Blockage: Japan 1954

Yesterday was one of those workdays one dreads. I’m writing up the history of Japanese nuclear energy and became horribly stuck in 1954, i.e. almost at the very beginning. Quite a lot has been written about the 50s but, I discovered, it’s all either shallow or detailed but opaque.

Japan’s enthusiasm for nuclear energy accelerated from nothing to fervor over a few frantic years. I found myself stuck, again and again, on two individuals, newspaper magnate Matsutaro Shoriki and politician (future prime minister) Yasuhiro Nakasone. Why their precipitate passion? Why their sudden confluence?

Today I’ve slowed down and dug into each of my sources. In these circumstances, I’ve learned, speed of drafting is the enemy of quality. And sure enough, a coherent picture emerges from the fog. Nothing dramatic but coherent and credible.

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