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Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure

A Tale That Begins with Fukushima

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure by Hideo Furukawa
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As we passed from the city center into the Fukushima suburbs I surveyed the landscape for surgical face masks. I wanted to see how much people were wearing such masks, and calculate in what ratios. I was trying to determine, consciously and unconsciously, what people do in response. So, among people walking along the roadway, and people on motorbikes, I saw no one with masks. Even among the official crossing guards outfitted with yellow flags and banners, none. All showed bright and calm. What was I hoping for exactly? The guilty conscience again. But then it was time for school to start. We began to see groups of kids on their way to school. They were wearing masks.

Winner of UNESCO’s Noma Literary Prize, Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is the first major literary response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that devastated northeast Japan in 2011. Following these catastrophic events, the character Hideo Furukawa travels back to his childhood home near Fukushima to assess the damage and reconnect with a place that is now doubly alien. His journey conjures the storied history of the region, particularly the Soma nomaoi military exercises, in which wild horses were captured and offered to a Shinto shrine. Standing in the crisp morning light, these horses also tell their stories, heightening the sense of liberation, chaos, and loss that accompanies Furukawa’s difficult return.
Columbia University Press; March 2016
160 pages; ISBN 9780231542050
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Title: Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure
Author: Hideo Furukawa; Doug Slaymaker; Akiko Takenaka
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