It's official: You can't escape politics in America. On a recent trip to Seattle, everyone I spoke to wanted to talk about President Donald Trump. Fittingly, the 2017 edition of the Museum of Pop Culture's Pop Conference, which I was invited to speak at, took on a political theme with "Sign O' The Times: Music and Politics."
I spoke about music in post-Fukushima Japan, which mostly meant focusing on a handful of artists who protested nuclear energy in the wake of the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The prefecture's own hardcore scene kicked back at the idea that people from the area were "contaminated," with bands such as The Friday proudly declaring "F—- You, We're From Fukushima."
Other protests happened on the streets of Tokyo, on the internet, at music festivals and via independently released dance tracks, while many mainstream acts reacted with positive come-together songs. (If you're interested on more about the topic, check out Noriko Manabe's fantastic book, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima.")