Anti-Nuke Who’s Who Shoji Takagi always does things in his own time Nuke Info Tokyo No. 103

By Yukiko Mukai*

Shoji Takagi pointing to a pamphlet against the Hamako NPP, for which he drew the illustration

Me write an article introducing Shoji Takagi? CNIC asked me to do it, but I’m in a bind. How do you get a handle on someone like Shoji Takagi? There’s nothing to grab hold of. He’s great at drawing illustrations. He’s second to none at making banners and placards. But if you ask what his real line of work is, the answer has to be ‘anti-nuclear energy activist’. He draws illustrations and makes banners to oppose nuclear energy. He’ll go anyway to oppose nuclear energy, from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. If he can’t go there, he’ll make a phone call. Though often you can’t reach him on the phone, because he hasn’t paid his phone bill.He acts as a go-between for groups of all shades for the sake of the anti-nuclear cause. I would like to say that he doesn’t shirk from hard labor for the sake of the anti-nuclear cause, but that wouldn’t be strictly true. “Oh no, Shoji’s illustration hasn’t arrived. Without that we can’t print the leaflet. We’ll have to change our schedule.” You can try to pressure him, but he always does things in his own time: no rush, no panic. He comes into his own in negotiations with Tokyo Electric Power Company, or with government agencies. He remains completely unruffled as he presses his questions.

He never gives up and never becomes pessimistic. Whenever there’s an accident or a cover-up is discovered, he immediately launches a protest action. It’s hard to rush into action on weekdays, but he will always ask people to get involved. Some can only take part once in a while, but as long as there are a few willing people, Shoji will start the ball rolling.

For many years Shoji hasn’t looked after himself properly, so he’s not very healthy. The Chuetsu region of Niigata Prefecture, scene of the recent spate of earthquakes, is home to some of Shoji’s anti-nuclear friends. When the earthquake struck, Shoji couldn’t restrain himself. He just had to go there. If he was strong and in good health, or if he had lots of money, perhaps he would have been of some use, but as it is, he meets none of these criteria. As a friend, I warned him that he would just be a nuisance, but he wouldn’t listen.

I’ve been poking fun at him, but actually I met Shoji Takagi through Jinzburo Takagi’s ‘Anti-Nuke Delivery’ lectures (NIT No. 2, Dec. 1987). Both Shoji and I, along with most of those who attended these lectures, found out about Japan’s nuclear reactors in the wake of the Chernobyl accident. Aghast at the number of reactors in Japan, we thought, “This is no good. Something has to be done about it.” But being allergic to science, and faced with all that jargon, I soon dropped out. I concluded that what’s bad is bad and what’s dangerous is dangerous, but gave up ever being armed with theory. Rather, I decided to let my activism remain at an emotional level. I suspect that Shoji felt much the same. But things are different now. He put everything he had into studying and gathering information about his opponent’s intentions, so that now his knowledge about nuclear energy is amazing. He’s also an expert on the particular circumstances of all the local regions. So a huge gap has opened up between us. Now I want to do whatever I can to help Shoji, who is armed with theory, in his activism.

*Yukiko Mukai is a member of the Stop Nuclear Energy Saitama Liaison Group

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