We’re used to having superheroes, athletes, samurai, chefs, and even taxmen, depicted in manga series, but would you be interested in reading about the “adventures” of nuclear plant workers? Well, if it depicts life at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, then maybe there is enough of an audience for this unique kind of story.
Comic artist Kazuto Tatsuta (not his real name, for obvious reasons) decided to work at the plant, the site of one of the worst nuclear accidents of recent times, from June to December 2012 as he was still a struggling manga artist back then. He was inspired to create 1F: The Labor Diary Of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (“Ichi-Efu”), which gives the public a very rare and unique look at how the workers cope with working in one of the most dangerous places in the country right now. But for them, Tatsuta explains that it is not really “hell on earth,” but rather a day-to-day careful routine to ensure that they will be protected from the constant radiation. He said it was just like any other construction job, and there was no real sense of physical danger because radiation is something you couldn’t see. But he had to stop working at the plant later on because he was already nearing the annual legal exposure limit of 20 millisieverts.
He then decided to write and draw the story of what he and the other workers experienced everyday. His first episode was published in the weekly manga magazine Morning, and even won a newcomer award for the 49-year-old artist. He is expected to release the next few episodes as a book next month, and his publisher Kodansha Ltd. is planning on turning it into a series. However, Tatsuta emphasizes that his story is not meant to take any side in the ongoing debate about the need for nuclear power vs the safety of the public. He also doesn’t mean to glorify nuclear plant workers, but said they deserve to earn more than what they’re getting, around $80-$200 a day, given the hazardous nature of their job. Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the nuclear plant, refused to make any statement about the book, but spokesman Koichiro Shiraki said, “It’s just a manga.”
Read the entire first chapter of 1F, for free, translated into English on the series’ Facebook page (first 4 pages shown below).
[ via AP ]
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