‘Encounters’ (2023) Episode 4 Recap & Review: What Were the Lights In Fukushima?

The final episode of Encounters, Lights over Fukushima, is a blend of scientific evidence and the testimonies of people who have been a part of the incident. This Netflix original explores the events surrounding the hundreds of UFO sightings in Fukushima, followed by the nuclear plant meltdown. The beliefs of certain people in Japan regarding the shining lights in the sky being the souls of the people who passed away stand strong to date. The conflict between some traditional beliefs in Japan and the scientific and historical evidence stating otherwise has been exhibited in great depth. Encounters Episode 4 is an amalgamation of several points of view and beliefs of people regarding the strange aerial occurrences, presented skillfully by Yon Motskin. Let us dive deep into what the experts and the believers have to say about the occurrences!


Spoilers Ahead

Were the sightings associated with the extraterrestrial?

Encounters Episode 4 begins with the high 29th chief monk of Enmyoin Temple talking about his sighting of the UFO and several other sightings around the temple. The priest was surprised at its huge size and mentioned that the event had occurred 12 to 13 years before the earthquake. Despite having religious beliefs, the monk could not disbelieve what he saw. He could have questioned whatever he saw and put forth a religious or supernatural explanation for it, but chose not to.


The focus later shifts to Keisuke Udagawa, a newspaper editor who had volunteered for five years after the tsunami. He, on the contrary, stated that the lights witnessed by him in Fukushima could have been the souls of the people coming back to their loved ones. The opinions of both people were in sharp contrast to each other. When Jiyo Sakuma, a visual artist, was interviewed, he also reported having seen the UFO along with his wife, and he claimed it to have been changing its colors. An expert, Dr. Jemsie Anderson, said UAP activities and nuclear activities have a strong connection. She also talks about how nuclear activities are closely connected with the UFO sightings in Los Angeles in the 1940s, Sandia National Labs, Kirtland Air Force Base, where nuclear weapons were stored, and many others. She also brings out the UFO sightings near Chernobyl after the reactor meltdown at the site.

The journalist and author of Japanamerica, Roland Nozomu Kelts, brings out the supernatural and the natural interconnection in Japanese culture but also states that they are not intertwined with each other. As an example, he enlightens us with the concept of Astro Boy, where a father, upon losing his son, created a robot. This points to the enormous faith that humans have in technology, which often springs out of trauma. He also provides the example of Ultraman, where an alien merges with a human to overcome evil. The message that otherworldly beings are trying to convey to us can be for a good cause or to protect us. Dr. Diana Pasulka is of the belief that UFOs are a global system now, which has shifted the beliefs of many. She also states that if we could believe in angels descending from heaven, then surely we must accept the existence of aliens as a possibility.


On interrogating computer scientist Dr. Tanaka Kazuo, it has been brought out that there is no definitive proof or photographic evidence of the existence of UFOs. He has, however, been conducting his research based on the paintings during the Edo Period of the “Utsuro-bune,” also known as the hollow ships. All the paintings are said to depict similar kinds of spaceships, with three windows and a mysterious woman hovering above them. He talks about some evidence regarding a document discovered in 2014 in Hitachihara, in which there was mention of “Utsuro-bune” being washed ashore in 1803. According to the legend, the fishermen dragged it ashore, opened it, and found a beautiful woman. Which explains the paintings that were being studied by him. The episode covers several opinions, evidence, and folklore that talk about the concept of inter-terrestrial beings.

What was the point of view of the people who had been interviewed?

A majority of Japanese people are of the opinion that UFO sightings or the presence of otherworldly beings are necessary to maintain balance in the world. The viewpoint of the drama teacher, Miho Ninagawa, has been significantly presented in the episode. She states that the communication language of the otherworldly beings might be called the “space language” or “light language.” She also talks about her dream about the aliens and describes them as green and white luminescent creatures. How her chakras were matching those of the aliens makes her believe that they had come to restore balance in the world that we had been destroying. Jiyo Sakuma also had a similar dream where he saw a golden halo over Earth, stating that good days are yet to come with the help of the aliens, or whatever we would like to call them. On asking the chief monk of Enmyoin Temple, he says that maybe the aliens were thinking of us as children who knew nothing, and they were here to supervise the Earth. He was also of the opinion that the balance and peace on Earth could be restored with the help of otherworldly beings.


The points of view of several experts help us believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life and their capacity to do something good for humanity. As per the opinions of Dr. Jemsie Anderson, the out-worldly intelligence perhaps does not want us to go extinct, and to preserve our intelligence capability by all means, and hence is trying to get to know us better. Dr. Diana Pasulka portrays the experience of the believers as being like a religious conversion. For many, it is said to have impacted their lives, changing their worldview, way of working, relationships, and other significant aspects. Mostly, it is important for us to remember and retain our innocence, which will help us clear our conscience. The author of Japanamerica, Roland Nozomu Kelts, brings out the difference between the Japanese and Western worlds, stating that the Japanese can embrace the supernatural and co-exist with it without questioning it, unlike the Western folks.

Final Words

The points of view of the people interviewed were different, but they were quite similar to each other in certain ways. Even though there is no solid proof of the sightings of the people, the scientific and historical explanations provided by them are reliable to a certain extent. On the contrary, the explanations of the sightings given by some of the interviewees, such as Jiyo Sakuma, the visual artist, and Miho Ninagawa, the drama teacher, seemed quite vague. The statements that they made were devoid of any logic and seemed quite ambiguous. This episode is also replete with the superstitious beliefs that many people still have, making them overlook several scientific theories. However, Roland Nozomu Kelts was wrong in stereotyping that a majority of Japanese can embrace the myth, contrasting their beliefs with those of Westerners. The scope of interpretation in this segment of the out-worldly phenomenon is very wide, and we are all individuals who have our own thoughts on it rather than just being stereotyped based on our origins.


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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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