Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22 "Counter-Protest" by Pro-Restart Group with a Sign with Astro Boy Drawing


Yes, there was such a group. Actually I had read on Twitter earlier Friday warning people that there would be a group planning to "celebrate" the restart of Ooi Nuclear Power Plant right at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo just as the protesters would be gathering.

Asahi Shinbun has a photo of them. (I stand corrected; Asahi did report the protest of June 22 in Tokyo, and they even mentioned 40,000 people. Thank you anon reader for the link.)

From Asahi Shinbun (6/22/2012):

The sign says "Nuclear Power, Our Ally. YES! PRO-NUKE", with the picture of "Astro Boy" - Tetsuwan (strong arm) Atomu (Atom).


This photo contrasts well the "Astroboy" by the small pro-nuke group and a Paul Klee-ish drawing of a girl holding "No Nukes" sign.


It's very interesting that this pro-nuke group put "Astro Boy" on the sign. The author of this extremely popoular manga/TV animation, Osamu Tezuka, didn't like his own creation at all, even though this was what propelled him into the manga stardom in 1952.

Astro Boy has a sister named Uran (Uranium), and a brother named Cobalt.

It's just my hunch and no proof, but I have always suspected that Mr. Tezuka was compelled to create a character like Astro Boy at that particular time, early 1950s. Atomic power is strong, atomic power is good, atomic power is just. That was the message of the Astro Boy manga and animation.

Soon after, an all-out campaign to bring nuclear power to Japan was started by none other than the owner of Yomiuri Shinbun Matsutaro Shoriki, who went on to become the first Secretary General of the Science and Technology Agency (now incorporated into the Ministry of Education and Science).

As nuclear fallout from the atmospheric nuclear bomb testing was circling the globe, Tetsuwan Atomu animation was on the Japanese TV, from 1963 to 1966.

As to the group who did the counter-protest as pro-nuclear, pro-restart, they are rumored to be one of the ultra-right nationalist groups who supposedly hate Korean residents in Japan. (There are much more to this group but that is OT here.)

20 comments:

Hikarius said...

Asahi Shimbun used quotation mark around the figure 40,000 so it seems that the editorial desk doesn't really believe that there were so many people there. Just my personal interpretation though.

Anonymous said...

If the pro-nuke group is expecting an incident to develop as a result of their attempts to blend with the anti-nuke crowd, they should understand that any fighting or bloodshed will not only result in arrests, but it will also greatly increase the publicity for these otherwise peaceful demonstrations. With a history of many weeks of peaceful, restrained behavior on the part of the anti-nuke crowds, everyone will know where the violence started if a fight is provoked.

Anonymous said...

Execute them, they are too stupid to carry on.

Anonymous said...

Interesting take on the creation of Astro Boy. grew up watching it but never noticed it had anything to do with nuclear power. Figures that yet another aspect of my childhood has an origin of manipulative propaganda.

I wouldn't be surprised if those counter-protesters were relatives of government or paid to "protest". In any case, if they care so much about nuclear energy then they should be the ones helping repair the nuclear plants...

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Astro Boy, or Tetsuwan Atomu for Japanese, is powered by a super-compact nuclear reactor. So is another popular manga character, Doraemon.

The bit about Astro Boy suddenly dawned on me when I was researching Matsutaro Shoriki last year.

Beppe said...

I read somewhere that in Japan there are small groups of people would demonstrate for a fee and sometimes are also used to intimidate trade union representatives or create trouble at shareholders meeting. Some of them use right wing nationalistic symbols and flags. Could it be that these "pro nuke" groups are in reality one of such groups? In the picture I can see many Japanese flags, one of them is the variation with the sunrays that was used during WW II. Also the girl in the placard is really a dog.

Richard said...

I grew up watching astroboy and was a huge fan. funny, i never really connected nukes to him directly in my mind.

I've always been anti-nuke, so I don't think that part of the character had much influence on me. Just saying.

Janick said...

yeah, the name Astro Boy in English does not give any clue about its real name in Japanese: Tetsuwan Atomu = 鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu, "Mighty Atom," lit. "Iron Arm Atom" -- as explained in Wikipedia.
If it's crystal clear for the Japanses, it is not for the rest of the world.
Doraemon also ! OMG ! I see why I have problems with my (still pro-nuke) son.............

Janick said...

Many thanks for the info about tomorrow demo in Chiba. I share, tweet and send it to all of my friends from this minute ! Splendid idea ! Are we witnessing a yellow-ization of Japan ?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Janick, funny thing is, it has not occurred to many Japanese either. After all, Atomu is a katakana English.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Last time people in Japan were "ordered" to wear yellow was about 1,200 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Ultra right wing Japanese=Scum of the Earth .... these right wing fuckers need a grenade thrown at them... they are living in the past , big time.

a female Faust said...

"Last time people in Japan were "ordered" to wear yellow..."

arevamirpal::laprimavera, to what do you refer?

itsfukncommunism said...

pro+nukes=PUKES. Your welcome America/Japan/World

Anonymous said...

No doubt the irony of Astroboy being a nuclear powered robot is lost on many. Too bad Quince didn't have Astroboy's powers.
Is the No Nukes sign the work of Yoshitomo Nara?

http://dailydujour.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/fuckinpolitics.jpg

For all the rightwingnuts who honestly think this situation is anything but deadly serious for the people of Japan, when this "atoms for peace" finally goes bust globally, here is an icon for your future campaign to tout the technology as protection...

http://www.gamerdna.com/uimage/WcHHQGG/full/hello-kitty-40000.jpg

Nuke Free World Now

Beppe said...

@Janick: actually Doraemon might be helping Japan right now.
There is a Doraemon episode about a machine t(ありがたみわかり機) hat helps its user understand the blessing associated with the existence of things. The machine temporarily removes the thing being tested for the machine user so he can appreciate its blessing: Doraemon has Nobita to test it with "air" hence Nobita nearly suffocates.
I wonder whether Doraemon has recently tested its machine on Japan npps: temporarily remove them and... nothing happens! Obviously there is no blessing in npps.

Kia said...

RE: Astro Boy cartoon:
You hunch is on the right track. The cartoon was created as part of the PR campaign to sell the idea of nuclear power to the Japanese people after WW2. It's also connected to Eisenhower's famous speech "Atoms for Peace" which enabled Japanese people to dissociate nuclear weapons with the new idea of nuclear power. In the west, Astro Boy was called "Astro boy" I was stunned to hear that in Japan, his name was Atom. He also has a small reactor on his back. Professor Akira Murakami talks about it in this excellent interview. Broadcast on KFPA (American public radio) in March, 2012.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mECXIeYq5cU

Anonymous said...

This post is extremely important. We're looking here at an extremely powerful rhetorical 'weapon', i.e. Astro Boy and the way it's presented to the public, in certain contexts, in order to associate certain concepts with certain meanings, etc. This is in other words a fine example of how the well-oiled nuke propaganda machine actually works.

micheal clark said...

Great Post! It's very nice to read this info from someone that actually knows what they are talking about.Home Insurance Malibu

Anonymous said...

Anti-Nuclear People said,

"Execute them, they are too stupid to carry on."

Anti-Nuclear People said,

"Ultra right wing Japanese=Scum of the Earth .... these right wing fuckers need a grenade thrown at them... they are living in the past , big time."

I'm 100% NUCLEAR READY Pro-Independence AND Pro-Science TAIWANESE! Anti-Nuclear People sure are a bunch of HYPOCRITICAL and VIOLENT PEOPLE just like THOSE Anti-Science RELIGIOUS NUTS in USA that bomb ABORTION CLINICS!! {roll my eyes}

"RENEWABLE" is a spin word from MARKETING DEPARTMENTS rather than ENGINEERING DEPARTMENTS! It had been biggest SCAM of our time to steal TAX MONEY from other USEFUL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS with their CORN ETHANOL scam to now SOLAR and WIND FARMS scams that simply do not work as INTERMITTENT ENERGY SOURCES!! >=(

LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS prevented PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINES that THESE Anti-Nuclear AND Anti-Science PEOPLE have promoted so far! Most of these RENEWABLE ENERGY end up taking up MORE LANDS in Taiwan while generate even LESS ENERGY than a PROVEN kind of NUCLEAR POWER!! =/

Post a Comment