Hydrangea Revolution


The “Hydrangea Revolution” has begun.  On June 22, 2012 — the 1908 Red Flag Incident when Japanese anarchists and socialists took to the streets and were arrested as well as the 1987 anti-U.S. military-base demo in Okinawa, in which 18,000 people gathered and protested around the Kadena Air Force Base, also occurred on June 22 — over 40,000 demonstrators participated in an anti-nuclear protest in front of Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s official residence in Tokyo.  Despite the complete cessation of all nuclear reactor operation in early May and continuing ruination of life and ecology due to the 3.11 disaster, last Saturday Noda approved the resumption of two reactors in Oi in utter disregard of public opinion.  This state power, which has shown itself in earlier historical Vpermutation to readily suppress any sign of dissent via arrest and torture (Red Flag Incident), today imposes severe regulation on how demos are conducted and mobilizes the Public Security Intelligence Agency to keep under surveillance the people exercising their absolutely necessary democratic right of dissent; it also continues to slavishly do the bidding of its superpower master by maintaining — against popular opposition — U.S. military bases in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan.  The “Hydrangea Revolution” is not merely a protest movement against nuclear power — it is a movement against the totality of this repressive state apparatus, in which population control and military-industrial dependence on the U.S. have been the very premise of nuclear energy development in postwar Japan.

In Man’yoshu (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”), Otomo no Yakamochi composed a verse about hydrangea: “Even among unspeaking trees, there are those that shift easily like hydrangea.”  For Yakamochi, who was involved in various eighth-century ruling-class conspiracies for hegemonic dominance of the ancient Japanese state (Tachibana no Naramaro’s rebellion, Hikami no Kawatsugi’s rebellion, plot to assassinate Fujiwara no Nakamaro), “hydrangea” represented the deceptive coloration of blood-immersed power politics in the embryonic bureaucratic state machinery.  For us, for whom the cessation of nuclear reactor is an embryonic metaphor for the cessation of the state, our sentiment is closer to Rilke’s “Blue Hydrangea”: “Yet suddenly the blue revives, it seems/and in among these clusters one discovers/a tender blue rejoicing in the green” (trans. Bernhard Frank).  Hydrangea possesses a lethal poisonous property that produces convulsion and paralysis.  Noda, the heads of the Kansai Electric Company, and other “merchants of death” who base themselves on nuclear power, these latter-day Yakamochis who have lost their poetic power in exchange for gaining the power of conspiratorial violence to murder the people, must not only eat radioactive soil, as the Fukushima farmer and mother Sachiko Sato demanded, but also feast on the bouquet of hydrangeas we have picked from the field of our rage, which we are now cultivating together in the streets.

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Because Nuclear Power Takes Away Our Being Alive From Us – A Communiqué for June 12th

Photo: Letter from H

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stressed Friday that restarting the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture is crucial to meet the nation’s energy needs this summer and to ensure sustainable economic growth.

-via The Japan Times

Ever since that day in March 2011, many things in our everyday life have been taken away from us, especially from those who live under the rain of radiation. Everyday and every week, we are informed of worse contamination than anybody has expected. We’re marching for the protection of our lives, of which even a small fragment of joy and sadness must not be controlled by anybody else. It is ours. In the evening of June 12th, we’re going to take to the street for our lives and in solidarity with those who continue to struggle against the nuclear regime and the evil of radiation itself.

-from friends in the Tokyo streets-

Things we’ve lost:

Deep breathing
Sweeping my eyes around
My relation to the land
Playing outside like stupid
Playing with Koo outside
Children’s voices from outside
Lying on the grass and eating it
Not minding anyway the wind blows
Producing locally, consuming locally
Peace of mind from “domestic” products
Organic farming
Recycling rain water
Compost making
Pool of fallen leaves
My best friend
To watch commercial TV programs
Undoubting naïvety
Trust in the nation called Japan
Indefinite future
My habit to pick up stuff off the street
Japanese food
The art of broth making
Sushi and seafood donburi
Spontaneous food tours
Ice cream
Cafe au lait
Freedom to buy food without reading the label
Food Safety
Dancing in the rain
Full moon festivals
“Fukushima” without the nuclear context
Cultural inheritance
Heart to feel simply beautiful lookng at flowers
To open the window all the way
Swimming in the ocean
Shaved ice
To just feel beautiful looking at autumn leaves
My heart swinging at the first snow day
Playing with snow
Mulberry picking
Jam making
Homemade plum wine
Eating perssimons in the backyard
Vegetable dyeing
Cultivating Karamushi threads
Chesnut picking
Identifying myself as a part of nature
Absolute sense of value
Spiritual peace

Mind wandering
Sun bathing
Yogurt every morning
Days off with nothing to do
Pretended friendship
The picture of lifestyle
Noncommital family relationship

Being aimlessly blown by the wind
Beauty of the snowy landscape
Stepping on fallen leaves in mountain
Jumping onto sunned bedding
Walking barefoot on grass

Trusting the TV
Trusting the politicians
Trusting official announcements
Staying up late
Aimless shopping

Feeling lonely
Counting what I don’t have
Peeking into the well of my mind
Taking the life not seriously
Grudging my abilities


What nuclear accident brought to me/what I found:

Feeling alive for real
People holding hands
Things their hands create
Living by touch

Going to demos
People I meet at demos
The power of music
The power of art
Trust for people

Walking the life as I will
Laughing as I will
Shaping my will
Those who walk the same will with me


Repost from Letter from H: 3.11からの軌跡/奇跡


The Reconstruction Project and the US

Photo: PACIFIC OCEAN (April 4, 2011) Japan Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa receives honors from Sailors upon his arrival aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). -via flickr


On February 10th 2012, in the eleventh month after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th 2011, the Reconstruction Agency of Japan would be inaugurated and the reconstruction project underway. Based upon principles of “Basic Laws on the Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction” and following the special measures such as designation of reconstruction zone, deregulation, simplification of procedures, exemption of taxation, and reconstruction subsidies, the project are to be realized, but shrewdly incorporated therein is US strategy toward Japan.

The process through which the Japanese Government and Japan’s financial circles conceptualized and determined the disaster reconstruction project can be traced in a series of documents beginning from “Emergency Proposals for the Earthquake Reconstruction” by the Federation of Economic Organizations (March 31st) to “the Basic Line of the Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake” (July 28th and revised on August 11th). In these, (a) they distinguished reconstruction from recovery, defining the former as “regeneration and creation of Japanese economy”; (b) as growth expected domains they attach importance to “environment/energy,” “medical/social security services,” “IT/infrastructure construction” and “agriculture, forestry and fisheries”; (c) they maintain the policies that financial circles have demanded well before the disaster such as “a unified reform of taxation and social security,” “strategy for a new growth” and “agreement with/participation in TPP”; (d) and in order to realize them as quickly as possible, they apply bold measures such as “establishment of a headquarter holding a potent right to command and order,” “considering a possibility of introducing a reform to integrate prefectures into federated states, which would give more autonomy to each region,” “designation of special reconstruction zone” and “plans to reconstruct industries in a large area.”

However, the process of conceptualizing the reconstruction was in fact also a process in which an American conservative think-tank CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) intervened. Having well-known ‘Japan handlers’ such as Michael Green, Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, the large think-tank held a firm recognition that the US shares a big interest in Japan’s post-earthquake reconstruction, then inaugurated a taskforce for the reconstruction plans on April 11th. They had close consultations with Japan’s financial circles, politicians, bureaucrats, specialists and local governments, thereby inserting American demands into the plans.

There are four specific goals that the US sought to introduce.

(1) It is necessary to resuscitate the neoliberal reforms that have been suspended by the administration change in 2009, by taking advantage of the state of emergency, the Great Earthquake.

Among the policies for the present reconstruction plans, “unified reform of taxation and social security” came into existence in 2008 with the intention to deal with the new social problems such as net café refugees and precarious workers in line with the neoliberal reform. In 2009, influenced by Obama’s “Green New Deal,” a “strategy for a new growth” was presented with intention to introduce a “business model for problems solving” that is supposed to tackle the issues in Japanese society such as environment, energy, aging and regional activation. “Agreement with/participation in TPP” was pushed forth in 2010, following the meeting (with the participation of the US) for negotiating the expansion of TPP. So it is clear that the series of policy forming in the pillar of the reconstruction project was already in place as early as between 2008 and 2010 as a combination of two tendencies: resuming neoliberal policies and following US policies.

In the lower house election of 2009 the nation largely supported the Democratic Party holding secession from the structural reform of the Koizumi Administration and independence from America/inclination toward Asia. After the change of administration, while two Democratic administrations of Hatoyama and Kan lived only short, in indeterminacy, having been caught in-between the pressure from the US/Japan’s financial circles and the public opinion, in consequence, however, execution of the policies in favor of financial circles came to be in halt.

The present reconstruction project has an element of “the shock doctrine of Japanese style” as is widely claimed, in the sense that it seeks to realize the group of policies, taking advantage of the Great Earthquake as the state of emergency. In its stress of reducing corporate tax, deregulation of labor conditions, participation in TPP and designation of special zone, CSIS stands on the same position as Japan’s financial circles.

(2) Although Japan’s financial circles and the US share the same interest in terms of resumption of neoliberal policies, they compete each other in the aspect of reconstruction undertakings, as reflected in the reconstruction plans.

In the beginning, the proposal for reconstruction by the financial circles sought to give the role of “a headquarter holding a powerful right to command and order” to the central organizations such as Reconstruction Agency and Reconstruction Headquarters. In contrast, CSIS proposed “a new public method” that would allow grass roots decision- making by dispersing initiatives to regions and having private enterprises, NPOs and local residents participate in the project. Thereafter the plan on Japan side gradually inclined to the orientation of CSIS. CSIS also proposed to establish a Japan/US cooperation system on civilian level, including a collaborative research project about the role of corporations, cooperation in employing IT for building infrastructure and organizing a Japan/US forum among energy industries.

For the corporations that consider the reconstruction project as a chance for profit-making, whether they can acquire information about township building in the northeastern area and whether they can participate in the decision-making are a big issue directly connected to the amount of contracts they can get. For instance, GE Japan established a close connection with Miyagi Prefecture very early on, and already in 2009 pushed forth a business strategy centered on energy supply and medical care in case of an earthquake on the level of over magnitude 7. For these corporations the present reconstruction project is already a business chance they are ready to take on, but for many American multi-national corporations, the northeastern area is merely a foreign countryside and not immediately accessible in terms of information acquisition for decision-making. The proposal of CSIS internalizes its aim to give American multi-national corporations an easier access to the reconstruction project, by removing the decision-making initiative from a central headquarter directly connected to the financial circles and dispersing it to each region, guaranteeing participations of various corporations and NGOs, and establishing Japan/US collaboration in various domains.

(3) Although both the US and the financial circles have not clarified their intentions on nuclear power any more than it having to be safe supplier of energy, their positions are firm in maintaining while reducing reliance on it. This line derives more from the strategy for US state security than from the profit making of American and Japanese enterprises.

After the end of cold war, the US shifted its hypothetical enemy from Soviet Union to the so-called ‘rogue states’ such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea; therefrom its military strategy has been based upon deterrence of nuclear development and prevention of nuclear spread (i.e., to the terrorists). Upon such premises, the administration of Bush Jr. waged the war against Iraq for ‘democratization’ and Americanization of the Middle East. But before the goal was fulfilled, the rule of Iraq had gotten bogged down. Due to the failure, two policy shifts took place in 2006: (I) the necessity to reduce oil reliance in energy supply resulted in a need for developing alternative energy, which led to Obama’s “Green New Deal” policy; (II) a strategic shift took place from the unilateral expansion of ‘democracy’ in the neo-conservative manner to the multinational corporation for reinforcing international surveillance for preventing nuclear dispersion, which came to be stressed in

Obama’s “world without nuclear weapons” talk in Prague in 2009.

The former is included in the present reconstruction project through the new growth strategy of Japan’s financial circles, while the latter is the one which makes the US insists that Japan should maintain nuclear power in order to cooperate with the US line. That is to say, Japan must contribute to the reinforcement of international nuclear surveillance system by maintaining nuclear power, polishing a safer technology and becoming a sophisticated force for nuclear management on the international level, even after the experiences of atomic bombs and nuclear accident. If Japan nullifies nuclear power, its technology will be lost and it will become a country that embodies nuclear abolishment instead of reinforcing international surveillance for preventing nuclear dispersion. This will be a big trouble for the US.

(4) For the US with its strong interest in Japan both economically and militarily, Hatoyama administration’s line of independence from America/inclination toward Asia was an unforgivable betrayal. In a symposium co-hosted by CSIS and Nikkei News Paper that took place in November 2011, what was stressed repeatedly from the US side was: “since the Japan/US Alliance is beyond party lines, it must not be shaken by any administration change.”

Based upon the same problematic consciousness, a collaborative research project between two think-tanks: the Tokyo Foundation and CNAS (Center for a New American security), entitled Renewing Old Promises and Exploring New Frontiers* proposes that it is imperative as a future objective to establish a framework to nurture a community consciousness among the specialists of Japan’s security working in universities, think-tanks, news media, political parties and corporations. The same view is consistent in the reports of CSIS. Stress here is in the necessity to reinforce the Japan/US ties on civilian level, or more concretely, that militaries, ministries and financial circles of both countries establish stronger ties with NGOs, universities, specialist groups and volunteer activists of both countries in order to collaborate in disaster rescue missions, humanitarian aids, medical practices, etc.


In his The Future of Power (Public Affairs, 2011), Joseph Nye maintains that not only hard power (coercive power) but also soft power (power to make people follow voluntarily) need to be underlined and that soft power can become effective, even of military if it cooperates in disaster rescues, humanitarian aids and training and education for these missions. The proposal of CSIS expands this idea, not limited to military, to ministries, financial circles, universities and NGOs, seeking to reinforce the soft power in the domains such as disaster rescues, humanitarian aids and medical practices and make a Japan/US joint community among NGOs and specialists. In retrospection, the ‘nuclear village’ that has been promoting nuclear power in Japan is nothing but a strong community based upon Japan/US joint interests, involving the international organization IAEA, financial circles, politicians, bureaucrats, universities, specialists, mass media, labor unions, regional societies and even gangster organizations. What is happening now is that the civilian base of Japan/US alliance is further reinforced on the occasion of the man-made disaster caused by the very same interest group.

I have described the four points of the US calculation incorporated in the reconstruction project. Ostensibly they have a plausible feature with the claimed objectives such as “tackling the issues of environment, aging, regional activation by involving various subjects of grass roots base in regions,” “reinforcing safety of nuclear power,” “supporting disaster rescues, humanitarian aids and medical practices,” but their essence is the neoliberal drive for profit-making by taking advantage of the disaster, following the US military strategy and deepening of Japan’s subordination to the US. Meanwhile the opposition to the reconstruction project is an opposition over the decision-making right of life and living space in the northeastern area. This is at stake in the year 2012.


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Ken Hirano:
Born in 1962, he is an economics researcher and the manager of Fukushima Daiichi Wiki (in Japanese).




平野 健

















ジョセフ・ナイは、その著書『スマート・パワー』の中で、アメリカの覇権を存続させるためにハード・パワー(強制力)だけでなくソフト・パワー(自発的に追従させる力)をもっと重視すべきだとしつつ、軍隊であっても災害支援・人道的活動やその訓練・教育への協力することでソフト・パワーを発揮することができると述べている。CSISの今回の提言は、これを軍に限らず、官庁・財界・大学・ NGOなどにまで拡張して、災害支援・人道的活動・医療活動などの領域でソフト・パワーを発揮して、NGOや専門家の日米共同コミュニティを作ろうとするものである。思い返せば、日本で原発を推進してきた「原子力村」もまた、IAEAといった国際機関から始まって、財界・政治家・官僚・大学・専門家・マスコミ・労組・地域社会・暴力団までを巻き込んだ強度の日米利益共同体に他ならない。そいつが引き起こした人災をきっかけに日米同盟の市民的基盤をさらに増強しようとしているのである。


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What Arises from the Small Space


In the evening of January 27th 2012, the street was crowded around the tents built around the corner of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), located in Kasumigaseki, the financial district of Tokyo. It had been 139 days since its inception that the tent occupiers were ordered an eviction by METI. Bodies of more than 500 people gathered there for blockading the eviction. As the sun was setting, it was getting colder, but the people were raising their voices for protest, taking a microphone one after another: “Protect the Tent!”; “Abolish Nuclear Power!”; “Protect Our Children from Radiation!”

Among the grayish forest of buildings surrounding the tent set on cold asphalt, we were looking up the METI building which was conspicuously tall. From the highest position, the ministry is continuously ordering us on the ground to live on in this highly radioactive environment. The agent of capital is even capable of framing the policies determined inside the whitish, mammoth and ugly National Diet Building seen over the cross road. As compared to those in power, significantly smaller are the tent humbly built with light fixtures and white tarps, and men and women who sleep there, exhibiting various slogans, raising flags and stretching banners, to demand immediate termination of nuclear operations. On that day, however, no authorities showed up, past the ordered deadline of 5:00 pm .

It was September 11th 2011 when the tent was set up and the occupation began. Even past half a year since 3/11 then, the government continued to blur information, stress false safety, make people live in the areas contaminated by the same radiation level that the Soviet government deemed as evacuation zone, and even encourage to use the agricultural products from the areas for school lunch program. People took to the street and began to protest against the murderous responses, instigated either openly or secretly, to the nuclear disaster. In spite of a number of arrests, masses of people filled in the square in front of Shinjyuku Station. In Kasumigaseki, two thousands some people gathered to make a human chain sieging METI. In front of the same building, a group of youth began hunger strike. In correspondence to the actions, some old-timer leftist activists installed two tents, each of which would accommodate just about five to six people. That was the inauguration of the tent occupation that continues today.

It was when the sit-in protest by Fukushima women began at the site on October 27th that the tent became the center of national attention. Their rage was caused by the following situation. The state policy vis-à-vis evacuation has been ridiculously insufficient. It has established a ‘exclusion zone’ in 20km radius around the Fukushima Daiichi reactors and a ‘planned evacuation zone’ in 20 to 30km radiuses wherein radioactivity over 20mSv is measured in annual sum total. But radioactive materials have been continuously spreading from the reactors by the wind. Presence of the so-called ‘hot spots’ (of high radioactivity) in Fukushima and surrounding prefectures has become the center of public attention. In Fukushima City and Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, for instance, hourly dose of 2~4μSv is detected from time to time. The people in these areas, including children, are forced to live under high radiation. And even if they choose to evacuate, it would only be considered ‘voluntary evacuation’, hence no compensation will be provided. Now they are living in agony eroding their bodies and lives, no matter what they choose to do. Under such situation, Fukushima women have been struggling by all means: choosing everyday food, worrying whether their children can go out or should stay home, negotiating with the school administration concerning children’s activities due to their suspicious negligence… All in all they have been fighting against the invisible enemies: radioactive materials invading everyday life as well as indifference of those around them. Finally they determined to express their rage in the face of METI in Tokyo by way of the sit-in.

There was an immediate resonance from women across Japan. On the day after the Fukushima women’s sit-in ended on its 10th day, all women across Japan began their sit-in. I first visited the tent site on October 30thth, the initial day of the second phase. Thereafter, beginning from December 1st, the Fukushima women again started a longer sit-in protest, which is to continue for 10 months and 10 days.

Since last year, various demos and rallies have been taking place in every town and city across the country, with the participation of people with various backgrounds. Every weekend there are some kind of demos occurring somewhere. Young mothers whom I met at the sit-in, for instance, were collecting petitions, submitting them to local governments, organizing study groups and making networks with similar groups in neighboring townships. The anti-nuke movement in Japan shows an unprecedented expansion, mostly, by the people who throw themselves into social movement for the first time, by young people and young women who have been previously keeping distance from it. As I speak with the people in demos and in the tent, I am always struck by the large diversity of their jobs and careers.

On the other hand, however, the cries for anti-nuke has created a tendency within the movement. It is primarily due to the characteristics of radiation, but as it seems to me, it is also by an intense determinacy that is paradoxically entailed in the rhetoric itself employed for negating the existing structure.

What were the women doing while they were sitting in? Each holding cards of her lingering feelings written on, sitting and relaxed, chatting with women next to them, they didn’t even introduce themselves, but without hesitation expressed and shared their anxiety of radiation, rage against the nuclear policy and critique of the capitalist logic that grounds the policy. A woman was knitting, which created a long colorful chain that could encircle METI and finally be a ball like an earth. Another woman was patching pieces of cloths, which became a huge banner and was held in hands of other women at street actions in various places. Meanwhile, a basket filled with sweets was passed around; a microphone was passed around for singing anti-nuke songs dedicated to beloved ones. They invited each other to dance the hula together. I remember the pale pink on their laps – of the throw blankets donated for them.

Not standing but sitting, calling each other to share anxiety and other feelings, creating something by hands, singing, dancing and caring for each other – in the small community created in a corner of the cold and hard world, there was a connection that is infinitely soft as if resisting the coldness and hardness of the world.

In retrospect, the actions that took place around the tent are characterized by their corporeality. Human chain, hunger strike, sit-ins — they are struggles of the vulnerable body that the police can easily eliminate, that are exposed to challenges of yet another dimension: the mega-machine called nuclear power plants now running out of human control and the sovereignty totally unconcerned to its severe effects on the vulnerable lives. Tough choices of the people — evacuating from the dangerous land or having to work at the nuclear power plant in order to live there — are determined by their economic difficulties. The only thing that is left for those who have neither wealth nor power is their body. It is precisely for this reason that the contrast of position has such strong power of representation. And many gathered with their bodies alone, as they were confronting the situation where the tent was in danger of eviction.

Being there as a women among other women, however, I have to admit that I felt puzzled at times. For what they were doing there — though not coerced in the least — was something that I would not do or would rather keep distance from in my everyday life. I don’t knit nor stitch; neither do I enjoy sweets nor pale colors. I could not help but quailing at the overwhelming femininity. It could be more overwhelming for those who have attained the habitus of masculinity and identify themselves as male. The tent has two separate parts being named “female tent” and “male tent.” The male activists who set up the tent there have been guarding it around-the-clock. My discomfort was deepened when the sit-in that began in December was named “10 months and 10 days” based upon the allegory of giving birth.

It goes without saying that such dispositions as vulnerable body and inconsistent but affectionate mind have been traditionally ascribed to femininity, and on its opposing pole, there situated has been masculinity with solid and consistent reason and strong body that protects the weak. When the space around the tent came to be symbolized by various corporealities, the corporealities came to embody expressions of desperately and barely chosen resistance, but at the same time seemed to have been washed away by the traditional and stubborn rhetoric. First of all this was made inevitable by the fact that the struggle against radiation is inexorably corporeal in the direct sense. The reason why mothers have to stand at the front line of the struggle, and continue to struggle heroically is that it is their everyday practice and care that are in at most danger.

But our language to speak about the struggle is too poor.

Then, outside the tent, those who have handicaps raised their voices of anger against the strong negativity to the possible birth defects, implied as it is in the expression of fear against the nuclear threats. Women who do not have children were hurt by the demand of anti-nuke groups to give priority for evacuation to small children and their mothers as well as young women who are capable of giving birth in the future. (Or possibly men might have been hurt, but I have not heard such voices from them.) Feminists were disturbed by the representation of media that praises mothers while implying that the responsibility of protecting children lies only in mothers.

At demos we repeatedly screamed: “Protect Children!”; “Protect Our Future!”; “Protect the Earth!”. To protect something means to prevent something from damage and violation. But it is no longer possible in the situation in Japan, since we have already been damaged. Furthermore, it is not that we have been damaged for the first time by the nuclear accident. Our society had long been damaged by the violence that maintains class, gender division and difference, wherein radiation has been added anew. The recent accident has only made visible layers and layers of fissures that the society left unattended. With the effects of visualization that the accident unwittingly realized, the anti-nuke movement had to develop in tandem with the anti-poverty movement, anti-capitalist movements, the problematic concerns with the sacrifice of the northeastern region for the benefit of the metropolis as well as the anti-base and anti-war movements having been engaged in the process of nuclear weapons’ introduction. Observing demos and rallies in terms of diversity of participants and their expressive creativity, they seem to have successfully negated, reversed and gone beyond gender hierarchy from time to time. The fact that “women and children” are protesting in the forefront is a crucial result of a long and accumulated history of women’s movements.

Nonetheless we have not been able to create a language of struggle that could go beyond the gendered rhetoric: masculine/feminine=strong/weak. Struggle over representation is equal to struggle over reality. For rhetoric is always producing reality. The people who have felt estrangement in the language of struggle have nevertheless shared the will to nuclear abolishment; it is rather that the structural contradiction embodied therein is the very object to be overcome as part of the capitalism grounded upon the maintenance of nuclear power. The power of genderization inscribed in the discourse of struggle is double-binding the tent on the foot of METI. Notwithstanding the richness of the subjectivity that drives the anti-nuke movement and the diversity of the people who sustain, support and visit the tent, the slogan “Protect Fukushima Mothers” was attached to the petition internationally distributed in January for protesting the evacuation order. And the tent itself has not yet created a practice that could go beyond the conventional rhetoric, maybe because the space is too small and ephemeral in order for us to walk further by transforming the internal critique to a driving force.

The power of occupying a space is large. More than ever I feel with my mind and body the significance of the experiences of the people across the world, struggling for recapturing the space deprived of them with their own bodies. The tent in front of METI has come to be situated at a corner of the global occupy movement. It has become the mental ground for the people fighting anti-nuke movement in various places across the country, and the center of media attention where foreign (though mainly Western) journalists frequently visit. Like Liberty Park in NYC, it has become a kind of symbol. By visiting the site, however, I am learning that its significance lies less in the fact that it was occupied than the continuous practice of occupying and making the space alive with the people.

Living in the post nuclear disaster society has to be equal to creating a future with our own wounds. Therefore, although the moments of relaxed and soft connections nurtured among the people in and around the tent are important, bringing the estrangement developed with intensities inside the anti-nuke movement into the tent is not contradictory to protecting it. The space should be open to its outside, toward its estrangement. It should not be fixed as becoming a symbol. For we have to continue to think of our future whose premises are our damages, wounds and losses. Even if the tent succeeds in surviving the compulsive eviction, at some point it will face an end of the community. But it is at that moment that the experiences will have an expanse to be part of the image of a coming society.

If not, where is the meaning of the life-or-death struggle we fight under radiation everyday? During the rally held against the eviction order, a woman, who had escaped from her home 3km away from the Fukushima Daiichi, was claiming that, when she escaped, on the assumption that she could return home soon, she only brought 3000 yen with her; but she had not been able to return; there were nothing for use in the apartment she was offered in Tokyo; her son could not get a job. And yet she had to pay for her electric bills to TEPCO, the fountainhead of agonies of hers and others. Her last cry was: “Please do something for children at least!” This claim would sweep out the commonplace ideology that has been grounding modern capitalism: mothers who protect their children, namely, the sex that bears and nurtures life must be healthy. I have been already hurt and wounded. What should I do with life in the future?

Wounded and damaged, and yet trying to live – I only cherish such power. Under the cold and grey sky, if the tent and its “10 months and 10 days” can bear something, it will have to be such future.

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Rin Odawara is a researcher of Italian modern history. http://www.facebook.com/rin.odawara



小田原 琳














 テントの外では、放射能の恐怖を訴える表現のなかで、放射能による奇形や先天性の疾病をもった子どもが生まれることに対する拒否感が示されることに、障害をもつ人びとが怒りの声を上げた。小さな子どもとその母親、今後出産する可能性のある若い女性は優先的に避難させよという原発反対派のことばに、子どもをもたない女性たちは傷つけられた(あるいは男性たちも傷つけられたかもしれないが、その声を私は聞いていない)。母親を称揚すると同時に、子どもを保護する責任はあたかも母だけにあるといわんばかりのメディアの表象に、フェミニストたちは苛立った。「子どもを守れ」、「未来を守れ」、「地球を守れ」と、私たちはデモで繰り返し叫んだ。守るとは失われたり、侵されたりしないように防ぐこと。しかしそれは、不可能である。私たちはすでに、傷つけられているのだから。しか も原発事故によってはじめて傷つけられたのではない。ずっと以前からこの社会は、階級や性差や、差異を維持するための暴力によってすでに損なわれていて、そこに放射能があらたにつけくわわったにすぎない。事故はこの社会が放置してきた幾重もの裂け目を可視化させただけである。同時に事故が結果として果たしたその可視化の機能によって、反原発運動は、反貧困運動や反資本主義運動、都市の利便性のための地方の犠牲、あるいは核の導入をめぐる経緯において、反基地運動や反戦運動とつらなって展開されるべきであったし、そのようにひろがってきた。デモや集会に参加する人びとの多様性や、表現の創造性においては、ジェンダーを否定し、反転させ、超えていると感じさせることもある。「女・こども」がおもてだって異議申し立てに奮闘している、そのことがすでに、女性運動が長い歴史のなかで闘い積み重ねてきた成果である。





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 小田原 琳:イタリア近現代史研究者、http://www.facebook.com/rin.odawara

The Occupation and Glass Badges


Today, children in Fukushima are mandated to wear radiation dosimeters called ‘glass badges.’ Some of the regional governments also require pregnant women to wear them. They are a durable, modified version of film badges, one of three main types of radiation monitors: -alarm meters, film badges, and pocket dosimeters – all used by the workers in nuclear power plants.

Why are children and pregnant women, who are not inside nuclear power plants, wearing these badges? The proposal came from the National Cancer Center of Japan, which suggested to both central and Fukushima regional governments the use of dosimeters “to calm the anxiety of the children and their guardians.” The Cancer Center, prior to giving badges to children, had monitored radiation exposure on public health nurses who went to the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi to give medical care to the residents. Under this project, the nurses, most of whom are women, were turned into radiation monitoring devices. The Center’s official report of the project clearly states that “[the public health nurses are] to become representatives of local residents for monitoring radioactivity.”1 Since the nurses had capacity to go about every single house in the region to check health condition of the residents, the Cancer Center supposedly tried to check radiation exposure of the people by taking advantage of their role.

Every three months, the glass badges are collected from the people by various research institutions, universities and specialized companies2, who then would gather the data to report to the Cancer Center. However, aside from collecting the data, the Center as well as any other governmental agencies never give the people any advice as to how to protect themselves from exposure to radiation and how they can deal with health damages caused by radioactive materials. After reporting the levels of exposure, they neglect to offer any health management and support and leave them up to local governments. On the other hand, there is a person who advocates a very simple method to protect oneself from radiation; the representative being Dr. Shun-ichi Yamashita. His simple and honest advise is: “you will not get damage of radiation as long as you are smiling. You only do if you worry.” (There is a Japanese saying ‘Fancy may kill or cure’ – the very word that the former PM Yasuhiro Nakasone had said during his visit to Hiroshima Atom bomb casualty Hospital, trying to calm the minds of hibakusha he met there. Nakasone, known to have passed the very first budget for nuclear power plants in Japan during his term, always promoted nuclear energy.

Being a hibakusha nisei or the son of a hibakusha, Shun-ichi Yamashita is a doctor with various entitlements, who took the position of the Radiation Risk Advisor in Fukushima after 3/11, then was appointed for the vice president of the Fukushima Medical College. He also received the 2011 “Asahi Cancer Award,” which is supposed to be given to those who contributed to cancer treatment, presented by Japan Cancer Society, many of whose faculty are appointed from the National Cancer Center. This particular award was co-presented by the relatively liberal newspaper Asahi Shimbin, which came as a surprise and disgust to many, especially since Yamashita’s overly unscientific remarks had been a topic of ridicule even among mass-media.

As I described above, the residents of Fukushima today are made into the subjects of human experiments by the Japanese government, research institutions as well as mass-media that support their stance. In a TV report by WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) in Germany, a school teacher, who hands out the glass badges to his pupils, says: “I’m not happy with these dosimeters. They are going to turn our students into study subjects. The dosimeters only accumulate data in them, instead of displaying the levels of radiation. I wish they were radiation alarms which warn you when you have to get out of the area.”

The people of Fukushima are expropriated of their health data without being provided with care or treatment. The very situation reminds me of what had been done to hibakushas in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the US military occupation.

In August 1945, atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thereby many people were killed and exposed to radiation through the thermic rays and radiation. About a year later, the occupying US military under the order of Harry Truman founded ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) under auspices of the military regime, in order to prepare for the future nuclear wars. At the newly set-up research facility in Hiroshima, ABCC began researching the effects of radiation on human bodies. The United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) stated as follows: “The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provided an exceptional and unique opportunity to monitor the effects of radiation on human groups.3” Although the ABCC collected data and human biological samples from the victims, they never provided any kind of treatment. The focus of their research was the effects on DNA. And this required the development of dynamic statistics of population, the institutionalization of pregnancy/birth registration and the establishment of public health office. Therein, crucially needed for the research was the role of mid-wives, who were to be ordered to record and report in detail the conditions of pregnancy, birth, and the newborn, and if they were safely delivered or miscarried. The research was also targeted on pregnant women and children of the resident ethnic Koreans and other foreigners. It goes without saying that the Japanese government was co-opted to this crime.

A woman from Fukushima stated at a rally last summer: “the people of Fukushima have become the subjects of a nuclear experiment. Vast amount of radioactive waste will remain. In spite of the huge sacrifice, the clout of the proponents of nuclear power prevails. We have been abandoned. (…) We are ‘the demons of the northeast’ quietly burning flames of wrath.” There are quite many who understand the meaning of having glass badges attached on their bodies. Thus the people in Fukushima ought to become demons. Not another person, child or woman should be exploited by the development of nuclear military industrial complex.4

We must recall the following phrases over and over again:

It was not that the victims were never given explanation about the research. However, one might wonder if there were any agreements between the researchers and the victims over the purpose of the research. What kind of resulting reports were given to the victims? Were they ever informed how the results from the experiments were used?

During the time [of the nuclear research], no adults ever accused the cruelty of the bomb causality research, nor they told their children what it meant. In this sense, the adults were responsible as well.

(from Masao Sasamoto, Atom-Bomb Research Under the US Military Occupation)

2 One of the companies, Chiyoda Technol, is a corporation whose facility is build in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, under the support from both Central and Aomori governments. They are proponents of nuclear energy.

3 Hewlett, Richard G. and Oscar E. Anderson Jr. The New World, 1939-1946, (History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Vol.1), University Park, 1962.

4 In Manhattan Project even before the dropping of the atomic bombs, the people were made into subject of human experiments where they were injected with plutonium to see its effects. (Albuquerque Tribune, Manhattan Project: Human Plutonium Injection Experiments)

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以上の説明でお分かりになったと思うが、福島の住民たちは、政府、研究機関そしてそれらを支えるマスメディアによって実験台にさせられているのだ。西ドイツ放送(WDRWestdeutscher Rundfunk)による取材の中で、学校でガラスバッジを配布する教師は次のように語る。「この線量計は嬉しくないです。生徒達は実験台にされるのです。現在の線量を表示するわけではなく、データを保存するだけです。警報を出して逃げさせてくれるような線量計ならずっと良かったのに…」。


19458月、広島と長崎に原爆が落とされた。多くの人びとが熱線と放射線にさらされ、殺され、被ばくした。そのほぼ一年後に、ABCC(Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission 原爆傷害調査委員会)が、核戦争準備体制に備えて軍の肝いりで結成され、トルーマン大統領の指令により設立された。ABCCは広島市に施設を設置し、放射線のもたらした影響について調査をはじめた。アメリカ原子力委員会はこのように記述している。「広島、長崎の爆撃は、人間集団における放射線効果の測定のために、例外的で(特有の、見込みのある)機会を提供した」とiii。被爆者の生体や情報を収集したが、治療は行わなかった。中心となったのは遺伝影響調査である。そのために人口動態統計と妊産婦登録制度、保健所の整備が進められたが、とくにそこでは助産婦の役割が大きく求められた。妊娠の有無、出産、どのような子どもが生まれたのか、あるいは死産だったのか、逐一伝える役割を担わされたのだ。調査は朝鮮人やほかの外国人の妊産婦・乳幼児をも捕獲していた。言うまでもないが、日本政府もまた共犯者であった。

 福島のある女性は次のようにデモ前の集会で述べた。「福島県民は核の実験材料にされるのだ ばくだいな放射性のゴミは残るのだ 大きな犠牲の上になお、原発を推進しようとする勢力があるのだ 私たちは棄てられたのだ……私たちは今、静かに怒りを燃やす東北の鬼です」。ガラスバッジの配布が何を意味するのか理解している人々は少なくない。だからこそ福島の民衆は鬼とならざるを得ない。これ以上人びとを、子どもを、女性を原子力軍産業に利用されてはならないiv






ii そのひとつ、千代田テクノルは国と青森県の支援を受けて六ヶ所村に立地した誘致企業であり、原発推進事業会社である。

iii Hewlett, Richard G. and Oscar E. Anderson Jr. The New World, 1939-1946, (History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Vol.1), University Park, 1962.

iv マンハッタン計画は、原爆投下以前からアメリカ国内においても、一般市民にたいしてプルトニウムを人体に注射しその効果を調べる人体実験を行っていた。(アルバカーキー・トリビューン編、広瀬隆訳・解説『マンハッタン計画 プルトニウム人体実験』)

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The Refrain of “Bad Days Will End”


The dog days are over

The dog days are done

The horses are coming so you better run

Run fast for your mother run fast for your father

Run for your children for your sisters and brothers

Leave all your love and your loving behind you

Can’t carry it with you if you want to survive

                          -Florence + The Machine, “Dog Days Are Over”


I stayed in Japan during two periods before and after 3-11, from November of 2010 to January 2011 and from June to September 2011. As someone who had lived for the past twelve years in a dying auto-workers’ city near Detroit, in a virtual condition of hermetic withdrawal, I felt like a mole being throw out of the ripped surface of the earth and exposed to the rays of the nuclear sun. A feeble mole who happened to witness a moment when the new angel of history was blown by the fierce wind of crisis shuddered at the sense of immediacy when nonchalantly spoken words smashed into the “present” with terrifying speed (right before 3-11 I was talking with a Japanese friend on Facebook about Walter Benjamin’s angel and the revolutionary time when the historical layer of the earth ruptures!). During this period of over six months, smeared in the memory of fire through riots and trembling, mixed with an apocalyptic reality swallowed up by tsunami and spitting out radiation, I had irreplaceable encounters with people who were quietly, firmly, confronting the despair produced by capitalism, and the intuitive understanding and “moveable feast” of the commons flowed out of them naturally.

The gang of moles also appeared over half a century ago. The Situationist International hummed a song about the Paris Commune which was popular in the nineteenth century, mentioning how – a year after the struggle of the Miike coalminers and opposition to Anpo (U.S.-Japan Mutual Security) – Neapolitan workers burned down buses and a railway station, French miners set fire to twenty-one cars in front of the management officer, and Belgian newspaper strikers tried to destroy the means of informational production: “The ‘old mole’ that Marx evoked in his ‘Toast to the Proletarians of Europe’ is still digging away; the specter is reappearing in all the nooks and crannies of our televised Elsinore Castle, whose political mists are dissipated as soon as workers councils come into existence and for as long as they continue to reign.”

Subsequently, Elsinore Castle expanded its domination into the internet that the the U.S. military-industrial complex developed. Although the force of the autonomous working class which Sergio Bologna called the “tribe of moles” was routed, they changed faces, names, gender, and race, and once again burrowed stubbornly “in all the nooks and crannies” of the ever-expanding Elsinore Castle: 1993 Zaptista Uprising, 2000 Battle of Seattle, and, despite the genocidal obstruction of U.S. “war capitalism”, what streamed out of the ground were last year’s Arab Spring and Israeli anti-neoliberal movement, post-Fukushima anti-nuclear movement, U.S. Midwestern labor movement and “Occupy Wall Street” that further expanded its class composition, the Chilean people who — enraged by the state violence that shot a fourteen-year-old boy dead — democratized the streets of Santiago at a single stroke.

These are class struggles that inverse the invariable capital that is the internet. But that is not all. They also suggest that, even as Hamlet was tormented by “counterrevolutionary boredom” that the SI despised, he was in fact the revolutionary poor (“And what so poor a man as Hamlet is…”), ready to take the head of the evil King Claudius (capital) who hangs niggardly onto his kingship by sacrificing our social and economic birthright (ghost).

“Well said, old mole! Canst work i’ the earth so fast? A worthy pioner!”

This is the moment when Hamlet is aroused out of his fear and trembling. He bids welcome to the ghost of the revolutionary future and declares this materialist vision as more astonishing than the philosophy that passively interprets the world (“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome./There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”). And he hurls himself into the collective act (“Let us go in together”) of righting the “Upside Down” “Looking-Glass World” — to borrow Eduardo Galeno’s name for our neoliberal dispensation — by turning the world upside down (“The time is out of joint; — O cursed spite,/That ever I was born to set it right!”).

In reference to the animal family Talpidae, the word “mole” entered the English language in the late fourteenth century, from the old Germanic mouldwarp (“earth-thrower”). This was the period when the Kentish peasant rebels marched on the London Bridge, stormed the Tower of London (Natsume Soseki wrote, “what remains in the horse, car, and train after human blood, human flesh, and human sins are crystallized — that’s the Tower of London”), and killed the Lord Chancellor Simon of Sudbury and Lord Treasurer Robert Hales who were responsible for the imposition of the exploitative poll taxes to continue financing the Hundred Years’ War. Necessary class vengeance from below prompted the state to murder the peasant leaders, such as Wat Tyler, John Ball, and Jack Straw, and their spirits went underground, only to come back a couple of hundred years later to haunt the Prince of Denmark.

By Shakespeare’s time, the phrase “make a mountain out of a molehill” had become well-established. Shakespeare himself used an idiomatic expression with a homologous meaning for one of his plays, Much Ado About Nothing, which was published around the time of Hamlet’s composition and, with its double entendre on “nothing” as “vagina” (“O-thing”), brought the Elizabethan gender war on stage. While Much Ado About Nothing envisions a peaceful reconciliation, even if it be a temporary truce, in the battle between the sexes, the prospect Hamlet lays out for the regicidal battle in the machinery of the corrupt state is all too realistically grim (as the Velvet Underground said, “And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds…”). The Nine Years’ War against the Gaelic Irish clan system and its communitarian culture, the most extensive English military expedition during the Elizabethan era, was wrapping up in the Siege of Kinsale and the initiation of the Plantation of Ulster, which colonized Ulster under the rule of new English planters. The Gunpowder Plot, which gave birth to the wildly infectious fantasy of blowing up Parliament and was predicated on the flawed but universalist conception of Catholicism as an anti-statist, though still monarchical, ideology linking domestic English insurrectionists with Irish chieftains and the Spanish empire, was only around the corner. Guy Fawkes, who became the face of the Gunpowder Plot, was tortured in the Tower of London and, after his fellow co-conspirators were hanged and then drawn and quartered, leaped from the gallows, broke his neck, and escaped the fate of a cruel death. His mask, via Alan Moore’s radical anti-nuclear hagiographic graphic fable, is worn by many of the Wall St. Occupiers.

As we look around the scene with would-be Guy Fawkes of today, we cannot help but utter under our breath that “something is still rotten in the state”. The execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia on Sept. 21, the suicide of a Japanese dairy farmer in his fifties who hanged himself in Soma City, Fukushima in June after scrawling on the wall in white chalk “if only there were no nuclear plant”, and Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation after a municipal officer confiscated his wheelbarrow and her aides beat him emblematize three figures intersecting within contemporary working-class composition: the U.S. prison proletariat, disproportionately African-American and actively resistant to the imposition of regimented labor-discipline; the Japanese rural workers for whom the nuclear disaster means immediately the destruction of their livelihood; and the debt-ridden Tunisian street workers who face bribery demands and daily harassment from state officials. Here Elsinore appears at once as the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison (GDCP, the largest prison in Georgia, opened in 1968), the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant (commissioned three years after GDCP), and the Tunisian municipal office that ignored and in fact threatened Bouazizi and others from subsisting on the streets.

GDCP, with its instantly self-parodying bureaucratic pseudo-scientific name, was intended originally as a state apparatus to discipline and punish the urban insurrectionists who emerged as a critical component of the 1960s U.S. class struggle. The second-generation “Old Sparky” is stored in the closet not too far from the GDCP execution chamber. In 1945 the original version of the electric chair had electrocuted Lena Baker, an African-American maid, for shooting her employer who had threatened her life should she attempt escape. Baker’s last words, spoken with undeterred dignity: “What I done, I did in self-defense, or I would have been killed myself. Where I was I could not overcome it. God has forgiven me. I have nothing against anyone. I picked cotton for Mr. Pritchett, and he has been good to me. I am ready to go. I am one in the number. I am ready to meet my God. I have a very strong conscience.” “I am one in the number” – twenty years later, “the number” materialized on the streets in Watts, an urban insurrection that the SI defended on the grounds that it short-circuited the consumer capitalist circuit of reproduction.

A nuclear plant was built as a capitalist stratagem to construct such a circuit in the relatively “underdeveloped” prefecture of Fukushima, whose rate of industrialization was less than half the national average, and as a way to circumvent the energy crisis in the coal mine, where the tradition of working-class militancy was deep-rooted. Its technological engineering and planning were provided directly by General Electric, which was also instrumental in the invention of the electric chair – hardly a coincidence, for not only does a nuclear plant represent the concentration of constant capital but also a concentration of capitalist power over energy in all its forms, in order to control the life and death of labor-power – thus, what Robert Oppenheimer said upon the detonation of the first nuclear bomb in New Mexico, near Almogordo (whose Christian church burned Shakespeare and Harry Potter ten years ago), quoting the Bhagavad Gita, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, is even truer for this “general law of capitalist accumulation”. Hence when the said invariable capital breaks down, the immediate consequence is not restoration of the pre-capitalist commons which it destroyed but the inadvertent, uncontrollable, and unprofitable accumulation of death, which we might term the “danse macabre principle of capital” in honor of the medieval peasants and Hamlet. It is as if capital has continuously rigged the system so as to make it impossible for the proletariat to become its gravediggers – it would rather kill itself and the entire species, rather than see the emergence of any viable replacement.

This ubiquitous accumulative principle of morbidity also confronted the twenty-six-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, a construction worker’s son whose life history of perpetual struggle for survival to raise his siblings since the age of ten stands immediately as the familiar allegory of the global poor. Behind the corrupt bullying puppets of the Tunisian state who mete out petty, deadly humiliations on, in Marx’s phrase, its “relative surplus population” such as Bouazizi and other rank-and-file street vendors, lie the ventriloquist of global capital, not least of all GE, which has supplied technology for the trans-Tunisian pipeline expansion linking Algeria and Sicily in 2006, serves as a contractor for the engines of twelve Sikorsky SH-60F Multi-Mission Utility Helicopters that the U.S. government sold to Tunisia in 2010, and is building two electric stations in the Tunisian towns of Feriana and Thyna. This is contemporary thanatocracy – Peter Linebaugh’s neologism for the capitalist “rule by death” – in action, whose embryonic dialectical reversal we’re witnessing (the most obviously irreversible element of antinomy here being the genetic “danse macabre” set in motion by the nuclear accident).

The medieval European danse macabre was premised on the absolute equality of all human beings in the face of death, in short a post-mortem abolition of all classes (the effective sentiment expressed by Tom Waits when he groaned, “Ask a king or a beggar/And the answer they’ll give/Is we’re all gonna be…just/Dirt in the ground”). It is therefore a potentially revolutionary creed if it is ever understood as a chiasmus which inverts the “post-” into “pre-mortem” and, as such, set into action, as the English peasant rebels did in the late fourteenth century – which was precisely when, in the wake of the plague and perpetual war, danse macabre also started to be expressed widely as an integral part of pan-European mentalité, including among traveling company of actors – whose successors enact a play-within-a-play in Hamlet to “catch the conscience of the king”.

Sakurai Daizo and his troupe of tent actors, Yasen no tsuki high-beats (literally, “Moon over the Field of Battle High/Sea-Beats”), are now playing the role of the players to our Hamlet. In September 2011 they encamped in Fukushima to perform Pan-Yaponia Folktale: Story of Fukubikuni, written by Sakurai and based on the legend of eight-hundred-year-old Buddhist nun who earned her immortality by consuming the flesh of a mermaid, whose murder at the hands of a fisherman eventuated in earthquake and other natural disasters — the nun spent her days serving the poor and finally retired into a cave as a hermit. “There, a throng of memories that start to ring little by little and eventually resonate with each other, and the corresponding words squeezed out like droplets of fat form a folktale with no head or limbs, like a torso. ‘Pan-Yaponia’ is the writhing earth that embraces the horizon. Temporarily resting their hands of restoring the passageway, our tent play wires one folktale to another folktale that recreates/creates this earth, pulls them to each other, and stands still on the road tonight”. The parallel with the contemporary situation in Fukushima is unmistakable: as we ourselves take our last supper with the meat of a monstrous mermaid in the form of radioactive food, our “immortal genes” undergo mutation that is indistinguishable from a curse that shortens the lives and afflicts the health of their physical shells, yielding us the choice of enduring a violent vow of poverty that demands not so much a utopia as a merciful death to thanatocratic capital, with its Trinitarian manifestations in the nuclear plant, prison, and bureaucratic state. Or at least so I imagine, for I have not seen the play.

But, if my half-asleep, drunken memory serves me well, I do remember Sakurai’s poised hand as he held forth in his inimitably hoarse, crackling voice – like a twinkle-in-the-eye grand-guinol personification of Death, the antithesis of the hypnotically austere Bergmaneseque variant in The Seventh Seal – about the power of theatrical gesture, its ability to compress popular energies in the tension of a muscle or a fiercely focused look. At the time – one hot July night at his house, surrounded by his fellow players, family, friends – I thought of the Brechtian gestus, which is probably impossible to consummate in the conventionally produced theater and finds as worthy practitioner as any in this sturdy band of revolutionary tent theater company.

Folklores are a kind of gestus too, having accrued layer after layer of popular historical memory over generations through oral transmission and ritual reenactments. Literal-minded scholars chafe at this, repeating the difficulty of reconstructing a singular ur-text (yes, such as that of ur-Hamlet). They assume the myth of an unblemished origin and treat later accretions or variations as so much mongrel degradations to be eliminated – but what is truly interesting are these very accretions, these mongrel “distortions” that indicate traces of historical breakages and emendations, the collectively creative process at work. Each layer is a hidden sign of the living, a gesture pregnant with social pressures and energies which it is our task to interpret no less creatively, even against their grain.

In the Japanese, or rather pan-Asian, variant of the mermaid legend, the sublime monstrosity of the mermaid derives its terror from the limitless sea, whose amorally unpredictable ferocity and boundless commonage relativized the seasonally fixed, geographically bounded commons of the peasants. To borrow Orikuchi Shinobu’s keywords, this mermaid is a marebito (“stranger”) who has arrived from tokoyo (“the otherworld of immortal life”) of the sea that makes possible traditional communal customs, and, instead of entertaining the mermaid, making him/her into a piece of meat that is the object of prohibition indicates that something unusual has happened in the communal custom itself. For instance, the fifteenth century, when the legend of eight-hundred-year-old nun started to be spread, was a period when Japanese Sea trade in the land of Wakasa was initiated in the port of Shirahama under the samurai regime of Wakasa Takeda-uji, and, in the north, a murder of an Ainu boy at the hands of a Japanese blacksmith instigated an indigenous rebellion called the Battle of Koshamain, which was suppressed by the Wakasa feudal lord Takeda Nobutaka’s son Nobuhiro who shot to death with an arrow the Ainu military commander Koshamain and his son. From its origin in Marxist stadialism, Amino Yoshihiko’s medieval social history took a Copernican turn with the analysis involving the manor Tara-sho in Wakasa, and it was in the 1440-60s when Nobutaka’s vassal Yamagatashi gained the power of collecting half the tribute in Tara-sho, seizing its ruling authority from the former landlord Toji (the head Buddhist temple of the Toji-shingon sect). In the historical background of this decline of Toji hegemony was the rebellion of kokujin (a layer of samurai class in charge of overseeing manorial land and peasants), which engulfed the entire land of Wakasa ten years before the 1381 English peasant rebellion. In short, the mermaid legend narrates allegorically the anxiety that these hybrid social struggles generated upon the medieval commons.

In the variation of the eight-hundred-year-old nun transmitted in the northern Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture (currently the town of Shiokawa in Kitakata City), the historical setting is the reign of Emperor Monmu (from late seventh to early eighth century). Here koshinko, the communal custom of worshipping the gods and Buddha while drinking all night — a folk religious practice that mixes Chinese Taoism and Buddhism in a shamanistic fashion — becomes a passageway into the Dragon’s Palace (tokoyo). And a man who was exiled in Aizu participates in koshinko, crosses over to the Dragon’s Palace, and, when his daughter eats a nine-holed shell (gigantic abalone) that he brought back untouched from the reception given on his behalf at the Palace, she turns into an eight-hundred-year-old nun. If we posit the abalone, used as a talisman and in folk medicine, as an original form of mermaid flesh transubstantiated by robust popular imagination, we can see that food from the sea was recognized as an entity with its own spiritual persona and that it was such “night gathering” as koshinko that preserved this collective recognition. If this were the case, it would be wholly logical to consider the elements of marebito to naturally attach themselves to female and male divers who participated in the semi-sacred labor of collecting and capturing food from the sea.

Miyaya Kazuhiko’s manga Mermaid Legend allegorically incorporated this wholly logical circuit of traditional thought into the nuclear age. Miyaya was close to a zenkyoto activist who debated Mishima Yukio during the student occupation of Tokyo University and continues to illustrate his unique vision of ecological class struggle without compromising with the calculation of commercial capital. From the film version of Mermaid Legend, Matsumoto Mari’s “Female Diver ‘Short of Being’ a Pirate and Pirates” (Gendai shiso special issue on pirates, July 2011) imaginatively extracts the “mermaid = female diver” who wrecks vengeance from the commons, superimposing her onto the women, primarily houseworkers, who “measure radiation with a Geiger counter in one hand”. “Just as it was for medieval witches, they will be persecuted until nuclear power’s myth of safety is extirpated”. Exactly. When the commons is threatened by capital or the terror that is immanent in its social relations, the female divers/mermaids/witches are “persecuted” and expelled from the community. This “persecution/expulsion” is none other than primary accumulation, enclosure that knows no end. When they are murdered and their flesh starts to be eaten as a commodity-form, the world will become disenchanted, our commonist Cinderella — who has returned not from the banquet with Prince Charming but from the Dragon’s Palace at the bottom of the sea where insurrectionary prophecy is whispered — will once gain be exploited as a factory girl in the shabby social factory.

This is the same with Hamlet’s ghost/mole. In various parts of Japan there is an customary event called “strike the mole”. “On the day of the rabbit in October the event of gencho [otherwise known as a “celebration of the day of the boar”, a harvest festival -- MY] takes place. Threatening moles is a later invention, banishing of spirits that hide underground. In early spring, first strike the ground with a cane and, in April when events of the rice field are about to take place, this custom is repeated” (Orikuchi Shinobu, “Story of Flower”). Most likely “later invention” here signifies a stage of division within the formation of the agricultural community in which non-agricultural labor was expelled and defined as a specter haunting the commons. Such a division may have been the invention of a newly emerging ruling class or a sign of internal social tensions cracking the relations of communal production – we don’t know. We do know the ironic legacy of rupture among the moles – for the “mole-hunters” would later be hunted too in turn by the “spears and arrows of outrageous” mercantile and industrial accumulation. When Yanagita Kunio wrote famously that those present-day “mole-hunters”, or “people of the plain” – peasants in one conjuncture, industrial workers in another – to fear the terror of the commons of the mountain, he meant that the mountain was the underground made visible, preceding all modes of production, the primordial commons (ur-commons) burrowed deep beneath the earth in so many layers of historical stages and, given a certain set of circumstances and converging agency, this “ur-commons” was ready to smash these stages in no particular order, to come to the surface of the earth to breathe afresh and bask in the sunshine.

As the moles multiply and cross paths, rhizome-like, underneath the earth, the tectonic plate of political geography will undoubtedly shift. But, as is clear at Occupy Wall St. (which I visited in late October), and as I’m sure it’s the case everywhere else where new movements are emerging, tensions among the moles and their pathways are generating painful but necessary equilibrium of forces and ideas that are attempting to open up a new, wider stage of the struggle.

Hanada Kiyoteru, who like Benjamin sought the possibility of hyper-modern revolutionary art, suggested that the “pre-modern” — he had in mind for example Yanagita Kunio’s folkloric investigation of the Japanese commons and its legends — could serve as a necessary axis of such future avant-garde art. We need to amplify Hanada’s point about revolutionary aesthetics into the field of politics and everyday life, whose inseparability the SI insisted on. In retrospect, we might be tempted to shake our finger at Hanada for his overreliance on rhetoric as a device for cultural prophecy or the SI for its Eurocentric, urbanistic model of revolutionary success. But to do so without appreciating their greater legacy, the lessons they offer for our no less imperfect present, is to fall into the nay-saying habit that obtrudes impatiently, almost reflexively, on the sideline of the emergent global anti-capitalist, anti-nuclear, and anti-statist movements from below. Even the melancholy, ever-self-doubting Hamlet did not take the ghost to task for being insufficiently angelic, sincere, or revolutionary in his demands. He was genuinely astonished by the vision and, along with his friends, swore to fulfill the charge of vengeance it called forth. We should do likewise.

Needless to say, the first act of this revolutionary drama is not yet over. As with the new angel of history, no one can foresee the rapid-fire change of scenes ahead. Like Hamlet and his loyal friends, let us — we happy, we happy many, we band of brothers and sisters — continue to act and speak in the spirit of that refrain from the nineteenth-century French ballad “The Bloody Week”:

Yes, but!

That will soon be at an end,

The bad days will end.

And look out for our revenge

When all the poor go to it.


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フローレンス + ザ・ マシーン、「盛夏は終わった」





「よく言ったぞ、老いたるモグラよ! そんなに素早く地下で働けるのか? 立派な開拓者よ!」



シェイクスピアの時代には「モグラ穴から山を作る」(瑣細なことを誇張する)というフレーズは既に確立されていた。シェイクスピア自身も同義である慣用表現を自分の戯曲の一つ、『ハムレット』執筆中に出版したMuch Ado About Nothing(『空騒ぎ』)に用い、nothingと「ヴァギナ」(O-thing)という二重の意味を持つこの劇を以てエリザベス朝の性戦争を舞台上にもたらした。『空騒ぎ』は男女の争いの間に一時的停戦であれ平穏な和解を想像する、一方腐敗した国家機構における弑逆の争いで『ハムレット』が提示する展望は余りにも現実的に厳しいものである(ヴェルヴェット・アンダーグラウンドが歌ったように「そして全ての死体が塚に積み重ねられた...」)。エリザベス朝の最も広範囲なイギリス軍事遠征であった9年戦争は、ゲール族のアイルランド氏族システムとその共同社会的文化を相手にして行われ、キンセールの包囲、そしてアルスターを新しいイギリス人農園主の支配下に植民地化した「アルスターの農園」の開始とともに終息を迎えつつあった。国会爆破という荒々しく伝播しやすい幻想を生み出し、イギリス国内の謀反人をアイルランド人族長やスペイン帝国と繋げる反国家的でありながら君主制イデオロギーでもあった、欠損のある普遍的な概念としてのカトリック教を根拠におく、火薬陰謀事件が起こる寸前である。火薬陰謀事件の顔となるガイ・フォークスはロンドン塔で拷問にかけられ、彼の共謀者の首が吊られ内臓抉りと四つ裂きの刑に処された直後、絞首台から飛び降りて首を折り、惨たらしい死の運命から免れた。アラン・ムーアのラジカル聖人伝的反核劇画の寓話を通して大勢のウォール街占拠者はガイ・フォークスの仮面を被っている。 











この至極合理的な伝統的思考の回路を原発時代の寓話に導入したのが宮谷一彦のマンガ『人魚伝説』だ。東大占拠で三島由紀夫と論戦した全共闘の活動家と親しい宮谷は、商業資本の思惑には迎合せず独特な生態的階級闘争のビジョンを劇画化し続けている。松本麻里「海賊「未満」海女と海賊」(『現代思想 特集:海賊』20117月)はコモンズからの復讐を行使する「人魚=海女」を実写版『人魚伝説』から想像力豊かに読み取り、311以後「ガイガーカウンターを片手に放射能を計測する」主に家事労働者である女性たちの姿と重ね合わせた。「彼女たちは、中世の魔女がそうであったように、この原子力の安全神話の息の根が絶えるまで迫害されつづけるだろう。」そうなのだ。コモンズが資本もしくはそこに内在する社会関係のテロルに晒される時、海女/人魚/魔女は「迫害され」共同体から追放される。この「迫害・追放」は終わることを知らない本源的蓄積、エンクロジャーそのものである。彼女たちが殺され一商品形態としてその屍肉が食われ始めるとき世界から魔術は解かれ、私たちの革命的コモニスト・シンデレラは王子様との宴からではなく蜂起の予言が囁かれる海底の竜宮から帰って来て、みすぼらしい社会工場の女工として再びこき使われる。










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Waiting for the Day

Photo: Ilcommonz


Now only two among fifty-four reactors are at work in Japan. That is, after eleven months have passed since the nuclear accident, most of the reactors (aside from those suffered the accident) have been stopped for periodical inspection. And none among them has resumed their operation so far. If this state continues, all nuclear power plants will stop by the end of this coming April. Who on earth can envision this situation a year ago, or even right after the accident?

All media are reporting the arguments concerning the need of nuclear power plants. What will replace the energy demand if all nuclear plants stop? Not to mention electric companies, financial and industrial circles are warning against electric shortcoming. The other day, for instance, TEPCO announced raise of electric fee due to the hike of fossil fuel cost replacing nuclear energy. Such argument, that seems to be reasonable at a glance, is in fact very bizarre. For the nuclear plants continue to stop its operation one after another, totally irrespective of all these debates. The reality is developing as if it were another world to the arguments. While many people are aware of it, they pretend not to be, and behave obliviously.

The government is showing, though meagerly, its de-nuke orientation. It does not declare discontinuation of nuclear operation with a concrete plan. Financial circles also seem to admit that the times are for de-nuke. But strangely enough, nobody mentions the fact that almost none of the  reactors are working. Common parlance in social criticism stresses that nobody wants to see a bad reality, but the situation in Japan is that nobody is willing to see the good reality.

The government, financial circles and the electric companies must be wary of this situation. There is no doubt that they are awaiting a chance for resuming the operation. On the other hand, the majority of the population is quietly waiting for the day all the rest will stop, as if speaking about it would mean a bad luck. The day will come, and very soon.

Another reason that nobody speaks about it is that the coming termination is a given fact and that we are already living a world almost without nuclear power. It’s hard for us to believe that we have unexpectedly come to live this present life. This is due to the lack of our sense of reality rather than the lack of our confidence.

Then, who is stopping nuclear operation? It is we ourselves. Demonstrations are taking place everywhere,  becoming part of everyday landscape. Every week somewhere in Japan, several hundreds to several thousands people are marching. With much conflicts concerning tactics, however, they do not discourage the entire impetus. Quality and number of participants are upswing. The most symbolic at the moment is the occupation of a site at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in central Tokyo. Last September, a group of people with women from Fukushima besieged the Ministry building; since this action the occupation has developed. Today, several people are stationed around-the-clock at the site where mass appeals by the mothers from Fukushima and various teach-ins are taking place regularly. An over 70 year old participant who has been living there over three months says: “We were defeated at the struggle against the Japan/US Security Treaty of 1960 as well as that of 1970. We have been continuously defeated. But this time is different. We might win, so I can push this further.” Recently the head of the METI demanded dismissal of the occupation, but a large number of protests and supports across the nation helped it remain, and the site is alive today.

About a month ago, cesium was detected in baby formula, and the producer recalled the product. It was not a public institution but a citizens’ monitoring team in Fukushima City that detected the radioactive material. In order to measure radioactivity in food, a special device is required. The group in Fukushima bought the expensive machine together and continue their measuring practice. Their slogan reads: “think ourselves, study ourselves, measure ourselves and protect ourselves.” Encouraged by such passion of the people, Nihonmatsu City has begun to research internal exposure of the residents, with an even more expensive device that no independent organization could afford. In consequence, radioactive contamination was discovered in a newly built residential building in the city, where many of the residents are small children. This is due to the unmonitored use of irradiated building materials. The popular science is achieving solid results one after another, thanks to such practices.

Radioactive materials are not those that exist in nature. They are products of science, and can be dealt with only scientifically. Now the focus of local concerns is decontamination of the contaminated areas. This consists of washing houses and roads by water, and shaving off the topsoil where radioactive materials are accumulated. By this practice it is expected that the level of radioactivity is lowered and the residents can live there again. However, there are problems: can the level be really lowered enough for living? Where will the contaminated soil be delivered thereafter? On top of these, the work of decontamination  is left to the residents themselves, who are inevitably contaminated during such work. In reality this has become the convenient measure to prevent the collapse of communities. Therefore, the central and local governments publicize the idea that this can solve everything.

What is at stake in this situation is what the residents do — especially those who live in and around the exclusion zone in Fukushima and nearby prefectures, and those who live in the high radioactive zones including Tokyo metropolis. Can they return home after the decontamination completes? Can they even continue to live there? They are to make their decisions while watching the decontamination work that may be taking more than a year. Younger people and parents of small children tend to be suspicious of the efficiency of decontamination and lean towards evacuation. But it is hard to leave their old home and there is no guarantee for them to keep their livelihood. They are oscillating between the fear of radiation and the anxiety of survival and living. Those who live in high radioactive zones are thrown into such conflict. To confront this situation, the people are first required to be a rational scientist, who measures and analyzes the radiation data in their living environment. Secondly they need to have close and patient conversations with family members and friends. Thus begins re-creating or rethinking of relationships with others. The final judgment as to whether leaving or staying is up to the individual. And it is at this moment that everyone has to directly confront the state and capitalism. The anxiety and conflicts of the people who live there or have evacuated from there can be seen from all sorts of media reports. So it can be said that the conflicts deriving from the contradiction between the fear of radiation and the anxiety of survival and living exist at the fountainhead of people’s movements and inclinations that have stopped the majority of nuclear power plants. It is not only the movements that stop the nuclear plants; rather the measuring of radioactivity, everyday struggle and the feeling that has arose in this new situation – the sum total of these is stopping the nuclear operation in Japan. The nuclear disaster has delivered the people such long lasting everyday struggles.

According to an opinion poll that took place shortly after the accident, those who are for the immediate or future discontinuation of nuclear power amounted 60% of the population. This was deemed a high number considering the previous situation. But the poll that took place late last year showed the 80% for the abolition of nuclear power immediately or in the future. After the accident more and more people have come to think that nuclear power is unnecessary. Is this surprising or natural?

The reason for this is clear. We have learned the fact that only with two remaining reactors, we are not suffering from electric shortage at all. We are confident not only about sufficiency but also about the fact that we can live by conserving electricity. For instance, a friend told me quite casually that he had reduced his electric usage from 30 to 40% during the past year. This is exactly the situation that the nuclear industries are most afraid of. The most simple and effective way to fight the nuclear power is reduce electric usage. The practices of measuring radiation doses of the air, soil and food are but increasing with innumerable individual and group participants. Once Geiger counters were unequivocally expensive, but now many new inexpensive types are introduced into the market. Since several months ago, local governments have rented out Geiger counters to the public. Now all have been reserved for several months ahead. Our habits have been dramatically changed. The singularity of the nuclear disaster is that it has been coercing us to change our living style and everyday life on a broad spectrum. It recomposes our mutual relations and transforms expression and organization of our anger. Indeed, we have changed.

Certainly the state and capital will not overlook the ongoing termination of nuclear reactors. Now it is evident that by this coming late April, all nuclear plants will be stopped for maintenance. But we all know that they will seek to resume the operation and a long struggle is waiting ahead. They will continuously tell us that it is necessary for our satisfactory living. But again, the reality is that we are living almost totally without nuclear energy. We have long been seeking to adjust our hopes to reality. But now, the reality is adjusting itself to our existence.

We cannot predict what will happen in the late April. Interminable struggles are on-going in the regions that have nuclear plants as well as in our urban everyday life. Amidst the suffocating situation notwithstanding, we are strangely in high spirits. Our minds are lightened day by day. We are truly looking forward to the coming day. The day that we have not been able to even imagine until recently will be here. We are sure of the joy of the day.

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Abolishionism After 3/11

Photo: The Stimulator on flickr

(Scroll down for the original text in English)



2011112日、ニューヨーク日本領事館前で、まる1日かけて抗議行動が行われた1。これは、ちょうど同じ時期に東京の経産省前で原発の廃止と福島からの子どもの避難を求めて座り込みを行っている女性たちに連帯した行動であり、そのよびかけによってニューヨークの街頭にも人々が集まった。さわやかに晴れた秋の日の午後、その連帯デモで活動家の殿平有子は「日本のテクノロジーにたいする崇拝的な観念を捨てよ!」、そして「災害は未だに続いているのだ!」と呼びかけた。 Continue reading


Before and After 3/11

Photo: 汚染帝都 by Kai Wai散策

(Translation by Umi Hagitani)

*The original text of the present article in Japanese has been published in at Plus 10 (Tokyo: Ohta Publishing Company, November 2011).


What is the Nuclear State?

There were not many people who foresaw the March 11th nuclear reactor accident in Fukushima. Most of us were at a loss, not knowing how to react, how to respond, when it broke out. At least I was at a loss. I had never imagined that the buildings encasing reactors could have exploded. Honestly, I expected that the accident would be much smaller, like the one at Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactor during the Niigata Earthquake in 2007. I did think that it could release radioactive materials, but only temporarily, and that radioactive iodine could reach Tokyo, but much less. So when I evacuated with my daughter to my hometown in Aichi Prefecture in the early morning of March 12th, I thought that our refuge would be only for the time being.

But the disaster turned out to be much more enormous and much more long-lasting, surpassing my imagination.

After the accident, however, the course of following events developed in a way we had expected: we had known it. TEPCO had no ability whatsoever to control the disasterous situation, and the government covered up every critical information — thus they have been wastefully worsening the casualties and damages. I do not think that many people were surprised by this. If you had some experience out in the society and some comprehension of Japan’s nuclear policy, it would not be that hard to expect more or less the coming response of the government. And its measures were the worst, unfortunately as we had long known.

During the month of March, we stayed with my parents’ house in Aichi Prefecture. By April, we rented an apartment, and brought all utilities from Tokyo. I transferred my daughter’s school registration from Tokyo to Aichi. I did so because I expected what would happen in the contaminated areas in the North East and Kanto. I was sure that my forebodings would come true. People who moved out of Kanto were not few. She and he, everybody had a firm conviction — although we had no knowledge on nuclear energy, we all knew the nature of the nuclear policy. We already knew, from the beginning, what our government would neglect, and how inhumanely all medical, welfare, and educational institutions would treat us.

I want to clarify what we experienced during March 2011. Already in the early March, the government was aware of the massive release of radioactive materials in a wide area. While they should have immediately announced the necessity of indoor evacuation and provided us with potassium iodide (KI) and clean water in the entire Kanto area, their main concern was regulating and oppressing information exchanges among the people on Twitter and emails. In this instance alone, the characteristic of the nuclear policy by the nuclear state is quite obvious. More significant here is the fact that while enraged by the response of the government, we were observing it with a sense of déjà-vu: “I knew it — our government was like that!” This is far worse than “distrust of the government” as such. What we came to conceive is neither distrust nor misunderstanding, but a common recognition of the nuclear state.

Perhaps for a long time we have known of, though vaguely, what the nuclear state is. Now the vague knowledge is turning to a clear conviction. Many individuals, groupuscules, and civil organizations are criticizing the Japanese government, and creating their own initiatives. Thanks to this conviction being widely shared can they bring a firm grasp of the situation and powerfully direct the public opinion, despite the fact that most of us have been amateurs who knew next to nothing about nuclear energy or radiation. It is by the experience during that March that we are able to grasp a clear picture of the nuclear state and its vital spot.

Since that day, our attention has been reoriented. We have come to question: “how the state that embraces nuclear power controls the society” rather than just: “how nuclear power is controlled.” The concept of control vis-à-vis nuclear power has been split and re-inscribed.

Nuclear Capitalism

When I wrote a book entitled: Atomic Cities (Tokyo: Ibunsha, 2010) prior to March 11th, my main problematic concern was the impact of nuclear technology over contemporary society. In order to roughly periodize the post 1945 era, I associate it with “nuclear capitalism.”

Nuclear technology brought us as significant and dynamic a change into the history of capitalism as did sailing technology and steam locomotive to the previous ages. Big sailing boats realized the age of great navigation, and in consequence gave birth to merchant capitalism. It was a spatial revolution, which created a basis for global capitalism. Then steam locomotive brought big factories, and then developed industrial capitalism. It was a revolution of energy, which realized the so-called age of steel. Then what did atomic bombs put to actual use in 1945 bring us? For now, I would vaguely term the resulting paradigm “nuclear capitalism.” Then a question arises: “what kind of characteristics is given to capitalism in this new context.” Urbanization, financialization, informatization (de-industrialization), and reinforcement of police state are the peculiar characteristics of the first world capitalist nation states that we are facing now. Is it possible to synthesize these within the concept of nuclear state? This was the crux of my approach.

This periodization ultimately results in the problematic consciousness of the contemporary state. The epitomic polity that geared the age of great navigation was colonialism. The main player in the age of steel was imperialism. Then, what is the dominant polity that leads the age of nuclear power? What comes next to imperialism? Is it super-imperialism or the “empire”? I wrote Atomic Cities as a foundation for these inquiries.

When I wrote the book, my premise was the existing “peaceful,” “safe” and “clean” cities, the attributes that I thought were the main characteristics of the nuclear capitalism.

Peacefulness, because we have been blessed with peace. After 1945, battlefields have moved mainly to the Third World. While wars were taking place in Korean Peninsula and Vietnam, Japan was enjoying a peace covered under the nuclear umbrella of the U.S.

Safety, because violence is ostensibly wiped out. Every street corner has a surveillance camera. A drunken man raises his voice a little, and here comes a cop. Violence is relocated to confined and invisible spaces; now cities are safe at least on surface. They are clean. No factory, no soot, no sweat, no dust, no cigarette butt or spit on the street.

In addition nuclear energy is a clean energy because it does not create carbon dioxide, and certainly safe – this was the notion based upon pre-3/11 atomic cities, an utopia that humanity finally achieved. At the same time, however, it was a dystopia. In other words, we had long been living a dystopia, before having experienced the catastrophic accident of 3/11.

Radioactive Materials and Protection against Them

Peacefulness, safety, and cleanliness — these utopian characteristics of atomic cities are yet maintained after the 3/11 incident.

The amount of radioactive materials that have been released from Fukushima Daiichi reactor exceeds high above that of Little Boy, the A-bomb used in Hiroshima. 500 Bq/kg — the current provisional standard for food set by the Japanese government — is the number for bottom line standard that people in starvation in case of a full-scale nuclear war are allowed to eat. This means that we are forced to live this disaster beyond the nuclear warfare calmly and peacefully. What truly shocked me right after 311 was less government’s responses to the incidents than those citizens who solemnly accepted them. It is surprising that the members of the Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center, known for its adamant criticism against nuclear policies, remained in Tokyo while radioactive materials were pouring all over the metropolis in March.

Another example is the Japan Congress against A-and H-Bombs, whose slogan is: “humans and atom cannot coexist,” actually held a national convention in highly contaminated Fukushima. I see a deeper problem in the fact that these civic anti-nuclear organizations did not evacuate themselves from their Tokyo headquarters, nor did they call for people’s evacuation. It is not only the government that is scared of people’s panic as a threat for peace, so too are the citizens themselves. Sensible citizens and critical intellectuals both demand the people in fear of radioactivity to remain calm.

Meanwhile, we are gradually losing sight of the actual status of contamination. At the moment, we are measuring cesium in soil and food, though without knowing how long our method remains valid. Sooner or later, cesium at least in agricultural products will be undetectable. By employing certain method, the amount of cesium can be reduced, as some farmers have already begun to practice.

Let me explain this mechanism. In the first place, the reason why cesium is absorbed into plants is: when plants absorb potassium from soil, they also intake cesium because both materials behave similarly. Then how can we stop the absorption of cesium? One method is to blend exceeding amount of potassium in soil. In other words, by controlling the ratio of the two materials in soil, the amount of cesium intake can be reduced.

But this method has two fatal flaws.

From the vantage point of protecting the producers, this method is just a deferment of the solution to the problem.

While the products with reduced cesium can be distributed to the market, it does not reduce the absolute quantity of cesium in soil, so the farmers will be continuously inhaling radioactive dust in their lungs. Upon scrutiny of soil, options such as giving up farming, relocation of farmland, or decontamination of land should be considered, and compensation for damages needs to be filed for these. But due to the fact that the products can be shipped as commodities for now, the measures for solution are put off.

The second problem exists in how to protect consumers from contaminated products. Cesium is just one of the nuclides being released and spreading from Fukushima. The only reason that we are testing cesium in particular is because it is the indicator for the level of radioactive contamination by all other nuclides. It is impossible to detect such nuclides as strontium and tritium with the kind of measuring instruments that we ordinary people can obtain. So we have to focus on cesium. That is to say that if cesium is laundered, we can no longer know the presence of other nuclides. The same can be said of tap water. If water purification plants adopted some ways to absorb cesium, we could have tap water without cesium, but this would cover-up other nuclides. Since 3/11, we have heard stories that tap water in Tokyo Metropolitan area has come to contain more dirt, or has become more chloric –I wonder if cesium has been removed or modified by certain means. Thus contamination in food and water is covered up, and they look clean and safe on the surface.

War and Peace

The Japanese Archipelago will be an intersection of war and peace for the next several years. First there will be an actual state of war wherein we will have to endure poor diet, scarcity of supplies, life in refuge, acceptance of evacuees, and finally unwitting radioactive labors. The spectacle that promotes “peace” will attack us as well. At least on the surface, dominant in public will be a general feeling that as Fukushima Daiichi incident comes to an end, most of the problems have been solved. On the other hand, simulation of war or war games will appear in order to psychologically rationalize the gap of situational recognition: war or peace.

I strongly criticize war games. For example, visiting contaminated Fukushima for volunteering or sending people for disaster relief volunteers is a sheer absurdity. Campaigns to “eat and support Fukushima” are ridiculous. So is what Dr. Hiroaki Koide advocates: “senior citizens should eat contaminated food in order to take responsibility (of the disaster)”. These are but a few examples of what I call war games.

I would like to point out the problems of Dr. Koide’s proposal, since this embodies a wider tendency beyond his personal position.

There are three points at issue.

First his proposal individualizes the issue. What he is saying is simply that consumers should buy contaminated food products if each is given choice: to buy or not. He dismisses the whole picture of radioactive contamination itself. There are a starting point and an end point in any system of distribution. In case of food products, a producer is the starting point, and treatment of sewage and garbage is the end point. Being in-between, consumption makes possible agricultural and fishing industries at the starting point, and demands the disposal of sewage and garbage at the end point. Buying irradiated food products makes producers exposed to radiation more than consumers, and continue their radioactive labors. Those who eat irradiated food will dispose excessive radioactive wastes, and eject radioactive excrement, imposing them to local public facilities. People who work at incinerators or sewage disposal plants will be unwittingly made to bear radioactive labor, in places faraway from Fukushima. It is not that all these labors are carried on by senior citizens who are to take responsibility; all workers at these facilities, including innumerable youth, are to be imposed radioactive labor, for dealing with what Dr. Koide et al are to self-determinedly undertake.

Secondly Dr. Koide’s proposal does not take into consideration the long-term effect of radioactive pollution. Consider half-life of cesium 137 is thirty years, and that of Cesium 134 is two years, which means that it will take thirty years for these half-lives in sum to be reduced to a quarter, and sixty years to be one eighth. Still this is the calculation of only cesium. The problem will not be solved in a decade or two. I cannot help mocking Dr. Koide et al who feel responsibility for the accident: “how many years are you planning to live and take responsibility?” Our strategies against contamination (as well as struggles around pollution) require a scope of a hundred years at least. We must figure out what will be possible after all those who are “responsible” disappear, and what needs to be done at this moment for that.

Thirdly Dr. Koide et al keep certain reservations vis-à-vis the nuclear policy itself. It can be seen as a political submissiveness. Public in general consider Dr. Koide’s proposal as a counter action to “egoistic consumerism.” Above problems granted, however, their proposal that “seniors eat contaminated food and take responsibilities for the accident” is nothing but an egoistic self-preservation. Take a close look at their “Collective Declaration.” It suggests that only by buying contaminated food can one take full responsibility for the accident. Can there be such a convenient way of solving the problem? Can there be such a convenient consciousness of responsibility? I cannot believe that. There are things we should do more actively and confrontationally.

In conclusion, Dr. Koide et al’s subjective declaration tolerates and even follows the “eat and support” propaganda orchestrated by the government. While it seems to criticize the nuclear state, it is actually an avoidance of confrontation with it. Mothers from the North East and Kanto regions are desperately fighting for survival: by seeking to evacuate with their children, monitoring radioactivity in parks and schools, watching school meals, demanding inquiries to local incinerators, and measuring contamination in food and soil independently. Right next to this on-going state of war, Dr. Koide et al carelessly claims: “we should eat.” I do not believe that they intend to fight in full confrontation with these problems. They are just exhibiting a critical gesture and playing their war game.

Questions of Neoliberalism

Wars in nuclear era are a concealed war, taking invisible forms of low intensity warfare. Today innumerable types of conspiracy theory are circulated, only because contemporary wars are based upon invisibility. They appear as an information warfare, campaigns to create impression and organizing apathy toward existing violence.

In his “Comments on the Society of the Spectacle,” the situationist theorist, Guy Debord points out such situation. Contemporary capitalism, namely, what Debord calls “the spectacle society” is firstly a world filled with lies and secrets. This was the notion that I conceived when I wrote Atomic Cities. I sought to connect concrete tendencies with this notion: cities shining by nuclear energy, cities under a total police control, tourist/commercial cities approaching more and more a sheer spectacle, cities wherein violence is madeg invisible, cities under de-industrialization, cities wherein labor is dying, etc.

In order to argue these historical characteristics, grounding problematic is that of neoliberal policies that have been repeatedly problematized. Where did the neoliberal autocracy derive from? Why is “crisis” always invoked? Why is it over-emphasized? Why do banks and financial system swell each and every time a crisis is weathered? These are the issues of the state as well as of economics, the domain of scholarship responsible for having privatized national finance to make it into a tool for further financialization. What makes possible the expropriation of wealth (primitive accumulation), the bare act of a theft at a fire?

It was perhaps the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre who pointed out the threat of neoliberalism in the first place. He grasped signs of coming neoliberalism in new urban policies after the World War II. The Situationists and Debord followed Lefebvre to succeed his problematic consciousness. On my part, I followed an inverse path, from the critique of the present neoliberal policies to Lefevbre’s account of the urban sociology of the 1940s. In this process, another argument I could not ignore was that of Robert Jungk’s The Nuclear State. The importance of the book has been almost forgotten up until recently.

In passing, as I believe, French contemporary thought, the so-called Post-structuralism in particular, had a tacit yet close connection with the issues around nuclear power. The time during the 1970s to the 1980s when this line of thought was shaped was the time of the cold war, and hence under the threat of nuclear warfare. We should recall that in such context the works of Deleuze and Guattari were read, and the concepts such as “state apparatus” and the “society of control” were posed and scrutinized. We can even place Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation in this context.

In any event, my conceptualization of Atomic Cities was not an outcome of any attempt for presenting a novel stance, but of straightforward readings and interpretations of the line of thought.

Habitus without Habitus

The war of the nuclear state employs lies and secrets, as has been revealed in the responses of the Japanese government after 3/11. And from now on, under the state of actual nuclear war, uses of lies and secrets will be repeated. When these are unveiled, then, manipulation of impression will be instigated by various campaigns.

One example of many on-going campaigns is as such: a department store hosts an event to sell food products from Fukushima, where actually many people come and buy them. Seeing the scene, most of the people come to have an impression that the products from Fukushima are accepted by many citizens and safe. This is a total hallucination. I would not say that everyone at the event is a shill, but organizers and hosts of the event plan this ahead, to make sure that certain number of people gather and certain amount of products are sold there. In reality, that certain number of people gather there and that Fukushima products are accepted by citizens are totally separate things, but thanks to the effect of the hallucinogenic trick, an impression can be created that the public widely welcomes Fukushima foods. This is almost like hypnosis, but such event is organized on daily basis. I imagine that there exists a kind of “professional Japanese” who are willing to participate in such operation. There are certain numbers of citizens who make their livings by state projects: cops, teachers, soldiers, doctors, nurses, etc. Accordingly, there are kin or spouses who are mobilized in this kind of event. When you see crowds who come to buy Fukushima products on TV, you may step back and think that these people are the professional Japanese who are attached to and function for the nation-state.

In the situation filled with lies, secrets, and psychological manipulation, the problems we face infuse those of sociology.

We often confront suspicious problematizations such as “nuclear energy and economy” these days, but now we can comfortably argue back: “Whose economy is it ?” Parents who have equipped themselves with high intelligence to fight their struggle can firmly objectify the existence of the nuclear state and its spectacle. They punctually articulate the war whose main strategic target is people’s interest and apathy, the struggle whose battleground is becoming more sociological than not. When I say intelligence here, this is not a matter of high education, but of habitus (behaviors that they obtained) of Tokyo urbanites. In fact the fatal blow to the Japanese government was, more than anything, its own operations that enraged the urban dwellers having to live under the pouring radioactive materials. The habitus of Tokyo urbanites is what I call “habitus without habitus,” namely, their flexibility, opportunism and pragmatism that are not bound by and transverse the division of labor and the gender division of labor.

They no longer take seriously any national address or command spread by TV and newspapers. They no longer have any faith in the authority of specialists. They no longer have any fear in gendered moral bashing. This power is thanks to habitus and intelligence that cities taught their dwellers and the dwellers themselves achieved. These people are the true avant-garde who will play a leading role in the warfare to come. They are the shes and hes who are solemnly measuring radiation and bringing charges against the truth of the damages imposed upon them; they are uniting together with the refugees from the north and at the same time becoming refugees themselves.

PDF (English)


This is a Struggle of Discourses

Photo: Angry Goya on flickr via: Ten Thousand Things: May 7, 2011 Okinawa Bitter Gourd Protest: “U.S. government itself is a ‘master of manipulation and extortion’”

(日本語の原文は下記に掲載ー合意してないプロジェクトより Original text in Japanese appears in Project Disagree)


The rapist remark made by Satoshi Tanaka, the Chief of Okinawa Defense Bureau, was taken up to be investigated as fast as ever, after reported in Ryuku Shinpo on November 29th 2011, and its progress was made into an unprecedented spectacle hour by hour. As a result, Tanaka was suspended from his position on the same day, due to his “An Inappropriate Remark That Insults Women and Okinawans” (Okinawa Times, online, November 29th).

This incident cannot be treated merely as an inappropriate remark. Worse than this is the Japanese government whose response is nothing but replacing, localizing and minimizing of the real problem. Osamu Fujimura, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, spoke of Tanaka’s suspension, but his words were hardly out of his mouth or the tip of his tongue, when he stated he would “set forward” the planned construction of military base in Henoko and a submission of the environmental assessment related to the construction before the end of the year. To borrow Tanaka’s problematic tongue, Fujiwara’s statement implies “rape [yaru]” Okinawa. Tanaka’s remark was not in the least an unfortunate slip of the tongue that revealed his personal view, but it was a straightforward expression of the fact that Japan’s imposition of US military bases on Okinawa is itself a rape of the Okinawan people. In the land that suffered numerous rapes by US soldiers, a killing by military vehicle, a Marine Corps helicopter crash on a university campus and the occupation of the site thereafter, and so on1, Japan finally revealed its true picture as a rapist of Okinawans.

This remark was made in the context of a series of events affecting Okinawa in recent days: 1) the state of lawlessness in Yaeyama region, where a textbook with right-wing ideology was coercively selected; 2) and, resulting unconstitutional state where the school districts that oppose to the selection was threatened that they pay for the textbook2; 3) a manifestation of national border by the alignment of the Self-Defense Force in Yonaguni Island3; 4) the exclusion of Okinawa’s voice in Japanese government’s refusal to revise the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.4 Against this, it is necessary for us to protest in a diffusing and continuous manner.

And finally, it is the current situation in Takae that is most explicitly conveying the core of this problem.

It was reported that, shortly before making his problematic remark, Tanaka touched on the current helipad construction in Takae: “honestly I am not convinced as to why people are protesting against the construction we are promoting for the reversion of more than half of the northern drill base of US military.” On the other hand, the Defense Bureau has been criminalizing Takae protestors by putting SLAPP lawsuit against them: evidently, as if abusing the judicial system wasn’t enough, it is now putting pressures on Okinawa Prefectural Police to oppress the protesters by force. Although this much came to be clearly seen in our eyes today, after Tanaka’s rapist remark emerged in the public, the Defense Bureau forcefully attempted to carry out the construction in Takae.5

Therefore, our protest against the chief of the Defense Bureau should not stop at denunciation of his rapist remark; this problem should not be concluded as his personal error and slip of the tongue. It is only after seeking to silence, ignore and deny our resistance that they are preparing to tell us: “[the construction was reached] upon an agreement with you”.6 This is the structure of rape itself. Hence we will continue to say: “we have not agreed.”

Let us question first: what goes on in the party hosted by the Defense Bureau for an informal talk with press personnel? What kind of off-record conversations are exchanged? We ought to confirm the fact that it all took place in a particular space: where the press expects to catch “important stories with the help of alcohol” from the mouths of defense bureaucrats, who in return expect to enable themselves to control any information leak as a result of creating and maintaining a kind of accomplice between two parties. Only in this kind of space did emerge such a misogynic remark.7

It was reported that Hirota Nakaima, the governor of Okinawa Prefecture, expressed: “my mouth would get sullied” in order to explain his refusal to make a comment on the case. His naïve choice of words with which he might have intended a sharp blow must be criticized as a structure of the second rape discourse. What is it that is sullied by rape? The countless bodies that were violated, lying on top of another in the Postwar history of Okinawa, have always been sealed and forced to be silent, precisely by the word: “sullied.” The time is now for us to break the seal of the gloomy history, and for us to weave our words of resistance and liberation expressively and excessively.

Without reservation we strongly object the phallocentric discourse that this report suggests. We cannot afford to overlook the fact that, through the use of words such as ‘sully’, ‘rape’ and ‘sexual relations’, what the media objectified and portrayed as the violated was none other than ‘women’, as if it was a matter of course. Numerous media reports and statements stood on the side of male, excused themselves from the fear of being raped themselves by inserting the phrase: ‘they disdain women’, and thus exposed their phallocentrism that only by mentioning rape on women the magma of anger is supposed to arise. We need to distance ourselves from the discourse that also appropriates the 1995 rape of a young Okinawan girl. When we refer to the 1995 incident, it is no longer enough to point out the same repeated slip of the tongue or to stereotypically condemn ‘sexual discrimination.’ What we learned from it were a fundamental question on military and sexual violence, a new movement that emerged within a movement, and a link of movements created by opening up to the outside of Okinawa.8

Therefore, in times like this, let us remember that concrete words of protest always come from timely voices of women, and not from the ‘magma of anger.’ But whenever we make protests properly, the space of phallocentric discourse that exists within the society of Okinawa seeks to undermine them9. ‘We will protect you’ = ‘we will always rape you’ — this double structure eloquently tells us the fact that the Security Treaty in Okinawa itself is an imperialism and at the same time the rapist structure. We must remember always and repeatedly to raise our voice that creates fissures and cracks onto the structure. And it is in such moment that the word ‘women’ starts operating actively and having its meanings.

We are in the midst of a struggle of discourses.

Unless we break down the realm of US Imperialism exposed by Kevin Maher’s remark and Japanese imperialism exposed by the bureaucrats’ remark — and unless we break down the phallocentrism complicit with these imperialisms — we cannot deepen the meaning of our anti-military base struggles in Okinawa.

Project Disagree

November 29, 2011


1 Research documents include: Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, 沖縄・米兵による女性への性犯罪(U.S. Military’s Sexual Viiolence Against Women in Okinawa)” April 1945- June 2001, Vol. 6. On the US military helicopter crash in Okinawa International University, see Ariko Kurosawa ed, 沖国大がアメリカに占領された日:8.13米軍ヘリ墜落事件から見えてきた 沖縄/日本の縮図 (The Day Okinawa International University was Occupied by U.S.: A Microcosm of Okinawa/Japan Seen Through 8.13 U.S. Helicopter Clash)” Seidosha, 2005
2 Regarding Yaeyama Textbook issues, see http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/editorial/T111106002873.htm
3 Regarding JSDF deployment in Yonaguni, see http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/2012/01/06/4655/
The term “manifestation of national border” came from the chapter 11 of Osamu Yakabi’s “沖縄戦・米軍占領史を学びなおす:記憶をいかに継承するか(Reexamine the Battle of Okinawa and the History of US military Occupation: How We Inherit the Memory)” Seorishobo, 2009. He analyzes that the occupation governance of the US military embodied a national border between Yonaguni and Taiwan that is far detached from the sense of reality shared among the people who live in the regions, and “reconstructed a new national border while advocating an internal security within Okinawa.” We must keep in mind these words of Yakabi’s in order to examine the context of the deployment of JSDF in Yonaguni today.
4 An important focal point of the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement in 2011 was the revision of the regulation on prosecuting on-duty military personnel who cause traffic accident. Although a revision of the Agreement was considered following the death of Koki Yogi by run over by a U.S. Military vehicle in January 2011, the Japanese government went no further than stating “a revision of implementation.” Meanwhile, however, the gap between Japan and the US over the understanding of the jurisdiction has become clarified. See 「軍属裁判権は接受国優先 米法に明記」Okinawa Times, December 1, 2011
5 See What is Going On In Takae, Toson of Yanbaru: http://takae.ti-da.net/
6 On November 17th, the same day he made the rapist remark, Tanaka, while having mentioned the bitter history of Henoko that it had to accept the hosting of Camp Schwab, stated: “a resolution has been reached among the locals to accept the new construction, as long as the conditions posed by the local residents are recognized.”
7 Ryukyu Shimpo’s initial report quoted Tanaka: “Nobody would say ‘ I will rape you now’ before raping someone.” But we wonder if actual rapes are rather accompanied by such serious blackmailing as ‘I’ll kill you if you tell others’ or ‘I’ll revealed your secret to others.’ In other words, Tanaka’s words themselves are based upon the rape myth, which reveals the presence of misogyny. We must therefore point out and criticize the complicit relations in the alcohol-induced informal discussion, wherein the reporters ‘acknowledged’ Tanaka’s words as a metaphor of rape, based on the rape myth.
8 Following the 1995 incident,Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence was founded and has since been establishing a network of anti-militarization internationally.
9 It is necessary to recall these statements that follow:
“I am going to speak up as a victim. I was raped by US soldiers when I was a sophomore in high school. They threatened me with a knife on my way home and took me to a park near my house; there I was raped by three US soldiers. I was really frightened. I thought to myself: ‘it’s all over, I’m going to die.” No matter how hard I tried to scream for help, I could not let my voice out. Then a soldier said to me, ‘I can kill you.’ He did not say ‘I’m going to’ but ‘I can’.” (An Open Letter to [then] Governor Inamine, Okinawa times, July 9t, 2005)
“I felt like dead when the incident happened. We were again crushed by the Foreign Minister’s statement, and simply said, we felt like we were being told to die.” “I interpreted the minister’s remark as an order for us to stay quiet even after we became victims of a crime. I think this is what a second rape is.” “Do people exist for the sake of a nation? Or does a nation exist for the sake of its people? Historically, the military has never protected the people in Okinawa. But they still insist that the people are living in a peaceful society. If that’s the definition of Japanese citizens to you, your definition would make Okinawans non-citizens, would it not?” (The Last Letters to Machimura [then] Foreign Minister, Okinawa Times, July 15th, 2005)
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly held its second day of public hearing on February 26th. Among the speakers was Kyoko Higa, who stated on the issue of 1995 rape of a girl, that the “Governor Nakaima is committing a second rape with his words,” which was met with a protest by both the ruling party and the administration as “inappropriate.” The Assembly remained idle for 4 hours from shortly after 5pm. The state of idle had not occurred since the regular assembly on June 2006, and it was the first time since Nakaima came in office. Higa apologized: “I have made an inappropriate remark that ruined the governor’s personality, and degraded the assembly;” she withdrew her remark, and the matter was settled. Earlier the governor stated: “whether protect the security of the whole Asia or protect the safety of a girl – this is not a matter of comparison”; then Higa made a remark: “the governor is lacking the sense of responsibility as the highest official who is supposed to protect human rights of his people.” Then she added: “he is committing a second rape.” (Ryukyu Shimpo, February 27, 2008)





2011年11月29日『琉球新報』の報道で明らかになった田中聡沖縄防衛局長のレイピスト的発言は、前例のない早さで対応が検討され、その経過もまたこ れまでにないほど刻一刻のスペクタクル的報道で伝えられ、その日のうちに、「女性や沖縄を侮辱する不適切な発言」(『沖縄タイムス』Web版11月29日 20時43分ほか)のため局長は更迭となった。

単なる不適切発言では済まされない。それ以上に、日本政府の対処は、問題のすり替え、局所化、矮小化に他ならない。局長の更迭を言う藤村修官房長官はその 舌の根どころか舌先も乾かぬ口で、環境影響評価書の年内提出、辺野古への基地建設について「進める」と明言した。田中氏の言葉を使うなら「犯(や)る」と いうことだ。ここにおいて田中氏の発言は個人の見解がリークされた不幸な失言ではなく、日本政府による沖縄への基地負担の強要がまさにレイプそのものであ ることを、直裁に発言したに過ぎないことが了解できよう。これまで度重なる米兵によるレイプ、轢殺、大学キャンパスへのヘリ墜落と現場の制圧[1]など米 軍による抑圧のなかを生き抜いてきたこの沖縄で、今日ついに、沖縄をレイプするものとしての日本が、その輪郭をあからさまにしたのである。

この発言は、八重山地区での強権的な教科書選定という脱法状態、反対する地区に教科書の有償を強迫する憲法の剥奪状態[2]、与那国へ自衛隊配備を強要す る「国境の顕現」状態[3]、地位協定の改定を拒む日米政府による沖縄の例外化状態[4]という文脈のなかで、まさに起こったのであり、拡散的で持続的な 抗議こそが相応しい。


直前の11月25日、高江のヘリパッドもといオスプレイパッド建設について田中氏は「北部訓練場の過半を返還するためにやっている工事で、反対だというこ と自体、正直言って私には合点がいかない」と発言したことが報道されている。ここ数週間、防衛局が高江に対して行っているのは、抗議する住民の犯罪者化で あり、裁判所の悪用では飽きたらず、警察権力を行使するよう沖縄県警に圧力をかけていることは一目瞭然の事実である。にもかかわらず、レイピスト発言が問 題化した今日も、防衛局は臆面もなく高江で工事を強行しようとした[5]。

すなわち、今回の発言のみによって防衛局長の糾弾を終えてはならず、また、防衛局長個人の過失や舌禍としてのみ、この問題を収束させてはならない。抵抗を 黙らせ、抵抗を黙殺し、抵抗を否定し、抵抗を力でねじ伏せたうえで、事後的に「合意のうえだった」と言う準備をしている[6]。まさにレイプの構造そのも のではないか。だから私たちは繰り返し言い続ける、「合意してない」と。

そもそも防衛局が主催する報道陣との居酒屋懇談会と、そこで交わされるオフレコの談話とは一体どのような空間なのか。「酒席でこそ重要な話を聞ける」とあ ざとく期待するジャーナリズムと、そういう関係づくりによって「ネタ」のリークをコントロールできる気になっている防衛行政の双方によって共犯的に温存さ れている空間だからこそ、このミソジニー的発言は露出したのだということを、確認しなければならない[7]。

仲井真沖縄県知事は当初、コメントを拒否する意図を表現するのに「口が汚れる」と語ったと報道された。痛烈な一矢を放ったつもりかもしれないそのナイーヴ な言葉の選択こそは、セカンドレイプの言説構造として指弾すべきものである。レイプによって汚されるものはなにか。沖縄の戦後史に折り重ねられてきた、幾 多の犯された身体は、「汚れた」ということばによって封印され、沈黙を強要されてきた。いまこそ、この暗い封印は解かれなければならないのであって、豊か に饒舌に抗議と解放の言葉が紡がれなければならない。

また私たちは、この報道が支えている男根主義的な言論に対し遅滞なく強い異議を唱える。曖昧さと表現の揺れを含みながら様々な報道や発言のなかで伝えられ た「犯す」「やる」「男女関係」などの語において、犯されるものとして対象化されたのは当然のごとく「女」だった点を見逃すことは出来ない。あらゆる報道 と発表は男の側に立ち、「女性をさげすみ」と書くことで自分自身が犯されている恐怖をやり過ごしながら、女に対するレイプの話でこそ「怒りのマグマ」が起 ち上がるという男根主義を露呈した。1995年の事件を引き合いに出す、そのディスコースから、私たちは離脱する必要があるだろう。1995年を参照する ならば、それは同様の失言が繰り返されてきたとの指摘や、「女性差別」というステレオタイプ化した非難ではもはや充分ではない。1995から私たちが学ん だものは、軍隊と性暴力についての根本的な問いかけであり、運動の内部に誕生した新しい運動であり、沖縄の外へと開いて結ばれる運動のつらなりであったは ずだ[8]。

だから、こんな時には、具体的な抗議の声はいつも「怒りのマグマ」ではなく時宜を得た女たちの発言であることを、即座に思い起こしておこう。相応しく抗議 したとき、それをつぶしにかかる男根主義的言説空間は沖縄の社会のなかにある[9]。「守ってやる」=「いつでも殺/犯/やるぞ」の構造は沖縄における安 保体制そのものが植民地主義でありレイプの構造であることを雄弁に物語る。そこに裂け目、亀裂を入れる声を、私たちはいつも、何度でも、思い起こさなけれ ばならない。そして「女」ということばが能動的に駆動し意味を持ち始めるのはいつもこのような瞬間なのである。




[1]調査可能な範囲でまとめられた資料として、基地・軍隊を許さない行動する女たちの会編『沖縄・米兵による女性への性犯罪(1945年4月-2001 年6月)』第6版がある。沖縄国際大学ヘリ墜落事件については、黒沢亜里子編『沖国大がアメリカに占領された日:8.13米軍ヘリ墜落事件から見えてきた 沖縄/日本の縮図』青土社2005年。
「国境の顕現」状態とは、屋嘉比収『沖縄戦・米軍占領史を学びなおす:記憶をいかに継承するか』世織書房2009年の第11章タイトルから着想した。占領 米軍政府が、与那国と台湾とのあいだに、そこに暮らす人びとの実感とはかけはなれた国境線を顕現させ、「沖縄の対内的安全保障の確保を説きながら、新たな 国境線を再構築した」と分析している。今日の与那国への自衛隊配備の文脈を考えるうえで想起すべき語である。
[4]地位協定改訂に関する2011年の大きな焦点は、交通事故を起こした「公務中」の軍属の起訴に関する見直しだった。2011年1月の與儀功貴さん轢 殺事件を受けて日米地位協定の見直しが要請されてきたが、日本政府は「運用見直し」にとどまっている。この間、しかし、裁判権についての米側の規定との解 釈差が明らかにされつつある。一例として、「軍属裁判権は接受国優先 米法に明記」『沖縄タイムス』2011年12月1日
[5]東村高江の現状blog http://takae.ti-da.net/
[6]レイプ発言と同月の11月17日、田中防衛局長はキャンプ・シュワブを受け容れざるを得なかった辺野古の過去に言及しながら、「地元中の地元は、自 分たちの条件を認めれば容認すると決議している」と発言している。「辺野古区は反対せず 防衛局長、地元理解で強調」『琉球新報』2011年11月17 日。大西照雄氏はblogでこの点を今回発言と的確に結びつける指摘を行っている。
[7]最初の新報の報道は発言内容を「これから犯すまえに「犯しますよ」と言う人はいない」としていた。じっさいに起こるレイプは、むしろ「抵抗すると殺 すぞ」「周りにバラすぞ」という深刻な脅迫を伴うものではないだろうか。つまり発言そのものが、レイプ神話の上に成り立っていて、それこそがミソジニーの 存在を暴露しているのではないか。それをレイプの比喩として「了解」してしまった居酒屋の取材という会話空間の共犯関係への批判も含めて指摘しておきた い。
私は被害者の1人として訴えます。私は、高校2年生のときに米兵によるレイプを受けました。学校帰りにナイフで脅され、自宅近く の公園に連れ込まれ3人の米兵にレイプされたのです。本当に怖かった。「もう終わりだ、自分は死ぬのだ」と思いました。何度叫ぼうとしても声も出せずにい ました。そのとき米兵は「I can kill you」と言いました。「殺すぞ」ではなく、「殺せるぞ」と言ったのです。(稲嶺知事[当時]への公開質問状、『沖縄タイムス』2005年7月9日。)
「事件が起きた時、ある意味死んだようなものだった。外相発言でもう一度つぶされたというか、極端に言えば死ねといわれたよう な、気持ちになった」。「被害に遭っても黙っておけということだと思った。これがセカンドレイプというものだと思う」。「国のために国民があるのか、国民 のために国があるのか。沖縄の歴史の中で、軍隊は一度も住民を守ったことはない。それなのに国民は平和であるというなら、平和でない状況にいる沖縄の人 は、国民じゃないということでしょうか」(町村外相[当時]への最後の手紙、『沖縄タイムス』2005年7月15日。)
県議会(仲里利信議長)の2月定例会は26日、一般質問2日目の質疑が行われたが、米兵女子中学生暴行事件をめぐり比嘉京子氏 (社大・結連合)が仲井真弘多知事に対し「知事は言葉で少女をセカンドレイプしている」と発言したため、与党と執行部が一斉に「不穏当発言」と反発。午後 5時すぎから4時間半、議会が空転する事態となった。空転は2006年6月定例会以来で、仲井真県政では初めて。比嘉氏は「知事の人格と議会の品位を著し く傷つける不適切な発言だった」と謝罪し、発言を撤回して事態は収拾された。
比嘉氏は知事が「アジア太平洋地域の安全と少女の安全を守ることはどちらが大切か、これは選択できるようなものではない」と答弁したことに対し、「県民の 人権を預かる最高責任者としての認識が欠落している」と指摘。「セカンドレイプしている」と発言した。(『琉球新報』2008年2月27日。)

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