29 Feb 2012

Beyond Indignation: New Media, Anti-Nuclear Activism, and the ‘Abandoned People of Fukushima’

London Asia Pacific Cultural Studies Forum Special Talk:

Beyond Indignation: New Media, Anti-Nuclear Activism, and the ‘Abandoned People of Fukushima’
Dr Nicola Liscutin

Date: 1 March 2012, 6 - 7.30pm
Venue: Keynes Library (Room 114)
School of Arts,
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

When in 12 March 2011 images of the explosions in the Fukushima Daiichi reactors filled TV screens accompanied by official assurances that all was under control and no harm would come to the population, many people in Fukushima and the Kantō region experienced what media scholar Manuel Castells has called ‘an extraordinary level of cognitive dissonance,’ which is to say, a huge gap between the fear-triggering force of the images and the framing of official statements. Alarmed citizens then turned in ever growing numbers to independent Internet-based media in search for reliable, ‘truthful’ information. Over the course of the past year, the importance and usage of these alternative media in Japan has increased dramatically. They have accelerated the development of ‘mass self-communication’ (Castells) and contributed significantly to the formation of (global) networks of solidarity and anti-nuclear activism in Japan.
In an article published last November in the Asia-Pacific Journal (http://www.japanfocus.org/-Nicola-Liscutin/3649), I examined these developments in some detail. Taking stock of more recent events and trends, this paper offers an update on the changed Japanese mediascape with regards to participatory journalism and citizens’ communication networks. By way of an example, I shall focus specifically on the mediation (and remediation) through alternative TV/Ustream and social media of the fight against silence by, and for, ‘the abandoned people of Fukushima.’

Nicola Liscutin, PhD, is a researcher of Japanese Cultural Studies affiliated until end of February with the Graduate School of Arts & Science of Tokyo University. From April 2012, she will be a Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Study of Global Issues of Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo