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Japanese rockers sing the truth about post-meltdown Fukushima. Is anyone listening? via Japan Subculture Center

“We’re living in a material world. A radioactive material world, ” jokes the lead singer. “This isn’t the future we hoped for.”

Two years have passed since the triple meltdown in Fukushima Prefecture in March of 2011. Until then the Japanese fashion subculture was dominated by the so-called “Harajuku Girls,” who became famous after Gwen Stefani’s 2004 solo pop album. However, Japan is slowly developing a post-Fukushima nuclear accident generation of artists and subculture. They aren’t singing about fashion and love; they’re singing about radiation and alienation. Rock and roll is the medium for telling the truth that the mainstream media no longer wants to handle.

The Shingetsu Toka, aka “The New Moon Light Flowers” is a group of female musicians (28-32) who perform live rock music concerts in Fukushima prefecture and in Tokyo every month.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear power and exposure to radiation to people who live in Tokyo,” the drummer of the group told JSRC. “We basically sing about the indifference and responsibilities of the Japanese adults and voters, including myself. However we find it very difficult to realistically write about the sentiments of the people of Fukushima after the 3/11 nuclear accident. Some our songs should be taken as love songs dedicated to children living in Fukushima; some are protests, some are news bulletins.”

The Shingetsu Toka also promote an NPO called “Tarachine” in Iwaki city that ensures food safety and conducts radiation measurements in Fukushima prefecture. They released their second mini-album “Living in a Radioactive Material World” this year. The title song has the punch of early Clash, the vocals on the acoustic song, “アスノメ (the eye of tomorrow) are smoky, poignant and reminiscent of Marianne Faithful–if she had been a protest singer. The live recording of 打ち砕いて (Knock it down) has in the background the enthusiastic cheers from the Fukushima local high school kids, who find their despair voiced in the lyrics of the band. The sing-along aspect of the recording gives a better sense of how united the locals are against a common enemy: the nuclear industry and the Japanese government that let them run amuck and has not (or can not) repair the damage that has been done.

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