Unlike the title of the Christmas No. 1 in the UK, many of those who actually rage against the machine speak out against killing in the name of...in that they use their positions within the machine to stand up against actions that may put lives at risk, such as invasions of foreign lands.
On Saturday, I travelled up to Nasu-Shiobara in snowswept northern Tochigi Prefecture to meet a man who sacrificed an elite career in the Foreign Ministry to make a stance. Naoto Amaki quit his post as Japan's ambassador to the Lebanon in 2003 at then Prime Minister Koizumi's decision to back the United States and its allies in invading Iraq under the pretence of Saddam Hussein possessing WMDs.
During our conversation the subject of whistleblowers and people who sacrificed their careers came up. The suave yet passionate Amaki, who is now an author and fellow blogger (except people pay to read his stuff), started to reel off a list of names of people in several spheres who had made a similar bold move to himself.
Amaki told me of Toshiro Semba, a former policeman in Ehime,who knew that the police force was systematically corrupt. He spoke about this and never received a single promotion during his career. He did, however, successfully sue for damages - many years down the line.
He told me of Yoichi Mizutani, a man who blew the lid on a feast of cover-ups at the foodstuff firm he worked at - We are often to the read labels before consumption, but it clearly didn't apply in the case of the dodgy milk sold by his company - Yukijirushi, or Snow Brand Milk Products .
He told me of Togo Fujita, an employee a company that checked buildings for earthquake proofing. Fujita exposed how the firm basically ignored all guidelines. To compound the criminal element, one of the firm's backers was then construction minister and later prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
The last person he told me of was Moriyo Kimura, an official at the health ministry, who blew the ministry apart with a book she published on how medical policy was harming the health of the public. Amaki said that it was unlikely the ministry would put me in touch with her if I called.
To end with, a book recommendation. Dissent - Voices of Conscience by Ann Wright and Susan Dixon details the testimony of people who spoke out and blew the whistle against the invasion of Iraq. A worthy and informative read that will force you to think about the machines that these people raged against.
Wright is one of the organisers of my upcoming trip to Gaza as part of a freedom march . Much more about this in the next few weeks.