Traditional Potter Remembers Fukushima Disaster

10 March 2021

On March 11, 2011, Toshiharu Onoda had just finished preparing pottery at his workshop in the town of Namie close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant when a huge earthquake struck.

Onoda and many others were forced to flee as a tsunami destroyed part of the nuclear center releasing radiation into the area.

Onoda's workshop was left in ruins.

LEARNING ENGLISH REPORT – Traditional Potter Remembers
LEARNING ENGLISH REPORT – Traditional Potter Remembers

Ten years later, Onoda has returned to the town of Namie in Fukushima.

But, Onoda says, everything about the town has changed.

Half of his fellow potters have quit. About 80 percent of the town still remains off-limits because of high radiation levels.

Even the materials used to make the clay containers can no longer be gathered and processed there.

But with all the loss he has experienced, Onoda has continued the Oborisoma-yaki pottery tradition now in its 13th generation.

"I would like to pass Oborisoma-yaki, a tradition with a history of more than 300 years to the next generations. That is my goal," he said.

Onoda still hopes to reopen his own workshop in Namie one day.

But for now, Onoda and Namie's remaining potters will work at a new showroom set to open soon.

Gloria Tso reported this story for Reuters. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

pottery –n. objects that are made out of clay and baked in an oven to harden

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.