The Horses of Fukushima

Directed by: Yoju Matsubayashi
Japan | 74 minutes

A documentary following the plight of the wild horses near Fukushima after the nuclear accident of 2011.

Minami-soma in Fukushima Prefecture is a region where the connection between man and horse is strong and a majestic ritual with a 1000-year history, called the “Soma Nomaoi” or “chasing wild horses”, is held.

On March 11, 2011 the area was assaulted by the earthquake and tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Then, the people and horses that miraculously survived were subjected to the further tragedy of radiation from the nuclear accident. “The Horses of Fukushima” is a unique documentary that sets as its protagonist Mirror’s Quest, a horse with swollen genitals due to an injury during the earthquake, and shows the suffering of living things trifled with by human circumstance as well as the luminousness of being alive.

Very little is told through narration. Subtitles, scenery, off-hand remarks, and more than anything the expressions and physical motion of the horses betray the treasures that human pursuits have stolen away from nature and the wild. ‘The Horses of Fukushima’ is also filled with expressive imagery and complex visual representations, which serve as symbols of anger and sadness towards humans, determination and steadfastness from the horses.

Akihiro Suzuki

Yoju Matsubayashi
Yoju Matsubayashi
Yoshiko Hashimoto
Shigeki Kinoshita
Yoju Matsubayashi
Original Format