My Atomic Aunt


Kyoko Miyake


Development support


My Atomic Aunt brings a personal perspective to the national crisis of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Filmmaker Kyoko Miyake travels back to Fukushima to find out what happened to her mother's hometown and the people who made their livelihoods from the nuclear plant.

Long Synopsis

In the aftermath of the nuclear catastrophe, director Kyoko Miyake revisits Fukushima to find out the fate of her mother’s hometown as it risks disappearing off the map. But Miyake has another question. Why aren’t people angry? Is her puzzlement a sign of Westernisation? Are the Western media right in depicting Japanese as obedient? Through speaking to Miyake’s family and neighbours, the film unearths the uncomfortable past that prevents things from being so clearcut.

The film follows two main characters in the year following the disaster and looks at the conflicts they encounter as they try to return home and fight against radiation: Bunsei Watanabe, town councillor, whose passion for the town’s survival has been an inspiration for many and who attempts to create a community of neighbours where they can live and wait together until they finally go home. Aunt Kuniko, business woman and matriarch of a four generation family, who tries to restart the lumber business despite the prejudice against products from Fukushima. Her decision to remain within Fukushima for the business came with a price as her children and grand children left the family for fear of radiation.

As the film chronicles the town’s battle to overcome the present dichotomy -hope for returning home and need for rebuilding life elsewhere, another conflict that the town has to face emerges -its past with failed nuclear ambitions. Miyake starts to recollect her childhood ...conversations she overheard about the unpopular anti-nuclear protester and people at her grandmother’s boarding house....