In 1985 I worked with Ryuichi Sakamoto, and have stayed friendly with him ever since. He is one of Japan’s finest musicians, a music professor who started in the pop world as the leader of Yellow Magic Orchestra before establishing a phenomenal solo career. He wrote the beautiful, perennial ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ score (and co-starred in it with Bowie) and went on to win an Oscar for Best Score in ‘The Last Emperor.’ The record and video I made with him are hard to find but worth the search–the song’s called ‘Field Work.’
Ryuichi contacted me a couple weeks ago about an issue that is troubling to him. In Northern Japan there is a nuclear reactor about to open outside the small town of Rokkasho. It has been measured to have potential levels of radioactivity way in excess of anything remotely safe or acceptable. For some reason the Japanese media are not paying attention to it. So Ryuichi has put together a web site http://stop-rokkasho.org where he and his artist friends from around the world have contributed music, words, photos and video clips to draw attention to this problem.
A few gigs ago we videotaped my live performance of ‘Windpower’ and I dedicated it to the people of Rokkasho. Today Ryuichi added the clip to his site, and it’s currently #2 in iTunes’ ‘political’ category. You can grab the podcast/download directly from the Stop Rokkasho site, or if you prefer you can get it here. Enjoy!