My research is broadly concerned with environmental and anti-nuclear activism amongst Japanese nuclear refugees displaced in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011. Specifically, I am interested in the degree to which these activists discursively mobilize ideas, images and articulations of nature in their environmental narratives, namely through invocations of furusato (old village) agrarian nostalgia, the use of urban eco-symbols and an aestheticized nature, and through appeals to notions of hare (purity) and kegare (pollution). Relatedly, I am concerned with how understandings of Japaneseness and Japanese identity can be constituted and imagined on the basis of these discourses of nature in contemporary neoliberal Japan, as discourses of nature have been historically involved in national identity-making from the Meiji period on, as a reaction to modernity and attendant processes of westernization. In addition, I am interested in how these activists draw upon local and transnational vocabularies and social movements in processes of authentication. In this way, following the recent work of anthropologists such as Tim Choy, I am interested in the discursive use of universals and particularities amongst such activists; that is, in appeals to a universalized science or a culturally specific nature, to global movements or to Fukushima-specific political action.
Keywords: Fukushima; environmentalism; transnationalism; discourses of nature; politics of knowledge