The Film-Makers

Directors’ Statement

We were both in Japan when the earthquake on March 11 occurred, and we then decided to go back to Germany when the first reactor of the Fukushima power plant blew up, because we did not feel safe in Japan, and we could not trust the media.

However, when we heard about the first anti-nuclear protests that were taking place in Tokyo a couple of weeks later, we were aware of the historical importance of those protests. Being a student of Japanese Studies, I (Julia Leser) had already done some research on Japanese protest culture and therefore I knew that street protests are a rather rare sight in Japan. Further, comparing the fragmentary media coverage in Japan with the international media which was stereotyping the ‘brave’ and ‘stoic’ Japanese, we felt the urge to report what was really going on. We wanted to analyze those new protests in its historical and social context and give those people opposing nuclear power an opportunity to talk about their struggle. So we decided to go back to Tokyo and shoot a documentary about the current anti-nuclear movements.

During May and June 2011, we have filmed at demonstrations and talked with the activists who organized them. We also talked with Japanese intellectuals, social and political scientists, about the magnitude of the current protests.

During those months, we met a lot of inspiring people and got heaps of interesting footage of this new-forming movement, which seems to combine so many groups and organizations and may cause a major shift within Japanese politics and society. With Radioactivists, we captured the spirit of this momentum, showing the challenges and triumphs of a movement of great historical significance.

Julia Leser
Born (1987) and raised in Erfurt, Germany. After high school graduation, she started to study Japanese Studies and Political Sciences at the University of Leipzig in October 2008. Until August 2011, she spent a year abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, which was interrupted due to the nuclear crisis after the 3/11 earthquake. From this experience, however, emerged the documentary project ‘Radioactivists’.

Clarissa Seidel
Born 1985, originally from Ingolstadt (Germany), she studied Media and Communication Studies as well as Intercultural Communication in Halle, Germany, and Audiovisual Communication in Madrid, Spain, until January 2011. After her graduation from university, she took a trip to Japan, which ended with the earthquake on 3/11. The experience of the nuclear crisis of Fukushima finally resulted in the documentary film project ‘Radioactivists’.