Arts, Culture & Media

Japan a few Molotovs short of revolution


A man holds his cat clad in a headband with anti-nuclear slogans during a demonstration in Tokyo on June 11, 2011.


Toru Yamanaka

Four months on, and the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is still leaking. 

And Japanese people are still angry. A protest culture of sorts has arisen from the destruction.

Not that it's an entirely new development (from what we hear, the peasants didn't so much like the shogunate, and folks haven't always been demure in the face of U.S. military bases).

But protests haven't been a particularly fervent mainstay of modern-day Japan, either. 

Until now. 1,200 people demonstrated outside TEPCO's headquarters in Tokyo back in March and just last Saturday several rallies rolled into one in Shinjuku-ku, accounting for more than 20,000 people. That's a lot for Japan.

(GlobalPost in Kyoto: Anti-government criticism on the rise)

Now, these gatherings aren't exactly raucous (Vice has a good parody here), but they are a new development, as noted by The Diplomat — even if they are a few Molotov cocktails short of a revolution.

GlobalVoices has rounded up a selection of anti-nuke songs that have become popular in Japan since the quake. Here are a few:

  • "You Can't See It, and You Can't Smell It Either," produced by Rankin Taxi, who is considered one of the forefathers of hip-hop in Japan, and the Dub Ainu Band.

  • "Summertime Blues," by RC Succession. This song was first released in the 80s, but has enjoyed a resurgence since the accident at the Fukushima plant.

  • "It Was a Lie All Along," by Kazuyoshi Saito. A song denouncing the myth that nuclear power is safe. GlobalVoices translated the lyrics here.

  • "Let's Join TEPCO," by anonymous. Tokyo Progressive reports that the title, "‘Tōden ni hairō' in Japanese, puns on “tōden ni hairo,” which means ‘Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power company or Tōden) overthrow, nuclear decommissioning.'”

  • Peter, Bjorn and John's "Nothing to Worry About." A glimpse into Tokyo rockabilly culture just for fun.