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A Wild Boar Chase: Ecology of Harm and Half-Life Politics in Coastal Fukushima

By Ryo Morimoto

Cite As:
Morimoto, Ryo. 2022. “A Wild Boar Chase: Ecology of Harm and Half-Life Politics in Coastal Fukushima.” Cultural Anthropology 37, no. 1: 69–98.


This article explores how the Japanese state’s radiation-centered approach to ecological redress in postfallout costal Fukushima impacts a local framework of relationality called en/縁. By ethnographically tracing encounters between humans and wild boars in the region through an ecosemiotic lens, the essay articulates the differences and tensions between en and the model of relationality that the government’s decontamination policy enforces. In so doing, I decenter and unsettle the dominance of biomedically oriented, anxiety-driven toxic discourses of radiological threat. Against the narratives of anthropocentric exposure and nuclear victimhood that tend to encircle Fukushima since the nuclear accident, the article illuminates the multiscalar and semiotic issue that decontamination efforts catalyze. The essay argues that narrowly defining safety in terms of distancing radioisotopes from humans engages what I call a half-life politics of nuclear things, through which locals, wild boars, and the land itself are made complicit in the production of nuclear waste. 




Fukushima; nuclear disaster; contamination; decontamination; radiation; wildlife; ecosemiotics; ecology; 原子力災害; 除染; 汚染; 野生動物; 放射線; 放射能; 福島