Trailer: Minamata

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

The photographic record created by W. Eugene Smith of Japan’s Minamata disaster is one of the seminal creation stories of the environmental movement.

Looks like someone has made a movie of it, and I’m here for it.


Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath is a photograph taken by American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith in 1971. Many commentators regard Tomoko as Smith’s greatest work. The black-and-white photo depicts a mother cradling her severely deformed, naked daughter in a traditional Japanese bathroom. The mother, Ryoko Uemura, agreed to deliberately pose the startlingly intimate photograph with Smith to illustrate the terrible effects of Minamata disease (a type of mercury poisoning) on the body and mind of her daughter Tomoko. Upon publication the photo became world-famous, significantly raising the international profile of Minamata disease and the struggle of the victims for recognition and compensation.

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