Japan TV dioramas of stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are dissonantly adorable


(screengrabs from NHK, courtesy IZ RELOADED)

During a live broadcast yesterday, the Japanese television network NHK unveiled a hand-crafted scale model of the damaged Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant. Like the cardboard infographics their nuclear experts have been pointing to on-air since the nuclear crisis began, this diorama is a key part of their news presentation, a visual aid of sorts.

There is nothing cute or cool about the multiple disasters that have struck Japan: the earthquake and tsunami have already claimed at least 5,000 lives and perhaps many more; tens of thousands are already known to be missing or displaced. The still-unfolding nuclear accident is serious, and could have grave consequences for Japan.

But the miniature models of Fukishima, a word that now inspires fear and iodide pill hoarding in people around the world–well, they are so cute, as one person said on Twitter today, you almost want to adopt one. As Matt Alt tweeted from Tokyo during the broadcast, "I'd just like to say 'mad hugs' to NHK for debuting the helicopter model on the reactor diorama."

There is something comforting about them. Comforting like the calm voice of the female translator I listened to on NHK English last night, while helicopters flew into the mouth of the radioactive beast, as it were, to drop water on reactor number 3. Comforting, perhaps, because they seem so tiny and familiar, while what is at stake is so huge and unknown.

I.Z. Reloaded from Singapore blogs a bunch of screenshots here: "Diorama of damaged Japanese nuclear station shows how cool Japanese TV really is"
(Thanks, Matt Alt)