Title : MINAMATA
Photographer(s) : W.Eugene Smith, Aileen M.Smith
Writer(s) : W.Eugene Smith, Aileen Mioko Smith
Designer(s): Carole Thomas
Publisher(s): Holt, Rinehart, Winston / Alskog, New York, U.S.A.
Year : 1975
Print run :
Language(s) : English
Pages : 192
Size : 24 x 29 cm
Binding : Softcover
Print: Printed by Rapoport Printing Corp. New York U.S.A.
Nation(s) and year(s) of Protest : Japan, 1975
ISBN : 0030136369
Minamata is a fishing and farming town on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. Its people entered the industrial age when the Chisso Corporation built a chemical factory there. The disaster that then befell them and the way in which some have managed to react, go far beyond Japan. Their courage is a lifelong banner of hope, but it will not have signaled any victory unless it awakens other people to action in every corner of this planet. An unease developed in the city in the early 1950s. Many people fell ill with the same symptoms: limbs and lips tingled and then went numb; confused speech; motor functions got out of control. Some have died. Was this strange new disease contagious? Nobody knew Minamata disease has been recognized as methylmercury poisoning by industrial time wasters. Mercury reached people through contaminated fish. Some doctors have suggested that the number of people affected could reach 10,000. So far 103 have died and around 700 others have been found to be severely - and permanently - damaged. As groups of victims pushed a turbulent and multifaceted crusade to force industry and government to take responsibility, W. Eugene Smith and his wife, Aileen, moved to Minamata. In the clashes in Goi, between demonstrators (relatives of the victims) and the security of the company Chisso, Smith was shot in the ribs, which completely prevented him from continuing the work, which at this point was carried out by his wife Aileen.