An author who goes by the pen name of "Monju-kun" has created something of a publishing sensation with two books that take a light-hearted, yet honest approach to nuclear power generation in Japan.
Monju-kun's books have been flying off the shelves.
Published a year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, "Oshiete! Monju-kun" (Teach Me, Monju-kun!) and "Sayonara, Monju-kun" have already sold more than 20,000 copies.
As a name, Monju-kun pokes fun at the Monju fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture.
Monju-kun first got his start on Twitter in May last year, and now has around 89,000 followers.
The author is keen to reassure followers that Monju-kun has no ties with companies or organizations, such as the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which took over Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp., operator of Monju.
Riding a wave of popularity, Monju-kun then wrote the two books.
"Oshiete" is an introduction to learning about nuclear power, while "Sayonara" is an autobiography.
In "Sayonara," Monju-kun breathes life into a reactor plagued by a series of problems, giving a human dimension to the reactor, which allows readers to understand how it feels.
"I'm still not working right, but I already feel worn out," the reactor says. "My whole body hurts."
Monju-kun describes a 1995 accident in which the Monju reactor leaked sodium.
"I'm leaking sodium! Hey, PNC (Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development) guy! Stop it quick!"
Monju-kun's true identity remains a secret, even in this interview.
"The conversation about nuclear power turned into an argument between those for and against it," the author says. "And I was so sad about how we felt--like we couldn't even mention we were scared of it."
Monju-kun has a strong desire to present this serious topic in a light-hearted manner, but ensures the information provided is accurate. When someone points out an error, it is corrected right away.
The author particularly wants people to "pick up the book" who don't want to hear anything more about the topic because they "don't understand nuclear power."
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