground. Especially when there has been a ongoing competition of images to that show different competing realities. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the larger context of what has been going on in Fukushima, in my view point. To do this I will share with you recent images of the changes ongoing in the area, before and after the Olympicsimpic in 2021, and my own experience there.


The Olympic and Fukushima 五輪と福島

In Fukushima after the nuclear power plant accident, the surface layer of land soil is being stripped off and removed in many places surrounding the plant. This process is called decontamination. In these past 4-5 years, the decontamination project was accelerated to coincide with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. All the decontaminated soil in the whole Fukushima Prefecture except for the exclusion zones where it is difficult to return home almost has been moved to one place. It is named “Interim Storage Facility.” I was a security guard at this construction site in 2019 ? 2020. I took these photos.

原発事故後の福島では表層の土を剥がして除去してきました。これは除染と呼ばれています。ここ4-5年、2020年夏のオリンピックの開催に合わせて除染事業は加速したように感じます。帰還困難区域を除く福島県全域の除染土は、ほとんどが中間貯蔵施設に移動しました。 こちらの写真は私が撮影したものです。私は2019年-2020年にこの建設現場エリアで警備員をしていました。

On the other hand, watching the news articles, this is a new stadium built in Tokyo for the Olympics. There were some who argued that the huge amount of money and manpower needed to build the stadium for the Olympic in Tokyo should be spent on the reconstruction of Fukushima and the other disaster damaged regions. But the expectation was that the Olympics would bring a broader economic recovery and its ripple effects would be felt in Fukushima.


In 2021, the Olympic cames, some baseball matches were to be held in Fukushima City. They hoped that the visitors to the games would boost the local economy. However due to the epidemic of coronavirus, they were held without spectators.


In 2013, the slogan "Olympics for recovery (from the earthquake and nuclear disaster)," it was initially used as the reason to invite the Olympic to Tokyo. However in 2021 this slogan was shifted to "Olympics for the recovery from the coronavirus.". As the pandemic continuited through the games and beyond it is unclear what “recovery” means. However what is clear is that this shifted away the country's and worlds's attention from Fukushima. While it's unclear what is the recovery from COVID.


That said in preparation for the 2020 Olympics still had some effects. For example, contaminated soil was cleaned up in certain places. When this photo was taken in 2015, this baseball field was also piled with bags of contaminated soil, but now it is cleaned up and the public can enjoy playing baseball sports. All the soil has been moved to the "Interim Storage Facility".


I worked as a security guard at the Interim Storage Facility of contaminated soils from the summer of 2019 to the spring of 2020. The working days were long, I was on site from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. At times, as many as 2,000 trucks passed infront of me by per a day. I could feel it in the soreness of my arms as I waved the traffic guide baton from morning till night. I felt the determination of the government to finish the transportation of the removed soil by the Olympic no matter what.

私は、2019年夏から2020年春まで、汚染土壌の中間貯蔵施設エリアで警備員として勤務していました。勤務時間は長いと朝6時から夜8時まで現場にいました。多い時には1日あたり2000台ものトラックが目の前を通りました。 朝から晩まで交通誘導のバトンを振っていると、腕の痛みにそれを感じることができました――何が何でもオリンピックまでに撤去土の運搬を終わらせるという政府の意気込みです。

But fundamentally, I had a question: if there were no Olympics, would the reconstruction project have proceeded at the same pace, or even happened at all? If more resources would have been shifted to Fukushima could the reconstruction effort have progressed even quicker? While coronavirus was certainly unexpected, these questions still linger for me.

しかし、根本的な疑問として、オリンピックがないと復興プロジェクトは進めないのか? とも思いました。同じペースで進んだだろうか、あるいは全く進んでいなかったのだろうか。 もし、福島にもっとリソースを投入していたら、復興はもっと早く進んでいたのでは? コロナウイルスは確かに想定外でしたが、こうした疑問は脳裏に浮かびました。

Competing for the Image of the zone ゾーンのイメージの競合

Rather than using the Olympics as decoration to shift the "image" of the country and the region damaged by the nuclear accident, I think the focus should be on "actual recovery" such as decontamination, disposal of contaminated soil, lifting of evacuation zones, and recovery of the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries. I believe that these recoveries have partly proceeded well, but they are still a work in progress. And no matter how much progress is made in the recovery, as long as there are still unresolved issues, politicians believe that criticism of them will damage "their" image.


Such image problems are not only for the politicians. The situation in Fukushima is diverse. On one hand, reconstruction is proceeding at a brisk pace, and on the other hand, there is an evacuation zone that has been untouched since 2011. This is the area around the train station in the zone that has been restored. Anyone can come here 24 hours a day. Around here, the evacuation order is scheduled to be lifted in June this year, and some residents have been allowed to stay in the night. This is an untouched, abandoned house left in the restricted area. There is still no prospect of when we will be able to freely enter this place. The house in the photo on the left is located in a mountainous area. The house owner is part of three generations of a family that had sustained forestry in the area for 100 years until they were forcibly displaced. They have had to start again in a different place.

こうしたイメージの問題は、政治家だけの問題ではありません。福島の状況は多岐にわたります。復興が急ピッチで進む一方で、2011年からずっと手付かずの避難区域もあります。 こちらは、区域内の復旧した駅周辺です。ここは今は24時間誰でも来ることができます。このあたりは、今年6月に避難指示が解除される予定で、夜間の宿泊を始めた住民もいます。 こちらは、立入り禁止区域に残された手付かずの家屋です。ここに自由に入れるようになるのはいつになるのか、まだ見通しが立っていません。左の写真は、山間部にある家です。この家の主は、この地で3世代に渡って約100年間の生業としてきた林業を続けるために、避難先の別の地域での再出発を余儀なくされました。

There are also drastic changes, such as the interim storage facility construction, that are different from recovery. The landscape in this area is changing drastically with the construction of huge pits to fill with soil and huge facilities to incinerate waste.

そして、中間貯蔵施設の建設という、復興とはまた異なるタイプの急激な変化があります。 土を埋める巨大な穴や、廃棄物を焼却する巨大施設の建設など、この地域の景観は大きく変わっています。

Therefore, it is impossible for anyone to say in general, “This is Fukushima.” in one word. It is really easy to manipulate images. From my point of view, I can show only pictures of the progress of reconstruction, or I can show only images of destruction and contamination. And since the consumers of news are not usually interested in Fukushima's complicated reality with competing images, but in "easy to understand answers", they are not so interested in complicated and fumbling "explanations" from experts or evacuees.

ですから、一概に「これが福島です」と言い切ることは誰にもできないのです。 イメージを操作するのは実に簡単です。私の立場では、復興が進んでいる写真だけを見せることもできるし、破壊や汚染のイメージだけを見せることもできる。そして通常、ニュースの消費者は、競合するイメージが錯綜する福島の複雑な現実よりは「わかりやすい答え」を求めるものですので、専門家や避難者の複雑でたどたどしい「説明」には興味を持続することは難しいのです。

For those of us in the middle position- neither victims of disaster nor experts on reconstruction projects, but frequent visitors to Fukushima - our words are expected to be "right from all sides". It is natural to be concerned about the existence of people who have been hurt by the prolonged disaster, but this makes it impossible to ignore the complexity and diversity of the situation, and our words become a crisp explanation. Then people lose interest in the Fukushima events themselves. What remains are the polemics of some agitators (businessmen who use unscientific discourse) and the fierce exchange of accusations against them. (It is a story except for the few people who continue the conversation, not to give up the communication.) In my view, people stay away from Fukushima not because it is contaminated, but because it is "politically troublesome".

被災者でもなく、復興事業の専門家でもないのに、福島を頻繁に訪れている私たちのような、中間的な立場の人の言葉には、「どこから見ても正しい」ということが求められてしまいます。長引く災害で傷ついた人々の存在を気にかけるのは当然ですが、その分、状況の複雑さや多様性を無視できなくなり、私たちの言葉は歯切れの悪い説明になってしまいます。すると、人々は福島の出来事そのものに関心を持ちづらくなります。残るのは、一部のアジテーター(非科学的な言説を用いるビジネスマン)の極論や、彼らに対する激しい非難の応酬です。(これは、コミュニケーションを放棄せず、根気よく対話を続ける一部の人たちを除いた話です)。 私の考えでは、人々が福島から遠ざかるのは、福島が汚染されているからというよりは、「政治的に面倒だから」だと思います。

Politically troublesome. In this sense, politicians are obsessed with restoring their image. This welcome illustration map celebrates the reopening of the train and invites tourists. The map, which is decorated with pink color of beautiful cherry blossoms, does not depict the evacuation zone, the nuclear power plant, or the interim storage facility that should be there. Naturally, this image strategy has been criticized.


It was hoped that fever of the excitement sparked by the Olympic Games could sweep away these troublesome discussions. In the spring of 2020, the central part of the cities(, Futaba Town and Okuma Town), which have the highest population coverage of the exclusion zone, was open to free passage, and infrastructure is being built in preparation for the actual return and relocation of displaced residents from 2022. TV programs broadcasted the Olympic torch runner's event here, showing the passion of those who hope for the recovery. Some journalist, on the other hand, aimed for photos that show the torch event and contaminated soil in the same frame. This is where the competition for the image of the zone or Fukushima comes in.

オリンピックのフィーバーは、そうした面倒な議論を一掃されるための期待も向けられました。2020年春、避難区域の中でも人口カバー率の高い町(双葉町、大熊町)の中心部が自由に通行できるようになり、2022年に予定された実際の帰還・移住に向けたインフラ整備が行われていました。テレビでは、この地で行われたオリンピックの聖火リレーの模様が放映され、復興を願う人々の熱い思いが伝わってきました。 一方、あるジャーナリストは、聖火イベントと汚染された土壌を同じフレームに収めた写真を狙いました。ここに、ゾーンや福島についてのイメージの競合があります。

Due to coronavirus, the Olympics didn't have the power to offset the all negative with a positive, but I think it was effective enough. The effect was to tire people out. People who are fed up with political discussions do not have the power to say objections to the directions of the recovery policy.


Evidence エビデンス

The competition of images can be described as a competition to present (or, to decorate with) "evidence". People want to include evidence of joy, or evidence of sorrow, in their photographs. Also, people have grown tired of the competition to present such evidences. I drew these letters by using my red light baton of the guard security.


External Memories 外部記憶

Some people who continue to live as evacuees have conflicting perspectives: "I don't want to make the seriousness of the accident disappear," and "I want to get my life and peaceful daily life back." Having these two things inside of them puts a heavy burden on the mind of the more serious people. One of the stress is such internalizing the competition of images, I think. It would be desirable if memorial facilities for tsunami victims, archival facilities for the nuclear accident, or artistic expressions like ours could function as "external memories" to reduce the great burden on individual victims. I hope that the Don't Follow the Wind project's and the new book we produced last year can be part of such an external memories.

避難生活を続ける人の中には、自分の中に相反する視点を持つ人もいます。「事故の深刻さを無きものにしたくない」一方で、「自分の平穏な日常と人生を取り戻したい」。この二つを心の中に抱え続けていることは、真面目な人たちほど心に大きな負担をかけます。そこには、イメージの競合を内面化してしまうストレスもあるのかもしれません。 津波犠牲者のための追悼施設や、原発事故のアーカイブ施設、あるいは私たちのような芸術表現が、個々の犠牲者の大きな負担を軽減する「外部記憶」として機能することが望ましいと思います。 Don't Follow the Windプロジェクトや、昨年制作した新刊本も、そうした外部の記憶の一部となれることを願っています。

On February 16, 2022 at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) Book at Lunchtime online webinar
Translation assistance by Jason Waite


"Distance and Sensation" 「隔たりと知覚」
Artist Talk: Distance and Sensation by Kota Takeuchiat the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

On 13 October 2021, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation held a talk event with Kota Takeuchi moderated by Lena Fritsch . Here is the text transcript of Takeuchi's presentation.
2021年10月13日、大和日英基金においてLena Fritschの司会で竹内公太のトークイベントが開催されました。以下は竹内の発表部分のテキスト原稿です。

“Distance and Sensation“

Thank you for giving me the opportunity, to talk to you, about my work today. My research-based practice, is informed by the environment in Fukushima, and the historical regional and international entanglements, that continue to press upon and shape its society. “Distanse and Sensation” is today's title, While introducing my work, I’d like to touch on human perception and behaviors, that are surrounded by medias and technologies, beyond distances.

本日は、私の活動についてお話しする機会を与えていただき、ありがとうございます。 私のリサーチと制作は、日本の福島県の環境と、その歴史的、地域的、国際的な関係性が社会を形成し影響し続ける状況についての情報をベースにしています。 本日は、「Distanse and Sensation」というタイトルで、私の作品を紹介しながら、メディアやテクノロジーに囲まれた人間の知覚や行動、そして距離感について触れたいと思います。

Reaction: the loop of image capture リアクション、ループするイメージのキャプチャ

I am one of the person who have been greatly influenced by the reactions to the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan. The word "disaster" covers a huge and diverse range of topics, however I’d like to focus on, the internet and social networking sites, at the time of the disaster. There was a lot of misinformation, political propaganda, and discriminatory words, flying around. Uncertain information and emotions, echo each other, within “small closed circles”. And these eventually spill over into society.
私は、2011年の東日本大震災と原発事故に対する反応に大きな影響を受けた一人です。 震災と一口に言っても、その内容は多岐にわたりますが、ここでは震災当時からのインターネットやSNSに焦点を当てたいと思います。震災当時は、誤った情報、政治的なプロパガンダ、差別的な言葉などが飛び交っていました。 不確かな情報と感情が、「小さな閉じたサークル」の中で響き合う。そして、それはやがて社会へと波及していく。

As a reaction to this media structure, in August 2011- 6 months after the initial meltdowns - a man who worked at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant, walked in front of a public live streaming camera, and held his finger at the center of the camera frame for 20 minutes. He came to be called by the media, the “Finger Pointing Worker.” He launched his website, and suggested some improvement for the labor conditions on the site. And he also wrote about the narcissism of anonymous expression, while refering to Vito Acconci's, 1971 video art work, entitled “Centers”.
こうしたメディアの構造への反動として、メルトダウンから半年後の2011年8月、東京電力福島第一原子力発電所のある作業員が、公開されたライブ配信カメラの前に出て、約20分間カメラのフレームの中心に指を立て続けました。彼は、人々から "指差し作業員 "と呼ばれるようになりました。彼は自分のウェブサイトを立ち上げ、現場の労働条件の改善を提案しました。また、ヴィト・アコンチの1971年のビデオアート作品「Centers」を参照しながら、匿名表現のナルシシズムについて書いています。

I, Kota Takeuchi, also worked at the nuclear power plant at the same time so I knew him well. With his permission, I shared his performance with the art world, as a video art work. It has been shown in, more than 20 domestic and international exhibitions so far.

I, Kota Takeuchi, followed his example, and made some works about disaster and loop of image capture, too. Here is a video installation, about an earthquake damaged historical theater, demolition. I put a fixed camera to film the demolition. Then projected the footage onto the screen from the same theater. The people in this image are the viewers, who came to see my installation, and see their own reflection, entangled with the demolition of their history. Both witnesses and accomplices, to the act. These works of loop image capturing, are reactions to the disaster, and also contemporary information environment, and our society.

私、竹内公太も、彼に倣って災害と映像のループをテーマにした作品を制作しています。こちらは、地震で被害を受けた歴史的な劇場の解体についてのビデオインスタレーションです。固定カメラで取り壊しの様子を撮影しました。そして、その映像を同じ劇場にあったスクリーンに投影しました。この映像に映っているのは、私のインスタレーションを見に来た観客で、歴史的な解体に巻き込まれた自分たちの姿を映し出しているのです。彼らはその出来事の目撃者であり、この作品の共犯者にもなります。 これらのループ映像作品は、震災への反応であると同時に、現代の情報環境、社会への反応でもあります。

Out of this project, I became interested in this relationship, between the physical body, and its place in a separated location, and in a historical time.

Over the spatial division 空間的な隔たりを越えて

The nuclear accident forcibly displaced thousands of residents, from the area, commonly called the exclusion zone. This separation from the residents and their land, has caused suicides, mental illness, and drastic changes in their lives. Even as some part of the zone are going to be lifted the evacuation order, starting next year, the majority of the area and displacement, continues to exist today.

In 2019 - 2020, I went to work in the exclusion zone again, to support myself. The other reason was to gain access to the construction site, of the new Interim Storage Facility, for radioactive waste. Within the exclusion zone, a huge facility was being built, to store large amounts of soil from the Fukushima decontamination process. I worked as a guard security, to ensure that prevent traffic accidents, to ensure the soil was transported safely, across a road. My job entailed waving the red light baton, to guide the vehicles, and to visual signal to the vehicles with my hands. I used this tool of my job, in these photographs. These pictures are trails of red batons, taken by controlling the shutter speed of the camera, I experimented with the technique of light-trail photography. I used this method to make alphabets, numbers and symbols. These characters were traced, based on my hand movements, and are available as a font. You're also be able to use on your computer.
2019年から2020年にかけて、私は生活のために再び立入り制限区域に働きに出ました。また、放射性廃棄物の中間貯蔵施設の建設現場に興味がありました。区域内では、福島の除染で出た大量の土を貯蔵するための巨大な施設が建設されていました。私は、道路を往来して土壌を安全に運ぶ事業のための警備員として、交通事故を未然に防ぐ仕事をしていました。赤色灯の棒を振って車両を誘導したり、手で車両に合図を送ったりする仕事です。 その仕事道具を使ったのが、この写真です。この写真は、赤い誘導棒の軌跡を、カメラのシャッタースピードをコントロールして、光の軌跡を撮影する手法で制作しました。私はこの方法で、アルファベット、数字、記号を作りました。 私の手の動きからトレースされたこれらの文字は、フォントとして提供されています。皆さんのパソコンでもお使いいただけます。

For me, these photographs and fonts signify separated places - the inaccessible zone in Fukushima - as well as thinking about unseen radiation, and the relationship between instruments in hand - such as geiger counters, or batons, - both make visible these conditions, through mediated communication. Stumbling over communication, we use our hands, to accrue the knowledge.

This working with hands inside and around the zone, has been a small, imperfect, but essential part of healing the land and the towns. The people on the ground are quietly taking measurements, and there is always a real problem in front of them. It's not just the construction workers. At school, at home, at various jobs, and in many other situations, people in the field face the numbers, and struggle with the communications in front of them. Of course, there are misunderstandings and quarrels. But the people on the frontlines have no choice, but to keep working hard. Like fungi, mold, and moss, healing the earth after a volcanic eruption, has burned it to the ground, they are still making steady efforts.
区域の中や周辺で手を動かすことは、ささやかで、不完全ではありつつも、土地や町を癒すために不可欠な要素となっています。現場で黙々と計測する人々の目の前には、常に現実的な問題があります。 建設作業員だけではありません。学校で、家庭で、さまざまな職場で、さまざまな場面で、現場の人たちは数字と向き合い、また目の前のコミュニケーションの問題と格闘しているのです。もちろん、ときに誤解や喧嘩もある。でも、現場の人たちはとにかく頑張るほかないんです。菌類や、カビや、コケが、火山の噴火で焼け野原になった大地を少しずつ癒すように、地を這うような努力を続けているのです。

I consider the radiation measurement at Fukushima itself, to be kind an intellectual action. We learned about radiation, started to operate the instruments, with our dumb hands, and shared the information to try to help the recovery, and to use as a guide for our activities there. Although there are some problems with incorrect measurements, and the process of knowledge transfer, but generally we have been sharing our new wisdom of communication, little by little over the past 10 years. I think so.

This process of knowledge transfer over time, also led me to see, what knowledge was already embedded in the environment from past generations, that perhaps we are overlooking. Also, the long-term effects of the disaster and the nuclear accident, have made me reconsider, not only the spatial separation, but also the temporal separation. It led me to explore the landscape of the local area in Fukushima, where I was living in, more deeply.

このような長い時間をかけて続けられる知識の伝達のプロセスは、私たちが見過ごしている、過去の世代からすでに環境に埋め込まれていた知識とは何であるかに目を向けるきっかけにもなりました。 また、震災と原発事故の長期的な影響から、空間的な分離だけでなく、時間的な分離についても考え直すようになりました。そして、自分が住んでいる町の風景をより深く掘り下げていくことになりました。

Landscape and Time Scape 風景と時景

The town I live in Fukushima, was historically a coal mining area, that used to service, the growing energy needs of Tokyo. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, is a contemporary continuation of that energy extraction.


This is a tunnel, that was built by the railroads to transport coal stones.
...Walking into the darkness of the spaces, sometimes I would use a flashlight, to light my way. Sometimes I wouldn't use the light, I touched the rock wall, with my hand, to help navigate.


These behaviors reminded me of a Japanese youkai, an imaginary monster (specter), called "Te-no-Me (Eyes on Hands)". They take the form of a blind man, with eyes in their palm. When one's own eyes are unreliable, or when one seeks information, to accompany the scenery, people uses their hands. Sometimes it's a smartphone, to find a meeting place, or a Geiger counter to measure radiation levels. Not only researchers, but also people try to see things, with their hands, in response to invisible situations.

こうした行動に、私は「手の目」と呼ばれる日本の妖怪を思い出しました。手のひらに目があり、盲人のような姿をしている空想上の妖怪です。 自分の目が頼りないとき、情報を求めるとき、人は風景に寄り添うように、手を動かす。 それは待ち合わせ場所を探すためのスマートフォンであったり、放射線量を測定するためのガイガーカウンターであったり。研究者だけでなく、人々は目に見えない状況に応じて、手でモノを見ようとするのです。

Sense of feeling history. “Touching” the memories in landscape. Of trying understand the past with different sense, I started to look into the many stone monuments, that litter the landscape in Fukushima. Stone monuments in Japan are a common way, to mark different historical moments large and small, and I became interested in this knowledge, that was already embedded in the landscape.

歴史を感じ取ろうとする知覚。風景の中の記憶に "触れる"。私は過去の出来事を別の感覚で理解しようと、福島の風景に点在する多くの石碑に目を向けるようになりました。日本では、大小さまざまな歴史的瞬間を示す石碑がよく見られますが、風景にすでに埋め込まれているこの知識に興味を持つようになりました。

The library in my town has a book of a journalist, whose life long project was, to visited and photographed stone monuments in my town. I followed his method, of transposing stone into a photography, looking for the same monuments in his photos, and re-shooting them.
This monument is about a U.S. military plane that crashed into a mountain shortly after the war.
This is a stone monument that marks, the reconstruction of a damaged fish market due to sea wave.
This is a stone monument that marks, the village reclaimed forest rights, from the central government.


I visited about 170 stones, that recorded different events relating to, industry, war, development, and accidents in the area, compiling them into an installation shown here. The installation was intended as living index, to highlight the generations of information, stone-photo- and USB chips for computer, already surrounding us in the landscape.


Beyond the Ocean and 76years 海と76年を越えて

While looking around the stone monuments, I came across the history of a strange weapon, used by the Japanese military during World War II. Apparently, coastal area of my town in Fukushima, was the launch site for the weapon, which was called a "balloon bomb". Balloon bomb is weapon developed by the Japanese military at the end of World War II. The purpose of the bombs was to attack the U.S. mainland, by tying the bombs to large paper balloons, filled with hydrogen, and allowing them to carried across the Pacific Ocean, on the high altitude wind currents . This was first inter-continental bomb ever used.
石碑を見て回っているうちに、第二次世界大戦中に日本軍が使用した奇妙な兵器の歴史に出会いました。どうやら、私の住む福島県の沿岸部には、「風船爆弾」と呼ばれる兵器の放球地があったようです。 風船爆弾とは、第二次世界大戦末期に日本軍が開発した兵器です。水素を充填した大きな紙製の風船に爆弾をくくりつけ、高高度の気流に乗って太平洋を横断させ、アメリカ本土を攻撃することを目的としたものです。これは、史上初の大陸間爆弾でした。

The coastal area of Fukushima Prefecture is located in the relatively eastern part of Japan. Because of this geographic location, it was chosen as one of the launch site for this unique weapon.

This is a map that I made from reading the official US Military documents, in the National Archives of the US. Of the 9,000 of bombs that were released in Japan, hundreds landed in the US, Canada, and Mexico. One of the bombs caused an electric shutdown at the Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state, that was producing plutonium. And another bomb killed six citizens in Oregon.


I consulted several films and essays by filmmaker Harun Farocki, about remote technology and images. And books such as the"Theory of Drone" written by Gr?goire Chamayou. Then I was determined to focus, especially on "blindness" around this Japanese balloon bomb history. My grandfather's generation used these bombs, to "never see the enemy" when attacking them. And I can't see the past, directly. The Japanese military destroyed most of the official records of the bomb, at the time of the defeat.

私はこうした調査制作をしつつ、映画監督ハルン・ファロッキの遠隔技術や映像に関する映画やエッセイ、またグレゴワール・シャマユ−の「ドローンの哲学」などの本を参照していました。そして、特にこの日本の風船爆弾の歴史にまつわる「盲目性」に注目するようになりました。 私の祖父母の世代は、この「敵を見ない」爆弾を使って、敵を攻撃しました。そして、過去というものは、直接見ることができません。日本軍は敗戦時に、この爆弾の公式記録のほとんどを破棄してしまったのです。

I decided to travel to the sites, where the balloon bombs landed in the US, following the coordinates I found in the archive. To overcome this temporal and spatial divide.


When I arrived at the approximate the location of balloon landing, I used an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV, called as "drone" commonly) to re-play the "last movement of the balloons".
This is an image of where a bomb exploded in Thermopolis, Wyoming, on 7th December 1944.
This is an image of where a bomb exploded in Saticoy, California on 15th January 1945.
This is an image of where a bomb exploded in Farmington Hills, Michigan on 25th March 1945.


While researching past records, half of my mind was thinking about contemporary issues. There is a gap in the image of the balloon bomb. The gap between the tender, peaceful image of balloons floating in the sky, and the photographic images of the deadly weapons, and their detonated victims. This is somewhat, similar to the violent nature, of social network communication, in our time, which is done casually, in comfortable, in the name of justice.

過去の記録を調べながら、頭の半分は現代の問題を考えていました。風船爆弾のイメージにはギャップがある。空に浮かぶ風船という優しく平和なイメージと、凶器とその爆発した犠牲者の写真とのギャップ。 それは、現代において、正義の名のもとに、じつに気軽に、快適に行われているSNSでのコミュニケーションの暴力性と、どこか似ているような気がするんです。

Last month, I visited the U.S. Again, despite the difficulty of travel due to the COVID-19 epidemic. One of the reasons I went was to meet the witnesses and families of the victims of the balloon bombs. I couldn't skip this process, as a person who is a citizen of the perpetrating nation of this attack.


I also researched more indepth, on the episode of balloon bombs landing around the important Hanford Site, a military and scientific production center, where the plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, was produced in 1945. Perhaps because there were guard security soldiers of important facility for the Manhattan Project of the war, detailed report documents of multiple balloon sightings and recoveries were exist.
In the center of this map, a vast area, is the Hanford Site. The balloon found site is indicated by an arrow in the lower left.
Since aerial photos had been taken of this location, I was able to locate there, using Google Maps and satellite photos (This is very rare case to identify the exact landing point.).
This time I took photos from the ground. I'm showing you the old photos and the photo I took this time. Naturally, I drew a cross on the ground with my foot. Even the owner of this land didn't know that this place had such a history.
Marking a place without a site marker, maybe this is what I wanted to do.
Also, in another location, on the west side of the Hanford Site, there is a report, that guards chased a balloon and shot it with a revolver and stopped it on the ground. I went to that location and, shot, the shooting gesture.

また、1945年に長崎に投下された原爆のプルトニウムを製造した軍事・科学上の重要な生産拠点であるハンフォード・サイトの周辺に風船爆弾が着弾したエピソードについて、より深く調査しました。 戦時中のマンハッタン計画の重要施設として警備兵がいたためか、この付近については複数の風船の目撃・回収についての詳細な報告文書が存在します。
また、ハンフォード・サイトの西側にある別の場所では、警備兵が風船を追いかけてリボルバーで撃って、地面に止めたという報告があります。 私はその場所に行き、射撃(シューティング)のしぐさを撮影(シュート)しました。

One of the 3 launching sites for balloon bombs in Japanated near the coastal of Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, where I live. So there is a possibility that this bomb was sent from Fukushima.
日本における風船爆弾の3つの放球地のうち1つが、私が住んでいる福島県いわき市の海岸近くにありました。 ですから、もしかするとこの爆弾は福島から飛んできたのかもしれません。

Technology and Blindness 技術と盲目

I called the balloon bomb a type of "blind bombing". It reminds me of the transmission, anonymity, and aggression in today's information society.
In the end, the major damage caused by this balloon bomb campain, was the killing of 6 private citizens. They were not military personnel. Five children who were just enjoying a picnic, and one woman who was pregnant.
Last month, a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan killed 10 people, including 7 children, in the mistaken targeting.
Whether it is a state-of-the-art drone, or primitive balloon bomb, bombing from the air is bound to cause misfires. However, the world that allows aerial bombings, continues to be the world, that accepts bombings wrong targets. ((Let me assure you, that I am not advocating direct murder over remote attack. I'm just trying to figure out, where the ethics and perceptions come from, that affect us.)) This "ethics of allowing mistaken bombing" has a ripple effects on the remote technology that we are familiar with. I interpret it as the sense and ethics, that remote technology brings to us. 私は風船爆弾を一種の「盲目の爆弾」と呼んでいます。それは、今日の情報化社会における発信の、匿名性、攻撃性を思い起こさせます。
最新鋭のドローンであれ、原始的な風船爆弾であれ、空からの爆撃には誤爆がつきものです。 しかし、空爆を許容する世界は、誤爆を許容する世界でもあり続けるのです。 ((断っておきますが、私は遠隔攻撃より直接殺人を推奨している、と言いたいわけではありません。ただ、私たちに影響を与える倫理観や認識が、どこから来るのかを考えているのです)) この「誤爆を許容する倫理」は、私たちの身近にある遠隔操作技術にも波及していると思います。私はこれを遠隔技術が私たちにもたらす知覚や倫理と解釈しています。

Balloon bombs are not the only blindness.
Technology allows blindness, to be used as an excuse.


However, technology and media can also be a way, to overcome blindness. Especially, technology on the ground(, and communication). Like hand signals in the dark, engraved stones and written documents telling the history. I am trying to confront, the spatial divide of our time, with the help of this problematic technology and media, to see if we can cross the temporal divide.

しかし、技術とメディアは、盲点を克服する手段にもなり得ます。特に、地上に(また、コミュニケーションに)属するテクノロジーはそうです。 暗闇の中の手信号。刻まれた石碑。歴史を語る文書のように。 私は、この課題を抱えた技術やメディアの力を借りながら、現代の空間的な隔たりと対峙し、過去の時間的な隔たりを越えられるかどうか、試しています。

On 13 October 2021, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Translation assistance by Jason Waite