Takuro Morinaga’s Cry of the Soul: “I’m not dead yet! Japanese stocks will crash soon!” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Takuro Morinaga’s Cry of the Soul: “I’m not dead yet! Japanese stocks will crash soon!”

Takuro Morinaga, who announced his stage 4 pancreatic cancer last December, talks about his "present" and "the future of Japan" in the midst of his battle with the disease.

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“After the radio recording, Morinaga responded to interviews, saying, ‘They told me I can’t see the cherry blossoms yet, but so far, so good (laughs).’ In his new book, he sharply addresses the truth behind the events, ranging from Johnny’s Jimusho to the Ministry of Finance.”

“At the end of last year, when I announced my stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I was mentally prepared to die in about a week. But now, I have an appetite, and I’m hosting five regular radio shows, with 19 serialized columns.” 

Says Takuro Morinaga (66), an economic analyst. Though he looks a bit worn out, once he starts talking, the ‘Morinaga style’ is as lively as ever.

“I found a shadow during a health check-up in November last year. After several tests, it seemed likely to be pancreatic cancer. My primary doctor also said, ‘You might not see the cherry blossoms next year.’ However, I was skeptical, so I sought a third opinion. Eventually, since three top professionals said the same thing, I had no choice but to believe it. So, on December 27th, I started chemotherapy.”

However, this medication didn’t suit him.

“The day before, I was walking and talking normally, but two days after starting chemotherapy, I couldn’t stand, couldn’t eat, and couldn’t think straight. At that time, I felt like I could clearly see the River Styx.”

During this period, Morinaga was working on his book ‘What Not to Write: The Truth Behind Japan’s Economic Collapse’ (published by Sangosha), and had nearly completed 90% of it.

“I wanted to finish it, but I couldn’t think properly, and my hands wouldn’t move. I was in trouble. However, a few days later, when I tried a different medication, I dramatically recovered. My mind and mouth started working again. I continued speaking from my bed, recorded it, and my IT technician son transcribed it into text, completing the book.”

“I can’t die until I finish it.”

This book can be considered a sequel to last year’s “The Truth About Zaimukyo,” criticizing the media’s attitude of not reporting the truth due to excessive consideration towards politicians, bureaucrats, and even entertainment agencies. It candidly reveals the reasons behind this.

“It was released on March 7th. Since the initial print run was 40,000 copies, the president of the publishing company said he was ‘trembling’ a bit,” Morinaga explains with a laugh. “But already, it has been reprinted four times and now stands at 75,000 copies. As doctors say, no one dies from eating too much, right?” he chuckles. “Conversely, when one loses hope or a sense of purpose, they die. In other words, the moment when one thinks ‘I’m done’ is the end. I had a strong desire to publish this book no matter what, so I couldn’t die. When you have nothing left in your heart, you tend to think ‘I might as well be dead.’ That’s why it’s good to have something like that for support.”

I can’t die until I finish it.”

The book is a sequel to “Zaimu Shinrikyō,” published last year, in which he criticizes the media’s failure to report the truth because they are too discerning toward politicians, bureaucrats, and even entertainment professionals, and he reveals the reasons for this in a candid manner.

The first issue of the magazine was released on March 7. The president of the publisher said, ‘As expected, I was shaken’ because the first printing had a circulation of 40,000 copies (laughs), but the book has already been reprinted four times and now has 75,000 copies. (Laughs.) Doctors say that no one has ever died from eating the book (laughs). (Laughs.) On the other hand, if you lose hope for life, or a sense of mission, you will die. In other words, the moment you think, “Enough is enough,” that is the end. I couldn’t die because I had a strong desire to publish this book no matter what. When you have nothing in your heart, you tend to think, ‘I don’t care if I die already. So it’s better to have that kind of support.”

It’s costing me about a million yen a month.

After finishing the live broadcast of his radio program, Morinaga speaks without showing any signs of fatigue. Initially, Morinaga’s cancer was considered pancreatic cancer, but it is currently diagnosed as an unknown primary cancer.

“I consulted with various doctors, but they couldn’t determine where the cancer is. However, with unknown primary cancer, you can receive immunotherapy with a drug called Opdivo under insurance. There are specific drugs for cancers in the stomach or pancreas, but in my case, since the location is unknown, those drugs can’t be administered. So, while receiving Opdivo, which works overall, I undergo immunotherapy where they extract blood, cultivate my immune cells, and then infuse them back into my body. I’m scheduled to undergo this treatment soon, but it’s not covered by insurance, so it costs around 1 million yen per month.”

The frequent mention of money is typical of an economist. Nevertheless, his concern for the Japanese economy remains unchanged.

“If we continue like this, I believe Japan will fall out of the top ten in the world GDP rankings within the next ten years. In about 30 years, Japan will become a fully-fledged developing country. For example, they attracted Taiwan’s TSMC factory to Kumamoto. TSMC also has factories in the US, including state-of-the-art ones. In Japan, they make general-purpose products. Without understanding this situation, both the media and politicians are saying, ‘It’s great that a semiconductor factory is being built in Kumamoto.’ It’s absurd!”

According to Morinaga, now is definitely not the time to buy stocks.

“I believe Japanese stocks will plummet again soon. That’s why I sold all my stocks earlier this month. Well, they’ll all disappear anyway in medical expenses (laughs). The new NISA? Absolutely not. The US stock market is currently in its biggest bubble ever, and it’s going to burst soon. It’s risky to gamble with your retirement funds or living expenses.”

But there is still hope.

“I’m sure there’s a path to economic revival. For that, I want the media to have the courage to know the truth. These are the words of someone who has seen the River Styx.”

Takuro Morinaga’s full-length interview, “The Cry of the Soul: I Can’t Die Yet! Japanese stocks will crash soon!”

From the April 5 and 12, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text by Katsumi Koizumi PHOTO Yuri Adachi

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