Client: Japan Times, providing the latest news and features from Japan including business, politics, culture, entertainment, and more.
Project Description: Write a piece for the entertainment pages about the way the world’s first atomic bombing is addressed within the Hiroshima punk scene.
“Ironically, the subject of the atomic bombing has always existed within the Hiroshima punk scene the same way an irradiated elephant might occupy the slam pit at a bar show — awkwardly, and with a high likelihood of making you spill your drink.”
The Inside Scoop
My original idea for this piece consisted of reporting on an August 6th punk show held in Hiroshima every year. The show commemorates the atomic bombing, and only includes bands, local and otherwise, that have an anti-war message. However, due to the available publication dates at the time of my pitch, the piece would be coming out mid-August, making it just a little too late to really work as coverage of the August 6th concert.
So my editor asked me if I could put a different spin on it, and this is where I arrived. The article consists of interviews with two central figures in the Hiroshima punk scene, one from a highly political band, and the other from an apolitical band. Interestingly, they both agree that it’s important to discuss nuclear issues, and both of them identify themselves as anti-war. Where they differ is in whether they feel it’s necessary to broadcast that message in their music.
The more politically outspoken of the two, Guy-san, is the vocalist for Hiroshima hardcore punk band Origin of M, and owner of Disk Shop Misery in downtown Hiroshima as well as the recording label Bloodsucker Records. Counterbalancing him is Nass-san, drummer for local punk act the So-Cho Pistons, and proprietor of Dumb Records, a record shop, record label, and bar in downtown Hiroshima.
Despite the subject switcheroo at the article outset, I think it’s an interesting piece capable of appealing to both older and younger readership alike. Not bad for an article about punk rock and atomic power, even if I do say so myself.
My Favorite Part
Talking about music and politics with a couple of punk veterans.
See the results:
The Atomic Elephant in the Pit