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A Time for Individuals to Think and Judge Independently – The Role of Rock Music in a World Monotonized by COVID-

2022/10/31 Report on live performance event "LIVE AT Shinjuku LOFT 25th" by musician KIYOHARU

On January 27, 2023, the government announced the status of the new coronavirus would be moved to “category 5” under the Infectious Disease Control Law starting May 8th. This is the same category as the seasonal influenza. On the same day of this announcement, counter-COVID measures for professional sports and large-scale events were also changed. Loud shouts during events is allowed. But there are still many people who keep quiet at live concerts, perhaps because the announcement had not spread far enough. The government's current policy on masks does not require people to wear masks outdoors. When the policy is changed to category 5, masks will be unnecessary in principle. The wearing of masks will be "left to the discretion of the individual.” However, in Japan, where people have been wearing masks for more than three years, it may take some time before we see people enjoy live performances without masks.

There is an artist who has continued to resist this mask-wearing custom. KIYOHARU is a musician who himself has been acting and spreading the importance of “thinking for oneself” to those whose minds were swept away in the environment during the COVID outbreak.

The following is a description of a special live performance by KIYOHARU. Although COVID is definitely heading toward the end, the habits that have been ingrained in this country under the COVID situation will not change so easily. He believes that each one of us needs to think for ourselves and that we should do what we need to do to enjoy music from the bottom of our hearts.

On October 31, 2022, that special live concert took place. It was KIYOHARU's live event "LIVE AT SHINJUKU LOFT 25TH" held at Shinjuku LOFT. One of the reasons why this concert was so special was that it was the first "no-regulations" concert (the audience were allowed to shout out and even be maskless) in the two and a half years since the COVID outbreak. The day before, KIYOHARU had performed at a birthday concert in Ebisu, and the two consecutive days were special for him, his fans, and the live house. As KIYOHARU is the original vocalist for KUROYUME, it was the 25th anniversary of KUROYUME’s now legendary live performance, "1997.10.31 LIVE AT SHINJUKU LOFT," and a day when rock music came back to life for the first time in two and a half years.


Facing the Chaotic Situation Surrounding Energy Issues — Seiko Ito x Tetsunari Iida x Junya Ogawa x Daisuke Tsuda

2022/3/6 Event Report

Six months have passed since the invasion of Ukraine.
On July 14, Prime Minister Kishida announced that at least nine nuclear reactors will be restarted as a countermeasure to the power shortages forecast for this winter. Then, on August 24, amid talk of a power crunch, he then expressed his intention to proceed with building new nuclear power plants. It seems that Japan's energy policy is about to return to its pre-disaster state, but is that really enough?
As a hint to answer this question, the following is the content of a discussion event on energy issues held by KIMINITOU on March 6.

The event was held on March 6, just before the 11th anniversary of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The discussion was titled "Why Nuclear Power Will Not Be Eliminated and Why Renewable Energy Cannot be a Baseload Power Source ”
The talk took place just days after a shocking fire broke at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine caused by Russian military shelling on March 3, 2022.

Guests in the discussion included Seiko Ito, who launched "Artist-generated Electricity" (see *1) based on renewable energy in April 2021; Tetsunari Iida, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies; Junya Ogawa, Chairman of the Policy Research Committee of the Democratic Party of Japan; and Daisuke Tsuda, a journalist who has been covering nuclear power plants and energy issues. The discussion featured four members of the panel.

The event was moderated by Joe Yokomizo, editor-in-chief of “KIMINITOU" who has been covering the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant premises since the disaster.

*This article is based on the revised transcript of the event, "Why Nuclear Power Will Not Be Eliminated and Why Renewable Energy Cannot be a Baseload Power Source”

*1: https://minden.co.jp/personal/shareland/seikoito/


How to Revive the Covid-struck Music Industry – What Should Be Done from an Independent Standpoint

A Dialogue with KIYOHARU (Musician) × Masahiro Kami (Medical Doctor, President of the Medical Governance Research Institute, a non-profit organization)

The music industry lost many opportunities due to the Coronavirus. Restrictions on activities, such as the Japanese government's request to avoid the three C’s , have narrowed the scope of expression at every turn. These restrictions have forced some artists to retire. On the other hand, there were also artists who sought new activities on their own. What separates the two may be "independence".

With this in mind, online publication "KIMINITOU" conducted an interview with two musicians who are running their activities as independents without belonging to a major firm or other organization. KIYOHARU, a musician, and Masahiro Kami, a physician and chairman of the Medical Governance Research Institute. Joe Yokomizo, editor-in-chief of this media outlet, moderated the conversation, which took place on August 9, 2022.

The year 2022 marks the first summer in two years without semi-emergency coronavirus measures or other restrictions, but the music live industry is still hunkering down. With outdoor gigs continuing to prohibit crowds from shouting, some artists continue struggling to bring back fans who left because of the Coronavirus. According to Dr. Masahiro Kami, the only way to restore the former vitality is for independent artists to break through, rather than wait for major companies to start moving.

The Coronavirus restrictions for live events began in February 2020 when then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked for restraint from large-scale events at a press conference. In direct response, the band “Perfume” canceled their Tokyo Dome performance on the day of the event. Major companies took the opportunity to assess the situation and one by one they began to refrain from large-scale events. It seems as if everyone is still waiting for the major companies to return to normal operations.

It is said that even if the coronavirus eventually comes to an end, new epidemics are likely to emerge. At that time, will we have to endure a long period of self-restraint and sacrifice in accordance with national decisions and major trends? Or will artists create new rules and protect opportunities for their own expression and for those who love their expression? It all depends on how much they explore during the Coronavirus restrictions period.

Who will wind down the trends created in the past two years, and who will remove the fear that has been instilled in people?


How to Protect Hinohara Village, Tokyo’s Water Source, from an Industrial Waste Disposal Facility: “Self-conscious Democracy” and “Values Lacking in the Japanese People”

2022/6/28 Event Report

Hinohara Village is located on the Western edge of Tokyo. The village attracts 200,000 tourists a year, who come to enjoy mountain climbing, hiking, road biking, river sports, barbecues, and other activities in a rich natural environment. Eighty percent of the village is designated as part of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, a natural tourist attraction which Tokyo is proud of.
However, the plan to build an industrial waste disposal facility in Hinohara Village has impacted the village’s governance. What is the relationship between villagers? What is the village council? And what is democracy? As the villagers wish to decide their own future, opposition to the project is growing both inside and outside the village. The project is being carried out without them, but the Tokyo governor's decision is set to be made in the fall of 2022.

On June 28, a live talk show “Save Hinohara Village, Tokyo's Water Source, from a Large-scale Industrial Waste Disposal Facility 〜 A Discussion on Japan’s future through a‘Self-conscious Democracy’ ~ " was held at LOFT9Shibuya. The first half of the event was a discussion on the background of the project and the problems with the industrial waste disposal facility. It featured the following speakers: Jinken, a Hinohara Village migrant who is leading the opposition; Toshikazu Fujiwara, who has worked for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Environment for 40 years and has long been involved in environmental issues; sociologist Shinji Miyadai; and Erina Nakagawa, a former SEALDs member with ties to Hinohara Village. The second half focused on the legal aspects of the waste disposal facility. Torai Handa, a lawyer involved in the movement from a legal perspective, and Hiroshi Yoshikawa, a former village councilor, joined the discussion on the theme of ‘democracy’. The facilitator was Joe Yokomizo, editor-in-chief of this media outlet, KIMINITOU.