Separated Japanese

Japanese is not scared of dying if it’s with everyone, but scared of living alone.

On the other hand, Japanese is starting to lose the sense of community.


Japan is known to be a country of cooperation. Actually, Japanese tend to have strong group mind.

Their group mind appears as variety of versions and tie people up to Japan instead of evacuating.

In rural areas, it’s represented as “the loyalty to land inherited from ancestors”. This is a type of animism for farmers.

In city areas, it’s represented as “the loyalty to the job or social status”.


However, this is the obsessive loyalty for something, but not a strong connection among individuals.

Unexpectedly, Japanese don’t help each other.


Let’s see it in two different cases, in city, and in rural areas.


In city areas, the crime rate is very low and infrastructure is well maintained. However it is covered with the atmosphere that you can’t talk what you think.

Since 5 or 6 years ago, the mentality has been highly evaluated, which is “read the atmosphere”.

This is something called social pressure, but it doesn’t lead anyone to do anything specific.

It forces you not to disturb the atmosphere, which is very subjective and vague, and discourages you to express yourself.

Because this is stressful, people start to force others to follow this to share the pain.

In 60s or 70s, “the power” was TV, movies, and newspaper. It was easy to see how they are expected to act, but now, people are to have “the power” inside of ourselves and required to guess how “the power” wants us to act.

Because people have been trying to read the atmosphere for too long, they are starting to be unable to know what they really want to do.

It seems like to make people grow and more mature, but it actually stops people mentally growing up.

This is preventing people from having social movement against the government like Tunisian revolution, which started from Internet, and also from helping each other to evacuate to share the information.

Japan is still strongly united, but it’s not the connection among people, it’s the connection between the government and individuals.

Japanese people are becoming more and more individualistic but it’s an empty individualism because they forgot what they want. They are separated, empty, and lonely.  The high suicidal rate comes from this phenomena as well.


In rural areas, individuals are not required to have “the power” in themselves yet, but it’s in the community. The community exists only for itself.

No one is allowed to change the community whatever it is for.

Now the most important rural areas are Fukushima and Okinawa. Fukushima is the ground zero, but still most of the people can’t evacuate. Okinawa is the last radiation haven. However, because of the government policy to share radioactive debris and food, it’s becoming not safe anymore.

In both of the areas, people are forced to absolutely obey and community. In Fukushima, knowing it’s totally meaningless and rather to be harmful, people are to join community decontamination or marathon race. There is no clear punishment rule, but if they don’t join it, they will feel excluded from the community and it is likely that their children are bullied in school or street.

I often hear that people who managed to evacuate to Okinawa had to join the local dinner party and eat mushroom or rice from the main island of Japan. The local citizens do not have any bad intention to make the evacuating people internally exposed. They are just ignorant. However, same as in Fukushima, they can not resist. If they resist, they will be excluded and the children will be bullied as well.

They don’t learn new things eagerly because if they study radiation risk, the community changes. The absolute loyalty for the community does not allow them to do anything which may change the community. They choose to kill enlighten people to save the community.


Japanese is thought to be good at team work, but actually, it’s only the team work under a certain rule.

When they don’t have a rule to follow, they restrict each other and the life of individual is unfairly underestimated.

  1. So its basically an authoritarian society, with filial piety and self-censorship as values. While I’ll guess Japan is far ahead of China in this respect, I think this aspect of the culture is inherited, partially, from the Confucianism…

    Its sad to see the once independent and practical Japanese giving in to mediocrity and fear of their ‘leaders.’ I hope there is a collapse of the government and the people become less pressured to conform, and relocalize around smaller regions. I’m afraid of a military coup de tat on the other hand, which could plunge Japan into another generation of violent conflict…

  2. Mochizuki, you’re awesome. This is exactly the picture I got as a foreigner and now you come to confirm it. I’m not happy it is this way, but I’m glad I did not misunderstand anything. It tears up my heart that the situation is like this. It’s like Japan is overdosing on heavy drugs on purpose.

  3. I am still in Tokyo, sadly, as shattering a family peace seems more hazardous to our teenager’s life than the low dose radiation, at least in the short term.

    I had thought about evacuating to Okinawa when I am able to convince my family to move, or when our teenager goes to college overseas. However it occurs to me that Okinawa is very much dependent on food imports from mainland Japan, and that means you really don’t know what you’re eating.

    I understand that there is probably nowhere in Japan that is safe, especially with the shipping and burning of radioactive waste being spread all over the country, and with the ever-present threat of another reactor suffering an earthquake and meltdown, but I was thinking that Kyushu and maybe Hokkaido would be safer than Okinawa because it’s easier to get local food there. Any thoughts (other than leave Japan, which I already thought about)?

  4. Reminds me of the film titled Inugami (Masato Harada 2001 – I found this blog mention, as it’s not even listed in Wikipedia, regardless of it being so good and I could not remember the title).

    The ambient you describe in this post and the previous reminded me of this movie a lot. It does however with all the beauty of Japanese traditional culture; as the blogger says the paper-making scenes alone, which are at the beginning of the movie mostly, are maybe the best of it all the movie.

  5. This is what happens in non-democratic governed countries. The people are brainwashed into a life-style of being puppets to the government. Generation after generation, people are slaved in what to think and do. When there are no freedoms to think, and no freedoms to speak one’s own words, money and power will rule over all freedoms. After thousands of years of this type of government control, change is very difficult to come. It is a sad situation. There are many countries today who believe in this unjust philosophy. Its up to the individual to change and act upon his/her beliefs. That is all that can be expected.

  6. Mochizuki-san,

    thank you for your insight, it is so enlightening!

    I lived in Japan only one year but I could feel exactly what you have now expressed so well in words.
    You gave one of the best explanations I ever read about the reasons behind the Japanese mindset and the social pressure in Japan.
    My husband is Japanese, he lived abroad for many years, yet he could not “sense” the dark side of the “atmosphere” I (and you) perceived in Japan.
    Your observations and your analytical skills are amazing. If only more Japanese could start to think like you do!

    For me such a mindset and pressure is unbelievable, but after having lived in Japan, I realised it was possible and even perfectly normal there. I had a very hard time to get used to it.
    Yet it is something so difficult to explain to people who never lived there, because these things are so peculiar of Japan and unique I think.
    We are used to think human beings have the same sort of insincts and basic feelings to lead their behaviors, therefore we are used to understand the different behaviors from people of different countries by judging them as led by a prevalent common feeling rather than another (individualism rather than altruism, materialism rather than spirituality, corruption rather than justice etc.).

    This scheme does not work very well in Japan, at least it did not work for me. I needed other keys to understand that society. Today here you gave me one of the keys I was looking for.
    I think my husband, although he lived most of his life in different countries, deep inside himself still share with Japanese people all what you described here, the strenght of such a bond is incredible.
    I am waiting for him to join us abroad, he is still in Japan.

    Take care and thank you again

  7. Very sad situation when people are no longer able to take their own decisions free from any pressure, whatever it comes from ! What people should take into consideration first is LIFE. All that’s against LIFE should be rejected, all that is for LIFE goes in the right direction. Japan is heading in the WRONG direction !
    More on the dramatic consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster for Japan on
    where you will find divine Messages intended to protect, warn, advise and help people in order to protect LIFE.
    Blessings to all readers !

  8. Thank you for these interesting articles on the Japanese people. It helps us understand better what is going on from a human/cultural point of view. Clearly, Japan was a very bad place for a nuclear disaster to happen.

  9. The Canadian Prime Minister will visit Sendai next week, I hope he invites millions of Japanese to come to Canada. It would be very practical, Japanese could move industries to Canada and have Japanese employees. We have lots of room to set up New Fukushima.

  10. Interesting. It sounds like one effect is those who control the government can cause the whole country to kill itself, voluntarily.

    That would be like ‘the power elite’ who want to depopulate the world.

    Japanese people need Jesus to save their souls and guide them.

  11. Mochizuki san,

    I have been an English teacher in Japan for many years and this essay and the essay you wrote yesterday Japanese Politely Giving Up Their Lives are both excellent, brilliant arm chair sociological analysis. I learned a lot even though I deal with Japanese people and especially students of college age almost daily. You really bring an incredibly rare insight to the foreign audience and we really appreciate this.

    I tried to publish a paper after Fukushima at one of Tokyo’s elite colleges but was rejected: it is too sensitive. Subtle and not so subtle oppression is the norm in Japan.

    In my own family, after the accident I repeated suggested we evacuate Tokyo but my wife insisted “the children must go to school”. How insane is this? Imagine had the accident occurred at Hamaoka, much closer to Tokyo, or that the No. 4 fuel pool had exploded releasing vastly more radiation, causing a catastrophic chain reaction of events and Tokyo would have had to be evacuated. My wife would have then done so but only then. Her ties to her family and job outweigh a rational responsibility to her children, let alone her dumb gaijin husband (if you don’t like it go back to America).

    About a year after the accident the elementary school nearby finally measured the radiation. It is very vague results without any explanations of how dangerous it is. Actually I find much higher levels with my own geiger counter. But the stupid government wants people to believe that we didn’t measure it for a whole year because we already knew it was safe, but we measured it because of public paranoia and baseless rumors, so here you go!

    Thank you for your great work Mochizuki san, you and Ex SKF are two of the only Japanese truly speaking out!
    PS Most foreigners are also brainwashed, English teachers are mainly in denial of the topic as well.

    1. I fully understand your plight. I am wondering if there is somewhere in Tokyo we could have the kids’ urine tested for Cesium? If you find a place, please post it. As more radioactive garbage is burned, the cesium levels in urine may increase. It might be helpful to your wife to show her how much the children are already exposed to, and that it is getting worse, not better. Trends are very powerful. She may think things are improving, but might have a different view when she realizing we’re all frogs on a slow path to boiling.

    2. One more point. One thing you have going for you is the fact that your wife (I assume Japanese) married a foreigner. Although ties to family, job and community are strong, I imagine she is more independent thinking than many Japanese. Have hope and keep trying.

  12. Regarding school radiation tests, actually the government did not measure my kid’s school, only some schools in the ward. Measurement is 5 cm above ground level and is .08 or .1. There was not testing of the soil.

    With my own geiger counter I place it on the ground in the neighborhood at several locations. I am not sure what the baseline of my geiger counter is, I think the lowest reading I have ever had is .06 and even when I used it in America got readings like .1 a lot. On the airplane at 30,000 feet I got the 2 microsievert per hour reading (high!).

    But in my neighborhood in central Tokyo, placing the geiger counter on the ground, readings vary from .1 on up to .29 yesterday at a public park on the tiled sidewalk, where kids were sitting on!

    The government is lying to us.

  13. Hello and konnichiwa. This is my first time to post a comment here. Your comments in this article are so very accurate I feel. It is the most clear explanation I have ever read about Japanese society and how they are dealing with this radiation.

    I have worked for Toyota for 12 years now, and I have lived in Nagoya for one year. Actually I was living in nagoya with my family on 311, so I am still very concerned about this situation because it is a part of me..

    I just wanted to commend you on this Diary and encourage you to keep up the truth… Because most Japanese seem like they can not speak up for themselves

  14. You know—I read this, and thought of the USA.

    Because that’s what USA seems like to me.

    Here we had 911 and hardly any investigation. Television will not talk about the questions about 9/11 —ever. Radio either. Don’t bring up Building 7.

    People are starting to wake up, but for years and years and years now starting with the 2000 election there has been a terrible silence here.

    Coverage of Fukushima’s meltdown is a perfect example. Nothing but TV news coverage for a week. Then all of a sudden, no stories anywhere. As if it didn’t happen. All this year, virtual blackout on Fukushima in broadcast news. Newspapers hardly touch it.

    The worst part of the silence is that so many people seem OK with it, and seem to take it as “there’s nothing wrong.”

    Even when it’s so obvious, for so long, that things are wrong.

    I hope it changes. People want change, problem is it has to come from the bottom up to work, not the top down.

    Thank you so much for your coverage of Japan.

Comments are closed.

About this site

This website updates the latest news about the Fukushima nuclear plant and also archives the past news from 2011. Because it's always updated and added live, articles, categories and the tags are not necessarily fitted in the latest format.
I am the writer of this website. About page remains in 2014. This is because my memory about 311 was clearer than now, 2023, and I think it can have a historical value. Now I'm living in Romania with 3 cats as an independent data scientist.
Actually, nothing has progressed in the plant since 2011. We still don't even know what is going on inside. They must keep cooling the crippled reactors by water, but additionally groundwater keeps flowing into the reactor buildings from the broken parts. This is why highly contaminated water is always produced more than it can circulate. Tepco is planning to officially discharge this water to the Pacific but Tritium is still remaining in it. They dilute this with seawater so that it is legally safe, but scientifically the same amount of radioactive tritium is contained. They say it is safe to discharge, but none of them have drunk it.


March 2012