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Down with the Cities! By Tadashi Nakashima Characters: 55763

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07

The Evils of the City

If we were to assume that the city brought no harm to either human beings or to the Earth, there would be no need for a discussion (or condemnation) of the spread of the cities as in the previous chapter. Yea, it would be verily the opposite: Just as most urbanites believe, the city is an ultimate good since it helps them achieve prosperity. We may even say, then, that urbanization must be aggressively promoted not only quantitatively (in terms of the city's boundless expansion), but also qualitatively (in the quest of ever greater modernization and technological advances).

But sorry to say, such is just not the case. The city is, in actuality, the very root of the evils that threaten the future of humanity and the Earth.

Though to the denizens of the city it is a good, since it allows them to pursue convenience, extravagance, and ease (that is, prosperity), that "good" is, minute by minute, turning into a future - yea, a present - evil, and we (the city dwellers first) will in time be exterminated by the city's poisons. So that the city can pursue convenience, extravagance, and ease, we must be visited by the accumulation of waste, destruction, and contamination, which will, needless to say, end in a dreadful catastrophe.

The City's Endless Plunder

The city itself is unproductive, and cannot supply its own needs. No matter how many trinkets and gimcracks the manufacturing and processing industries make, this cannot be called production; we must in fact regard this as the consumption of resources and energy. Since the city is therefore nonproductive and non-self sufficient it must either rob all needed supplies from some other place or lose the ability to keep itself alive and functioning. Urban residents will not be able to pursue extravagance and ease, let alone continue living.

Because it robs everything from another place the city causes trouble for others, and trashes the Earth is the process. Let us now try listing the various evils inherent in the city's plundering ways.

Evil One

The first evil is deforestation.

Cities were first built by chopping down the forests. No matter what city, unless it floats in the air or on the water, the place it occupies was most likely originally forest. Thus the city, in order to establish itself, cut the trees. And though it is the destroyer of trees, the city at the same time requires the oxygen produced by trees (for its overflowing people, its legions of automobiles, and its multitudes of factories). Counting on the oxygen from the trees of other areas, the city is barely able to maintain its life and functions.

If that were all, we might be able to put up with it, but the high-handed, arrogant city, in order to increase its benefits and extravagance, continually plunders and destroys the forests in these other areas as well. If one goes to the port at Shimizu, one can see the shiploads of lumber and pulp robbed from the forests of developing nations. The countries thus plundered are now watching their clearcuts turn into wasteland and desert.

Thus, by means of producing vast quantities of throwaway wrapping paper and packing boxes, and its idiotic newspapers, magazines, and leaflets, by becoming drunk on its own extravagance and convenience, the city is cutting its own throat; it is carrying on activities that contribute to the reduction of its all-important oxygen. What is more, after consuming these vast quantities of paper, the city disposes of them by burning, consuming yet more oxygen.

The city should take a good look at what is happening. By plundering the forests of the southern hemisphere it is not only bringing about a crisis there. It is using up its own supply of trees as well - the trees without which it cannot survive.

Evil Two

The second evil is the plunder of farmland.

In the previous section I wrote that the city was built by destroying the forests, but land which was formerly forested is first and foremost that which can and should be used for farming. The cities are built almost solely on the level, most fertile land. And other urbanized areas, such as those along rail lines and roads, or the centers of villages - though there are a few places which have been made by cutting into the mountains - have been built on plundered farmland. The urbanization of farmland is accomplished by such high-handed legal stratagems as taxing the land as if it were residential property, or employing urban planning laws.

The residents of the cities had best not forget that the very farmland they continue to urbanize is the source of their food.

Evil Three

The third evil is, as I mentioned in the previous chapter, the covering of the earth with concrete.

In order to profit from plundered farmland, the city usually covers it with concrete, thereby making the land forever useless.

All living things are borne and nourished by the Land. Rain is absorbed by the Land, becoming the source of well water and stream water, water that is released gradually in dry times by means of the Land's regulatory and retaining capabilities. The Land also purifies all contaminants (except for things like heavy metals and chemicals). The Land has, for millions of years, continued its work of reducing waste products, dead plants, and fallen leaves by means of bacterial action, and returning them to the soil.

But by covering the Land with concrete we paralyze this function, and it dies. Dead land (concrete) will not grow plants or absorb water, or give it forth in dry times. And contaminants on concrete just stink without being purified; if we don't clean up the mess we cannot even live there.

The functions of the earth - giving life to the plants and animals, regulating the rainwater, purifying waste and returning it to the soil - may be said to form the main artery of Nature's cyclical function. If the earth is blocked off, the flow of blood will halt, and the Earth will turn into a dead planet. And it is none other than concrete that is responsible for cutting off the flow of blood.

The big city is a great mass of concrete, and it is here that the rape of the Land attains its highest perfection. Should the multitudes of buildings collapse, how would they dispose of the mountains of rubble? No matter where they put the rubble, it will cover the earth, and the bottom of the ocean should also be considered earth. Whether a factory, an office building, or a paved road, once it is built we have condemned some part of the Land to be covered with it. The more you block off the Land, the more the functions of nature are necessarily impaired, and we will pay for this sooner or later. The net of Heaven is coarse, but allows nothing to escape [4] - is it possible that Nature will miss this or generously overlook it?

Evil Four

The fourth evil is the theft of the farm population.

The cities have burgeoned by stealing the farm population. The expansion of the cities is in other words the growth of those employed by the secondary and tertiary industries, and the growth of the secondary and tertiary population represents the decline of the farming population.

In order to feed a large non-tilling population with a small farming population, labor-saving, high-yield agriculture is an absolute necessity, and this leads to plundering, contaminating agriculture using machines that run on petroleum. As long as the increased secondary and tertiary population tries to enjoy a modern lifestyle (convenience, extravagance, and ease), it only stands to reason that the consumers (the non-tilling population) will have to put up with, and pay the price of, contaminated agricultural produce.

Evil Five

The fifth evil is squeezing food out of the farmers. Since the concrete cities are incapable of supplying themselves with food, the inhabitants must, in order to survive, squeeze everything they eat - be it an apple, a tomato, or a grain of rice - out of the farming villages. Long ago the cities expropriated agricultural produce through the feudal lords and landlords, and in more recent times they forced the farmers to give it up by means of the Food Control Act. Now, however, they take mountains of food by means of money. These are necessary, desperate measures taken to keep the cities alive. No matter what means they employ, the cities must forever (until they collapse into rubble) continue to extort food from the farmers. They can do nothing else, even if they have to send in the military and seize food from the farmers at gunpoint.

What is more, as long as one has to rip it off, why not grab the best (even dogs and cats take the best first)? That is why the feudal lords and landlords issued orders for rice to be sent to them. "Millet will not do. Such is for farmers to eat." Thus they ruled. And now the city dwellers say, "Let us pay a lot of money for sasanishiki and koshihikari." [5] How is this different from the arrogance of the feudal lords and landlords?

In this way the best of the agricultural produce continues to flow into the cities, while in the country we continue to satisfy ourselves with the leftovers. It ought to be the other way around.

Evil Six

The sixth evil is the destruction of the seashore and the prodigal consumption of marine products.

Once upon a time Tokyo Bay was a famous fishing ground for shorefish, but now the shore of the bay is concrete and great quantities of sewage pour into the water, destroying the fishing. In order to make things better for themselves, the cities have destroyed the natural seashores (it is not just Tokyo Bay - the better half of Japan's seashores are concrete) and sacrificed the lives of the fishermen living there.

The shore has always been the greatest mechanism for the sea's ability to purify itself. [6] Great numbers of marine organisms live near the shores, so that as long as we do not cover them with concrete and fill the littoral areas with garbage, there is no need to go far out to sea to fish, thereby being a nuisance to other countries.

Japan's deep sea fishing industry, for example, has taken too many shrimp near Indonesia, and in order to get 8,000 tons of shrimp, once discarded 70,000 tons of fish (according to an Asahi Shimbun feature entitled "Food"). Extravagant city dwellers will pay high prices for shrimp, but they will not pay much for other marine foods, and since the fishermen cannot make money by offering ordinary fish, all the dead ones are thrown back into the sea after sorting. Such fish are a precious source of protein for the people of Indonesia.

Thus the egomaniacal cities waste 70,000 tons of fish so that they can gorge themselves on shrimp (I will answer later to the charge that people in the country eat shrimp, too). And what is more, they so recklessly take shrimp that the shrimp are now in danger of running out. Just as with the forests, Indonesia's fish crisis is intimately connected with our cities' appetite.

Evil Seven

The seventh evil is the copious consumption of resources and energy. The functions of the cities are supported by vast quantities of energy and underground resources. Almost all these resources are used to maintain the extravagance and convenience of the cities (like elevators, automatic doors, neon signs, transportation systems, heating, and air conditioning), and to make idiotic trinkets and gewgaws (like cars, cameras, televisions, and robots). The cities (industries) are built on the assumption that petroleum and metals will be supplied forever, and in unlimited quantities. However, it should be manifest even to a little child that such things are limited, and what remains dwindles day by day.

The incredible fight over, and waste of, resources is an indication, along with the pursuit of profit inherent in a money economy, of the competitive ideology of the city mind. Modern urban civilization - that is, the extravagance and prosperity of the cities - is a fruitless blossom fed by this waste of energy and underground resources.

Evil Eight

The eighth evil is the excessive consumption of oxygen and water.

The consumption of oxygen is just as I noted in the section on forests (Evil One). Were it not for oxygen, even the convenient energy provided by petroleum would not be available. Oxygen is the most important thing in maintaining the functions of the cities, and they consume it with wild abandon. Oxygen decreases minute by minute, so that in time we too might not have enough to breathe (it is said that in one minute a jet consumes as much oxygen as a human being consumes in a year).

The cities also think nothing of wasting water for convenience and money-making, for their flush toilets and their factories. The cities take water from others by force, and then dump their wastes everywhere.

Evil Nine

The ninth evil is the way the city forces sacrifices on others so it can obtain electricity and water.

The egotism of the city is more than apparent in its method of obtaining electricity and water. We all remember when Tokyoites insisted that, in order that they could live a convenient, pleasant life, it was only natural that the village of Okawachi sink beneath the waters of a dam reservoir. In this way the farmers of the village were turned out of the place that had been their home for generations, while the citizens of Tokyo, in their pursuit of convenience, extravagance, and ease (not to mention money-making), never even looked back. And the tragedy of such obscure villages is just like that of the villages ruined by nuclear power. Why don't the cities build their nuclear reactors right in the middle of the cities? Why don't they build them in one of their seaside industrial zones? If city residents do not have enough water for their flush toilets or electricity for their automatic doors (though I would expect they too have hands with which to open doors), they should leave the cities.

The Evils of Urban Wastes

The preceding nine sections are an outline of the plundering, destructive acts that the cities must perpetrate in order to maintain themselves.

Now, having consumed all of these plundered resources, the cities are left with wastes - both industrial and human - and they then proceed to dump them on others, all the while thinking it a perfectly natural thing to do. No matter that the cities have been so devilishly clever in devising a civilization built on all manner of amazing apparatuses - the law of conservation of matter guarantees that they cannot do away with their garbage by sleight of hand.

Let us now list and examine the various evils of the cities as represented by their wastes.

1. Carbon Dioxide

The first of the wastes is the excessive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The result of robbing great amounts of oxygen and consuming it is the production of similarly great amounts of carbon dioxide. Trees would be expected to consume this carbon dioxide and deliver oxygen to us, but since the cities are also destroying the trees, this conversion process cannot keep up; if there were no cities in the world, we could expect the consumption and production of oxygen to be in balance.

Thus the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere steadily increases, and it is said that by the years 2025-2050, there will by twice as much in the atmosphere as there was before industrialization. Because of the greenhouse effect the temperature at the surface of the Earth will rise two or three degrees, the glaciers will melt, and the surface of the oceans will rise five meters above their present levels. Most of the big cities of the world will then be flooded. They shall reap as the have sown.

2. Atmospheric Pollution by Exhaust

The second is the production of particulate matter and exhaust gases. Prodigious amounts of poisonous gases and particulate matter pour from the smokestacks of the cities' innumerable factories, from the throngs of automobiles crowding their streets, and from the swarms of jets in the skies (and even a little from all the cigarettes; I will answer later to the charge that we have cigarettes and cars in the country, too). Not only does all this pollute the atmosphere, it is also said that the particulate matter blocks the light of the sun, thus causing a drop in the temperature on the Earth. There is no reason to believe that this will be balanced off satisfactorily by the greenhouse effect. The increase in carbon dioxide, poisonous gases, and particulate matter in the atmosphere threatens the lives of all living things on our Earth.

3. Depletion of the Ozone Layer

The third is the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Those ever-so-convenient city inventions the jet plane and the aerosol spray, and the nitrogen fertilizer that the city invented to dominate the farming villages, are the instruments by which the city is destroying the ozone layer.

The effects of the exhaust gases and nitrogen oxides released in the stratosphere by jet planes will, in the final estimation, reduce the ozone by 6.5 percent. And it is thought that the CFCs used in aerosol sprays, which rise to high altitudes upon their release, will, even if their use continues at the 1974 rate, cause a 14 percent loss of the ozone over the next 50 years. The nitrogen suboxide released when the nitrogen fixed in chemical nitrogen fertilizers is denitrified will, it is estimated, cause a future 3.5 percent reduction of ozone.

A 1 percent reduction in ozone translates to a 2 percent increase in ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface, and an increase in ultraviolet radiation is a threat to all living things on Earth; it is said that, if nothing is done about this - if the ozone layer continues to be destroyed - certain species will be faced with extinction. Since all species in their interactions work to maintain the ecosystem, the loss of even one could signify grave consequences for the ecosystem as a whole. As for human beings, should there be a 10 percent reduction in ozone, it is thought that cases of skin cancer could increase 20 to 30 percent.

The cities steal nitrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere, they rob metals and petroleum from the earth, and their wonderful scientific achievement is to put us and the entire ecosystem in mortal danger by means of the production and use of their inventions.

4. Sewage

Fourth is the dumping of sewage into the ocean.

In order to maintain convenience, extravagance, and ease, the city must somehow dispose of the great amounts of water it converts into sewage, and that sewage always ends up in the ocean. The amount of sewage produced is about equal to the amount of water consumed.

This sewage is treated and divided into water and sludge; the sludge is used for landfills, and the water goes to the sea via the sewage system. However, since this treatment is not perfect the water flowing into the ocean contains, depending upon the substance, 10-60 percent of what it originally contained. In addition, most cities have a sewage system in which rain water is collected along with the sewage, so that on a rainy day the treatment plants cannot handle the volume, and the result is that some of it goes to the sea just as it is. Thus the ocean has become a cesspool.

Washing one's hands means that one must dirty some water. And doing the laundry means that one pollutes the ocean by cleaning one's clothes. Flush toilets are no different. As long as I can live under sanitary conditions, it doesn't matter if the ocean becomes polluted - this is the egotism that the city is built upon.

5. Mountains of Garbage and Wastes

The fifth is landfills of garbage and sludge. No matter what kind of garbage one has, it is quite impossible, even if one changes its form or appearance, to make it disappear. Unburnable solid trash goes without saying, but burnable trash is no different: even after burning, the gaseous part disperses in the atmosphere, and the ashes still remain. And there is no proof that these are harmless. Even if the city had the technology to make them harmless, these great amounts of waste (ashes) must still be put somewhere, and that will cause problems for someone.

The cunning, arrogant city is able to maintain the pleasantness of its own environment by shoving its tons of garbage off on the country, or by dumping it in the ocean. But do we tolerate it when someone dumps his garbage in his neighbor's house in order to keep his own clean? The beautiful cities and spic-and-span factories which receive awards from the Environment Agency are showing us that they are shoving more garbage off on others than are other cities and factories.

Of all the kinds of trash brought out of the cities the most voluminous is demolition wastes. It is said that this makes up one-third of the waste from the big cities. Whenever they begin some new enterprise, they remove the old buildings since they are now just in the way. And the place they discard this waste is (take for example Nagoya) farmland purchased for the purpose. Every bit of junk that the city produces in order to achieve even greater benefit and extravagance (even the wastes produced in one day could not be kept in the city) are taken to the country and forced off on us. If the people in the country bought some land in the city and began to haul things like straw, wood chips, and rocks to the city and dumped them there, would the city stand by silently and allow this?

Second to demolition wastes, the wastes of greatest volume are those created by the manufacturing and processing industries. Next come domestic wastes, and then those produced by the services (included are of course such poisonous substances as mercury, PCBs, and ABS). These wastes are disposed of, along with the sludge from sewage treatment plants, on land or in landfills near the ocean. [7]

6. The Flood of Merchandise

The sixth is the flood of products (merchandise).

I have already written about how, in its activities of manufacturing and processing, the city robs and wastes resources; how it spreads pollution everywhere; how it shoves its garbage off on others. But these are not the only evils inherent in the city's industries.

The city produces vast quantities of products (merchandise), piles them high everywhere, and threatens the very future of human society with this flood. [8] Look at the packs of automobiles crowding the roads. Look at the great quantities of agricultural chemicals in use. Look at the mountains of medicine and food additives being shoved down our throats. It is the same for the worthless cigarettes produced in mountainous quantities; for the oceans of alcohol meant to help city people forget that there is no longer any meaning in their lives; for the heaps of records and tapes, which, like sonic narcotics, produce noise and dementia; for the weekly magazines and comic books that overflow with idiotic stories and pictures - one could go on without limit. It would not be an overstatement to say that all merchandise produced by the city is the same. And just as I mentioned before with jet planes and aerosols, they produce pollution not only when they are used, but, as outlined in section five, become pollution themselves after use, thus causing the utmost trouble for people in other places. No matter what product, it cannot stand up to use indefinitely; sooner or later it becomes trash and the city must dispose of it somehow (these days we see many products that were made purposely to last only a short time). [9] Everywhere we look we see discarded junk like televisions, washing machines, and automobiles (strangely enough, these were supposed to be the very symbols of prosperity) - does it not make one feel the desolation foretelling the end of an age? When a tiger dies it leaves its hide, but when city merchandise dies, it leaves more evil. [10]

Will human beings in the end be crushed under the load of their merchandise and trash? [11]

7. Excessive Services Forced onto Us

The seventh is how the city forces excessive services off on us.

Take, for example, public employees. It is said that the number of public employees increases at a fixed rate. Even that illustrious, tyrannical dictator Hitler met with defeat when, in an effort to streamline the government, he ran up against the firm resistance of the bureaucrats, so there is no reason to believe that today's pusillanimous cabinet members or boneheaded Government Reorganization Committee members would be able to change anything no matter how many handstands they perform.

The overpaid bureaucrats, in order to increase their staff and expand their territory, are continually planning new "services" and getting their politico friends to appropriate money for them. It is the citizens who have to put up with these nuisances. Fill out this form, cooperate in this survey - there is no end to their worthless, time-consuming services.

Private service enterprises are no different in that they hard-sell services. These days we see the emergence of strange, previously unheard-of services, and there are numerous instances of their swindling the innocent public for all they can get.

There is no saying where all this will stop. According to 1982 employment survey results published by the Gifu Prefectural Statistics Section, a mere 0.9 percent of all youths 15 to 24 years of age are employed in primary industries (this figure has shown a steady yearly decline). This means that the other 99.1 percent are making a living in the spiffy secondary and tertiary industries. Let us take careful note of the fact that the present urbanizing social structure allows only 0.9 percent of the young to feed the other 99.1 percent prodigal sons.

8. The City as Warmonger

The eighth is that the city is a warmonger.

Both guns and ammunition are made by the city. And nuclear weapons go without saying.

Needless to say, those who directly manufacture and sell weapons for killing people are the merchants of death, but a careful look reveals that the cities are chock full of merchants of death. If I may be allowed an extreme statement, I would say that it is not an overstatement to say that those who engage in the secondary and tertiary industries are all merchants of death. For example, those who manufacture and sell such harmful things as food additives, agricultural chemicals, cigarettes, automobiles, and jet planes, and make money at it, are all merchants of death. But this hardly bears mentioning.

"But surely…not me!" However, even the sacred profession of teacher, those relieved because they believe they are innocent, are just as guilty as the merchants of death as long as they engage in any kind of education, for all education teaches "progress," "development," "improvement," and "prosperity," i.e., destruction and contamination.

And physicians, practitioners of the benevolent art of medicine, work in tandem with the drug companies, dribbling, injecting, inserting, and popping huge quantities of drugs into their patients, bringing about iatrogenic diseases; they are but epigones of the merchants of death.

And the entertainers, professional athletes, men of letters, painters, composers, critics, and even the archeologists and anthropologists, who appear to be able to excuse themselves by saying that their work at least does no harm - these leisureologists all plan ways to continue their idle and gluttonous [12] ways without dirtying their own hands; sitting back in their armchairs they force the small number of farmers to carry on labor-saving, high-yield agriculture, and contribute to poisoning by agricultural chemicals, frequent occurrences of greenhouse diseases, and the production o

f great quantities of contaminated agricultural produce. As long as this state of affairs continues, they can never remove themselves from the ranks of the merchants of death.

Having thus listed some professions, I wonder if there is even one person living in the cities who can prove that he or she is an exception? Even if it is possible to demonstrate this, there is still no possible way to deny the fact that urban dwellers are living in the city for convenience, extravagance, and ease, and that they are accomplices to the city's plundering and destructive acts.

While it was obvious that the producer of murderous weapons is the city, let us in addition take note of the fact that the city is also the starter of wars.

As I wrote in the beginning of this chapter, the city itself is non-self-supporting and non-productive, so that if it does not commandeer its supplies from some other place (and since the city cannot clean itself, if it does not shove its garbage off on someone else), it cannot maintain its functions or continue its activities. Competition among cities then naturally arises, and if a dispute cannot be resolved by money or discussion, they resort to a settlement by means of armed force. There is no telling how many wars of this kind have been fought in human history.

In the country (which will be defined in Chapter III) it is possible to keep oneself alive by self-sufficient practices and the blessings of Nature, so there is at least no reason why one must resort to war.

You, in the cities! If you still insist on getting rid of nuclear weapons, then you must first dismantle the city, which is both the hotbed and ringleader of war. If you do not do so, you will be destroyed by the nuclear weapons that the city itself has produced. [13]



Lao Zi, chapter 73: "Heaven's net is great in size; though its mesh is coarse, nothing gets through." Usually interpreted to mean that Nature never lets evil go unpunished. (Translator's note)


The finest, and most expensive, varieties of rice. (Translator's note) 6

If river water flows through 100 meters of rocks, sand, and plants, impurities will be removed, but even if it flows through a thousand-meter length of concrete channel, it will not be purified. 7

In an interview (Asahi Shimbun, July 24, 1985 evening edition) with one of the promoters of the "Phoenix Project," a land fill planned for the disposal of Osaka-area wastes, the interviewed person recognized the fact that "if we burn 100 tons of garbage, 15 tons of ashes remain." The project, which will destroy what little remains of Osaka Bay's natural seashore, was ironically named after the phoenix since, its promoters claim, though the ocean will be filled in, the area will be reborn as new land for Japan. Though the total planned volume of the landfill is a staggering 45 million cubic meters, it will serve the needs of the area for a mere six years. (Translator's note) 8

Though the cities are already overflowing with manufactured goods, why is it that the cities madly pursue increased production? This is, as I mentioned before, due to the magical power of money. In order to make more money - that is, in the pursuit of profit - people are manipulated by the magical strings of money, and thus increase production.

No matter what the original purpose of money, it has always been used as a weapon to seize food. At present, however, it is used not only to bring food to the cities, but is also the life blood of all industrial activities. Thus its role is to carry on by force the destruction and contamination of the natural environment, the robbery and waste of resources, the overproduction of goods, and dumping of wastes on others ("As long as we pay money, no one will gripe even if we make a mess of things.").

I could have established a separate section for the harm caused by money, but will let this note serve for now.


The average lifetime of a one-family home in Japan is now said to be 20-25 years. (Translator's note)


A play on the proverb "When a tiger dies it leaves its hide, but when a man dies he leaves his name." (Translator's note)


I am not especially trying to ignore the "good" of the city's products, but allow me to remind the reader that there is no denying the harm rendered to people by cigarettes, food additives, and cars.


"Idle and gluttonous" (fukou donshoku) is a term from the

Japanese feudal-age thinker Ando Shoeki, whom Nakashima will

introduce later. I have borrowed the translation from E. H.

Norman. (Translator's note)


On a special program, "Earth in Flames," aired by NHK on August 5, 1984, they told of the effects of a nuclear attack on Tokyo (a single one-megaton bomb exploded over Tokyo Tower). The many high-rise buildings, the Shinkansen trains, jet planes, and cars on the expressways would all be set afire and blown away in an instant; furthermore, computer operators, people enjoying themselves downtown, housewives shopping in the marketplaces, and children playing on the school playgrounds would similarly be blown away in an instant, their flesh half melted; in this way the six million people within a 15 km radius of the explosion would all die instantly. This is bad, but I must take issue with the view that all these Tokyoites are just innocent, pitiful victims. There is absolutely no difference in this case between the attacked and the attacker, because both are destructive, rapacious, haughty, arrogant, tyrannical cities. The civilization of the city, which produced the high-rise buildings, the Shinkansen, the jet planes, the computers, and the supermarkets likewise produced nuclear weapons. Therefore, if we are to get rid of nuclear weapons, we must also get rid of the cities. Nuclear weapons are like the bull's horns - we cannot just cut off the horns and then believe it is all right to let the bull go on living.

You in the cities! Open your eyes! Your belief that if we just get rid of nuclear weapons then we are assured everlasting peace and prosperity is nothing more than a delusion.

In order to maintain this peace and prosperity how much evil (destruction, contamination, waste) must the city perpetrate? What great catastrophes must the city bring down upon humanity and the Earth?

There is little difference between dying by nuclear weapons and dying by contamination and destruction. If the city is destroyed (of course it will take the rest of us down with itself) by its own nuclear weapons, then it will have reaped as it has sown.

Special Chapter

The City and Food

- The Excess, Insufficiency, and Importation of Rice -

Whether or not to import rice is COMPLETELY the problem of the city. Can there truly be a reason why the farmers must be up in arms over this issue?

It is absurd that this problem of rice excesses and shortages should be fussed over as if it controlled the fate of the farmers! [14]

The Farmers Have No "Food Problem"

Originally farmers were people who grew their own food and survived on that, and if because of frosts they lost half their rice crops, they would get along on the half they were able to harvest. The cities (consumers), however, receive the full impact of that lost half of the rice crop, so this must therefore be considered a big problem which completely controls the fate of the city. If on the other hand there is a bountiful harvest of rice the farmers have cause for celebration, and have no reason to consider this a burden. Even if they have far too much rice for themselves they can give it to their domestic animals, and if they still have some left over (or if they have no animals) they can return it to the earth.

It is also of no concern to the farmers whether the city decides to import rice or not (there is no reason why farmers must eat imported rice even though they still have some stored), so this is therefore purely the consumers' problem. Thus it comes down to being simply a matter of the city securing its staple food from its own country or another country, and making the wrong choice could mean running out of food. If the city relies upon another country for its staple food, and this supply is for some reason interrupted, then logic dictates it is the people in the cities, and not the farmers, who will be in a pickle.

Don't tell me that this is my egotism. What I want to make plain here is that the city (the system) is taking a problem that completely controls its own destiny, and making it look as though it controls the destiny of the farmers, thereby trying to solve the entire food problem by sacrificing the farmers. This is nothing other than another one of the city's deceptive stratagems. Nothing exhibits the stupidity of the farmers to the world more than their being taken in by this trick, and then going down to the ports to demonstrate against the importation of rice. [15]

The insufficiency and importation of rice is the perfect chance to eliminate (or at least shrink) the cities. Farmers! If there is a shortage of rice, we should reduce, not increase, production. Help promote the rice shortage! Don't oppose rice imports! Until the authorities take action, voluntarily reduce your rice acreage! Produce only enough for yourself and your animals! If you prepare yourself for an austere life, then it is the cities, and not the farmers, who will find themselves in a bind.

If the trees do not produce many nuts, then the number of squirrels will decrease. It is a self-evident truth that, if supplies of the staple food fall, the number of cities will be reduced correspondingly.

When farmers have been deceived by the cities, believe the food problem is their own, say that we must at all costs stop the importation of rice, and demand that government rice stocks be opened - when even the farmers begin to talk this way - we can only say that their delusions and stupidity have attained the zenith. Are they trying to bring about again that terrible past of plunder when our ancestors, in years of famine, had even their own stocks of rice taken from them as tax, and starved to death in shame? We must not be fooled by their demands to break out the stored rice. Even if you have to throw it in the gutter, don't give it to the city. This will be the best means of bringing about the shrinkage of the cities. Let the cities import food if they like. When in their dangerous tightrope act they run up against some unforeseen circumstance, it will be of NO concern to the farmers.

Why Feed the Hand that Pollutes?

"The farmers have a duty to provide the citizens (actually the cities) with food." This is the noble-sounding great cause that the city always brandishes, and the farmers believe it without question. This faith of the farmers is proof of what I meant previously when I said that the city (that is, the secondary and tertiary industries) changes a problem that completely controls its own destiny into one which controls that of the farmers, and through this deft trickery attempts to solve its food problem by sacrificing the farmers. And since this is blind faith, the farmers do not realize at all that this is a trick; the city coolly gives the farmers the responsibility for the food problem, and the farmers themselves take on this responsibility wholeheartedly. The city, in other words, has made the farmers believe blindly that supplying the cities with food is their duty.

A duty to feed the citizens (cities)? There is no such thing! I may be repeating myself, but this "duty" is nothing more than an artifice invented by the city - which cannot live even a day without robbing food from the farmers - to take that food; such an unwritten law has not, of course, always existed as a law of Nature. Did not Nature decree that we either gather or produce our own food?

We must not be deceived. Though you farmers believe from the bottom of your hearts that "agriculture is a sacred profession," that is but a belief brought about as a result of your having fallen prey to the city's plundering stratagems, and is no different from before when, controlled by the slogan "Japan is the nation of the gods," young men from the farms gave their lives for the state.

Farmers! When you believe that "farming is the sacred profession," [16] when you fall for the idea that "the farmers have a duty to supply food to the citizens," when, with sweat on your brow and mud on your hands, you are put on the run by your machines in order to answer to the demand for great quantities of food, you are preserving and promoting the "evils of the city" that I outlined in Chapter II.

That which you nourish by working your fingers to the bone is none other than the source of all pollution, the root of all evil, that is, the city dwellers, the prodigal sons. In view of this situation, the "sacred profession" in which you believe is actually an evil that nourishes evil. We must immediately root it out.

If we do not eradicate this evil, there will soon be no hope for us. There is absolutely no reason why you must expose yourself to dangerous agricultural chemicals, suffer under onerous debts, and work yourself into the ground in order to feed the likes of those who make cigarettes, food additives, cars, and jet planes, thus spreading pollution all over the place; those who make guns, bullets, nuclear weapons, and preparations for murder; the people who force needless governmental services onto us; or people like singers, dancers, and athletes who make their living by exciting others.

I will say it once again: Don't answer their demands for great supplies of food! A shortage of the staple food, rice, is an excellent opportunity for us. If the city people do not have enough to eat they will realize their error, and this will engender the shrinkage of the cities, which will in turn bring about the amelioration of the city's evils. This is what Ando Shoeki meant when he said, "The idle and gluttonous should simply be punished by death."

The Alternatives Pressing Humankind

Let us note that allowing land to lay idle is, as a matter of fact, the best possible way to make the switch to organic farming. It is said that making a sudden switch to organic farming is difficult for our arable land, which has been ruined by agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilizers, but if one lets the land lay idle and avails oneself of the following method, the land will come back to life in only one year, and one will be able to raise good rice with absolutely no agricultural chemicals or chemical fertilizers.

On idle paddies just dump great quantities of such things as straw, grass, chicken manure, garbage from your kitchen, and dregs and lees from starch and tofu, if you can get them free. After you have done this, the weeds will grow luxuriously. Cut them and then either let them lie as they are, or (if you have animals) feed them to your animals and return the weeds to the soil in the form of manure. If you continue this for one season you will find that the next year, even if you begin with no fertilizer at all, mature seedlings planted a little late and wider apart than usual will grow beautifully and strong, and you will get big ears of rice even without adding any fertilizer during the season. Truly great is the recovery power of Nature.

By letting some land lay idle you can get two birds with one stone: begin the shrinkage of the cities, and manage the switch to organic agriculture. Remember, the object here is not to produce great quantities of rice, but to produce healthy rice without the use of chemicals; if the farmers eat just a little good-quality rice, that is all that matters.

Now at this time a food panic will arise, and it is inevitable that the cities will ransack the farming villages in their search for rice. But if we do not get rid of the pus, the sore will not heal. In the attempt to deal a blow to the powerful cities, we must prepare ourselves for a little bloodletting. It may be expecting too much to achieve our goal without payment of any kind.

Whether in the country or in the cities, we are faced with two clear alternatives, represented by the following two attitudes: "As long as I can gain happiness (extravagance and prosperity) now, it's all right if humanity perishes in the future," and "Even if we experience more unhappiness (austerity and a smaller scale lifestyle) than at present, humanity will survive." These are the alternatives, and we must choose one of them.

I think that, even if there is a little bloodletting, and even if the cities retreat and life becomes much more inconvenient and difficult than it is now, we should let the human race continue to exist on this Earth.

Fortunately, a full belly (extravagance) engenders laziness, but an empty belly (austerity) engenders hope. As long as, ensconced in the midst of plenty, we continue our extravagant lives, we will never have the opportunity to experience real happiness.

Supplementary Comment on "Rice Shortages"

It is said that the rice shortage (a shortage of a magnitude that brought about the need to import rice) is the result of four continuous years of bad weather, but a bigger cause is man-made - the meddling of the city.

The first of the city's mistakes is its infamous policy of reducing rice acreage. To say that "since there's too much rice you must till fewer paddies" is nothing more than a kindergartner's idea for a solution. Is this the best idea that the elite bureaucrats in the Ministry of Agriculture could come up with? And when we see that the politicians representing the farming villages just let this pass, it is obvious that they are not much smarter.

Long ago, in China, they say that even with nine years' worth of rice stored they still had shortages. So what is all the excitement over a three or four months' excess?

You, in the cities! This is the rice you're eating. Offer all those office buildings as rice storage facilities. We should fill those buildings up with unhulled rice. Should there ever be a food shortage, all those office buildings and hotels will be worthless compared to rice. When the Pol Pot regime instituted the barter system, the capitol of Phnom Penh was instantly converted into an empty shell. This is because the former residents left the hotels and offices behind and went from farming village to farming village in search of food. If we were to set a nine years' supply of rice as our goal there would be no shortages because of frost damage, and no need to import rice; at the same time there would be no need for an acreage reduction policy.

In such a situation there should be no need to discuss costs. Since this is the rice that they would all be eating, they should do the work for free. When it comes down to actually carrying out this plan, the money economy will probably fall apart, anyway. [17]

The second of the human-caused disasters is the infrastructure industry. In order to build infrastructure, the government blows trillions of yen destroying the paddies tilled by generations of ancestors, and for that reason we are seeing a reduction in the rice harvests (let us not overlook the effects of the dense planting by machines, the damage due to causing the rice to grow too thickly, and the ill effects of the great quantities of chemicals).

The government says that the farmers benefit from infrastructure, but we are actually the victims of it. In reality those who benefit are the government; the farming co-ops; the manufacturers of machines, fertilizers, and agricultural chemicals; the rice wholesalers; and the consumers, all of whom belong to the cities. What this means is that the city has created a system by which it can control the production of our staple food as it pleases. The stupid farmers have given the city permanent control over the production of rice for a mere pittance in subsidies.

Our traditional method of producing rice, which boasts a history of several thousand years, has also been negated by the city (government, farming co-ops, machinery manufacturers), and the city has been able to achieve a system of rice production that suits its own purpose, that is, a system which makes full use of large machinery and agricultural chemicals, and which saddles the farmers with debts. That this new system of rice production (involving the planting of immature seedlings, dense planting, and early planting) is susceptible to frost damage, is the price the city must naturally pay.

The third is the desire of the Epicurean city dwellers to eat the famous varieties of particularly tasty rice. It is for this reason that the farmers plant more and more "sasanishiki" and "koshihikari," strains that are particularly susceptible to frost, blight, and wind damage. On the other hand, strains that are resistant to cold and disease, since they do not taste as good, have all but disappeared from the paddies. This is why I say that frost damage is human-caused.

The fourth is the decline in the will of the farmers to produce. It would seem to be a mistake to ascribe the loss of the farmers' enthusiasm to the city, but sad to say, it is completely the fault of the city. It is because the city has meddled with the production of food that the farmers have lost their will to produce. Who was it that promoted the eating of bread (that considered eating rice bad) and increased the imports of wheat? It was not the farmers of Japan. It was clearly the city - the politicians and traders and nutritionists of the tertiary industries - who made deals with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and grain traders. It was then that the farmers began to lose the will to produce.

The creation of agribusiness in the early 1960s by means of the structural improvement of agriculture, in which the government was highly instrumental, resulted in debts for the farmers, the increase in the scale of agricultural operations, and the supply of great amounts of agricultural produce, which was accomplished by making the farmers busier than ever. The ability of the farmers to supply themselves with food - their independence - was completely lost at this time, and agriculture became highly dependent on the secondary and tertiary industries (chemical fertilizers, machinery, fuel, subsidies, etc.). This dependence is in other words the loss of autonomy; the farmers became prisoners and lackeys totally controlled by the politicos, the co-ops, the manufacturers, the trading companies, and the consumers, and their will to produce rice declined precipitously.

And what did they do to the remaining small-scale farmers? They made a big deal of the difference in income between the secondary/tertiary industries and the farmers, and promoted the move to the cities. As the number of farmers shrank, the urban population burgeoned, and where the government was not successful in getting them off the farm, they at least managed to create many Sunday farmers and part-time farmers. So the farmers, who were busy making money in town, lost interest in rice production, and they performed field work hastily with machinery, and neglected to apply compost to their paddies.

During the same period of time the raising of domestic animals became an industry independent of agriculture, this because Japanese agriculture was taken in by the stratagems of the big U.S. grain companies. Feeding great numbers of domestic animals with nothing but compound feed burdened the farmers with heavy debts, and this situation remains unchanged to the present day. [18] But an even greater problem is that the loss of domestic animals to the farmer has resulted in the loss of manure (compost) to be returned to the soil, and this has in turn resulted in the forced use of larged amounts of chemical fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, and the weakening of food plants because of damage to the soil.

The fifth is the standardization of rice-growing techniques by means of standardized agricultural education.

Just as I mentioned earlier, it is needless to say that much of this standardization is the result of the interference of the government and farming co-ops, which is part and parcel of their infrastructure. But the farmers themselves, who accepted this system, looked with disdain upon the traditional and appropriate farming methods of their ancestors who farmed the same land, prevented these methods from being passed on, went off to far away schools to learn standardized modern farming methods from a teacher that had never once held a hoe, and thus created an environment conducive to the acceptance of intrusion by the government and the co-ops (of course, most of the people who received this education became white collar workers, and so became those who also control agriculture and the farmers). In this way both Hokkaido and Kyushu now grow rice in the same way, and no longer have the diverse methods to deal with problems such as unusual weather, diseases, insects, and wind damage. Still, they may claim that the per-hectare yields of modern agriculture are increasing, but how far can we trust the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture? It is my suspicion that true yields will not jibe with desktop statistics which take into consideration such things as Staple Food Control Act accounts, the rice acreage reduction policy, and incentives for importation.

The above is a very general explanation, but we can see the "rice shortage" (or decrease in stores) does not find its only cause in unavoidable things like frost damage, but is due largely to the gratuitous meddling of the city.


Without really planning it, I touched upon something I am going to cover in Chapter V, "Down with the Cities!", so I would like to mention here that by "Down with the cities!" I do not mean "Down with the people in the cities!" This I shall treat in detail in Chapter V.



This chapter was written at the time the Japanese government imported rice from South Korea. The government suddenly discovered that it had no reserves of rice except for very old stores, unacceptable because of the high level of bromine (caused by fumigants). (Translator's note)


Some groups of farmers went down to the ports during the unloading of the South Korean rice to protest. The January, 1985 issue of Gendai Nogyo ("Modern Agriculture") published a photo story about some young farmers in Miyagi Prefecture who protested the government's policies by producing all the rice they could. (Translator's note)


If harvesting rice is a sacred occupation, then a snake's capture of a frog is also a sacred occupation. There were originally no human occupations which could be considered sacred.


It was at a time when China carried on no trade with other countries that they said, "Though we have a nine years' store of rice, it is still insufficient" (of course, at that time other countries were also incapable of exporting). However, at present, when arable land all over the globe is eroding and being otherwise ruined, and the population is growing explosively, there is no doubt that food for human beings is heading for insufficiency. Though for Japan imports are still possible, it will become difficult to import in the future, and we will be in the same position as ancient China. When such a food crisis results, we must not allow the money economy to interfere with food storage. Also, since money serves as the lubricant by which all the city's evils arise, we must get rid of it sooner or later.


Debts are an excellent means of exploitation. In order to pay back their loans, the farmers must work themselves into the ground and offer large amounts of animal products.

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