In her book A World Otherwise: Environmental Praxis in Minamata, Yuki Miyamoto examines the struggles of those suffering from Minamata disease, eponymous with the Japanese city in which a Chisso factory released methylmercury into the Shiranui Sea, leading to widespread poisonings. Miyamoto explores Minamata sufferers’ struggles, examining their physical pains as well as the emotional plight of having lost their loved ones, their livelihood, and fellowship in communities, to the illness. Miyamoto’s analysis focuses on the philosophies and actions of a group, Hongan no kai, comprised of Minamata disease sufferers and their supporters in 1994. Relying on the group’s newsletter, “Tamashii utsure” (Transferring the spirit), this monograph explores the ways in which Hongan no kai members have come to terms with their experiences as well as their visions of “a world otherwise” (janaka shaba), where ontology, epistemology, and worldviews are construed differently from those of this modern world.
Yuki Miyamoto is an associate professor at DePaul University.