Songs for Fukushima via Japan Focus

Jun. 02, 2011

APJ Editors

Popular culture has long been an important tool used by the Japanese government and energy companies to promote nuclear power. In the two months since the 3.11 quake and the beginning of the Fukushima crisis, Japanese netizens have circulated key examples as a reminder of past propaganda. This 1993 video “Our Reliable Friend Pluto” was produced by the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation, a group associated with the Japanese government. In it, a cute cartoon stand-in for radioactive element plutonium tells children that not a single case of cancer can be traced to him and that he is even safe to drink!

Popular culture has also long been a site of criticism and resistance. Takada Wataru’s folk song Jieitai ni Hairou (自衛隊に入ろう) was first performed in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War. The song became famous as an anti-war satire.

Let’s Join the Jietai
(Lyrics translated by Kyoko Selden)

Among you people here
who wish to join Jieitai?
who wish to try your chance?
Jieitai’s looking for men of ability.

I want to join Jieitai, Jieitai, Jieitai
I want to join Jieitai, it’s a place I adore,
the manliest of men without exception
join Jieitai and scatter like blossoms.

Those of you who wish to do sports
please come over to Jieitai any time,
spears, guns, we have everything
anyway the body’s your sole capital.

Those of you who take interest
in guns and tanks and planes
please come over to Jieitai any time,
we’ll teach you hands on and feet on.

To protect Japan’s peace
we need guns and rockets,
we’ll also have America to help
let’s beat the evil Soviets and China.

Jieitai’s looking for men of ability,
we don’t question age or educational background,
we look for those who, for the sake of
the fatherland, stay meek to the very end.

“Let’s Join Jieitai,” anti-war lyrics by Takada Wataru, 1968-69, set to Pete Seeger’s tune (original lyrics by Malvina Reynolds, Andorra, 1962)

Continue reading at Songs for Fukushima

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