Check Out These Surreal Photos Beyond Fukushima's Red Zone
An amateur Malaysian photojournalist skipped past bureaucratic holds in order to capture photos of Fukushima exclusion zone. Via a Facebook post, Keow Wee Loong shared 23 photos of the as-yet unseen towns in the irradiated region. The photos show convenience stores, abandoned lots, and a collection of porn mags that remain untouched since several reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant melted down on March 11th, 2011.
Loong, who has built a following scaling skyscrapers and snowboarding down active volcanos, continues his roguish brand of journalism at Fukushima. He’s got summer clothing—a backpack, loose shorts, and a pair of sandals—to accompany his gas mask. He takes photos of packaged Listerine, an assortment smutty mags, and misidentifies idle bags of topsoil as “nuclear waste.” Even some of his descriptions are written with a looter’s mentality. “I found a lot of 100 yen coins all around this shop,” he says, inside a laundromat full of abandoned clothes.
The photos are surreal—overgrown peeks at a postapocalyptic future. But there’s also plenty of humanity to be found in Loong’s foolhardiness. He’s young, brash, and has left plenty of incensed Internet experts to argue about the extent of his resultant irradiation.
Loong defended his decision to Zafigo, saying, “I did my research on this, and I know the risks well. I was scanned at a booth in the yellow zone and was rated ‘normal.’ The dosage in my body is far less than someone undergoing radiotherapy for cancer.” According to Loong, protocol was skipped out of necessity, not disregard. He couldn’t afford the permit after losing his money the week prior in Tokyo. Still, the photographer chose to go, and we’re left with photo reels of a town lost to time.
Laundry left behind in fukushima exclusion zone of okuma town since march 2011, people left so quickly they forgot their laundry :(…5 years later, is still here. It must be the earthquake and tsunami warning that scared everyone away…. I can still find alot of 100yen coin all over this laundry shop.. The only man in this unexplore ghost town.. #fukushima #urbex #urbanexploration #japan
Check out some of Loong’s photos in the gallery above, and read an excerpt from his Facebook post below.
“Never seen before photo of the fukushima exclusion zone. When i enter the red zone, i can feel a burning sensation in my eyes and thick chemical smell in the air. before i went there the authority told me that i need a special permit to visit this town and it take 3-4 weeks to get the approval from the local council,, well too much bureaucracy bullshit for me..so i just sneak in the forest to avoid cops on the road …AND IT WAS AMAZING !!!!!, I still remember what is like to only have a GPS and google map walking in the wood at 2am in the morning to get into the town of okuma,futaba and namie.
Have you ever wonder what is like in fukushima exclusion zone now ??? . to feel what is like to be the only person walking in the town when you have 100% full access to every shop and explore??. when i was young i always had a dream like this, If i’m alone in a supermarket i will eat all the chocolate up XD ….
everything is exactly where it is after the earthquake struck this town . the reident started to evacuate the town when tsunami warning came in ….hours later the fukushima daichi power plant exploded that lead to harmful radiation leaked.”
Stay tuned to Milk for more postapocalyptic vibes.
Images via Keow Wee Loong.