J-Pop Nuclear Protest Songs

I personally haven’t formed a strong opinion on nuclear energy but I do object to corporations (such as TEPCO) that use their influence (threat of withdrawing advertising) to silence objecting voices.

A Japanese musician, Kazuyoshi Saito, posted anonymously (note his slight disguise – sunglasses) a cover of his own hit song but with new lyrics criticizing Japan’s nuclear power industry (post Fukushima disaster) to YouTube. However, his record company, Victor (JVC), has requested it be removed claiming it was uploaded without the artist’s permission. I think the lyrics translation in the video is a bit strong – the title is “It was always a lie”. He probably won’t be allowed on TV because of this.

In 1988, RC Succession recorded an album that contained several anti-nuclear songs. However, their record company Toshiba refused to release it – they have a big nuclear power business and provided the reactors for Unit 3 and 5 at Fukushima Daiichi – saying “The album was too wonderful to be released”. The album was released a few months later by another company and went to #1. The lead, Kiyoshiro passed away last year. One of the songs on the Cover album is a cover of Love Me Tender with anti-nuclear lyrics – perfect for what is now happening (I want to drink milk and eat spinach)

In order to sing some of the song from the Covers album before it was released, Kiyoshiro, created another band, The Timers (タイマーズ), where some of the key members were “disguised”. To protest the fact that FM Tokyo refused to play his song from the Covers album, he changed the second song he was supposed to sing on this live TV show to a FM Tokyo protest song using some taboo language. The first song, calls out the band’s name play on words, The Timers sound like taima (大麻) – hemp. We’re the Timers and we always carry taima.

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