A book on the “FUKUSHIMA O-FUROSHIKI” project, which was born in the wake of Great East Japan Earthquake and spread to various locations, and a documentary film on the 2011 project are now available on DVD.

The book contains portraits of 85 10m x 10m sized “O-Furoshiki” cloths, and traces the background of each cloth, the many people who sewed them together, and the various places where they were spread, past and future.

A4 wide 303mm x 234mm full color 176 pages / deluxe edition 〈Japanese・English〉
ISBN:978-4-600-01415-5 C0036

Introduction Seinoshin Yamagishi 004
Project FUKUSHIMA! Mission Statement 006
 Fukushima O-Furoshiki Production Diary 2011 Tohru Nakazaki
 Forms of Expression Spreading from Fukushima – O-Furoshiki Summit 2017 Symposium “Where Will the O-Furoshiki Go?”
 O-Furoshiki Mapping 2011-2020 Cohta Asano
 Sapporo O-Dori O-Furoshiki Factory Lady’s Story Sumie Numayama
 About the O-Furoshiki Factory in Fukushima  Otomo Yoshihide
 O-Furoshiki, its first two years Hiromichi Hosoma
 Poetry Pebbles Ryoichi Wago
 Flags Across Borders
 Eejanaika Ondo
 Bon Odori Dancing at Project FUKUSHIMA! MahiToThePeople
 Festival FUKUSHIMA! 2019 Noryo! Bon-Odori Ai Iwane
 Michiro Endo Interview by VOID Chicken
 Project FUKUSHIMA! Major Activities Record

Design:REFLECTA, Inc. Misako Taoka + Mariko Okazaki

Editing:Akiko Koike, Chiaki Sakaguchi, Kumiko Takano, Tohru Nakazaki, Yuki Numata, Seinoshin Yamagishi, Yoko Wada

Documentary Project FUKUSHIMA!
Film by Hikaru Fujii
Music by Otomo Yoshihide
90 minutes Region All / NTSC English Subtitle

The earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan on March 11, 2011 and the resulting accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant caused unprecedented damage in Fukushima. This documentary follows the first year of “Project FUKUSHIMA!”, a project initiated by Fukushima musicians Michiro Endo, Otomo Yoshihide, poet Ryoichi Wago, and many volunteers.(Artists: Michiro Endo, Otomo Yoshihide, Ryoichi Wago, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ray Harakami, Tabito Nanao, Yuzahn, Shibusashirazu, etc.)

Published by Project FUKUSHIMA!
Published in Japan on March 11, 2024


The earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan on March 11, 2011 and the resulting accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant caused unprecedented damage in Fukushima. That the accident occurred at a power plant which produces electricity for the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area rather than for the local community makes it even more unreasonable for the people of Fukushima, and is something we can never forget.
Two months after the disaster, the situation in the community was still chaotic; areas within 20 kilometers of the power plant were declared evacuation zones, forcing more than 100,000 people to abandon their homes. Project FUKUSHIMA! was launched at this time by musicians and poets from or living in Fukushima, together with volunteers from Fukushima and other parts of Japan.
While we were planning a large-scale outdoor music festival in Fukushima City for summer 2011, some voices online were strongly criticizing us for planning such an event less than six months after the disaster.
When radiation hygiene specialist Dr. Shinzo Kimura offered his cooperation, it was very reassuring. We accompanied him to Village of Four Seasons Shiki no Sato – a park in the suburbs of Fukushima City, about seventy kilometers from the power plant, and a potential festival site-to measure the radiation levels there. Little did we know that the advice he gave us that day would lead to what is now considered the symbol of this project.

“While radiation levels would not be a problem for a one-day festival, it would be a good idea to cover the grass at the venue with sheets. This would minimize physical contact with any radioactive materials, and help prevent them from being spread around on the soles of people’s shoes. It would also show that you are taking the matter seriously. “— Dr. Shinzo Kimura

This advice was the inspiration for the giant patchwork of colorful fabrics called the Fukushima O-Furoshiki, named by artist Tohru Nakazaki, who specializes in creating works that involve the general public. Massive amounts of fabric were donated from all over the country, and volunteers then stitched together the fabric into the O-Furoshiki in about two short weeks.
When more than 200 volunteers spread the O-Furoshiki out on the morning of the festival, covering an area of 6,000 square meters, it seemed to change the mood of everyone there. Every time I see the O-Furoshiki spread, I still remember my tentative feeling of hope and elation and how it dissipated the tension that was hanging heavy in the air.
All of the artistic performances were intense, including a poetry reading by poet Ryoichi Wago, who took the stage with musicians Ryuichi Sakamoto and Otomo Yoshihide. In contrast, the O-Furoshiki spread across the venue had a vividness and warmth created by the accumulated handiwork of the volunteers. It seemed to manifest the ambiguity and diversity that this project encompasses perfectly.
The declaration to transform Fukushima and the negative connotation it had because of the disaster into a place with positive connotations was like “spreading an o-furoshiki.” This Japanese expression refers to someone spreading a large furoshiki (a piece of cloth typically used to wrap belongings) only to reveal that the contents are greater than the cover. It means to talk big about something that does not seem possible.
However, we felt that it would be wonderful to create contents that justify the size of the cloth we spread. To convey our aspiration in a straightforward manner, we chose the theme, “The future is in our hands.”
The DVD, Documentary Project FUKUSHIMA! (directed by Hikaru Fujii), also includes a summary of the activities conducted in the year of the earthquake. It will be released at the same time as this book. The summer festival itself has been held continuously in Fukushima ever since. Even though the concerns about radioactive materials had diminished in the year following the disaster, the O-Furoshiki decorated the venues, and became a visual icon that symbolizes the project. Starting in 2013, when Bon Odori dancing was incorporated into our festival, we have been invited to other large-scale art festivals outside Fukushima, and have been holding festivals all over Japan where participants can join our original Bon Odori dance on the O-Furoshiki. People of all ages and statuses join hands and dance in a circle once the music comes on. It may be the magic of the O-Furoshiki that makes even Tohoku people, who are known to be shy, jump into this extravagant dance circle.
We call the place where the O-Furoshiki is made the “O-Furoshiki Factory.” Before festivals, volunteers of all ages and genders gather at the factory to talk and sew side by side. Similar O-Furoshiki factories are set up in the local areas when we participate in other festivals outside of Fukushima, and related communities are born in those places as well. Sapporo gathered the most people, and they fashioned an O-Furoshiki that covered 10,000 square meters.
As I observed these preparations, I realized that there were many ways to get involved in a festival, whether that meant donating fabric, sewing, spreading, folding or anything else, and that O-Furoshiki were serving as tangible symbols that connect people by creating ways to get involved.
The many O-Furoshiki created across the country are currently stored in Fukushima. With thirteen years having passed since the disaster, we felt that now was a good time to preserve them in another physical form. We decided to compile the portraits of eighty-five 100-square-meter O-Furoshiki into a book.
When I walk on the O-Furoshiki spread out on the festival floor, I find myself admiring the details of the fabric patterns donated from all over Japan, and occasionally being moved by the messages written on them. I hope readers will enjoy the fine details of the O-Furoshiki as well.
After the earthquake, countless projects and activities were started and then faded away. I still do not know whether our project will be a temporary one or will continue to grow and develop. It has been thirteen years since the disaster, but the nuclear disaster is far from over; the scars that complicated people’s relationships remain everywhere. I created this book to serve as a small record of how some searched for ways to weave the communities the disaster destroyed back together.

Project FUKUSHIMA! Representative and Director
Seinoshin Yamagishi