A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Japanese / Japan

Kibō no bokujō
(The ranch of hope)

Mori, Eto (text)
Hisanori, Yoshida (illus.)
Tōkyō: Iwasaki Shoten, 2014. – [34] p.
(Series: Inochi no ehon; 23)
ISBN 978-4-265-00633-5

Japan / 2011 – Tsunami – Nuclear Accident – Farm – Picture book

On March 11, 2011, after a massive earthquake, a tsunami hit Northern Japan and caused a nuclear power plant accident that contaminated the land in Fukushima with radiation. This picture book straight-forwardly narrates the story of a farmer who stayed in the contaminated evacuation zone to take care of his cows after all other residents had evacuated and been forced to leave their animals at home. His irradiated cows have become commercially worthless, but he refuses to let them be destroyed by the government. As he cannot afford the appropriately nutritious feed, the weak cows die. Nevertheless, because he also took in cows from surrounding farms, the number of cows in his “Ranch of Hope” has grown to 360. The farmer-character (based on a real farmer) stays and looks after the cows because that is his job: he is a “cowman”. The powerful illustrations complement the thought-provoking theme of how an accident caused by humans can ruin the lives of so many people and animals. (Age: 7+)