Reverend G Nagase’s 2020 Fukushima Day speech



In 1946, just ten months after the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States started a series of nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean. Between 1946 and 1962, the US would carry out a total of 104 nuclear tests in all, in the Pacific.

On 1 March 1954, the United States carried out a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean. As a result of this, the Japanese tuna fishing vessel The 5th Fukuryū Maru – with 23 crew members – was exposed to radiation. A further 550 or so vessels were at that time within a radius of possible exposure to radiation. A quarter of them were the same type of tuna fishing vessel from Kochi Prefecture in Japan. For the following 10 consecutive months, contaminated tuna fish was dumped into the sea, while some of it was buried in the grounds of the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

In 1955, Japan received 2 million US dollars as compensation from the US, agreeing in return to not pursue any legal responsibility on the part of the US. That same year, Japan decided to build its own nuclear power plant. In 1964, ten years after the hydrogen bomb incident, Japan would host the Olympics in Tokyo.

This summer, nine years after the yet-unresolved Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan will once again host the Olympics in Tokyo. For the duration of this year’s Olympics, The 5th Fukuryū Maru exhibition hall will be closed due to security reasons. It is not wise to fish for a loach again under the same willow tree.

John Ruskin watercolor-Nagase Shonin
John Ruskin by Reverend G Nagase, 25 December 2019, watercolour on paper

John Ruskin wrote:

“The desire of the heart is also the light of the eyes. No scene is continually and untiringly loved, but one rich by joyful human labour; smooth in field; fair in garden; full in orchard; trim, sweet, and frequent in homestead; ringing with voices of vivid existence. No air is sweet that is silent; it is only sweet when full of low currents of under sound – triplets of birds, and murmur and chirp of insects, and deep-toned words of men, and wayward trebles of childhood. As the art of life is learned, it will be found at last that all lovely things are also necessary: – the wild flower by the wayside, as well as the tended corn; and the wild birds and creatures of the forest, as well as the tended cattle; because man doth not live by bread alone, but also by the desert manna; by every wondrous word and unknowable work of God. Happy, in that he knew them not, nor did his fathers know; and that round about him reaches yet into the infinite, the amazement of his existence. Note, finally, that all effectual advancement towards this true felicity of the human race must be by individual, not public effort.”

In Buddhism, the most important thing is the desire of the heart.

The desire of the heart should be pure towards the highest vision; then this helpless world will turn to the Pure Land.


With palms together in prayer,

Nipponzan Myohoji, London Dojo

Bhikkhu G. Nagase

Reverend G Nagase’s 2020 Fukushima Day speech

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