My 50-year Journey: Minamata Followed by Fukushima…

Lessons Learned for Today’s Challenges

Photojournalism, environmental justice, the Japanese anti-nuclear power movement. What are the lessons learned and how can they be incorporated into meeting today’s challenges?

Film Screening: Minamata, October 24, 7:00-9:00 pm | Paresky Auditorium
Lecture by Aileen Smith, October 25, 4:30-5:30 pm (followed by reception) | Griffin 3


Aileen Mioko Smith
(MPH, Columbia University, School of Public Health, Environmental Science)

From 1971 through 1975 Aileen worked with the award-winning photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. Their book “MINAMATA” was published in 1975 and was nominated for the National Book Award the next year. The Japanese edition was first published in 1980 and republished in 2021. The movie MINAMATA (starring Johnny Depp) based on their book was released in 2021.

Aileen is founder and executive director of Green Action based in Kyoto, Japan. Green Action’s mission is to end nuclear power in Japan. She and colleagues successfully delayed the Japanese plutonium utilization program, coordinating with other groups domestic and international, thus leading to less of this dangerous fuel inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant at the time of the 2011 accident. Aileen is president of Aileen Archive which provides photographs of MINAMATA to the public, academia, NGOs, and pollution victims.

Aileen has served on the board of Greenpeace International, and was board chair of Greenpeace Japan from 2006 to 2011. She was awarded the Nuclear-Free Future Award in the category of Education/Aufklärung in October 2014. Born: Tokyo, Japan.