lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by NOBUO NAKAHARA
Social commentary, which I wrote while going ‘I’ll never do it! I’ll never do it!’ I shouldn’t say this, but this was an act of desperation, really. I couldn’t write it. I had avoided it – I avoided it, I avoided it, and then only the final track on “Daitenshi no you ni” was left. This was Naka-chan’s song, and he told me he absolutely wanted me to write lyrics for it, and I wanted to write lyrics for it too. But with these lyrics, it made recording the song weird. They’d say, “One more time from ‘The pregnant woman says,'” or “From ‘I’m afraid to give birth.'” I think the other members were laughing too.
I was very shocked by Chernobyl. Wars are unending in other countries, but I am not a part of the generation that experienced war in the country I live in. But of course I’m living in the only country to be hit by an atom bomb. And so because of that, I think that the fear of atomic weapons can be felt more realistically here than in other countries. The incident at Chernobyl was a tragedy marking the first time my generation could experience the fear of nuclear power in real-time. I was so shocked that even I – who with all my power wanted to avoid writing social commentary – ended up writing something. I thought, ‘this could happen in Japan too.’
What I was afraid of more than anything was pregnancy. The effects of radiation can linger for tens of thousands of years, but at that time, it was carried on the wind and traveled all over the world. Even in western Europe high levels of radioactivity were detected in breast milk and spinach. Yes, it’s terrifying when a bomb is dropped and tens of thousands die immediately on impact, but it’s more terrifying to consider the lasting effects on children in their mother’s wombs, who are hurt, and the effects it can have over tens of thousands of years on not just humans, but on animals, plants, and life itself. The fact that pregnant women and mothers must be worried about this future is incredibly scary to me. Incidents where lots of people die are relatively common occurrences all over the world. You have to get used to it, and we should never go to war, but that day, just being in Japan meant facing head-on the terror of nuclear weapons, on a different level than just regular war. That mothers will fear giving birth to the children in their bellies is a fear found only with nuclear weapons, and so that was what I put the most effort into in this song. It was a special occurrence. I haven’t written about anything that actually happened besides this. There hasn’t yet been a war that has directly wrapped up my generation, but this incident made me realize that we’re all wrapped up in these vivid accidents.
There was no opposition from the other members. There was never a point originally where we said, ‘OK, we’re going to cut out social commentary.’ I think it was more a matter of just not liking it. But we’ve never performed this song live, I don’t think. It was made through sequencing, so it would have been difficult to do an arrangement for the band. On the other hand, I had wanted to take the album closer to a concept album, and this song was originally longer, but I had it cut down.Jun Togawa, Jun Togawa Complete Lyrics Commentary Collection ‘Partly Cloudy with Sturm und Drang’
Translation and notes under the cut:
Last April 26th (1)
The pregnant woman says – “I’m afraid to give birth”
Several hundred million curies
Last April 26th
This blue Gaia, destroying herself
1: Referring to the Chernobyl disaster, which occurred on 26 April 1986.