Subscribe to the Journal:

APJ
is a reader-supported journal

Tax deductible Contributions welcome via Pay Pal or credit card. If you would like to support the Journal, please do so here. The Asia-Pacific Journal is available free to all. Your support allows us to improve our service in a new era of conflict in the Asia-Pacific.
Donate:
$25.00 $50.00 $100.00


Join Us:JapanFocus Twitter page  APJ Facebook Page  

Display Your BOOK, FILM, OR EVENT here

 Peace  Philosophy  Centre

Dialogue and learning for creating a peaceful, sustainable world.


 

 

Click a cover to order.
Click a cover to order.
Click a cover to order.
Click a cover to order.
Click a cover to order.
Click a cover to order.
Click a cover to order.
The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
In-depth critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific...and the world.

Amid Invisible Terror: The Righteous Anger of A Fukushima Farmer Poet

Maeda Arata with an introduction by Satoko Oka Norimatsu

A farmer’s poem, "Amid Invisible Terror, We Were Witnesses", first appeared in the July 18 edition of Shimbun Nomin (Newspaper “Farmer”), a publication of the Japan Family Farmers Movement “Nominren,” and was immediately recited at anti-nuclear rallies across the nation. Maeda Arata, a seventy-five year old farmer, poet and writer, lives in Aizumisato-machi in eastern Fukushima. The poem was written four months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster of March 11, 2011. Now, a year later, the fury and despair that the poem conveys continues to speak for hundreds of thousands of residents who lost their homes, land, family members and livelihood. Nothing is more devastating for farmers than the radioactive contamination and destruction of the food they grow with love and care. On March 29, 2011, a sixty-four year old cabbage farmer in Sukagawa hanged himself, all hope shuttered following the newly announced government restriction on the consumption of cabbage from Fukushima. To Maeda, national policy that deprives farmers of livelihood, and life itself, is reminiscent of the wartime events that sacrificed people’s lives for a purported national interest that prioritized colonial subjugation and exploitation of neighbouring countries. Goto Nobuyo, an economist who teaches at Fukushima Medical University, read this poem at a conference on the Fukushima nuclear crisis at UC Berkeley in October 2011, moving the Berkeley modern Japanese historian Andrew Barshay to translate it into English. Goto observed that most of the artistic and literary expressions responding to the Fukushima crisis revolve around uncritical cheerful messages such as “I love Fukushima” and “Ganbare (Chin up) Fukushima!” They suppress, in effect, the widespread anger at TEPCO and the Japanese state, still more the protest movements such as those of Fukushima women demanding the protection of children from radiation, and the anti-nuclear movements that surged over the last year. William Pesek, a Bloomberg columnist described a recent comment by Prime Minister Noda “jawdropping” – one in which he said, “no individual could be held responsible for the nuclear fallout and that everyone should ‘share the pain,’” in the country where CEOs of big corporations like Olympus, and even a prime minister got jailed for book cooking and bribery.1 Maeda’s literary voice is, therefore, all the more precious, inviting us to reflect on questions of responsibility and appropriate action in the face of Japan’s multiple disasters.

Note

1 William Pesek, “Forget the yakuza, the nuclear mob should be the ones sent to jail,” Sydney Morning Herald, March 10, 2011. Link 

 


Amid invisible terror, we were witnesses

Maeda Arata*

Translated into English by Andrew E. Barshay**

 

Assaulted by an invisible terror

Even now, after four months 

We remain driven from our hometown

 

At Level 7, with no change in the situation at all

Tens of thousands of livestock starved to death

In the deserted villages, only the stink from their corpses

Rises into the air

 

Across the mountains and rivers of our home country,

Stolen away by something that will not show itself,

The seasons change, as if nothing at all had happened

 

There, where the cuckoo calls, can it now be

Only in our dreams that we toil and sweat?

There, we cannot even set foot!

 

Once national policy drove us to Manchuria

There, in defeat, forced to commit suicide together

While others abandoned little ones to escape back home

 

Now as then, our lives,

Built through hard struggles

Are smashed to bits by the failure of national policy

 

And this time, it’s a painless, slow death

Yet just as on that day, isn’t this forced collective suicide,

the live experiments of Unit 731 all over again?

 

Friends, we can’t just stand here grieving and crying

Over these four months, amid invisible terror

What we have seen with our own eyes

Is the true face of terror that says:

For profit’s sake, the reactors must stay on

 

All right then! If that’s how it is

We’re ready to take them on, for the sake of our posterity

 

Just like the Kwantung Army before them, these bastards

hid the facts and were the first to run from danger

And now they put on an innocent face and prattle about

safety and reconstruction

No way will we let them take these lives so easily!

 

Oh, but friends, my friends who are dead

 

 

*Maeda Arata: member of Fukushima Farmers’ Alliance, resident of

Aizumisato, Fukushima Prefecture

**Andrew E. Barshay: Professor, University of California at Berkeley

Satoko Oka Norimatsu is a writer and educator based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is Director of Peace Philosophy Centre and a Coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Her upcoming book co-authored with Gavan McCormack, Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States is forthcoming at Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

Recommended citation: Maeda Arata with an introduction by Satoko Oka Norimatsu,'Amid Invisible Terror: The Righteous Anger of A Fukushima Farmer Poet,' The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 11, No 9, March 11, 2012.

 

 

農民詩「見えない恐怖のなかでぼくらは見た」は2011年7月18日付で農民連の「しんぶん農民」に掲載され、全国の脱原発集会で朗読された。作者の前田新は会津美里町に住む農民、詩人、作家である。2011年3月11日に勃発した福島第一原発の惨事から四ヶ月目に書かれたものだが、一周年を迎えた今も、原発事故のせいで家を、土地を、家族を、生活を奪われた数十万の人々の怒りと絶望を代弁するものである。農民にとって、手塩にかけて育てた農産物が放射能汚染にさらされるほど無念なことはない。2011年3月29日には、須賀川のキャベツ農家が、政府が新たに発表した摂取制限を聞き、全ての希望を失い、自殺した。前田にとって、農民から生活と命そのものを奪う国策は、隣国の征服と搾取を「国益」とし、多大な市民の命を犠牲にした戦時中の国策を彷彿とさせるものであった。福島医大で教鞭を取る経済学者の後藤宣代は、2011年10月に開催されたUCバークレイ校での福島関連の会議の場で前田の詩を朗読し、この詩に心を打たれた同校の日本近現代史教授、アンドリュー・バーシェイが英語に訳した。後藤の見解では、福島核危機を受けて発表されてきた文学、芸術作品は概ね「福島大好き!福島がんばれ!」といった無批判な応援調のものが主流だとのことである。この傾向は、結果的に、東電や日本政府に対して大きく広がった市民の怒り、そして、放射能から子どもたちを守ることを要求し続けている母親たちの運動、この一年で急増した脱原発運動などの、市民の抵抗運動を抑制するような結果をもたらしてしまっているのではないか。ブルームバーグのコラムニスト、ウィリアム・ペセクは、会計処理の不正や汚職により、オリンパスのような大企業のトップや総理大臣さえもが投獄されてきた日本であるのに、野田首相が原発事故について「個別の責任を問わず、痛みは全員で分かち合う」と表明したことについて「開いた口がふさがらない」と言っている。(注)前田新による詩は、日本で起こった大惨事の連続を受けて、責任の所在と適切な処分をどう追及していくのかという重要な課題を我々に突きつける、貴重な文学の「声」と言えよう。(乗松聡子)

見えない恐怖のなかでぼくらは見た 

前田 新(福島県農民連会津美里町在住)

 

見えない恐怖に脅かされて

4か月も過ぎたいまも

ぼくらは、ふるさとの町を追われたままだ

レベル7、その事態は何も変わっていない

何万という家畜たちが餓死していった

人気のいない村に、その死臭だけが

たちのぼっている

 

姿を見せないものに

奪われてしまったふるさとの山河を

何ごともなかったように季節が移ってゆく

郭公が鳴くそこで、汗を流して働くのは

もう、夢のなかでしかないのか

ぼくらは、そこに立ち入ることもできない

 

かつて、国策によって満州に追われ

敗戦によって集団自決を強いられ

幼子を棄てて逃げ帰ってきたふるさと

そして苦闘のすえに築いた暮らしを

あの日と同じように、一瞬にして

国策の破綻によって叩き壊された

 

しかもこれは痛みのない緩慢な死だが

あの日と同じ集団自決の強要ではないのか

七三一部隊の人体実験ではないのか

なかまよ 悲しんで泣いてはいられない

この4ヶ月の間、見えない恐怖のなかで

ぼくらがこの眼で見たものは

 

それでも、儲けのために

原発は続けていくという恐怖の正体だ

 

よし、そうならば

ぼくらも孫子のために、腹をすえてかかる

 

かつての関東軍のように、情報を隠し

危ないところからは、さっさと逃げ帰って

何食わぬ顔で、安全と復興を語る奴らに

そう簡単に殺されてたまるか

 

なかまよ、死んでいったなかまよ

We welcome your comments on this and all other articles. More are available on our homepage. Please consider subscribing to our email newsletter or RSS feed, or following us via Twitter or Facebook.

Comments
Add comment
Authors: For all articles by the author, click on author's name.   Norimatsu Satoko, Maeda Arata