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.
Though “Large subjects” are convenient to use… A Discussion on the Degradation of Language in Journalism
A Dialogue between journalist Jun Hori and musician Haruo Chikada
In recent years, it seems that language has been deteriorating, both in the press and in the statements of politicians. Politicians say they will carefully explain, but they never do. Additionally, reporters hardly scrutinize politicians only making vague comments such as, "That policy will not gain the public's understanding," and other simplified or meaningless words are repeated. Journalism seems to be leaving out the importance of conveying the essence of an issue.
Meanwhile, we can clearly see an increase in divisions and disputes triggered by words on social media, and it seems that people are unconsciously becoming more cautious when using words.
Recognizing once again the importance of words, we organized a discussion on the theme of “words”.
We invited Jun Hori, who leads citizen journalism and works daily to convey the essence of the issues using easy-to-understand language. Haruo Chikada, a musician who engages in a variety of expressive activities including music and writing. Both were invited to discuss the issues from their unique perspectives.
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”
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.
Artists’ Prayer for Peace — Digest Report of “PLAY FOR PEACE Vol.1” Live for Humanitarian Assistance in Ukraine
PLAY FOR PEACE REPORT（２）
One month has passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 23.
More than 10 artists gathered at Flowers LOFT, in Shimokitazawa, for "PLAY FOR PEACE vol.1." This powerful event was filled with thoughts of peace and sent financial support to the humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.
Here are a few photos of the performances and guest speakers:
*The entire live streaming video will be available on YouTube until mid-June 2022.
*In the 【MESSAGE】 section, we posted the comments from the participants after the event.
『PLAY FOR PEACE Vol.1』 Special Talk 「FOR PEACE」―with Maria Golomidova, Karin Amamiya, ATSUSHI and Nataliya Gudziy
PLAY FOR PEACE REPORT（１）
The live broadcast 『PLAY FOR PEACE Vol.1』 was held on March 23rd to raise humanitarian support for Ukrainians. During this event many artists from various genres performed live music and conducted interviews where they discussed the need to support the Ukrainian people and world peace. The entire live broadcast can be watched at the following link.
More than 10 artists participated in the event, where musicians and guests from various genres performed music and held interviews in alternation.
The following are interviews given by three groups: Russian photographer Maria Golomidova, writer Karin Amamiya, who speaks up on poverty issues from the perspective of the vulnerable, and dancer ATSUSHI and Ukrainian musician Nataliya Gudziy.
*This article is an edited and revised transcript of the insterviews held in 『PLAY FOR PEACE Vol.1』
Founder: Joe Yokomizo, Co-Founder Taiji Sato, SUGIZO Ukrainian Humanitarian Live “PLAY FOR PEACE Vol.1” will be held on Wednesday, March 23
PLAY FOR PEACE Vol.1 -Event Announcement-
Joe Yokomizo, editor-in-chief of the web media “KIMINITOU,” will hold a live streaming event “PLAY FOR PEACE” on March 23 to support the citizens and children of Ukraine who are suffering from the invasion by the Russian government.
Performers as of March 21 are: JESSE (RIZE,The BONEZ), Takeshi Arai (the band apart), OhDa! (Darthreider & Koji Ota) feat. DJ Oshow, Tabu Zombie, Keiichi Sokabe, Taiji Sato & KIYOHARU, Megumi Mashiro & Yoshiyuki Yatsuhashi, Rina Katahira, ATSUSHI & Nataliya Gudziy (Ukrainian singer and bandura player), Maria Golomidova (Russian photographer), Taiji Sato (THEATRE BROOK), SUGIZO (via VTR message).
The event will be streamed through the YouTube channel of Loft Project, which operates Flowers LOFT Shimokitazawa, the venue for the event.
We will be calling out for social tipping and donations to a dedicated bank account. All proceeds will be donated to UNHCR and Japan Committee for UNICEF, excluding the event expenses.