cbr15bingo Asia/Oceania set in Japan
While I am giving Guardian of Fukushima (Junior Library Guild) a five, there are a few bumps that make this graphic novel 4.5 to a 4.7. However, while this is not a perfect story, it is wonderfully done and is the story that was needed. The emotional and human aspects of the earthquake, the tsunami and nuclear devastation of March 2011 is explored in ways we do not usually see. Which tends to be, when a disaster happens, we usually find the book focusing on the thing/the event and the results itself, even the aftermath, but not the human aspect.
Fabien Grolleau’s graphic novel is written as fiction, but is based on the true events of March 22, 2011 when an earthquake and an over 40 foot tall tsunami hit Japan. The story unfolds slowly but keeps you interested. We start with a young child visiting his grandparents and his beloved uncle. Then the earthquake hits, then the fact there is no real outside world communications is somewhat explored, followed by the evacuation of the people, and the people’s personalities come alive through all of this. We have flashbacks to when Naoto Matsumura (the Guardian) was a child, when the nuclear plant was first installed (about 40 years to the day before the events of 2011) and Naoto’s involvement afterwards.
Tastefully done, the culture of Japan is woven into the current events. We see how stories can be used as references and not just as “bedtime stories” to calm the young child. We see how people had little knowledge or understanding of things, the fears that happened, and one stubborn person and how his life is forever changed because he decided to stay behind. We focus on the beauty that was, has been lost, and what could happen. It is about the spirits and the spiritual. There is a lot going on within the story and I know I can talk about the “surface story” but the elements that spoke to me, that emotional tug is harder. Just read it!