Nuclear hegemony and material indices: The satirical verse boom in daily newspapers after fukushima

Dean Brink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


Sieverts," a measure of the absorption of radiation in a body and probable damage, in this poem becomes a strange supernatural force that casts its spell on the persona's hometown.1 By thus conjoining scientific and paranormal discourses, the poem may be read as satirizing the use of technical terms to mystify and obfuscate public understanding by victims. As a highly visible public form of versified social commentary appearing daily in major newspapers throughout Japan, such poems, called senryd,1 constitute a medium for ordinary people to voice concerns over how the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was handled by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the national government, and its various related agencies. Akin to political cartoons in newspapers around the world (though more numerous® and representing everyday readers rather than professional lampoonists), many of the poems treated below grapple specifically with the capacity to frame institutional deception regarding truths about radioactive contamination and its immediate and long-term dangers. The open nuclear hegemony, called the nuclear power village,and its hold on media and control of the prevailing common sense (doxa) even after Fukushima (Nadesan 36-47) remain part of an uncompromising corporate- (as opposed to people-) oriented neoliberal state. In short, senryU provide an apparatus capable of challenging postmodern indifference to material facts and givens rendered unfathomable by government and media obfuscation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-159
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018

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