Friday, March 25, 2011

Nuclear boy: explaining Fukushima with a cartoon

A Japanese cartoon seeks to explain the Fukushima nuclear power plant to children

With several million YouTube views in Japanese and translated versions (above), the Nuclear boy cartoon has become possibly the world's most viewed ever exploring the metaphor of a boy with a sick stomach to represent a stricken nuclear power plant.

It may sound kooky, perhaps excessively so, but when you put it in the context its creators intended - to explain the crisis at Fukushima to Japanese children who may not understand spent fuel pools and containment vessels - such concerns fade away. The Nuclear boy character was created by Japanese artist Hachiya Kazuhiko. He posted it to Twitter, where one follower turned it into a comic strip that a third person then animated.

The story is quite simple: Nuclear boy is sick and people are worried he is going to have a really big poo (as the translation puts it). He had people scared when he let out a loud bang - thankfully it turned out to be neither a poo or "that stinky" - so he needs to given medicine until he gets better. For Nuclear boy that medicine is cooling sea water and boron.

Nuclear boy is compared to Three Mile Island boy ("a lot of passed gas but no poo") and Chernobyl boy (who "literally pooped in the classroom").

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