Yukari discovered the joy of singing through her grandmother, who loved singing local folk songs with her on her lap.

    When she was in a local high school, she often skipped classes to listen to The Beatles. Her aspiration to become a singer took her to Tokyo after graduating from high school. There, she juggled jobs as an office worker and a budding singer at a music agency and dreamed of making her professional debut.

    With no breakthrough, however, Yukari returned to her hometown at 22. She did stints at bars, restaurants and in other events, covering all genres of music from jazz to bossa nova to Japanese ballads.

    Yukari’s life was turned upside down on March 11, 2011, when the crisis unfolded at the plant following the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

    She fled to Tokyo with her daughters, toiled away living on next to nothing, and is still navigating the rough waters of life in the Japanese capital almost six years later. She is one of thousands of Fukushima evacuees who are called “jishu hinansha.” The term refers to people who fled despite the absence of evacuation order.