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Filmmakers from Japan Visit Library for Interviews and Collections: Downwinders Archive and Special Collections Nuclear Testing

Every once in a while, a patron will come to the library and be overjoyed upon coming across an item they’ve been searching for. This was certainly the case when Hideaki Ito, Japanese filmmaker, came to the Marriott Library in June to learn more about the Downwinders of Utah Archive and the nuclear testing information in Special Collections.

After more than two decades, Ito had found a report he needed for his research on nuclear testing in the United States. It was a Department of Energy report noting each and every nuclear test completed in the United States. “I could not believe that they had this report,” Ito explained excitedly. “When I went to the Department of Energy headquarters, I had been turned away. So I was especially happy to find the reports in Special Collections.”

Left to right: Rieko Tomomatsu, Tomiko Yamauchi, Hiroyuki Matsuura, Mary Dickson, Hideaki Ito, Justin Sorensen, Tony Sams
Tony Sams explains how the oral histories were collected.

Ito and his crew are working on a film entitled “X Years After Radiation 3,” which will focus on the nuclear testing that was conducted in the 1950s up until the early 90s. The film will discuss the Baby Tooth Survey, which revealed that children near the test sites had significantly higher levels of the radioactive isotope Strontium-90 than children elsewhere in the United States. After the results were published, the limited test-ban treaty was signed into law that banned aboveground nuclear testing in the United States.

At the Marriott Library, Ito interviewed staff about the making of the digital Downwinders of Utah Archive and also spent time in Special Collections pouring over papers and documents contributed to the library. It was in Special Collections that he found the Department of Energy report that he had been searching for over many years.

Ito’s film entitled “X Years After Radiation 3,” will be the third in a series on the devastating impacts of nuclear testing. The first was released in 2012 and the second in 2015. Ito’s shooting style is unique; he uses a single lens reflex camera and does most of the shooting and editing himself. “X Years After Radiation 3” is scheduled to launch in March of 2023 with screenings across the U.S.

About the Filmmakers & Project Managers

  • Hideaki Ito, film and TV director and project manager
  • Hiroyuki Matsuura, associate professor of business administration at Taisei Gakuin University in Osaka Japan
  • Rieko Tomomatsu, translator and driver
  • Tomiko Yamauchi, sound technician

Downwinders of Utah Archive

  • Oral histories from Downwinders and their families
  • Maps showing fallout of Iodine 131
  • National Cancer Institute Study Boundaries
  • Government propaganda
  • Interviews with congressmen regarding the compensation to Downwinders and their families
  • A list of additional historic materials found in Special Collections.
The project managers and filmmakers from Japan post with Special Collections Reference Librarian Rachel Ernst (2nd from the left).

For questions on the Downwinders of Utah Archive, contact Justin Sorensen.

  • Erich Graf
    Posted at 13:21h, 21 July Reply

    should be a landmark project!

  • Denise Nelson
    Posted at 01:54h, 22 July Reply

    Is the Harold Knapp collection available for research?

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