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29 June 2014

Great words from a Canadian principal

I have recently become a big fan of TV drama "Hanako and Anne" aired daily on NHK, Japan's public broadcasting station.

It is a story on a real woman who lived between end of 19th century and 1960's. The woman's name was MURAOKA Hanako. She was a translator who translated famous English books including "Anne of Green Gables" and "The Prince and the pauper."

She was born in a poor family but she could attend most prestigious girls' school established by a Canadian Christian missionaries in Tokyo because of charity. She learned hi-society manner and English there.

After she graduated from the school, she became a teacher, publisher, translator and radio announcer. She was also a sufferagist.

Surprised to know there was a life like hers. She met great people in life. Her life was far from average women at that period.

She lived through the second world war. During the air raid on her town she translated Canada's famous children's book "Anne of Green Gables", which she was given from her Canadian friend who left Japan because hostility erupted. In the war time, she could never expose herself to be English speaker in public. English was treated as the enemy's language. But she kept on translating the book although she never knew who would publish it.  

Why could she hold on hopes in such severe time?

Maybe because she remembered words from her school's principal, Ms. Blackmore.

"If some decades later, when you look back on your time with us, you feel these were the happiest days in your life. Then I must say your education will have been a failure.

Life must improve as it takes its course. Your youth, you spend in preparation because the best things are never in the past but in the future. "

That was very impressive words.

In fact, her translation of the book was published 7 years after the war ended and became a best-selling novel, giving hopes to Japanese in the post-war era.

Yes, we should not give up hopes and look to the future, never look back the past.

Then we will make things better than the present.

 

04 May 2014

Film: "The Railway Man" We are all humans

The story based on autobiography of former British military personnel in charge of radio communication, Eric Lomax, who became POW of Imperial Japanese Army in occupied Singapore during the second world war.

Even after the war he suffered from trauma caused by his experience as POW in Thailand where he and his comrades were transported to. Later he found that the interpreter, Nagase in the Japanese army, whom he met at that period was still alive in Thailand and decided to return there.

It was really shocking to see the film and know the facts. British soldiers were used as labour for construction of the railway and tortured by the Japanese army.

The film, itself was well-done however, reaction from Japanese audience seemed not so positive maybe because of portrayal of Japanese army in the film. It was indeed British perspective.

I was impressed by some words in the film.

"Japanese soldiers choose to die rather than being humiliated alive but Britons live to fight. "

"I have lived for this day. If the war did not end, end this (with your sword)."

Those were paraphrasing of what Nagase said when he re-encounter with Lomax and told him how guilty he had felt for what he did.

In the end, both men reconciled and kept good friendship until they both died recently.

We are all humans. We make mistakes. We hate each other but can understand each other. We hurt each other but can help each other.

We can learn from past mistakes and improve ourselves for better future and our decendants.

I think, that's the message from the two men.  

22:28 Posted in Britain, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: war, history, military

24 December 2013

"Chinmoku (Silence)" by Japanese Christian novelist

The novel was written by Japan's most notable novelist in 20th century, Endo Shusaku.

Recently the news that Hollywood decided to make the story into film next year was reported. The setting of the story was early 17th century of Nagasaki, Japan when the government ruled ban on Chrisitianity and entry of foreigners except Chinese and Dutch. That policy was aimed to get rid of western influence on its society in order to avoid colonization. Dutch was neutral as for this matter. Dutch hated Catholic nations and advised Japanese government to stop trading with Catholic nations.

The story started with a news that one most prominent and highly respected missionary sent to Japan abandoned his faith after severe torturing by Japanese authority. That shocked two Portuguese Catholic priests. They decided to secretly enter into one secretly Christian village in order to locate the missionary and continue Chrisian preaching for the localies.

However, they were found and arrested by Nagasaki authority and then their followers were tortured to death. One of the two died. One surviving one prayed God for his tortured followers but no salvage was done. God kept silence.

Later he finally met the person he wanted to meet from the beginning. The missionary he once respected whom he tried to locate. He was advised by the missionary to abandon his faith just as he did. Then he followed his advise. What he did was stepping on plate of engraved Jesus Christ picture. That was most usual custom to check if a person is Christian or not in those days. If you could do that, that proved you were never Christian or you just abandone your faith by doing so. He stepped on it to save tortured followers. It was a deal with the authority.

Since that era, Japanese Christian teaching was totally abandoned until it was re-allowed in late 19th century.

Surprisingly the story is based on real characters and real events. In the book the authority says "Christianity can never place roots on Japanese land. It is never universal teaching." That sounds true.

In fact centuries after that era, even after freedom of faith was insured by the constitution, less than 1 % of the population are Christian today. More surprisingly in this season you can veiw many illumination and Christmas trees and find Christmas events in Tokyo. But very few of them are dedicated Christians. Japanese Christmas events are nothing but commercial purpose.

One remain of Christianity of that era may be tea ceremony. There is a legend that Japanese tea ceremony was modeled after Christian mass ceremony in that era. In fact founder of tea ceremony, Sen no Rikyu was a man of the era that Christianity was still allowed and his wife and daughter were Christian.

If that is true, Christianity was continued throughout banned era. The root was placed. Praise Jesus and Praise tea!

 

30 October 2013

TV show "Covert Affairs", US version of Ninja

I recently rent DVD series of TV show “Covert Affairs.” The story is about a female CIA agent who is multi-lingual and her associates.

 

The show reminded me of 1970’s most popular TV show, Charlie’s Angels. But the main character, Annie Walker is not as sexy as the angels. It is more of how spies do covert activities. It is like female 007.

 

Her mission is not just steal classified information or investigate what is happening but recruit someone on target side to be information providers. Like in some episodes, Annie approached embassy worker of Syria to get access key of the embassy. She also convinced secretary of prime minister of Yemen to be that. It is like making someone another spy for CIA.

 

I am not sure how realistic the stories are. But recently news that cell-phone of German Chancellor, Merkel was tapped came out. US spends huge budget on covert activities. They do actually things like that to get what they want. That is most important matter in diplomacy.

 

Speaking of spies, there were people called Ninja in feudal Japan. Like Annie Walker and James Bond, they had extra-ordinary physical strength and spying ability. They were trained to be Ninja from their childhood. They were hired by regional lords to spy and assassin opponents.

 

Covert capability is like secret military for nations. Such spy matters should go on as long as human being exists. That is why such shows are interesting.  

16:18 Posted in Film, Politics, un-USA | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: 007