THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
April 4, 2023 at 17:02 JST
Anti-nuclear activists lamented the death of musical composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who held the belief that “nuclear and human beings cannot coexist.”
After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Sakamoto started appearing at anti-nuclear and anti-war events nationwide.
In May 2016, he participated in a show with actress Sayuri Yoshinaga in Vancouver, where she recited poems related to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Yoshinaga also read poems written by people in Fukushima Prefecture with a piano obbligato by Sakamoto.
About 200 people listened to the performance.
Sakamoto said he thought about the faces of children while Yoshinaga recited the Fukushima poems.
In 2010, Sakamoto sent a message to The Asahi Shimbun about the “historic” Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
But for the treaty to become functional, Sakamoto’s message said, “It is necessary for an overwhelming number of global citizens to monitor and press each country’s government.”
Sakamoto also said Japan’s refusal to ratify the treaty was “pathetic” and stirred up feelings of “resentment.”
Satoshi Kamata, an 84-year-old writer who co-founded an anti-nuclear action movement with Sakamoto and others, said, “I want to emphasize that (Sakamoto) died while campaigning earnestly (for the cause).”
Ruiko Muto, 69, who lives in Fukushima Prefecture and co-chairs the Liaison Committee for Organizations of Victims of the Nuclear Disaster, recalled the time when Sakamoto joined a rally held at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park in 2012.
“Why do we have to risk our lives for mere electricity?” Sakamoto said at the podium.
Muto said, “It was encouraging that Sakamoto, who was influential, took the nuclear accident as his own problem and mentioned it.”
In 2013, Sakamoto started an orchestra for youth in the Tohoku region that two years earlier was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Sakamoto also arranged for the repair of a piano at Miyagi Prefecture Agriculture High School in Natori that was stuck by the tsunami.
Minoru Hatanaka, a chief curator at NTT Intercommunication Center that hosted an exhibit related to Sakamoto, said, “The piano became memorable for Sakamoto as an instrument tuned by nature.”
Sakamoto died on March 28 at the age of 71.
(This article was compiled from reports by Hideki Soejima, senior staff writer, and Seiko Sadakuni.)
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