Having a strong sense of justice, the adolescent Shozo was a little scrappy, sometimes fell out of favor with the authorities and was imprisoned. But even in prison, he continued to devote himself to reading and pursuing self-cultivation. "I am a Shimotsuke peasant"---Shozo's way of life rooted in the native soil, his love for life and day-to-day living and his relentless fight against injustice were consistent throughout his life.
Shozo's love and camaraderie for his wife Katsu, his warning of "to kill the people is to kill the nation" which scandalized the Imperial Diet, his desperate attempt to make a direct appeal to the Emperor to stir up public opinion, his determined petitioning activities, Toshima and Kawabe villagers' resistance against the flood control project by refusing to perform military service and pay taxes, the hardships of the displaced people of Yanaka Village, his fight for survival with remaining Yanaka villagers--- "Devoting heart and soul to whatever you are doing makes bitters turn into sweets." Shozo continued to investigate the problems of copper-mine poisoning and flood control till his death. Tens of thousands of people attended his funeral.
What message did Shozo Tanaka leave for us?