REMINDER: The deadline for the 2019 Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize competition is soon approaching. Translations should be submitted by the deadline of August 1, 2019. The 2018 prizes were awarded to Dawn Lawson for Nakajima Shōen’s A Famous Flower in Mountain Seclusion (Sankan no meika, 1889) and to Max Zimmerman for the short story, “An Artificial Heart” (Jinkō Shinzō, 1936) by Kosakai Fuboku. For further information please see the Cornell Asian Studies Department website.

Farewell to Nuclear Power – A Lecture on Fukushima  原発を即時廃炉に


Hirose Takashi with an introduction by C. Douglas Lummis


Many people in Japan have understood for years that the country’s nuclear power industry was heading for catastrophe; few people have worked as hard or as passionately to prevent that catastrophe as Hirose Takashi.  Since the early 1980s he has written a shelf of books, mostly on that subject.  The first to attract notice was his Tokyo ni, Genpatsu wo! (Nuclear Plants in Tokyo! [1981]), a reductio ad absurdum of the nuke promoters’ argument: if they are so safe, why not put them in the center of the city, rather than hundreds of miles away, forcing you to build expensive and destructive power lines all over the country, which also eat up a vast amount of electricity in the wires?  The book was a bombshell, exposing as it did big-city egoism: we get the electricity, somebody else gets the danger.  The exposé applies to the 3/11 catastrophe: many people haven’t noticed the significance of the fact that the plants at Fukushima belong to the Tokyo Electric Co.  The electricity they (used to) generate goes (went) to Tokyo; Fukushima’s electricity comes from elsewhere.


Before the catastrophe, Hirose had written that if a nuclear catastrophe ever really happened in Japan, he would go silent.  Of course, he has not been able to do that.  Over the years he has been attacked as a fear monger, and indeed, he has generally written about worst-case scenarios. (How would you like it if your fire department took the attitude, Don’t worry, there probably won’t be any fires?)  Now the worst has happened and, astoundingly! most people don’t seem to realize that it has.  Today Hirose is doing the work he hoped he would never have to do, writing article after article, doing interview after interview, travelling around the country on grueling speaking tours, explaining to people the obvious:  yes, this is a genuine nuclear catastrophe, and no, there is no reason to believe that that was the last major earthquake. 


The following is a video with English translation of Hirose Takashi lecture in Tsuchiura, September 11, 2011. You can skip the first eight minutes of introduction to go directly to the lecture. The video was translated and subtitled by Hiroaki Kobayashi, Kazko Kawai and Fritz Spencer.




There also exists a translation – the first of any of his books – of his Fukushima Meltdown: The World’s First Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Disaster which Hirose wrote in the weeks following 3/11.  It is available as an online book at Amazon Kindle.





Other Asia-Pacific Journal articles by Takashi Hirose and translated by C. Douglas Lummis:


The Nuclear Disaster That Could Destroy Japan – On the danger of a killer earthquake in the Japanese Archipelago


Japan’s Earthquake-Tsunami-Nuclear Disaster Syndrome: An Unprecedented Form of Catastrophe