JAPANESE

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From Asahi Shimbun

Japanese version

Towards a Nuclear-Free World
    From Japan:
         Thoughts from a Country Hit by Nuclear Bombs - 2013(No.2-8)

With a Sense of Mission, Struggling to Sing
By Koji Kikkawa, Musician, Actor   (June 9, 2013, The Asahi Shimbun Newspaper)

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My father entered the city of Hiroshima shortly after the atom bomb was detonated, and he was exposed to radiation, thus I am a second generation survivor. Since I grew up in Fuchu-town, Hiroshima, I've been told stories of the atom bomb by my parents and relatives ever since I was young. We attended the Peace Memorial Ceremony every August, so I felt disgust for nuclear warfare as a child.

Once I became known as a singer, I started being invited to concerts that were held to promote peace. However, I didn't participate in most cases, because I had a sense of doubt in those days, wondering, "Is it really for peace?"

It was in my mid-30s that my awareness changed, probably because of watching a movie made by Akira Kurosawa, Yume (Dream), which dealt with the topic of nuclear accidents and contamination. I also heard stories about the disastrous sight of the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl from Kiyoshiro Imawano.

Three years ago, the students of my old school in Fuchu-town requested that I join in the production of a song, "Ano Natsu o Wasurenai (I won't forget that summer)," taking an anti-nuclear stance. I started thinking all over again of the mission as a person born in Hiroshima.

Then the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. I went back and forth, to and from the disaster area, and I strongly feel that the radioactive disaster is manmade as well. I believe we can't have any illusions about the government. The same thing can be said with regards to the power plant announcement that was made right after the nuclear accident, "There will be no immediate impact on people." If your media reports don't try to reveal the information going on behind the scenes, such as who takes what action, with what kind of interest, and from what kind of position, you can't survive. I think our era is like that.

There is a lot of discrimination and contradiction at the root of the nuclear power problem. Location of the plants, ultimate disposal of spent fuel rods and radioactive materials, treatment of working people, and ... People are even talking about exporting nuclear power stations, although accidents are happening. It is sad that the one and only country with the experience of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima, is shameless.

At any rate, we will die in several decades. If we retire without finding any solution to this problem, it is the same as leaving only a negative inheritance to our children, who will be forced to shoulder the burden for the future of this planet, and we won't be able to escape being remembered as the "Shameless generation." I hate that.

At least I must not give up the struggle. If there are things only professional entertainers can do, I will do them. As my heart tells me, I will make songs through trial and error, and I will sing.

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Koji Kikkawa was born in 1965. He made his debut with "Monica" in 1984. He is also an actor. A new album "SAMURAI ROCK" was released in April, 2013 and he is currently on tour.

(This was compiled through an interview by Yohei Goto.)