The Days: Is Koki Krihara Based on a Real Operator? How Did He Die?

Netflix’s Japanese series ‘The Days’ offers an in-depth look at the Fukushima nuclear disaster that happens at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The disaster happens after an earthquake and the tsunami that follows. After the earthquake, Koki Krihara and his colleague get sent to inspect a reactor, only for them to get drowned in the wake of the startling tsunami. Meanwhile, Krihara’s family eagerly awaits updates concerning the whereabouts of their loved one, only to finally receive the news that he passed away. Affected by the character and his fate, we have set out to find out whether Krihara is based on a real person. Let’s find out!

Koki Krihara is Based on a Real Operator

Koki Krihara is based on a real person. The character is based on Yoshiki Terashima, who worked for Tokyo Electric Power Co. AKA TEPCO, who operated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Yoshiki lived north of Mutsu with his parents Kazuyuki and Yuriko. Upon graduating from Mutsu Technical High School, he got a job at the nuclear plant that was being built at Higashidōri, which led him to the Fukushima plant for training. At the time of the disaster, Yoshiki was twenty-one years old. After the earthquake, he went to inspect the basement of the Unit 4 turbine building of the nuclear plant with a 24-year-old colleague named Kazuhiko Kokubo.

After the earthquake, Yoshiki called his mother to let her know that he was safe. However, his parents soon received the news that their son had gone missing. “We got in touch with the people at TEPCO HQ, but they had no idea what was going on, so my husband and I decided to go directly to the office in Higashidōri. Kazuyuki phoned them first but they didn’t even know that Yoshiki was missing. They knew there were people missing at FDI, but the fact that one of them was from Mutsu hadn’t got through to them,” Yoshiki’s parents explained the predicament to Ryūshō Kadota for his source text of the series ‘On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi.’

As the show depicts, Yoshiki’s family then started to wait for their loved one by folding origami cranes. Yuriko was joined by Yoshiki’s sister. When the teachers of her son’s alma mater came to know about the same, they sacrificed lesson time to fold cranes as a symbol of hope. “I was so happy to realize that everyone was praying for Yoshiki’s safety. It was such a support to know they were all behind us. Without that I don’t know how we’d have got through it,” Yuriko added to Kadota. Yoshiki was eventually found dead in April 2011.

How Did Koki Krihara Die?

Yoshiki Terashima was found dead around three weeks after he went to the turbine room of the Unit 4 reactor upon the earthquake to inspect the power switches and test the operation valves. While Yoshiki and Kazuhiko were in the turbine room, a tsunami hit the nuclear plant, trapping them in the room. According to their autopsy, Yoshiki and his colleague possibly died from the force of impact from the tsunami. They were found dead in the basement of the building and had to be decontaminated due to exposure to radiation.

“I hadn’t thought for a moment that Yoshiki wouldn’t be coming back. It wasn’t a possibility I’d even considered. I didn’t care what state he was in as long as we could bring him home to Mutsu. I sort of skipped over the matter of whether he was alive or dead,” Yuriko told Kadota about receiving the news of her son Yoshiki’s death. “I just couldn’t accept that he was dead. […] The thing that I was most afraid of was the possibility he’d been carried off by the sea. I didn’t mind what state he was in, I just wanted to bring him home. That was the only thing that concerned me – whether we could bring him home,” she added.

After the discovery of Yoshiki’s dead body, Kazuyuki, Yuriko, and the rest of the family had to go to TEPCO’s Hirono thermal power plant to see their son. The officials warned them that it wasn’t advisable to look at the body since his injuries were “horrible.” The warning didn’t stop the parents who had been waiting for their son for a long period. “Yoshiki, we’re here. We’ve all come to take you home. You must have waited for ages. Let’s go home to Mutsu now. It was such a long wait, wasn’t it? You can rest now,” Yuriko said to her son, according to Kadota’s book. “Yoshiki, you did well. Well done, son,” Kazuyuki told his son, joining his wife.

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