The Days: Is Kinoshita Based on an Actual Person? Where is He Now?

Netflix’s Japanese series ‘The Days’ revolves around the Fukushima nuclear disaster that happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The officials working at the place confront a major earthquake and a subsequent tsunami, which affect the nuclear reactors at the plant. Masao Yoshida leads a group of workers to mitigate the consequences of the disaster when multiple reactors get overheated. Kinoshita serves as the right-hand man of Yoshida as he puts his life on the line to prevent an explosion. Intrigued by the character, we have found out whether Kinoshita has a real-life counterpart. Let us share our findings!

Kinoshita is Based on a Real Person

Yes, Kinoshita is based on a real person. The character is based on Kazuhiro Yoshida, who was second in command of the D-shift of the team responsible for Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s Units 5 and 6 reactors. After joining the power plant, he worked for more than ten years at the Units 1 and 2 reactors, as Kinoshita reminds Yoshida in the show. At the time of the earthquake, Kazuhiro was at his home in Futaba. He rushed to the power plant after the earthquake to help his colleagues. He then remained in the ERC to make sure that Units 5 and 6 were out of danger.

As Kinoshita leaves for the control room for Units 1 and 2, Kazuhiro also left the ERC to join control room operators in real life. “In the middle of the night, when Unit 1 started getting really bad, I asked them to let me go to the control room, but they told me it was out of the question. You’re responsible for Units 5 and 6, I was told. So I had to stay and help out with Units 5 and 6,” he told Ryūshō Kadota for his source text of the series ‘On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi.’ When two veteran operators had to leave the control room, Kazuhiro volunteered to leave for the same to join Shift Supervisor Izawa.

When Kazuhiro left for the control room, Izawa was supervising the opening of the valves for venting to prevent the explosion of the Unit 1 reactor. Despite the dangers associated with the same, Kazuhiro volunteered to open a valve rather than sending a team without any knowledge of Unit 1’s layout. Since he had worked in Unit 1 for more than ten years, Kazuhiro knew the valve’s position in his mind. Without fearing radiation exposure, Kazuhiro set out to open the valve with a colleague named Satō. However, they were stopped by Izawa when the latter learned that white smoke was coming out of the ventilation stack.

It did take a lot of effort to stop Kazuhiro from risking his own life for the sake of the country. “Kazuhiro was furious. He bawled me out. But I’d been told by the control room to bring him back, so I pleaded with him: ‘Well, at least come back and see what’s up. The order comes from the ERC,’” one of Kazuhiro’s colleagues told Kadota about stopping him from entering Unit 1. “It sent a shiver down my back, to think what might have happened if they had gone inside the building. Kazuhiro didn’t understand what was going on when he was suddenly dragged back, he says. It was a close thing,” added Izawa.

Kinoshita is Spending Time With Family Today

Kazuhiro Yoshida is one of the unsung heroes who stepped up during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. His readiness to sacrifice his own life to prevent the explosion of the Unit 1 reactor is not a well-known true story. Kazuhiro was never in the limelight for the heroic work he did during the startling disaster. The commendable man didn’t do the same for the limelight either. “I was brought up on those reactors, so I was really fond of them. I’d worked on them for years, so I really felt I had to look after them, almost like the attachment we have to our children,” he told Kadota about the motivation behind running to the power plant after the earthquake rather than seeking comfort and security.

In 2011, when the nuclear disaster happened, Kazuhiro was forty-eight years old. The sixty-year-old must be spending his time with his wife, son, and daughter in Futaba today.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s The Days Filmed?