Join us for a children’s workshop with the author & illustrator of Tsunami Girl, Winner 2021 Freeman Book Awards Young Adult/High School Literature.

Struggling with her confidence at school, 15-year-old Yuki goes to stay with her grandfather, who is a manga artist. But when disaster strikes on 11 March 2011, her grandfather is lost and Yuki must find a new way forward. Author Julian Sedgwick will talk about researching and writing Tsunami Girl, from tsunami and radiation zone to ghost stories and yōkai monsters, and then read from the book while Illustrator Chie draws live. Chie will then lead a hands-on workshop where you can create and draw your own special yōkai! What kind of manga creature will emerge from your imagination and the emptiness of the zone…

Ages 10 to 18

Julian Sedgwick is the author of six books for children, and the co-author with Marcus Sedgwick of of the graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills and illustrated novel Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black. The first book in his Mysterium trilogy – The Black Dragon – won the Rotherham Children’s Book Award. Educated in East Asian Studies and Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, Sedgwick lives near Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Chie Kutsuwada is a Japanese manga artist based in Brighton. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, she is the creator of King of a Miniature Garden and Moonlight. She also provided the illustrations for The Book of Five Rings by Musashi Miyamoto and Warrior Kids, a children’s book by Mark Robson. Aside from her comics work, she regularly leads manga workshops at institutions across the country, including the British Library, the British Museum and various schools.

Brought to you as part of Picturing the Invisible at The Heong Gallery.

23 February to 23 April 2023. Wednesday to Sunday 12-5. Free Admission

How does one photograph radiation? Trauma? Or the resilience of communities forced to contend with both? Picturing the Invisible brings together seven celebrated photographers to examine the lasting legacy of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Declared the ‘worst crisis Japan has faced since World War II’ by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people and triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – forcing 200,000 people from their homes. This exhibition captures how, even today, vast swathes of land remain uninhabitable: the contamination of plants and soil made visible to visitors through technical means. However, it also explores how efforts to decontaminate the region continue. The exclusion zone is slowly shrinking and as evacuation orders are lifted, residents are being incentivised to return home. Few choose to do so – and many of those who do are old. One village found that only a third of its residents chose to return and more than 70% of them are over the age of 65. Those who do return discover that few wish to buy food ‘made in Fukushima’, posing an additional challenge for traditionally agricultural communities. This exhibition provides an intimate portrait of the peoples rebuilding their lives in the affected territories. It examines their memories of disaster, their continued contact with radiation, and their efforts to reclaim their heritage.

The photographs are complimented by a series of short essays, provided by policymakers, experts, and activists united in their deep engagement with the “triple disaster” and nuclear issues. Contributors include: Sir David Warren (British Ambassador to Japan, 2008–12); Science and Technology Studies pioneers, Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard) and Brian Wynne (Lancaster); Japanologists, Richard Samuels (MIT) and Brigitte Steger (Cambridge); ICRP Vice-Chair Jacques Lochard; best selling author, Robert Macfarlane (Cambridge); and famed environmentalist, Aileen Mioko Smith (Director, Green Action and co-author of “Minamata: A warning to the world”).

Access statement:

The Assembly Room in the Howard Building is accessible via a lift, and wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities are also available via a lift. There is padded seating. There is a hearing loop facility available by request IN ADVANCE. You are free to arrive, leave, stand up, lie down, or take a break at any time, without giving a reason.

All images (c) Julian Sedgwick and Chie Katsuwada, 2023.