Four years after Japan’s worst, and one of the world’s worst, nuclear crises, the Fukushima nuclear plant is finally beginning to show signs of progress, and some are returning home, even though it’s still not completely safe.
The 6,000-plus homes were vacated after the disaster. The only humans in the area had been wearing full radiation gear — with one exception. Fifty-five-year-old farmer Naoto Matsumura returned to the area to take care of all the animals that were abandoned by their humans.
Matsumura returned to the zone to take care of his own dogs, but of course, they weren’t the only ones. He found dogs, cats, livestock and fowl, and he decided that they all needed care.
Matsumura hasn’t done this without great personal sacrifice. Two years ago, he fathered a child outside of the zone and he has no idea if he and the child’s mother will ever be able to live together.
Here’s a video about Matsumura:
And here’s a gorgeous Instagram slide show:
今日紹介する写真集は富岡町で孤軍奮闘する松村さん（通称まっちゃん）と２匹の猫の写真物語です。 福島原子力発電所から10km付近にある富岡町。４年前のあの震災が起きた日から、富岡町にたった一人で暮らしている松村さん。 彼は飼い主が避難してしまい、取り残された犬猫に餌やりをしていました。さらには、商業的価値がなくなり、殺処分をまつだけだった牛達を、「自分が面倒を見る」といって引き取りました。彼がいなければ、震災直後の富岡町の動物たちは全滅していたでしょう。それ以来、彼はたった一人で動物たちの面倒を見るために街に住み続けています。 震災から２年が過ぎ、２匹の仔猫「しろ」と「さび」が家族になりました。まっちゃんと一緒に暮らす50頭以上の牛、犬、ダチョウ、猫は全て元は人間が飼っていた動物。 一度災害が起これば動物たちの命は後回し。避難した人達は身を引き裂かれる思いで、動物たちを置き去りにしたのだと思う。 私は富岡町に一人残り動物達と一緒に暮らすまっちゃんこそ、世界で一番の勇気と優しさを兼ね備えた最高にかっこいいおっちゃんであると断言する。 人間には経験を勇気に変える知恵がある。 * * 私もかっこいいおっちゃんに近づけるように精進しようと思う。 *＊ここで紹介している写真はすべて、著者である太田康介氏の許諾を得ております。 * * The photo-book that I am introducing today features the story of Mr. Naoto Matsumura (also known as Macchan,) who lives and continues to fight by himself in Tomiokamachi with his two cats. He as know “Naoto Matsumura, the last man from Fukushima” Tomiokamachi is located 10 km away from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. After the day of the earthquake four years ago, Mr. Matsumura is the only one who has stayed living in Tomiokamachi. He used to feed the cats and dogs that were left behind after their owner’s escaped. Moreover, he took custody of the cows who were already waiting to be killed due to the loss of their market value. Had he not been around, all the animals left in Tomiokacho immediately after the earthquake would have disappeared. From then on, he continued to live in the city to look after the animals all by himself. Two years after the earthquake, two kitties, “Shiro” and “Sabi,” became his family. All of the over 50 animals who live together with Macchan, which include cows, dogs, ducks, and cats, were originally owned by other human beings. When a disaster occurs, the life of animals is relegated to a second place. I think that the people who escaped leaving them behind were already torn as to what to do. We can say without a doubt that Macchan, who has been left to live by himself in Tomiokamachi with the animals, is an extremely cool and admirable man, the one who has most courage and kindness in the world. Human beings have the wisdom to turn experience into courage. I will apply myself in order to become an admirable man myself.
(Note: The current link for donating appears to be broken. We have contacted both the woman who organized the fundraising campaign and Matsumura’s Facebook page. As soon as we know more, we will update and donate some money ourselves.)
All images courtesy of Matsumura’s public Facebook page.