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Ari Beser

www.aribeser.com

Ari M. Beser is the grandson of Lt. Jacob Beser, the only U.S. serviceman aboard both bomb-carrying B-29s. He is traveling through Japan with the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship to report on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima. Using photo essays, videos, and articles, Beser will give voice to people directly affected by nuclear technology today, as well as work with Japanese and Americans to encourage a message of reconciliation and nuclear disarmament. His new book, “The Nuclear Family," focuses on the American and Japanese perspectives of the atomic bombings.

122 Countries Have Moved to Ban Nuclear Weapons. What Happens Next?

  United Nations — For the first time in history, a majority of the world’s nations have crafted a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Hundreds of NGOs united under the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to push the majority of the world’s countries at the United Nations to create a legally binding instrument to prohibit…

A Preventable Nuclear Threat You Most Likely Don’t Know About

Vilnius, Lithuania–A tiny European country at the edge of the western world worries that it is in the path of what could be the next Chernobyl-level disaster. The government of Lithuania fears a Russian nuclear reactor under construction in its eastern neighbor, Belarus, poses a risk to security to the entire Baltic region. The controversial…

After Alarmingly High Radiation Levels Detected, What Are the Facts in Fukushima?

Six years after three nuclear reactors were crippled in Fukushima, Japan, when a tsunami knocked out power to their cooling units, there is still conflicting information, real and fake, about the levels of radiation in the area. To find out more about what’s really happening, I contacted Safecast, a citizen science network that bills itself as neither pro-, nor anti-nuclear.

Blogumentary: Giving Voice to Survivors from Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima

Hiroshima – Today, with some distance of time and perspective, we can think about Hiroshima with a more balanced compassion than a few decades ago. It has become possible to reflect on not only the justification for the first dropping of an atomic bomb on a populated city, but also on how that impacted the many thousands of…

Stories From Fukushima You Have Never Heard

FUKUSHIMA, Japan— Ten months ago I arrived in Japan to cover a historic year—the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, the fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, and the first visit by a sitting U.S. President to Hiroshima.  I wanted to document the social impact nuclear technology has had on Japan. Japan is the only country in the world to…

Is it Safe to Visit Fukushima?

FUKUSHIMA, Japan—The majority of the world knows the word “Fukushima” because of the 2011 disaster that crippled its nuclear plant. While the effects of the radiation itself are hard to track, so has been the economic impact on Japan’s third largest prefecture.  Living here as a Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow has given me the chance to see…

Photos: Inside the Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone

  FUKUSHIMA, Japan—What would you do if your house was physically spared from a nuclear disaster, and yet you still had to leave it all behind? What would you bring? What would you leave? For hundreds of thousands of residents within a 12-mile (19-kilometer) radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, this was their reality. While radiation…

Fukushima Parents Find Relief From Radiation At Indoor Playgrounds

FUKUSHIMA, Japan—One of the biggest health problems facing Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear disaster are not directly caused by radiation exposure. Instead, it’s the fear of exposure that has driven rates of childhood obesity in the past five years, according to the Director of Internal Medicine, Dr. Sae Ochi, M.D. who has spent the last five years researching the social impact…

East Meets West at This Historic Nagasaki Eatery

NAGASAKI, Japan– Kagetsu, a ryoutei [traditional Japanese restaurant] meaning “Flower in the Moonlight,” is the very definition of what Nagasaki means. Dutch and Chinese influences etched into the design of the establishment reflect the impact these countries have left on the only city in Japan where foreigners were allowed to enter during the period of isolation. Kagetsu is…

Rwanda Genocide Survivor Helping Fukushima’s Nuclear Refugees

  FUKUSHIMA, Japan—Fukushima resident Marie Louise Kambenga, 50 years old, knows what it is like to be a refugee—but not in the way you’d think. Twenty-two years ago this week, she escaped the Rwandan genocide and found refuge in Japan as a student at Fukushima’s Notre Dame School for Girls. In 2013, she became a Japanese…

Exclusive: One Man’s Harrowing Story of Surviving the Japan Tsunami

KORIYAMA, Fukushima—During my months of reporting and interviewing survivors about the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, one particular person stood out. Ryo Kanouya, 26, can no longer live in his hometown village of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture because of its proximity to the Dai Ichi Nuclear Power Plant. Kanouya, who now lives in the…

Five Years After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Survivors Share Their Stories

FUKUSHIMA, Japan—For the past two months, I’ve been traveling across Fukushima, the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster, to interview local residents and give voice to the people directly affected by the accident. It’s been five years since a giant earthquake triggered a tsunami that inundated the Tohoku coast, killing over 17,000 people and causing the core meltdown…

High-Tech Bike Share to Monitor Radiation in Fukushima

AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Fukushima—Irish writer Oscar Wilde once said, “Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.” Jun Yamadera, a Japanese entrepreneur, says that is the reason he’s committed to keeping his tech company Eyes, Japan Co. Ltd, in Fukushima. We discussed his feelings in a Swiss-style café in his hometown of Aizu Wakamatsu, which is about 75 miles…

How Citizen Science Changed the Way Fukushima Radiation is Reported

Photos By Ari Beser Tokyo – “It appears the world-changing event didn’t change anything, and it’s disappointing,”said Pieter Franken, a researcher at Keio University in Japan (Wide Project), the MIT Media Lab (Civic Media Centre), and co-founder of Safecast, a citizen-science network dedicated to the measurement and distribution of accurate levels of radiation around the…

In Bali, Bamboo Architecture Offers Model for a Sustainable Future

BALI, Indonesia—How do you build a future out of grass? On the Indonesian island of Bali, one organization has set out to do just that. Ibuku, an architecture and furniture design firm based outside of Denpasar, Bali’s capital, is using Dendrocalamus asper bamboo—or petung in Balinese—to construct Green Village. I had the chance to visit this innovative…