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天声人語英和対訳ファイル付録の追加、2003年5月21日〜10月31日分
http://www.asyura2.com/0401/it05/msg/791.html
投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 7 月 21 日 22:20:32:WmYnAkBebEg4M
 

(回答先: ◎夏休み特別企画。提案!こうして英語をゲットしよう。+天声人語対訳ファイル付録【クエスチョンの呟きシリーズ第13回】 投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 7 月 20 日 18:53:09)

天声人語英和対訳ファイル付録の追加、2003年5月21日〜10月31日分


 使うときには、下記投稿でご紹介したやり方をご推奨します。

>◎小生はこれを使ってます。おじさんですけれど、バンバン英語を読みまくってガンガン英語の実力を上げています。(笑)
>http://www.asyura2.com/0401/it05/msg/771.html
>投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 7 月 16 日 06:51:50:WmYnAkBebEg4M

 なお、順番は降順になっています。

********************************************************************************

Some profound thoughts as October ebbs


With October nearly over, it's time again to offer some quotable quotes.

Seizo Tajima, a painter and creator of picture books, always takes a bag on his strolls to collect fruits, nuts and berries that have fallen from trees.

``In May, there are magnolias,'' he said. ``They come a bit after wild cherries. Later, there are ego, yashabushi and mayumi. As for taizanboku tree nuts, I pick up them on the grounds of someone's villa. As for acorns from oak trees, I only get sheaths because that is what squirrels and raccoon dogs have left uneaten.''

10月30日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。画家・絵本作家の田島征三さんは、散歩のとき袋を持って木の実を拾いながら歩く。「5月にモクレン。その前は山桜。それからエゴ、ヤシャブシ、マユミ、他人の別荘のタイザンボク。ドングリはリスやタヌキが実を食べるので、はかまだけ」

Critic Shuichi Kato: ``All my life, I have always found something to entertain myself with. There were no good concerts or art exhibitions to enjoy during World War II, but I delighted in looking at the sky, the clouds and the colors of flowers.''

 「いつの時代も楽しみを見つけながら生きてきた。戦争中には面白いコンサートも展覧会も味わえなかったが、空や雲や花の色を楽しんだ」とは評論家の加藤周一さん。

Chinese novelist Zheng Yi, who lives in self-exile in the United States: ``I have lately come to appreciate my life in exile as a blessing,'' he observed. ``I know I am never going to get rich or famous, and I don't even have a readership, and yet I keep writing. I suppose I am coming closer to understanding what a literary career is really all about.''

 「このごろ亡命生活に感謝するようになった。名声とか利益、読者を見込むことができない状況でなお書くのであれば、文学本来の目的に近づいているのではないか。そう思うのだ」と語るのは、米国で暮らす亡命中国人作家の鄭義(チョンイー)さん。

Novelist Genichiro Takahashi: ``To politicians who promise us they will make Japan a top nation in the world, or create new history, or secure a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, my comment is, `Don't bother. Forget it.' Isn't it more fun to aim for a nation that is small, serene and already well past its prime?''

 作家の高橋源一郎さんは、政治家に「世界に冠たる国を作るとか、新しい歴史を作るとか、安保理の常任理事国になるとか、そんな余計なことはしなくて結構。そんなことより、小さく、静かで、たそがれた国を目指す方が、なんだか楽しそうではありませんか」と。

Hideki Shirakawa, winner of the 2000 Nobel chemistry prize: ``Some research projects are like planting seeds without knowing what they will grow into. You don't know how long you have to wait for anything to happen, if ever. The question is whether the government has the sense to fund such research.''

 「どんな芽が出るか分からないタネをまくこと。すぐには実りが期待できない、実るかどうかさえ分からない研究のため、国が予算を組むことができるかどうかだ」と00年ノーベル化学賞受賞の白川英樹さん。

Miki Taira has battled leukemia for 15 years and developed a heart problem. Only a heart transplant can save her, and she is waiting for a donor.


``I have been baring my heart and soul to people on my own Web site, and many new human relationships have sprung from it. Confined to my hospital room as I am, the Net is like the door that opens to anywhere in the popular Doraemon cartoon.''

 白血病と15年に及ぶ闘いを経て心臓病にかかり心臓移植を待つ平美樹さん。「ホームページで心を開放したら、いろんな人との交流が生まれた。個室から出られない私にとって、パソコンはドラえもんの『どこでもドア』のようなものです」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 30(IHT/Asahi: October 31,2003) (10/31)
 
 
 
Attack on Baghdad Red Cross an escalation


When Japan applied for membership in the International Red Cross early in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the government was asked if similar charitable service had been rendered in the past.

In response, the government cited an example in which well-known warlord Kusunoki Masatsura rescued about 500 drowning enemy soldiers and gave them clothes and medicine during the Nanbokucho Era (1336-1392), according to Yaichi Haga, a Meiji Era scholar of Japanese literature.

Commenting on the inquiry in his book ``Kokuminsei Juron'' (Ten discourses on national character), he bitterly wrote that Japan was probably viewed abroad as a barbaric country.

10月29日付
■《天声人語》

 明治初期、日本が国際赤十字に加盟するときのことだ。過去に同種の事業をしたことがあるか、と問われた。南北朝時代の武将楠木正行(まさつら)がおぼれる敵兵五百余人を助けて衣薬を与えた故事で答えたという(芳賀矢一「国民性十論」)。国文学者の芳賀は、外国からは「野蛮な国」と思われていたのだろうと苦々しげに記した。

Apparently, the move to join the International Red Cross met objections even within the government. Sanjo Sanetomi, who headed the government as dajo daijin, or prime minister, was opposed to the introduction of the cross emblem of the International Red Cross in Japan, calling it ``an emblem of Christianity,'' according to Tadamasa Fukiura's Chuko paperback on the Red Cross and Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross Society.

 加盟にあたっては、政府内に異論もあったらしい。太政大臣三条実美(さねとみ)は「耶蘇(やそ)のしるしじゃ」と言ってキリスト教風の十字を使うことを嫌ったという(吹浦忠正『赤十字とアンリ・デュナン』中公新書)。

The emblem of the Red Cross is patterned after the national flag of Switzerland, Dunant's native country, only with its colors switched. The adoption of this emblem sowed the seeds for problems in later years.

A different emblem, a red crescent, was adopted for use in the Islamic world where strong objections to a cross were expected. For this reason, local organizations call themselves Red Crescent Societies. All the same, they are members of the International Red Cross.

 赤十字の標章は、創設者デュナンの祖国スイスの国旗の形をそのままに、色を逆にするという発想からだった。これが後々までもめごとの原因になった。イスラム圏では十字には抵抗が強いということで、赤い三日月、「赤新月」を採用、組織も赤新月社と名乗るようになった。ただし、グループの一員であることには変わりない。

The headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baghdad came under terrorist attack on Monday. It is unlikely that the group that executed it knew nothing about the Red Cross. The bombing can only be viewed as an act snubbing its historical role.

 27日、バグダッドの赤十字国際委員会の現地本部を標的にしたテロの実行グループは、赤十字についてまったく無知だったとは思えない。あえてその歴史的役割を踏みにじる行為に出たと考えるべきだろう。

Insurgents in Iraq are ominously widening the scope of their guerrilla strikes, attacking not just occupation forces but also international agencies that are playing intermediary or buffer roles.

The attack on the Red Cross that carries out relief activities, with battlefield neutrality guarantees, represents a provocative escalation.

 イラクでのゲリラ攻撃は不気味に範囲を広げている。占領軍への攻撃から、仲介ないし緩衝役の国際機関への攻撃へ。戦場でも中立を保証され、救護活動をする赤十字への攻撃は、さらに一歩進めた挑戦的といえる攻撃だ。

All this is saddening. At the same time, I have a strong feeling that the occupation policies may be basically flawed.

 暗澹(あんたん)たる気持ちになるとともに、改めて占領政策の根本に過誤があるのではないか、との思いも強い。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 29(IHT/Asahi: October 30,2003) (10/30)
 
 
 
Judge for yourself--a formula for voters


It is probably no surprise to anyone to be told that politicians have ``uniquely simple personalities.'' But when this is what researchers say in an authoritative science magazine, you sort of nod vigorously. At least that was my reaction when I saw the February 1997 issue of Nature.

10月28日付
■《天声人語》

 「政治家とは極めて単純な人たちである」。そういっても誰も驚かないかもしれない。しかし、研究の成果として科学雑誌「ネイチャー」に発表されたとなると、やはりそうだったか、と多少の感慨もわく。

But the magazine had me fooled. Although the title of the article was ``Politicians' Uniquely Simple Personalities,'' I realized, as I read on, that it was really about how people use only simple factors to judge the personality traits of politicians.

In the late 1990s, a team of researchers at the University of Rome asked about 2,000 people of varied backgrounds to determine the personalities of famous athletes, entertainers and politicians.

 ネイチャー誌も人が悪い。記事の見出しは冒頭のような言い方なのに、中身を読むと、人が政治家を評価する物差しは極めて単純である、ということのようだ。90年代後半のローマ大学での研究である。

Let me sum up how this research was done: The researchers listed 25 adjectives describing personality traits and grouped them into a set of five ``factors.''

All five factors were picked by the survey subjects in assessing the personalities of athletes and entertainers. But only two factors applied to the politicians.

 著名な運動選手や芸能人、そして政治家らの名前を挙げ、2千人ほどの多様な人々に「人物評価」をしてもらう。25の形容詞から選んでもらった評価を、五つの要素に分類する。運動選手、芸能人らへの評価は五つに散らばった。政治家だけ二つの要素に集中した。大雑把にいうと、そんな調査だ。

Those two factors were ``active and reform-minded'' and ``honest and trustworthy.'' The researchers concluded that when people try to decide who to vote for, they tend to apply a simple standard by which to judge politicians.

 「行動的で改革志向」かどうか。「正直で信頼できる」かどうか。政治家評価はこの二つである。人々は投票するかどうかを決めるために、政治家については分かりやすい基準で判断するようになる。研究者の見方だ。

One of the politicians named in the survey was former Italian Prime Minister Romano Brodi, who won the 1996 general election by uniting the center-left forces. The election was dubbed the ``manifesto election,'' in that Brodi issued a set of explicit election pledges-namely Italy's participation in the European currency unification and fiscal reform at home.

 名前を挙げられた政治家の一人が、イタリアのプロディ元首相だった。マニフェスト選挙といわれた96年総選挙で、中道左派をまとめて勝利を収めた。欧州通貨統合への参加と財政改革という明快な政権公約を掲げていた。

The campaign for the Nov. 9 Lower House election kicked off Tuesday. Party manifestoes are said to figure prominently in this election. If the parties are really going to battle one another on policy to define their differences on focal issues, it is all well and fine, even if voters will eventually use only two simple factors by which to judge the candidates-``reform-oriented'' and ``trustworthy.''

 きょう公示の総選挙もマニフェスト選挙といわれる。様々な争点をめぐって各党が政策を明示して戦うとすれば、結構なことだ。評価する有権者の目が、結局は「改革志向か」「信頼できるか」という分かりやすさに行き着くとしても。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 28(IHT/Asahi: October 29,2003) (10/29)
 
 
 
Too much power attached to viewer ratings


When something important happens, the public comes out divided in its response. To many people, it is something incredible. To many others, it is something they have expected all along.

10月26日付
■《天声人語》

 何か、ことが起きる。世間の反応が二つに分かれる。まさか、そして、やっぱり。

The same seems to hold true of the public response elicited by news reports about the use of bribes by a Nippon Television Network Corp. (NTV) producer to boost viewing rates.

The first thought I had as an ordinary television viewer was that even an overzealous employee would not go to such lengths. But a passage I found in a book has made me credulous about the reports.

 日本テレビの社員プロデューサーによる視聴率の「買収」にも、反応は両方あるようだ。素人の最初の感想としては、まさかそこまでとは思うのだが、次のような本の記述を読んでみると、やっぱりの方が頭をもたげてくる。

``A man followed a collector of viewing survey records to monitoring households,'' the passage reads. ``This man visited the selected families himself and asked them to watch certain programs, handing over money as a token of thanks for their cooperation.''

The NTV producer reportedly hired the service of a credit inquiry agency to do the sleuthing. Except for this, the deeds of the producer were quite similar to what the book says of his ``predecessor.''

 「ある人が調査記録の回収員を尾行して、標本所帯をみつけ出し、ある番組をみてくれといって謝礼を渡した事件がありました」。今回は、尾行は興信所がしたというが、よく似た「事件」ではある。

The book was published 20 years ago under the title of ``Shichoritsu no Shotai'' (The Reality of Viewing Rates). Video Research, the television viewing rate survey firm, was its author-editor.

The quoted passage is preceded by an introductory phrase: ``To cite a case that happened years ago.'' Together with the date of publication, this seems to suggest that bribery has been a time-honored practice.

 これは、20年前に出版された『視聴率の正体』の一節で、編著者は、テレビ視聴率調査会社「ビデオ・リサーチ」とある。しかも、先のくだりのすぐ前が「だいぶ昔のことですが」だから、相当古くからあったのかなどとも思ってしまう。

Referring to the four households reportedly bribed by the producer, the NTV president told a news conference that the damage done did not extend beyond the fact that they accounted for 0.67 percent of Video Research's 600 monitoring households in the Kanto district.

This borders on an attempt to play down the significance of the case by deliberately citing a figure smaller than the decimal point. It must be pointed out that a program watched by the four households statistically meant that as many as about 110,000 households watched it.

 今回、社員が工作したという「4所帯」について、日本テレビの社長は、関東地区の調査対象600所帯の「0・67%の意味しかない」というが、これは「コンマ以下」の数字による目くらましに近い。4所帯が見れば、調査結果としては約11万もの所帯が見たことになるというのである。

The world of television broadcasting is, so to speak, an empire where time is the king. It is a world ruled by a 24-hour-a-day limitation on its activities. It is an absolute framework that no one can extend.

Inside the networks, what programs to air and what programs to take off have been a matter of constant and arduous dispute, with everyone looking to viewing ratings for guidance about what to do. But the central role of ratings has now been shaken to the root.

 テレビの世界は、いわば「時間の帝国」だ。誰にも広げることのできない1日24時間という絶対の枠に支配されている。何を入れ、何を外すのかと激しい争いが続いてきた。そこで常に振りかざされてきた視聴率の根っこが揺らいだ。

This year marks the 50th anniversary of television broadcasting in Japan. I believe it is time to sit down and consider the significance of viewing rates as a yardstick, pondering about whether too much importance is attached to them and the habit needs to be changed.

 日本でテレビ放送が始まって、今年で50年になる。視聴率という物差しの意味、軽重を少し落ち着いて考える頃合いだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 26(IHT/Asahi: October 28,2003) (10/28)
 
 
 
What's so ignoble about the Ig Nobel Prize?


The season of Nobel Prize nominations has ended.

The same is true for the Ig Nobel Prize, a prize that may be called a ``counter-Nobel award.''

This prize is awarded for serious scientific research or achievements. But one cannot receive it for just being serious.

10月22日付
■《天声人語》

 ノーベル賞の季節が終わったが、裏ノーベル賞とでもいうべきイグ・ノーベル賞をご存じだろうか。まじめな研究や功績に与えられる賞だが、まじめなだけでは受賞できない。

In an article published in Nature magazine in 1988, a French scientist reported an amazing finding: Water has the capacity to remember.

Many scientists thought it absurd. Thousands conducted similar tests, only to find that the claim was far from true.

 水には記憶する能力がある。フランスの科学者が衝撃的な実験結果を88年、ネイチャー誌に発表した。多くの科学者はあきれかえった。しかし何千人という科学者が同じような実験をしてみたという。芳しい結果は出なかった。

Later, Nature magazine retracted the article. But its author was awarded the First Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1991. He reportedly lamented that orthodox scientists obstructed new research.

 後にネイチャー誌はその論文を削除することにしたが、本人は91年、第1回のイグ・ノーベル化学賞を受賞した。彼は「正統派は新しい研究の邪魔をするばかりだ」と嘆いたそうだ。

An American engineer with a taste for barbecue carried out a number of experiments to see how fast charcoal could be lighted. He eventually reduced the time required to less than four seconds.

The use of liquid oxygen-rocket fuel-made it possible. The only trouble was it consumed the barbecue grill as well. Still, the engineer was awarded the 1996 Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry.

 バーベキュー好きの米エンジニアは、バーベキューグリルの炭にいかに早く点火させるかの実験を繰り返し、ついに4秒以下にまでたどりついた。ロケット燃料用の液体酸素を使っての点火だった。難点は、グリルも燃えてなくなってしまうことだ。これが96年の化学賞だった。

The British Royal Navy received the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for ordering sailors to stop using live cannon shells during artillery exercises and to just shout ``Bang!'' instead. The change meant savings of £5 million (925 million yen) over three years. Besides the savings, it was regarded as a step that contributed to peace and serenity in the area of the firing grounds.

Japanese scientists have often been awarded Ig Nobel Prizes. One received the 2002 peace award for inventing a ``Bowlingual'' machine for translating dog ``talk'' into human words.

 平和賞が英海軍に贈られたのは00年である。砲術学校の訓練で実弾を使うことをやめて、そのかわりに「バーン」と叫ぶことにした。3年間で500万ポンドの節約になるという。節約とともに平和と静けさへの貢献が評価された。日本も、犬語翻訳機のバウリンガルが02年の平和賞を受賞するなどたびたび受賞者を出している。

The Ig Nobel Prize was set up by a Harvard University graduate who had gone on to become a magazine editor. The idea, it is said, was to give people something to think about by first provoking their laughter.

The ``Ig'' in the award's name is derived from the word ``ignoble.'' But the contrary is true. In fact, it is quite a worthy prize.

 米ハーバード大学出身の雑誌編集者が始めた賞で、「まず人々を笑わせる。そして考えさせる」が趣旨という。「イグノーブル(不名誉な)」をもじった賞だが、どうして、なかなかすてきな賞である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 22(IHT/Asahi: October 27,2003) (10/27)
 
 
 
Finding a better measure of the elderly


If something seems wrong now, I believe it all started with the 1996 Lower House election, when the Liberal Democratic Party guaranteed former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone a ``lifetime No. 1 slot'' on the party's proportional representation roster for the North Kanto bloc.

10月24日付
■《天声人語》

 おかしいといえば、あの時既におかしかったのである。96年の総選挙での、中曽根元首相に対する「終身比例1位」の保証のことだ。

A lifetime guarantee literally holds throughout the person's life, never mind what shape he is in. Given the sheer responsibility of what it means to sit in the Diet, the LDP certainly struck an ``unusual'' deal. It actually came across as a hardly honorable and desperate trick, a trade-off even, that was pulled in order to get Nakasone to move out of his constituency.

 終身というのは、その人がどんな状態になってもということだから、国政を担う任務の重さを考えれば奇妙な策だった。何とか、中曽根さんに比例区に回ってもらうためにひねり出した妙手のように見えて「禁じ手」でもあった。

Did this guarantee lose effect when the LDP set 73 as the age limit for members eligible for official party endorsement for proportional representation districts? Obviously, Nakasone himself did not think so.

An irate Nakasone told the media Thursday the party effectively broke its ``pledge to the voting public'' by rescinding that lifetime guarantee.

I can appreciate his anger. However, if he truly means to stand up to the present party regulation and resist being forced into retirement so rudely, he could let Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi have it by running as an independent from a single-seat constituency.

 その後、自民党に73歳定年制が敷かれた時、この保証は完全になくなったのだろうか。少なくとも、ご本人の中では生き残っていたようだ。終身1位は「選挙民に対する党の公約だ。それを破るのか」と、お怒りだ。気持ちは分からないでもないが、どうしても今のルールや強引なやり方がおかしいというのなら、無所属ででも小選挙区から立って、小泉さんに知らしめてはどうか。

The reactions of the two LDP elders-Nakasone and former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa-make me think of old age as a period in which one goes back and forth between mellow maturity and stubbornness. In old age, one lives each day with an acute awareness of changes in one's mind and body, not to mention changes in one's environment.

It is not an easy period. And precisely because of it, I believe one acquires the sort of mature gentleness that is quite different from simple passivity, as well as the stubbornness that should not be confused with misguided willfulness.

 今回の2長老を見るにつけても、老いとは、穏やかさと頑(かたく)なさとのあわいを行き来する旅のようにも思われる。かつての体や心のありようと今のありようや、周りの変わりようを、毎日感じて生きてゆく。この、なかなかに容易ではない日々からは、単に言いなりになるのではない穏やかさや、頑迷ではない頑なさも生まれているはずだ。

There are old-timers in all walks of life who, unconcerned about their status, are living examples of the experience and wisdom that come only with age. Such veterans must be contributing enormously to society, except society is never quite sure how to measure their contribution.

Unless one sees it this way, life is going to be miserable and unrewarding in our ``super-senior'' society.

 地位にこだわらず、老練、老巧な生き方をしている人たちはあらゆる分野に居る。人生のベテランたちによる世の中への寄与は、その測り方がはっきりしないだけで、相当あるのだろう。こんな見方も持たないと、超高齢社会は重く暗くなる。

The Japanese word rogai (elderly harm) implies the elderly are a drag on society. But I would like to coin a new word-roeki (elderly benefit)-meaning there are benefits to society that only the elderly can provide.

 「老害」という言葉があるのなら「老益」もあっていい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 24 (10/25)
 
 
 
No governance without public support


Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset argued in ``The Revolt of the Masses'' (``Taishu no Hangyaku'' in Japanese, published by Hakusuisha) that even though Napoleon invaded Spain and kept the invasion going, he did not rule Spain for a single day.

10月23日付
■《天声人語》

 ナポレオンはスペインを侵略し、しばらく侵略状態を維持したが、スペインを支配したことは一日たりともなかった。そう述べたのは、スペインの哲学者オルテガ・イ・ガセットである(『大衆の反逆』白水社)。

Ortega elaborated that while Napoleon held power, he was incapable of ruling precisely because power was all he had. To put it another way, it is impossible to govern a nation without the support of public opinion-a timeless truth that applies just as aptly to the world of today as that of 10,000 years ago.

 こう続く。「彼は権力を持っていたが、ほかでもなく権力しか持っていなかったがゆえに支配できなかったのだ」。世論の「支持」がなければ支配は成立しない、との趣旨である。それは1万年前だろうと現代だろうと同じことだ、と。

Ortega's words ring in my mind every time I hear what is happening in Iraq. The U.S. and British armed forces have completely ``vanquished'' Iraq. But are these victors actually governing the land? Do they have Iraqi public opinion on their side? Is the situation any different from Spain under Napoleon? I have to wonder.

 イラクの現状を聞くにつけ、思い出される言葉だ。米英軍は軍事的に「圧勝」した。しかし、イラクを現実に支配しているのか。イラク世論の支持を得ているのか。かつてのスペインにおけるナポレオンと変わりないのではないか。そんな思いが募る。

Frictions of all sorts seem to have arisen in Iraq, not only from the continued guerrilla attacks against the occupation forces. The use of bomb-sniffing dogs by the U.S. military has grated on the Iraqi sensitivity-just one example of the American disregard for Islamic culture that considers canines unclean. There are also reports of Iraqi sabotage against water- and oil-supply systems.

 占領軍へのゲリラ活動だけでなく、様々な摩擦が生じているようだ。米軍の爆発物探知犬への反発も一例だろう。犬を不浄とするイスラム文化への配慮のなさからの摩擦だ。水や石油の供給をめぐるサボタージュも起きているらしい。

In a Madrid newspaper article published in 1929, Ortega quoted French statesman Charles Maurice de Talleyrand as warning Napoleon that a bayonet could make one almighty, but nobody could ever sit comfortably on a bayonet. Ortega's newspaper article was published in book form the following year.

 「陛下、銃剣をもってすれば何事もできますが、ただ一つ、できないことがあります。それは、銃剣の上に安座することです」。タレーランがナポレオンに向かって語った言葉である。オルテガが引いている。これらの文章は1929年、マドリードの新聞に掲載され、翌年本にまとめられた。

An international conference on Iraqi reconstruction begins Thursday in Madrid. Money is expected to be the main topic, but I hope the delegates also appreciate Ortega's understanding of ``rulership'' in envisioning the reconstruction of Iraq.

 そのマドリードできょう23日、イラク復興支援国会議が始まる。資金援助をめぐる相談が主だろうが、オルテガの言う意味での「支配」再建も視野に入れてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 23(IHT/Asahi: October 24,2003) (10/24)
 
 
 
Nation's Iraq stance endangers all Japanese


It is never pleasant to be identified by name and threatened.

But in a taped message from an individual claiming to be international terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Japan is mentioned by name as one of the nations he intends to retaliate against for the war in Iraq.

10月21日付
■《天声人語》

 名指しで「脅迫」されるのは気持ちのいいものではない。イラク戦争をめぐり、国際テロ組織の指導者オサマ・ビンラディン氏とされる人物から日本が報復の対象として挙げられた。

The tape's authenticity is open to question.

Still, the threat does reflect the understanding of the world that Japan has taken a clear position on Iraq by committing money and Self-Defense Forces personnel.

The Japanese government's decision certainly stands out amid the ambivalence and doubts expressed by the international community.

 その信憑性(しんぴょうせい)はともかく、イラクへの自衛隊派遣や資金提供などで日本が明確に一歩を踏み出したとの国際社会の見方を反映してはいるだろう。国際社会に逡巡(しゅんじゅん)がある中だけに、日本政府の対応が目立っている。

But the world is not gushing over Japan in the way U.S. President George W. Bush has thanked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

A recent issue of The Financial Times says in an editorial: ``It is hard to think of a more unlikely way to bring order to Iraq than to send a few hundred reluctant Japanese troops to keep the peace.''

I was also informed by an acquaintance, who had just met with sources close to the U.S. Congress, that Washington's reaction to the SDF dispatch was cool and detached at best.

 しかし、小泉首相がブッシュ米大統領から受けたような感謝の声が広がっているわけではない。「腰の引けた日本の少数の部隊を派遣することがイラクの秩序回復に役立つとはとうてい思えない」。先日のフィナンシャル・タイムズ紙の社説の一節である。米議会関係者に会ってきたという人からも、日本の自衛隊派遣歓迎、という雰囲気は乏しかったと聞かされた。

And even a U.S. commander in Iraq hinted not so long ago that he did not really need any more foreign troops.

No multinational military collaboration in a hot zone is ever easy. What use are the SDF troops going to be in such a situation? There are simply too many questions.

 米軍の現地司令官が少し前、外国の軍隊はこれ以上いらないというような趣旨の発言をしたこともある。緊迫した事態の中で他国の軍隊との共同作業というのは容易なことではないだろう。そんなところへ自衛隊が行って果たして何ができるか。なお疑問は大きい。

A decision of the Japanese government is regarded as a decision of the Japanese people.

We should not be intimidated, but it is still a fact that we are now being targeted for terrorist attack simply because we happen to be Japanese. One always runs such risks when taking sides.

 日本政府の決断は、日本国民の選択とみなされる。「脅迫」に恐れをなすわけではないが、理不尽にも日本人であるというだけでテロの対象になりうる。加担するということは、常にそうした危険を背負うということでもある。

Koizumi has made quite a display of his ``willing contribution'' to the Bush administration. But more than anything, we demand that he explain to us why we are being made to risk our lives.

 小泉首相には、ブッシュ政権への「協力・貢献」誇示だけでなく、危険を負担する日本国民に納得のできる説明をしてもらわねばならない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 21 (10/23)
 
 
 
Many could be swept up in swirl of Fujii flap


Going over the career of Haruho Fujii, president of Japan Highway Public Corp., the picture of a typical Japanese bureaucrat emerges. He might have retired as someone who has steadily risen through the ranks, yet ending up an ordinary civil servant all the same.

10月18日付
■《天声人語》

 極めて順調、しかし平凡な役人として余生を迎えるはずの人だったのかもしれない。日本道路公団の藤井治芳(はるほ)総裁の軌跡を振り返ると、日本の官僚像のそんな一典型が浮かんでくる。

Fujii worked hard. His life was literally all work. ``I could do with two hours of sleep when I was in my 20s,'' he would reportedly tell his subordinates. ``I got along on three hours of sleep in my 30s, and four hours of sleep were enough for me in my 40s.''

But he had to spend a lot of time fawning on politicians and selling other lawmakers and senior bureaucrats on their legislative proposals. It was the fate of all bureaucrats to behave this way.

 寝食を惜しんで仕事をした。「睡眠時間は20代で2時間、30代で3時間、40代で4時間で十分」と部下たちに語っていたそうだ。ただし、多くの時間を政治家の「ご機嫌とり」や「根回し」に費やさねばならないのが官僚の宿命である。

Fujii's day would begin with an early-morning trip to the office of an influential Diet member to make tea. He would ``petition'' politicians at their homes until late at night. Getting back to his office, he would consult with his colleagues from 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. To win budgetary appropriations, he had to make daily trips to the Finance Ministry. He needed to be mentally and physically tough to endure this life.

 有力議員の事務所に朝一番に行ってお茶を入れる。夜遅くまで政治家の自宅で「陳情」をし、役所に戻って夜中の1時、2時から打ち合わせをする。予算獲得のためには大蔵省にも日参しなければならない。そんな毎日に耐えられる意志と体力が必要とされる。

A typical bureaucrat also needs to take risks. Fujii was an adviser to the old Construction Ministry when Eiichi Nakao, a former head of the ministry, was arrested in an aggravated bribery case. A sum of 6 million yen, paid into his bank account by a construction company, came to light in connection with the scandal.

Fujii got himself off the hook by claiming that he had returned the money. Life as a bureaucrat in Japan teems with pitfalls, and he came close to being tricked into one.

 危ない橋も渡らなければならない。中尾栄一元建設相の受託収賄事件に関連して、当時建設省顧問だった藤井氏の口座に建設会社から600万円振り込まれたことが発覚した。返却したとして落着したが、役人生活につきまとう「落とし穴」にはまるところだった。

For someone who has climbed the bureaucratic ladder to the top, the post of administrative vice minister, the question is how to land a post-retirement job in a way that does not draw an attack from the public. Fujii got himself appointed vice president of Japan Highway Public Corp. when he decided that it was the right time to make his move. Some time later, he won a promotion to the presidency. It was a ``birthright'' promotion for him.

One day, however, Fujii was summoned by a Cabinet minister as young as his own son and urged to resign as president. He refused and boldly made a case in his own defense.

 官僚の頂点、事務次官就任後は、世論の批判を避けながらいかに天下りをするか、だ。時期を見計らうように道路公団の副総裁、そして総裁へ。いわば指定席を手中にした。しかしある日、息子のような年齢の大臣に呼び出されて辞任を勧められる。藤井総裁は大胆に開き直った。

Fujii is a survivor in a world where one can get by only by accommodating both good and evil. If he is to strike back by putting his bureaucratic career on the line, his struggle against the government should take on proportions wider than his departure. What happened at last Friday's hearing-a law-prescribed procedure for dismissing Fujii-was just the opening skirmish.

 清濁入り交じる世界を泳ぎ抜いた藤井氏が、役人人生をかけて反撃するとすれば、争いは個人の去就にとどまらないはずだ。昨日の聴聞はほんの入り口での争いだった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 18(IHT/Asahi: October 22,2003) (10/22)
 
 
 
VOX POPULI, VOX DEI: Is it now U.S. leaders' turn to come to Tokyo?


``Perhaps because I was excited, I had trouble going to sleep last night, and I tossed and turned in bed until about 4 a.m.,'' wrote former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in his diary. ``I was awakened shortly after 8 a.m.''

This was in January 1965, and Sato was in Washington for talks with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, his first summit talks with an American president. The quoted passage from Sato's diaries (published by The Asahi Shimbun) shows how tensely he was bracing himself.

10月19日付
■《天声人語》

 「昨夜は興奮の結果か、ねつき悪く、午前四時頃迄転々、八時過ぎ起される」。65年1月、ワシントンで、ジョンソン大統領との初めての日米首脳会談に臨んだ日の『佐藤榮作日記』(朝日新聞社)の一節だ。意気込みと緊張とが伝わってくる。

Until that time, Japan-U.S. summit talks had mostly been held in Washington. Tokyo became the venue of such talks for the first time in 1974, with U.S. President Gerald Ford coming over to confer with Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. With a note of slight excitement, the joint communique issued after their talks said the first visit to Japan by an incumbent U.S. president added a new page to the history of friendly relations between the two countries.

 このころまでの日米首脳会談は、大体ワシントンで行われた。日本での初めての会談は74年で、田中角栄首相がフォード大統領を東京に迎えた。会談後の共同声明は「現職のアメリカ合衆国大統領による初めての日本国訪問は、両国間の親善の歴史に新たな一ページを加えるものである」と、やや興奮気味に記されている。

Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida met President Harry S. Truman for the first Japan-U.S. summit in 1951. From then on, Japanese and U.S. leaders held 60 summit meetings until the 1993 summit between Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and President Bill Clinton.

Washington was the venue for 27 meetings, and 14 meetings took place in other U.S. cities, with the figure for Tokyo falling to eight, Kazuhiro Asano says in a book titled ``Nichibei Shunokaidan to Gendai Seiji'' (Japan-U.S. summit talks and contemporary politics).

Even though Japan-U.S. summit talks being held in Tokyo stopped being a rarity from the 1980s, U.S. President George W. Bush stands out among the American leaders who have come here to attend them, following up his first visit in February last year with a second last week.

 51年の吉田・トルーマン会談から93年の細川・クリントン会談までには、60回の首脳会談があったが、会場はワシントンが27回、ワシントン以外の米国の都市が14回で、東京は8回だった(浅野一弘『日米首脳会談と「現代政治」』)。80年代以降は、東京での会談も珍しくはないが、昨年2月に続いて今年もというブッシュ大統領の突出ぶりが目立つ。

Bush's second visit was actually a stopover for refueling Air Force One, the presidential plane. This limited the time available for his meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. After dinner, the two leaders beamed and looked pleased.

Dinner was sliced Japanese beef grilled on an iron plate, as reportedly requested by Bush. Were he and Koizumi beaming as they had enjoyed eating the delicacy in a room with a horigotatsu dug-in-the-floor foot warmer?

 もっとも、今回は大統領専用機の給油のための「立ち寄り会談」だ。夕食後の両首脳は笑みがこぼれ、うれしそうだった。大統領の注文だったという和牛の鉄板焼きを、掘りごたつで十分に楽しんだのだろうか。

The two leaders appeared to be thoroughly relaxed. It was a light moment for them. But the promises they exchanged there were of a contrastingly grave nature. Were they aware of concerns and objections about sending Self-Defense Forces on a potentially deadly mission in Iraq and dishing out huge sums to help rebuild the country?

 ふたりは、すっかりくつろいで軽やかな様子だったが、取り交わされた約束は極めて重い。命がけの自衛隊派遣や巨額の復興支援金拠出への懸念や異論を、ご承知かどうか。

My hope is that after his refreshing experience in Tokyo, Bush will divert some of his newly gained vigor to listen to what people are saying about his policies.

 東京で養った英気を、多少なりとも「聞く耳」の方にも回してくれればいいのだが。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 19(IHT/Asahi: October 21,2003) (10/21)
 
 
 
Nobelist's advice: Change system from within

It could not have been easy for the Nobel Committee to choose this year's Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the symbolic guardian of peace in this year of war. Nor could it have escaped the committee's attention that some past Nobel peace laureates have since fallen on adverse times.

10月12日付
■《天声人語》

 戦争の年に、平和を誰に託すか。今年のノーベル平和賞の選考は難しかったに違いない。しかも過去の平和賞受賞者たちが、逆風にもがいているさなかのことである。

South Korea's Kim Dae Jung won the prize three years ago for pulling off a historic summit with Kim Jong Il of North Korea. But suspicions later arose that money had changed hands to ``buy'' the summit. And the Korean Peninsula is still far from stable, thanks to the North Korean nuclear program.

The 1994 Peace Prize was shared by two Middle East peace negotiators. Today, this is as good as ancient history.

 3年前の金大中氏はもちろん歴史的な南北首脳会談が評価されての受賞だった。しかしその後、「会談の裏でお金が流れた」「お金で買われた会談だ」などの疑惑が取りざたされた。しかも、朝鮮半島は核をめぐってなお不穏な状況が続いている。「中東和平」の当事者らに贈られた94年の平和賞は、もはや霧のかなたといってもいいほどだ。

Should the prize ever be awarded to a politician? This question has haunted the Nobel Committee since the honor was bestowed upon U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Controversy raged over the 1973 choice of then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

 政治家に平和賞を贈っていいものか。この論議は1906年、セオドア・ルーズベルト米大統領が受賞したときから続いている。戦後では、73年のキッシンジャー氏受賞が大きな論議を呼んだ。

Then, there is another pattern of selection. In 1935, the awarding of the prize to Carl von Ossietzky, a German journalist and radical pacifist who was in a concentration camp at the time, created an international sensation. Adolf Hitler had a conniption. (The actual awarding of the prize took place in 1936.)

Similarly controversial choices after World War II included dissident Soviet physicist Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov and the 14th Dalai Lama. The former provoked the Soviet Union, and the latter raised China's hackles.

 もう一つの流れがある。36年に受賞が決まったドイツのジャーナリスト、オシェツキーのときは、国際的な波紋を招いた。平和運動をし、獄中にいた彼の受賞はヒトラーを激怒させた。戦後では、ソ連を刺激した反体制物理学者サハロフ、中国が神経をとがらせたダライ・ラマ14世の受賞などがその系譜だ。

The 2003 choice fell to Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, a champion of women's and children's rights. There are obviously many conservative Iranians who are embittered by her crusade, and the Iranian government itself is ambivalent about the Nobel Committee decision.

Ebadi, however, told a news conference crisply that it is up to Iranian people to lead any human rights crusade in Iran.

 今年は、イランの女性法律家シリン・エバディ氏に決まった。女性や子どものために闘ってきた人権活動家である。彼女の活動を苦々しく思う保守派からの反発は強いだろう。イラン政府も困惑気味だ。しかし記者会見での彼女の発言「イランでの人権活動はイラン人によってなされるべきだ」は明快だ。

Her statement was an exhortation directed at all people trying to change the system from within.

 外からでなく、内から体制を変えていこうとする人たちへの励ましが込められる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 12(IHT/Asahi: October 20,2003) (10/20)
 
 
 
A flight from a cultural crossroads into space


The Silk Road oasis town of Dunhuang is sometimes called a town of flying deities. Numerous paintings of such deities are found in local grottoes. In the West, flying deities are usually depicted with wings. Their Oriental counterparts have no wings. They dance in the air with fluttering robes.

10月17日付
■《天声人語》

 シルクロードのオアシス都市敦煌は飛天の街ともいわれる。石窟(せっくつ)内に描かれる多くの飛天の姿が街のシンボルになっている。空を飛ぶ西洋の神々は翼をもっていることが多いが、東洋の飛天は翼をもたない。衣を翻して天を舞う。

China has successfully launched a manned spacecraft. The center where the liftoff took place is referred to as Jiuquan, which is the name of a Gansu province town that leads to Dunhuang. Jiuquan is famous for jade cups, but the town has never even come close to Dunhuang in fame.

This time, however, the whole world heard the name-literally as the base of flying gods.

 中国が有人宇宙船の打ち上げに成功した。発射センターには酒泉の名が冠せられている。敦煌への入り口にあたる甘粛省の酒泉である。名産の玉器で知られるが、もちろん敦煌の高名には及ばなかった。今度の打ち上げで世界にその名が流れた。まさに飛天の基地として。

Together with gunpowder, rockets are said to be a Chinese invention. According to ``Sekai no Roketto'' (Rockets of the world), a book written by Tomifumi Godai and published by the Japan Industrial Journal, China exhibited a model of its well-known Changzheng 3 rocket along with a replica of a simple rocket called ``fire arrow,'' an 11th-century invention, at the Tsukuba Science Expo in 1985. It was this fire arrow that ``traveled'' to the West via the Silk Road and continued to evolve.

 ロケットは、火薬とともに中国の発明とされる。85年の筑波科学万博には自慢のロケット「長征3号」と一緒に、11世紀に発明されたロケット「火箭(かせん)」の模型も展示されたそうだ(五代富文『世界のロケット』日本工業新聞社)。その火箭がシルクロードを通って西洋に伝わり「改良」されていった。

Post-World War II rocket development during the Cold War was a contest in which the East and West vied for prestige. In 1957, when the Soviet Union put Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, in space, Mao Tse-tung made his famous speech in Moscow about ``the East Wind prevailing over the West Wind.'' Rockets and artificial satellites developed by China were given names such as Changzheng (Long March) and Dongfanghong (The East is Red) in honor of the chairman and the Chinese Communist Party.

 戦後のロケット開発は、冷戦下で東西の威信をかけた競争だった。ソ連が世界最初の人工衛星打ち上げに成功した57年、モスクワを訪れた毛沢東は有名な「東風が西風を圧する」という演説をする。中国が開発したロケットや人工衛星も「長征」「東方紅」など毛沢東や共産党ゆかりの名前がつけられた。

The spacecraft this time is named Shengzhou (Vessel of God). The astronaut's first communication with Earth was unpretentious-he said ``I feel good.'' He also hoisted both the Chinese and United Nations flags. Even though this space project was apparently meant to boost China's prestige, there was nothing pretentious about the astronaut's behavior.

 今回の宇宙船は「神舟」である。飛行士からの第一声は「感覚良好」という素直なものだった。中国国旗と国連旗を掲げるポーズもした。国威発揚の事業とはいえ、振る舞いに大仰さは感じなかった。

This was a flight from the cultural crossroads of the East and West into space. I want this to bring peace and harmony to the world.

 東西文明の交差する地からの宇宙への飛翔(ひしょう)である。平和と融和の使いであってほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 17(IHT/Asahi: October 18,2003) (10/18)
 
 
 
The reins of power are hard to relinquish


Retirement from politics must be a tough call for politicians. The Liberal Democratic Party sets 73 as the age limit for party members eligible for election from proportional representation districts. But there are two former prime ministers who are way past that age, and the party is stuck with having to decide whether to treat them as a special exception to the rule and let them run in the upcoming Lower House election.

10月16日付
■《天声人語》

 政界を引退するというのはなかなか難しいことらしい。比例区単独候補に73歳定年制を敷く自民党は、とうに定年を超えた2人の首相経験者をめぐって揺れている。例外として総選挙への出馬を認めるかどうか。

Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone is 85. Some years ago, he quoted his own haiku in stating he had no intention of retiring yet. The haiku went: ``Daylight has long faded/ But until it is time to die/ Cicadas keep singing.''

Nakasone intends to run in the Nov. 9 election, as does former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, 84. It is now up to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to make the final call.

 〈くれてなお 命の限り 蝉(せみ)しぐれ〉の句を引きながら、引退の意思のないことを表明したこともある中曽根元首相は85歳、宮沢元首相は84歳である。立候補に意欲を見せる2人に引退を迫るのかどうか、は小泉首相の決断に委ねられている。

Many centuries ago, there was a man who wrote a letter to his friend, urging him in strong language to retire from public office.

``If you are able to step down, do so immediately. If you cannot, just peel yourself off! You and I have already wasted more than enough time. Now that we are in old age, let us start making preparations so that we may be able to set out on our journey at a moment's notice.''

 はるか昔、手紙で激しい引退勧告をした人がいた。「出来るなら君は君のその職務からただちに引退したまえ。出来ぬなら、強引に身を引きはがせ! すでに十分以上の時を我々は浪費してきた。老年を迎えた今こそ、いつでも旅立てる用意を始めようではないか」

That was Roman philosopher, dramatist and statesman Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) writing to his friend Lucilius Junior in A.D. 65.

Having become a political heavyweight and amassed a huge fortune, Seneca decided he had had enough. He volunteered to renounce his entire fortune and begged Emperor Nero to let him retire.

Nero would not hear of it. But Seneca had his way and retired happily to a life of philosophical pursuit. The letter to Lucilius was written during that period.

 古代ローマの哲人セネカである。政界で重用された彼はあるとき、全財産を寄贈するから引退させてくれと懇願した。ときの皇帝ネロは許さなかった。しかし反対を押し切って引退し、待望の哲学探究に没頭した。そんなとき、友人のルキリウスにも引退を勧めたのが先の文章だ。

Lucilius, also a learned man, was imperial procurator of Sicily.

In ``Roma no Tetsujin Seneka no Kotoba'' (Words of Roman sage Seneca), a book from Iwanami Shoten Publishers, author Koji Nakano notes: ``Because Seneca held a position of power that kept him busy for many years, his epistle to Lucilius reads to me like a poignant admission of his own remorse.''

 友人はシチリアの行政長官という高位にある人だったらしい。作家の中野孝次さんは、セネカが長い間多忙と権力の座にあった人だけに、その文章は「彼自身の内から発せられた悔恨であるかのように、悲痛にひびく」と書き留めた(『ローマの哲人 セネカの言葉』岩波書店)。

Conspiracies and machinations are routine in the world of politics. To this day, politicians could not be completely free of the ``remorse'' that must accumulate from remaining in that world.

 陰謀や術策が渦巻く政界に身を置くことで降り積もる「悔恨」は、現代の政治家にも無縁とは思えない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 16(IHT/Asahi: October 17,2003) (10/17)
 
 
 
Returnee Soga makes a case for her suffering


The term ``mother tongue,'' when spelled in Chinese characters, comprises the words for ``mother,'' ``country'' and ``language,'' Koichi Iijima notes in a poem titled ``Bokokugo'' (Mother tongue).

Iijima says he never wrote poetry while he was abroad, removed from his mother, his country and his mother tongue.

10月15日付
■《天声人語》

 飯島耕一さんの詩「母国語」に、こんな一節がある。「母国語ということばのなかには/母と国と言語がある」。この母と国と言語から「切り離されて」外国に滞在していた間に、詩を書くことはなかった、と。

In the case of the Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea, they were removed suddenly from their mothers, their country and the Japanese language against their will and by violent means.

Hitomi Soga, who returned to Japan one year ago-on Oct. 15 last year, to be precise-with four other abductees, was tremendously shocked to learn her mother was not living in this country.

 北朝鮮に拉致された人たちは、ある日突然、母と国と日本語から切り離された。意思に反して暴力的に。曽我ひとみさんは1年前のきょう、日本に帰国して母がいないことを知った。衝撃は大きかった。

Soga's childhood recollection of her mother can be found in ``Kazoku'' (Family), a book compiled by the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea and published by Kobunsha.

In the book, Soga reveals that when she was an elementary school pupil, she stole some money from a chest of drawers and bought a sweater.

Soga was prepared to be scolded. But her mother's reaction was different. Shedding tears, her mother said, ``Hitomi bought a sweater because your mother couldn't buy a new dress for you.'' Responding in kind, Hitomi said: ``I am sorry, Mother. I promise I will never do this again, so forgive me.''

 『家族』(北朝鮮による拉致被害者家族連絡会・光文社)に、母をめぐる小学生のころの思い出が掲載されている。タンスの中にあったお金をこっそり持ち出してセーターを買った。怒られると思ったのに「涙を流しながら、『母ちゃんが新しい服をこうてやれんもんだし、ひとみがセーターひとつこうてきたんだな』」と。ひとみさんも泣きながら「ごめんね。これから絶対、こんなことしんし許してな」

There was a strong bond between mother and her daughter. Soga has begun to talk about how she and her mother, Miyoshi, were attacked by kidnappers 25 years ago, apparently in the hope her account might provide hints for her mother's rescue.

When a Japanese politician made an unsympathetic comment on her mother, Soga said, ``Rather than anger, I felt pity for his inability to understand the feelings of the abductees.''

 母娘のきずなは固かった。25年前に2人が襲われたときのことを話し始めたのも、救出の手がかりにならないか、との思いからだろう。ある政治家が母ミヨシさんについて、非情な発言をしたこともあった。そんな時でも曽我さんは「怒りというよりさみしさを感じました」と語った。

The returnee keeps saying, ``I wish people would have a deeper understanding of our sufferings as human beings, rather than leaving the task of attending to our sufferings to the government.''

Soga's remarks had a ring of poetry to them from the time she set foot in Japan again a year ago. It seems that when her bubbling thoughts find expression, they come out automatically as poetic language.

 「国の仕事ということでなく、人間としてもっと深く私たちの痛みをわかってほしい」。そう訴え続ける曽我さんの言葉には、帰国当初から詩の響きがあった。抑えきれない思いがあふれ出て、自然に詩の言葉になってしまう。

This may have to do with what Iijima says of poetry, ``Poetry has sorrow for its fountain.''

 「母国語」の詩人はこういう。「詩とは悲しいものだ」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 15(IHT/Asahi: October 16,2003) (10/16)
 
 
 
The day the wild-born Crested Ibis went extinct


Japan's last toki (Crested Japanese Ibis) born in the wild died last Friday at the Toki Preservation Center on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture. She was named Kin after her captor, Kintaro Uji. Uji apparently never got over his sense of guilt for having ``betrayed'' the bird.

10月11日付
■《天声人語》

 きのう、新潟県の佐渡トキ保護センターで死んだ最後の日本産トキ「キン」を捕獲したのは、宇治金太郎さんだった。宇治さんの名前を取って、キンと命名された。宇治さんには、トキを裏切ってしまったという悔いが後々まで残ったようだ。

Kin first showed up near human habitation in the summer of 1967. Toward winter of that year, Uji, a bird lover, was asked to watch and feed her.

Clutching a plastic bag filled with live dojo loaches, Uji plodded through the early morning snow for his daily visit with his namesake. He squatted on the ground and fed her one by one by hand, and watched over her all day until she returned to her nest at night.

 キンが人里近くに迷い出てきたのは67年の夏だった。冬近くになって愛鳥家の宇治さんに餌づけが依頼された。早朝、ビニール袋にドジョウを入れて、雪の中、キンを訪れる。座って一匹一匹ドジョウを与えた。夜、ねぐらに帰るまで見守った。

Soon, Kin was coming to meet Uji halfway whenever he was late for breakfast. This went on for more than four months, until the government adopted a captive-breeding program for toki and instructed Uji to capture Kin.

Knowing how completely Kin trusted him, Uji's heart was torn, according to ``Habatake Toki'' (Fly, ibis), a book by Haruo Sato published by Kenseisha Ltd.

 宇治さんが餌場に行くのが遅れると、キンは途中まで迎えに出るほどになった。4カ月以上もそんな生活が続いた。政府の方針で人工飼育に踏み切ることになり、宇治さんに捕獲の指示が出た。「こんなに信頼してくれているのに」と、宇治さんの心は揺れた(佐藤春雄『はばたけ朱鷺』研成社)。

Uji died in 1984 at age 81. For years, he was known to visit a local shrine frequently to pray for a long life for Kin. His prayers were obviously answered, for Kin lived to be a centenarian in human years. She did not have any offspring, however.

 宇治さんは84年に81歳で亡くなった。生前は、年に何度も神社に参って、キンの長寿を祈っていたという。キンは人間でいうと、100歳ほどだったというから、宇治さんの長寿の願いはかなった。子孫を残すことはできなかった。

German naturalist Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866), who came to Japan in the final years before the Meiji Restoration (1868), contributed much to toki research. The specimens he sent from Japan to Europe for further study resulted in the bird's scientific name of Nipponia Nippon.

During the Edo Period (1603-1867), the wild toki population was apparently distributed widely throughout the nation. But by the time scientists realized the birds needed protection in the early 20th century, they were already on the verge of extinction.

 幕末に日本を訪れた博物学者のシーボルトが、トキ研究にも寄与したことはよく知られる。学名のニッポニア・ニッポンも彼がヨーロッパに送った標本を基にした研究から生まれた。江戸時代には全国各地に生息していたようだ。明治以降、保護の声が上がり始めたときには既に絶滅の危機にあった。
Oct. 10, 2003, will be remembered as the day Japan's wild-born toki went extinct.

 03年10月10日は日本のトキが絶滅した日として記憶にとどめおかれる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 11(IHT/Asahi: October 15,2003) (10/15)
 
 
 
Adolescents' behavior reflects ills of society


When it comes to categorizing people by race, we do not go much beyond Japanese, foreign nationals or foreign residents of this country. It's a very rough population map, but that's often the way we see it.

There are countries where things are more complicated and more difficult for those trying to decide how to refer to a certain group of people. In such countries, one has to squeeze through a set of proper terms, as if stepping through a minefield, according to Leonard Thompson, author of ``A History of South Africa.'' (A Japanese translation is published by Akashi Shoten.)

10月04日付
■《天声人語》

 日本人と外国人、あるいは在日外国人。日本ではそんな大雑把な言い方もされる。しかし、住んでいる人たちの集団をどう呼ぶか、がもっと複雑で、難しい国もある。そこでは「危険な地雷原のような用語法」をすりぬけなければならない(L・トンプソン『南アフリカの歴史』明石書店)。

Afrikaners are descendants of Dutch settlers who colonized the country from the 17th century. They formerly called themselves Boers. Also categorized as whites are people of British descent and Jews. The offspring of their marriages with indigenous Africans, meanwhile, are often called ``coloreds.'' These people are distinguished from blacks and Indians.

 アフリカーナーといえば、早くから入植したオランダ人らの子孫をいう。以前はボーア人と名乗っていた人たちだ。白人は他に英国系もいれば、ユダヤ系もいる。先住民とその混血はカラードといわれることが多い。黒人やインド人からは区別される。

A sense of discrimination often sneaks into race terminology. South Africa's complicated history and apartheid policy created the ``minefield.'' The works of John Maxwell Coetzee, this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, have many parts that defy understanding by readers ignorant of the circumstances peculiar to the country.

 用語法には、しばしば差別意識が紛れ込む。入り組んだ歴史とアパルトヘイト(人種隔離)政策がもたらした「地雷原」である。ノーベル文学賞を受賞するJ・M・クッツェー氏の作品も、南アフリカ特有の事情抜きには理解できない部分が少なくない。

The protagonist of his autobiography-like novel ``Boyhood: Scenes From Provincial Life,'' is a boy living in the apartheid-flourishing 1950s. (A Japanese translation is available from Misuzu Shobo.)

At the boy's school, Afrikaner students, the majority group, bullied Jewish students and subjected them to all forms of sly racial discrimination.

 自伝風の『少年時代』(みすず書房)は、アパルトヘイトが進む50年代の少年を主人公にしている。学校では、多数派のアフリカーナーの生徒たちが、ユダヤ人生徒をいじめるなど陰湿な人種差別が横行していた。

The boy was estranged from his father and heard his Afrikaans-accented speech with distaste. His mother spoke elegant English. Although he was heavily dependent on her, he wished she would not love him so much. Sometimes, he became incensed at his mother as he thought her love was a burden on him.

 少年は父親を疎み、彼のアフリカーナーなまりも嫌だった。母親はきれいな英語を話した。母親への依存が強い少年だが「こんなに強く愛してくれなければいいのに」とその愛が重荷で、怒りがこみ上げてくるときもある。

Delicately subtle boys like this might be found in any country. But what sets the protagonist apart is that his thinking and behavior mirrored the oppressive mood that prevailed in South African society in the days of apartheid.

Likewise, it is true of all countries that the behavior of adolescents reflects the ills of society.

 どこの国にもいそうな繊細な少年、しかし重苦しい社会の空気もまた色濃く影を落としている。そして少年らが社会の病を映すのは、あの国に限ったことではない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 4(IHT/Asahi: October 13,2003) (10/13)
 
 
 
Oil and politics intertwine to power the world


Gallons and gallons of oil are guzzled for our world to function. To get a rough sense of the world's oil-consumption pattern, let's liken oil to our daily meals. The calculations below are based on pre-Iraq war figures.

10月05日付
■《天声人語》

 現代の私たちの生活は大量の石油をむさぼることで成り立っている。この石油消費を毎日の食事に見立てるとどうなるか。イラク戦争前の数字を基に、たいへん大雑把だが、世界の石油事情を見てみよう。

Let's say Japan's oil-consumption volume translates into three meals a day. All three meals have to be ordered out (imported), and at least two meals are delivered from the Middle East, where Japan is an old customer.

China, whose population is more than 10 times Japan's, is also a three-meal nation. One meal is a takeout.

 仮に日本の石油消費を1日3度の食事とする。もちろん朝昼晩3食とも出前(輸入)に頼らざるをえない。そのうち2食強は、中東のなじみの店からである。日本の約10倍の人口を有する中国もいまのところ1日3食ですませている。うち1食は出前だ。

The world's daily oil consumption is equivalent to 44 meals. Germany, France and Italy sit down to only one meal or a meal and a half. The United States is by far the biggest eater-it gorges on 11 meals a day, half of which are ordered out.

Russia cooks four to five meals a day, but actually eats only a meal and a half. The uneaten food is sold overseas for hard currency.

 世界全体では毎日44食を食べている。ドイツ、フランス、イタリアなどは1日1〜1・5食だが、アメリカは1日11食とず抜けた大食漢だ。半分が出前だ。ロシアは1日4〜5食つくっているが、自分のところで食べるのは1・5食におさえている。残りは他国に出前をしての外貨稼ぎである。

Saudi Arabia is the world's top caterer. It prepares five meals a day, of which four are for delivery. It also boasts the world's biggest larder, or oil deposits.

Iraq was making one and a bit more meals every day and selling most of this. Its larder is second only to Saudi Arabia's.

 世界最大の出前国はサウジアラビアで、1日5食をつくって、4食を出前にまわしている。食材の蓄え(埋蔵量)も世界一だ。イラクは1日1食強をつくり、ほとんどを出前にまわしていた。食材の蓄えはサウジアラビアに次ぐ。

The U.S.-Russia summit outside Washington D.C. late last month was dubbed an ``oil-rights summit.'' The partners were drawn together by mutual interests-Russia wants to expand its delivery chain, and the United States has an insatiable appetite.

For the United States, the summit was also a chance to woo Russia, which had sided with France and Germany over the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

 先月末のワシントン近郊での米ロ首脳会談は、エネルギー利権をめぐっての会談ともいわれた。出前先を増やしたいロシアと大食漢アメリカとの接近である。アメリカとしては、イラク戦争で独仏と歩調を合わせたロシアを自分の側に引き寄せたいとの思惑もあっただろう。

Oil and politics intertwine to move the world today.

For Japan which relies on takeouts for all three meals, there is no choice but to get along humbly with the rest of the world.

 石油と政治とが絡み合って動く現代世界である。3度の食事を出前に依存している日本は、謙虚に世界の国々とつきあわざるをえない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 5(IHT/Asahi: October 11,2003) (10/11)
 
 
 
Will Californians awake from their `dream'?


An American reporter requested an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Schwarzenegger himself called him back a little later.

``What's your old man's job?'' Schwarzenegger began, without preamble. ``Excuse me?'' the reporter asked, taken aback. Schwarzenegger repeated, ``What did your old man do?''

10月09日付
■《天声人語》

 シュワルツェネッガー氏にインタビューを申し込んでいた米紙記者に本人から電話がかかってきた。いきなり「お前のおやじの職業は何だ?」と話しかける。「何だって」と驚くと「おやじは何をしていたんだ」と同じ質問を繰り返す。

Bristling over Schwarzenegger's rudeness, the reporter recounted his experience to a colleague. But the colleague started laughing and explained this was a practical joke Schwarzenegger was playing on reporters as only a screen actor could: Running a tape of his lines from a movie.

 まさか、これほど無礼とは思わなかった、と記者はあきれた。すると、同僚が笑って種明かしをした。映画の中のせりふを録音して流したというのだ。いたずらに見事に引っかかったわけだ。映画俳優だからこそできるいたずらだった。

In the California gubernatorial election campaign, it was apparently Schwarzenegger's strategy to stay away from the print media. His name was already a household word, so all he had to do was make as few mistakes as possible. Even reports of his former scandals did not really hurt him.

 カリフォルニア州知事選では、活字メディアには顔を出さないという作戦だったようだ。知名度の高さは抜群だから、失点を少なくすればいい、と。報じられたいくつかのスキャンダルも、致命傷にはならなかった。

``I came here with absolutely nothing, and California has given me absolutely everything,'' he said in his victory speech Wednesday. His face was an interesting study of jubilation mixed with nervous tension.

 きのうの勝利宣言で、彼は「カリフォルニアに来たとき、私には何もなかった。カリフォルニアがすべてを与えてくれた」と語った。笑顔を見せていたが、さすがに緊張でこわばった表情も見せていた。

When he left his native Austria for the United States in 1968, Ronald Reagan was the governor of California. Mostly a supporting actor, Reagan was a virtual nobody even to movie fans, and the Japanese media paid him little attention. He became known only after he sought Republican nomination for president that year.

 彼がオーストリアから米国に渡った68年、カリフォルニアはちょうどレーガン知事時代だった。俳優出身とはいえ脇役が多かったレーガン氏は無名に近く、日本のメディアもほとんど注目していなかった。同じ年の大統領選に共和党の指名を目指して立候補し、その名を知られるようになった。

Reagan went on to realize the ``American dream.'' As for Schwarzenegger's election victory, some people take the cynical view that Californians are merely projecting their own dreams. I wonder if they will awaken from their collective dream someday.

 その後、「アメリカの夢」を身をもって示したレーガン氏だが、シュワルツェネッガー氏当選については「州民の方が夢を見ているだけ」との皮肉な見方もある。夢からさめるときが来るのかどうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 9(IHT/Asahi: October 10,2003) (10/10)
 
 
 
End of the road for Mahathir, critic of the West


``The world has lost its way. The world is moving too fast. We need to pause, to take stock of things.'' This warning was sounded by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly last month.

10月08日付
■《天声人語》

 「世界は道に迷ってしまった。あまりに速く動きすぎている。立ち止まって考える必要がある」。先月の国連総会でそう警告したのは、マレーシアのマハティール首相だった。

Mahathir will retire at the end of this month after holding office for more than 20 years. The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who met this week on the Indonesian island of Bali, reportedly held a farewell party to honor him. And so, the Malaysian leader, who has made a name for utterances challenging the existing world order, is finally making his exit.

 20年以上にわたって首相をつとめたマハティール氏が今月末で引退する。インドネシアのバリ島に集まったASEAN首脳たちもお別れの会で氏をねぎらったようだ。世界に向けて常に挑戦的に語り続けた人の退場である。

A vocal critic of the United States and Europe, Mahathir charged that the very countries that increased their wealth and built up their power by running colonies were now preaching the benefits of market liberalization to put developing nations under their domination.

He put up resistance to what he viewed as the self-righteous attitude of the Western countries, seeing a disdain for Asia in it.

As for Japan, Mahathir kept urging it to become a trailblazer for Asia, noting that Japan had its own values, different from those of the United States and European countries.

 欧米批判の舌鋒(ぜっぽう)は鋭かった。植民地支配で富を増やし、力を蓄えた上で、いまは「自由市場」を振りかざして途上国の支配を図る。アジア蔑視(べっし)が見え隠れするそうした独善的態度に抵抗した。日本に対しては、欧米とは違う独自の価値観をもつアジアの先導者になってほしい、と言い続けた。

As a Japanese, I found his criticisms of the West to be quite agreeable. At the same time, I was embarrassed by his tolerance of Japanese colonial rule. Referring to his experiences during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia, he wrote of his respect for Japanese soldiers who never failed to pay him for purchases they made when he was peddling things at a market. (A Japanese translation of the book ``Message to Japan'' has been published by The Mainichi Shimbun under the title ``Asia Kara Nihon e no Dengon.'')

 痛快だが、面はゆさも感じた。日本の植民地支配に対しては、ひどく寛容な一面があった。日本がマレーシアを占領したとき「私は市場で物売りをしていたが、日本の軍人は必ずカネを払ってくれた」と敬意を込めて著書にも記した(『アジアから日本への伝言』毎日新聞社)。

Mahathir had a strict upbringing in a Muslim home. A severe critic of present-day Islam, he pointed to the stagnation of Islamic societies and called for self-examination, saying, ``We are no longer a great people, as was once the case with our ancestors.''

 しつけの厳しいイスラム教の家庭に育った。いまのイスラム教への批判も厳しく「私たちはもはや、かつての偉大な民ではなくなった」と、イスラム社会の停滞ぶりを指摘し、反省を促しもした。

In a recent interview with a Malaysian newspaper, Mahathir confessed that his office felt like a bog, with friends and relatives coming to him with requests for favors, including pleas for government contracts and donations.

So, he had a hard time dealing with relations swarming about him to seek favors, an age-old Asian phenomenon.

He might have found them to be a more formidable enemy than the Western countries.

 最近の地元紙とのインタビューでは、こんな告白をしていた。在任中、友人や親類に仕事の発注や寄付などいろいろ頼まれた。泥沼のようだった、と。実は、権力者に群がる縁者たちの方が欧米より難敵だったのかもしれない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 8(IHT/Asahi: October 9,2003) (10/09)
 
 
 
Don't let tigers become imaginary creatures


It must be just a coincidence, but there has been a spate of incidents involving tigers. One in Baghdad was particularly unpleasant.

10月07日付
■《天声人語》

 たまたまだと思うが、トラをめぐる「事件」が続いている。嫌な気持ちにさせられたのはバグダッドでの事件だった。

Last month, an American soldier tried to feed a caged tiger at a zoo and had his fingers bitten off. The tiger was shot by another GI. According to news reports, the troops were having a drinking party after the zoo had closed for the day.

``Tora'' (tiger) is Japanese slang for a drunk. This Baghdad incident was a case of a real tiger biting a human tora. But this was no laughing matter, of course.

 先月、動物園のトラに餌をやろうとした米兵が指をかみ切られ、一緒にいた同僚が、おりの中のトラを射殺した。米兵らは、閉園後の動物園で宴会をしていたらしい。酒に酔った上でのことで、まさにトラがトラにかまれる事態だったが、もちろん笑い事ではすまされない。

It was an example of the deterioration of morale and discipline among the U.S. troops deployed in Iraq. But more to the point, this ``accident'' was self-inflicted. I shudder at the knee-jerk violence of felling the animal on the spot.

 イラクに展開する米兵の士気の低下や規律の乱れをうかがわせる事件だった。しかも、自分たちの不注意が招いた事故であったにもかかわらず「問答無用」の射殺は、あまりに乱暴だったのではないか。

In Las Vegas on the last weekend, a magician was badly mauled by a tiger during a show. The animal had gone for the man's throat. This was a very popular show that had been running accident-free for 13 years.

On the day of the accident, the audience was told this particular tiger was making his stage debut. The truth, however, was that it had several years' experience.

In New York, a man checked himself into hospital for what he claimed was a dog bite. But he was arrested when the authorities found out he was keeping a tiger in his apartment.

 先週末、米ラスベガスでは、マジシャンがショーの最中にトラに襲われ、のどをかまれて大けがをした。13年も続いている人気のショーで、大きな事故は初めてらしい。客には「トラはきょうが初舞台」と紹介していた。実際は数年間の舞台経験のあるトラだったという。ニューヨークでも、犬にかまれたといって入院した男が自室でトラを飼っているのがわかり、逮捕された。

Tigers are protected as a rare species. The United Nations Environmental Program has repeatedly warned that wild tigers were on the verge of extinction. Their population was believed to exceed 100,000 in the 19th century, but the number has since dwindled to anywhere between 5,000 and 7,000.

Poachers keep hunting them for fur and folk medicine, as well as for sale to exotic pet dealers. It is also worrying that their natural habitat is disappearing.

 トラは貴重な動物として保護の対象になっている。国連環境計画は「野生のトラは絶滅の危機にある」と警告を発してきた。19世紀には10万頭以上いたとされるが、いまでは5千〜7千頭にまで減った。ペット用、毛皮用、漢方薬用に、と密猟が絶えない。生息しやすい環境が失われていくことも心配される。

Graceful and ferocious, tigers are the stars of many folk tales and legends.

We must not let them become imaginary creatures of old legends.

 優美さと、たけだけしさと。トラは数々の伝説の主人公にもなってきた。伝説上だけの動物にしてはなるまい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 7(IHT/Asahi: October 8,2003) (10/08)
 
 
 
Kan plans `Othello strategy' to topple the LDP


It takes only a minute to learn how to play Othello, but it takes a lifetime to master the board game. Those who say this of Othello point out that it is a profound game despite its apparent simplicity.

10月06日付
■《天声人語》

 覚えるには1分、習熟するには一生。オセロゲームについてそんなことがいわれるそうだ。単純なようで奥が深いゲーム、と。

Othello is a game of surrounding your opponent's pieces with your own by putting your pieces on each side of your opponent's and turning them over.

Beginners are liable to succumb to the temptation to turn over many of the opponent's pieces from the first. It is said that doing the opposite-turning over only a few pieces initially-is the secret to victory.

Three of the four semifinalists at the 2002 world championships held in Amsterdam were mathematicians. This reinforces the view that Othello's simple rules require logical thinking by the players.

 相手の石を挟んで「返していく」このゲームで初心者が陥りやすい誘惑は、最初からたくさん返そうとすることだ。まず少なく返すのが勝つためのこつだそうだ。昨年アムステルダムで開催された世界選手権では、準決勝に残った4人のうち3人が数学者だったという。ルールが単純なだけに、理詰めの攻防が必要とされる。

The board game was born in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, just after the end of World War II, according to the Japan Othello Association. The game was invented by Goro Hasegawa, a student at Mito Middle School, which no longer exists. (Middle schools were soon reinstituted as senior high schools as part of the postwar educational reforms.)

At first, Hasegawa used cardboard pieces to play the game with friends, replacing them with milk bottle stoppers later. Pieces like today's Othello set were first put on the market in 1973.

 日本オセロ連盟の資料によると、発祥の地は戦後すぐの水戸市だった。旧制水戸中学の生徒だった長谷川五郎さんが考案し、最初は友人らとボール紙で遊んでいた。後に牛乳瓶のふたを利用するようになった。現在のようなセットが発売されたのは73年のことだ。

In Britain, a similar game, called Reversi, was widely played from the last years of the 19th century. In 1976, Time magazine wrote that Othello, the ``new'' Japanese game, closely resembled a British game known as Reversi. Despite the seemingly ironic implication of the wording, Othello went on to gain worldwide popularity.

 英国では19世紀末から「リバーシ」という同じようなゲームが普及していた。タイム誌は76年「『新しい』日本のゲーム、オセロはリバーシと呼ばれる英国のゲームに酷似している」と書いている。皮肉も込めていたのだろうが、オセロはお構いなく世界に普及した。

Naoto Kan, leader of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), the main opposition party, is known to play the board game go. ``Now I have to study not just go but Othello as well,'' he said just after reaching agreement on a merger with the Liberal Party. The first post-merger Minshuto convention was held on Sunday.

In a go match, Kan went on to say, the player who scores 20 points will end up the loser if the other side scores 30 points. In an Othello match, the more points you score, the fewer points the other side gets. So, he planned to pursue an Othello strategy, not a go strategy, in his battle against the Liberal Democratic Party.

 「私も囲碁だけじゃなく、オセロを勉強しなきゃね」。きのう合併後初の党大会を開いた民主党の菅代表の言である。合併を決めた直後に語った。囲碁では20目取っても、相手が30目取れば負けになる。オセロではこちらが増えれば、相手が減る。自民党との戦いは囲碁でなく、オセロだ、と。

What is scary about Othello is that a single move can drastically change the tide of the game. It remains to be seen whether the merger with the Liberal Party will prove to be the decisive move that alters the political tide in favor of Kan and Minshuto.

 オセロが怖いのは、一手で流れが激変してしまうことだ。合併という一手で流れを引き寄せることができるかどうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 6(IHT/Asahi: October 7,2003) (10/07)
 
 
 
Reflections on `the lake' within us all


The following are some notable quotes heard in September:

Sociologist Munesuke Mita: ``Everyone has a lake within himself. Until the last moment of his life, he keeps changing or enhancing the lake's depth, hue, coolness and transparency. Speaking to someone, I believe, means speaking to the lake within that person.''

09月29日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「人はだれでも自分の中に湖をもっていて、その深さとか色調とか涼しさとか透明度とかを、その人の生の最後の瞬間まで、加えたり変幻したりしている。人に話をするということは、その人の中の湖に話をすることであるように思う」と社会学者の見田宗介さん。

Judoka Noriko Anno, who recently won the world championship: ``Ever since I was in high school, I could always tell my own condition. When I was in bad shape, everything shrank.''

Actress Etsuko Ichihara: ``Acting makes me lose sleep. That's because I become like a sleepwalker, searching for something almost to the point of being unable to tell who I really am.''

 「高校時代から自分の調子は自分で分かった。悪い時は全部が小さくなる」とは柔道日本代表の阿武(あんの)教子さん。女優の市原悦子さんは「お芝居をやっている時は寝られなくなる。夢遊病的というか、自分の正体がなくなるくらい何かを探し始めるから」と。

Speaking of a long-lost giant mural by artist Taro Okamoto (1911-1996) discovered in Mexico, Toshiko Okamoto, director of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, noted: ``The image of a human skeleton, cackling as it is being consumed by nuclear flames, does not represent a victim's mentality. Rather, it represents human dignity that explodes in anger. I believe this is a powerful message to a lethargic world that stupidly allows itself to be drawn again and again into war, as in Iraq.''

 岡本太郎の幻の巨大壁画がメキシコで見つかった。「核に焼かれる骸骨(がいこつ)が、燃えながら哄笑(こうしょう)する姿は、核に対する被害者意識でなく、人間の誇りとしての怒りの爆発。イラク戦争などを続ける愚かな世界の『惰性』に対してノーというメッセージになる」と岡本太郎記念館館長の岡本敏子さん。

Recalling his time with Osama bin Laden, Antoine Sfeir, publisher of a review of the Arab world, said, ``I met (him) many times when he was still a young man, and I was quite impressed by the depth of his religious belief and how he lauded Americans as a people who respected God.'' He noted that bin Laden's ``dualism''-that only good and evil exist, with nothing in between-has much in common with the beliefs of the U.S. government.

 「青年だったビンラディン氏と何度も会ったが、印象に残ったのは彼の信心深さと、『神を大切にする人々だ』と米国をたたえていたことだった」。彼と米国の「善悪二元論」は同根、と指摘するアラブ研究誌発行人アントワヌ・スフェールさん。

``People who fight for a principle are the real problem,'' observed Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo, who quoted a Spanish poet as saying, ``Those who invoke anything divine will not bring peace to the world.''

 「理念を掲げて戦う者はやっかいだ」という作家フアン・ゴイティソーロさんは「天に根ざす者は、地に平和をもたらさない」とスペインの詩人の言葉を引く。

And lastly, from mathematician Tsuyoshi Mori: ``Too many people tell others to feel OK and be strong. But why does everyone have to be high every day? It's perfectly OK not to feel OK.''

 数学者森毅さん。「元気になれ、がんばれというメッセージが多すぎる。……みんなが毎日ハイになることないやんか。元気がない人もいてええんや」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 29(IHT/Asahi: October 4,2003) (10/04)
 
 
 
`The lady' vanishes from Miyakojima island


Ogo-madara, a kind of butterfly indigenous to the Okinawa region, glides so gracefully that its admirers call it ``the lady of the south seas.'' One of the largest species of lepidoptera known in Japan, ogo-madara is also famous for the rare, golden color it has in its pupal stage.

10月02日付
■《天声人語》

 ゆったりと飛ぶそのチョウは「南海の貴婦人」と称されることもあるそうだ。沖縄地方に生息するオオゴマダラである。日本のチョウの中では、最大種の一つらしい。珍しい黄金色のさなぎでも知られる。

More than 1,000 butterflies, including ogo-madara, were reportedly obliterated by Typhoon No. 14, which ravaged the Okinawan island of Miyakojima last month. Hurricane-force winds completely destroyed the 1,600-square-meter Chocho-en (butterfly pavilion), a popular island tourist attraction and one of the largest of its kind in Japan. The pavilion housed a lush tropical jungle where butterflies danced freely.

 先月、台風14号に襲われた沖縄の宮古島で、オオゴマダラをはじめ約千匹のチョウが全滅したと聞いた。島の観光名所で、全国でも最大規模、1600平方メートルの「蝶々(ちょうちょう)園」が強風で全壊したのだ。熱帯植物が生い茂る建物の中で放し飼いにされていたチョウが犠牲になった。

The pavilion formed the core of the Miyako Paradise complex that also features a herb garden. ``I imagine the butterflies were either crushed by the collapsed roof, or blown away by the winds,'' noted a pavilion keeper.

The herb garden was reopened to the public Wednesday. Visitors can now see some butterflies there-those that were being raised in a different facility from the pavilion. But there are no plans yet for rebuilding the pavilion itself.

 蝶々園はハーブ園なども抱える「みやこパラダイス」の中心施設だった。「天井の下敷きになったり、強風で飛ばされたりしてしまったのではないでしょうか」と担当者。1日から再開したハーブ園に、別の場所で飼育していた少数のチョウを放しているが、蝶々園復旧の見通しは立っていないという。

Typhoon No. 14 left a trail of devastation from Miyakojima to South Korea and all the way up north to Hokkaido. Miyakojima recorded a maximum wind velocity of 266.76 kph, the seventh fiercest in history. At an Air Self-Defense Force base adjoining the butterfly pavilion, the anemometer reportedly read an extraordinary 311.04 kph. Officially, however, the nation's record is the 307.08 kph registered in 1966, also on Miyakojima.

 宮古島から韓国を抜けて北海道までも襲った台風14号は、各地につめあとを残した。宮古島では史上7番目という最大瞬間風速74・1メートルを記録した。蝶々園に近接する航空自衛隊の分屯基地では実に86・4メートルを観測したそうだ。ちなみに歴代1位の公式記録は、やはり宮古島で66年に観測された85・3メートルである。

I wonder how those butterflies behaved while the typhoon raged. Did they flutter in a frenzy, sensing impending doom? Or did they remain stock-still under the tropical foliage? In my mind, those fragile creatures form a sharp contrast to the ferocity of nature unleashed by a storm.

 嵐の中、チョウたちはどうしていたのだろうか。異様な気配を察して狂おしく舞っていたのか、あるいは熱帯植物の陰で息をひそめていたのか。嵐とチョウという対比に、自然のたけだけしさが鮮明だ。

Unlike in spring, there is something poignant about butterflies in autumn. A haiku by Seira goes:

``In autumn winds/ White butterflies dance frantically/ To the end.''

 春と違って、秋のチョウには、どこか悲哀がつきまとう。〈秋風に白蝶(はくてふ)果(はて)を狂ひけり〉(青蘿(せいら))

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 2(IHT/Asahi: October 3,2003) (10/03)
 
 
 
It's `high-flyer' Koizumi vs. `meticulous' Kan


Many leading professional go board game players are known by names-not exactly nicknames-that sum up their styles in a nutshell.

Among such names are ``killer,'' ``computer,'' ``nimaigoshi'' (amazingly indomitable), ``uchu-ryu'' (player of the universe school), and ``bigaku-ha'' (player of the aesthetics-first school).

Those who can conjure up the face of each of the pros bearing these names are pretty familiar with go games themselves.

10月01日付
■《天声人語》

 殺し屋。コンピューター。二枚腰。宇宙流。美学派。こうやって並べていって、顔が一人ひとり浮かぶ人は、相当囲碁に詳しい人だろう。プロ棋士の個性、いわゆる棋風を一言で表現した呼称の数々である。

Go is a game in which players vie to take more territory, while struggling to get more pieces from the opposition. It should not be too difficult to imagine how the pros labeled as ``killer'' and ``computer'' play in such a game.

Masaki Takemiya is the pro known for his ``uchu-ryu'' style. He plays ``generously,'' not particular about having his way in skirmishes, but occasionally, he makes totally unexpected moves. Hideo Otake, the ``bigaku-ha'' pro, prefers to indulge his sense of beauty of the stones' movements over winning.

 石の奪い合いをしながら、最終的にはどれだけ地(じ)を囲ったかを争う。「殺し屋」や「コンピューター」はどんな棋風か見当がつくだろう。「宇宙流」といわれる武宮正樹さんは、細部にこだわらず、おおらかでときに予想外の手が飛び出す。「美学派」といわれる大竹英雄さんは、勝敗より石の流れの美しさを重んじる。

Many politicians love playing go. In the old days, Tsuyoshi Inukai, the prime minister who was assassinated by young military officers in 1932, was famous for his love of go. In an article that appeared in Mita Hyoron this July, Kunio Kawamata wrote: ``It was said that while the political world might have a better go player, no one would be more refined than Inukai.''

 政治家にも囲碁好きは多い。古くは五・一五事件で暗殺された犬養元首相がよく知られる。彼より強い政治家はいるだろうが「彼ほど碁品がある碁を打つ人はいない」と評されたそうだ(『三田評論』7月号で川又邦雄氏)。

As for postwar politicians, former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda held the exalted rank of eighth grade as a go player. Osamu Inaba, who handled the Lockheed payoff scandal as justice minister, was a sixth-grade holder. But he always said, ``You can't take a Diet member's grade at face value.'' This was in reference to the fact that politicians were often given an ``honorary grade.''

 戦後でいえば、福田元首相が八段という高段者だった。ロッキード事件のときの法相稲葉修氏は六段だった。しかし「国会議員の段位はあてにならない」といい、福田元首相には3目置かせるから、自分は十一段になってしまう、と。政治家にはときに「名誉段位」が贈られる。

He argued that since he gave Fukuda a handicap of three points, he was in theory playing as an 11th-grader in a match against the former prime minister. (An 11th grade does not exist.)

While listening to the debate in the just-opened Diet session, I pondered what to say about the styles of the speakers as go players. Naoto Kan, who mounted a ``calculated attack'' on the government as leader of the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), may be called ``chimitsu-ha'' (player of the meticulous school). He clearly falls short of being a ``computer-like operator.''

Defending himself, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi showed some of his talent as a ``hiyaku-ryu'' (high-flying school) player by letting his imagination soar on his favorite topics.

 国会論戦を聞きながら、棋風を思い描いた。民主党の菅代表はコンピューターとまではいえないが、計算ずくの攻撃を仕掛けた。いわば緻密(ちみつ)派か。防戦の小泉首相は宇宙流とまではいえないが、得意の場面で跳びはねる飛躍流を見せてくれた。

Kan and his new partner, Ichiro Ozawa, are said to be go pals. Ozawa has long been called a ``muscleman.'' So, in the upcoming Lower House election, the focus will be on whether the alliance of Kan, the meticulous player, and Ozawa, the muscleman, will be able to shoot down Koizumi, the high-flying operator.

 菅代表は小沢一郎氏とは囲碁仲間だそうだ。緻密派と剛腕流が組んで、小泉飛躍流を打ち落とすことができるか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 1(IHT/Asahi: October 2,2003) (10/02)
 
 
 
Tea lounge another side of postal services


A tea lounge opened in a corner of a small post office. Nothing fancy-just one tsubo (two tatami mats, or 3.3 square meters) in size with a bench and tea accouterments. The lounge was the idea of the postmaster who wanted it to be a friendly community space where customers could drop in and chat over cups of tea.

09月30日付
■《天声人語》

 小さな郵便局の一角にティーサロンができた。2畳ほどの空間にベンチとお茶の道具を置いただけの簡素なサロンである。町の人がふらりと立ち寄ってくつろいだり、おしゃべりしたりできるように、との郵便局長のはからいだった。

A new community project was hatched from this lounge. Called ``Operation Yellow Postcards of Happiness,'' it was a drive to get residents of homes for the elderly to send postcards to one another. A young social worker, who happened to drop by, became instrumental in the project's successful launch.

 そのサロンで新しい計画が生まれたこともあった。施設で暮らすお年寄りたちに、はがきのやりとりをする機会を提供できないか。訪れた若いソーシャルワーカーと相談して始めた「幸せの黄色いはがき」作戦は成功した。

The postmaster, Shuichi Honma, is a former newspaper reporter. At age 50 he quit journalism to head a small community post office in Gunma Prefecture. In ``Boku no Rakudai Nikki'' (Diary of an F student) published by Shinpusha Inc., Honma recalls his decade in running a post office. He cites numerous steps that could only be taken at a small post office such as his, one that was closely integrated into the local community life.

At the same time, Honma also pulls no punches in recounting the ``waste'' and ``aberrations'' inherent in the little bureaucracy he ran.

 50歳で新聞記者をやめて、群馬県の特定郵便局長になった本間修一さんが10年間の経験をつづった『僕の落第日記』(新風舎)には、地域に密着した小さな郵便局でなければできない試みが種々語られている。他方、役所仕事の無駄や「逸脱」からも目をそらさない。

He was appalled by the sheer volume of paper that turned up on his desk and by all the rules he was supposed to follow to the most minute detail. He complains that no postmaster would have any time for legitimate work if he dutifully did everything faithfully according to those bureaucratic procedures.

Aside from the regular postal, savings and insurance services, Honma points out, there is the ``fourth service'' category known privately among postal workers as ``special savings.'' Essentially, this has to do with cooperating with Diet candidates at election times. The service includes compiling lists of supporters and even organizing membership drives on behalf of the Liberal Democratic Party.

 文書の多さと規則の細かさにあきれる。きちんとこなしていたら「本来の仕事」はできない。郵便、貯金、保険の3事業に加えての「第4事業」が厄介だ。仲間内で「特別貯金」とささやく国会議員選挙への協力である。後援会の名簿集めのほか、自民党の党員集めまでさせられる。

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi screamed and gesticulated Monday as he defended his pet policy of postal privatization. In a nutshell, he said the privatization must get rolling first at all costs, so he could decide later how to go about it.

 きのうの国会では郵政民営化をめぐり、小泉首相が声を張り上げた。まず民営化を推進する。詳しい中身はこれから検討していく。そんな方針である。

The privatization may eliminate some of the bureaucratic wastes and aberrations. But what would happen to ``extra'' community undertakings such as the tea lounge project Honma implemented?

Honma's wish is that the prime minister would be more attuned to the ``realities'' which are not discussed in his postal privatization argument.

 民営化で無駄や「逸脱」は改善されるかもしれない。サロン開設をはじめ、本間さんが試みたような「ゆとりの活動」はどうなるか。「民営化論議から置き去りにされた現場」をもっとわかってほしいというのが本間さんの願いである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 30(IHT/Asahi: October 1,2003) (10/01)
 
 
 
Said spent life arguing for the Palestinians


When I think about the Middle East where the cycle of eye-for-eye violence continues, two people, Palestinian-born American thinker Edward Said, and Israeli author Amos Oz, always come to mind. Both grew up in Jerusalem.

09月27日付
■《天声人語》

 憎悪の連鎖がやまない中東のことを考えるとき、いつも思い浮かべる2人がいる。パレスチナ出身の思想家E・サイード氏とイスラエルの作家A・オズ氏である。ともに幼い時期をエルサレムで過ごした。

Said's criticisms of Israel and the United States from his pro-Palestinian standpoint grew more relentless in recent years. He is said to have been viewed as public enemy No. 1 in the Jewish community in America.

Oz also belongs to the generation who grew up when Israel was surrounded by an Arab world committed to a declared policy of killing ``all Jews.'' While working for peace in the Middle East, he remains strongly on guard against the Arabs.

 パレスチナの立場からサイード氏が発するイスラエルと米国への批判は、近年激しさを増していた。米国のユダヤ人社会では「公敵ナンバーワン」と目されていたそうだ。オズ氏も「ユダヤ人皆殺し」を宣言するアラブ世界に囲まれて育った世代で、平和運動を続けながらもアラブへの警戒心は強い。

Said and Oz are leading proponents of two mutually hating positions. Is it possible for them to join hands? Novelist Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel laureate, was probably looking for an answer to this question when he exchanged letters with them. Translated into Japanese, the letters can be found in ``Boryoku ni sakaratte kaku'' (Writing despite the threat of violence), published by The Asahi Shimbun, together with letters Oe exchanged with other eminent intellectuals.

 憎悪しあう二つの立場を「代表」する2人が、どこかで手を結ぶことができるか。作家の大江健三郎氏が世界の知識人と往復書簡をかわした『暴力に逆らって書く』(朝日新聞社)には2人とのやりとりも収められている。

Oz writes about ``humor therapy'' he proposes to cure ``fanaticism'' that inspires action by both Israelis and Arabs, saying he has never met a fanatic with a sense of humor. He preaches the importance of compromise, an inconceivable idea for fanatics.

 「いまだかつてユーモアのセンスをもった狂信主義者に出会ったことはありません」というオズ氏は、イスラエル、アラブ双方に巣くう狂信主義の治療法「ユーモア」療法について述べる。狂信主義からは生まれない「妥協」の重要さを説く。

Said's motto was that people must stop expecting everyone to get together unconditionally and without criticism. In a different book, he said it was important to call on the soldiers in the Israeli reserves who have refused to render military service. (This quote appears in ``Senso to Puropaganda-2,'' the second volume of the ``War and Propaganda'' series, published by Misuzu Shobo.)

 「批判を忘れた無条件の団結に走るな、というのが私のモットーです」とサイード氏。別の場所でこんなことも言っている。「重要なのは……軍務を拒否したイスラエルの予備役兵たちに呼びかけること」(『戦争とプロパガンダ2』みすず書房)

The letters show that Said and Oz, while sticking to their respective stances, explored a point where they could find common ground.

Incidentally, 27 Israeli soldiers announced Wednesday that they would refuse to participate in military operations. I wonder if this announcement reached the ears of Said, who died the following day.

 互いの立場は維持しつつ接点を模索する2人である。折しも24日、イスラエル兵27人が「作戦参加拒否」の態度を表明した。25日に逝ったサイード氏の耳に届いただろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 27(IHT/Asahi: September 30,2003)

(09/30)
 
 
 
Fountain pens survive the age of computers


For many people, the fact that word processors are out of production is cause for lament. They say word processors were convenient as they were simple writing machines.

Now is the age of personal computers and cellular phones. These are the machines everybody counts on. While word processors are disappearing, some conventional writing instruments are tenaciously surviving, among them the fountain pen.

09月22日付
■《天声人語》

 ワープロが生産中止になって嘆いている人がいる。単純に書くだけの道具で便利だったという人も少なくないからだ。パソコンと携帯電話全盛の時代だが、消えていくワープロと違って、旧来の筆記用具でねばり強く生き残っているものもいる。万年筆もその一つだ。

This spring, French President Jacques Chirac presented British Prime Minister Tony Blair with bottles of expensive wine on the latter's birthday to mend soured relations between them. Blair is said to have given Chirac a British-made fountain pen by the name of ``Churchill,'' for Chirac's birthday last year.

 この春、英国のブレア首相の誕生日にフランスのシラク大統領が高級ワインを贈って両者の「関係修復」が話題になった。前年のシラク大統領の誕生日にブレア首相が贈ったのが英国製万年筆だった。その名も「チャーチル」という品だったそうだ。

World leaders still cannot do without fountain pens, which are indispensable for signing treaties and the like. British-made fountain pens were presented as an official gift to the leaders of major industrialized countries who participated in summit talks in Britain in 1998.

 各国首脳にとっては、万年筆はいまも必需品である。条約などの調印で署名するのに欠かせないからだ。98年に英国で開催された主要国首脳会議(サミット)では、英国製万年筆が公式ギフトにもなった。

Unique fountain pens were used by the leaders of the United States and the then-Soviet Union when they signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty in Moscow in 1991. The pens were made from parts of dismantled missiles. Then-President George Bush, father of the current U.S. president, signed for the United States and then-President Mikhail Gorbachev signed for the Soviet Union.

 91年、米ソ首脳がモスクワで戦略核兵器削減条約に調印したときには、ちょっと変わった万年筆が使われた。廃棄されたミサイルの廃物を使ってつくられた万年筆である。条約にちなんだ趣向だ。署名したのは、いまの大統領の父親のブッシュ米大統領、ソ連側はゴルバチョフ大統領だった。
Essayist Yoshikata Shiraiwa's book, ``Kareinaru Mannenhitsu Monogatari'' (Tales of gorgeous fountain pens), is about masterpiece fountain pens, as its title indicates. The author tells tales by way of introducing photographed masterpieces.

The book, published by Graphic-sha, also includes samples of the handwriting of famous authors and musical composers. It shows that French novelist Alexandre Dumas, known as ``Dumas fils'' to differentiate him from his father of the same name, wrote in a flowing, beautiful hand. Composer-like rhythm distinguishes the hands of Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn. The saying that ``your handwriting is what you are'' is quite true.

 エッセイストの白岩義賢さんが万年筆の名品を写真で紹介しながら、文章をつづった『華麗なる万年筆物語』(グラフィック社)には、高名な作家や音楽家らの筆跡が収められている。流れるように美しい作家小デュマ、音楽家らしいリズム感をたたえたリストやメンデルスゾーンなどで「文字は人なり」と思わせる。

Shiraiwa says in the book, ``The pen is mightier than the (piano) key.''

 白岩さんは言う。「ペンは鍵(キー)より強し」と。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 22(IHT/Asahi: September 29,2003)(IHT/Asahi: September 29,2003)

(09/29)
 
 
 
TB comeback a calamity for the elderly


In 1949, medical doctor and critic Michio Matsuda described tuberculosis as a ``national scourge'' in the postscript of ``Kekkaku o Nakusu Tameni'' (To eliminate tuberculosis), a book in the Iwanami Shinsho paperback series.

The publisher, Iwanami Shoten, resumed its Shinsho publications after the end of World War II.

09月26日付
■《天声人語》

 結核のことを「日本民族の災害」と医師で評論家の松田道雄さんが評したのは1949年のことだった。戦後、刊行を再開した岩波新書の一冊『結核をなくすために』の「あとがき」にある。

For a long time, TB was the leading cause of death in Japan. The postwar introduction of streptomycin and other anti-TB drugs helped, but it was years before the disease was brought under control.

In the late 1990s, however, it became apparent the disease had not been eradicated, as everyone thought. There were signs of a resurgence, and the government declared a ``state of emergency'' in 1999.

 長く日本人の死亡原因の1位を占めてきた結核が、ストレプトマイシンなどの抗結核剤で、制圧され始めるのは、それからしばらく後のことである。すでに過去の病気と思われていた結核が息を吹き返す兆しを見せたのが90年代末のことだ。政府は99年、「結核緊急事態宣言」を出した。

The Ibaraki prefectural government disclosed Wednesday a TB outbreak occurred recently at a local hospital. Three patients are reported dead, all octogenarians. Historically, TB was considered an affliction for young people. Today, it is the elderly who are contracting it in growing numbers, because their resistance to diseases is down.

 茨城県は24日、病院で結核の集団感染が発生したと発表した。3人が死亡したらしい。いずれも80歳を超える高齢者である。かつては若い世代の病のようにいわれてきた。いまは抵抗力の衰えたお年寄りが発病することが多い。

TB continues to rage in the developing world. In that sense, Japan is pegged as a ``semi-developed'' nation. Whereas the disease rate is around five for every 100,000 people in Sweden and Australia, the rate in Japan is nearly 30 people per 100,000, which is extremely high for an industrialized nation.

 途上国ではなお猛威をふるう病だが、日本も「結核中進国」とされる。10万人あたりの罹患(りかん)率は、スウェーデンやオーストラリアなどが5人前後に対して、日本はいわゆる先進国の中では極めて高く30人近くにのぼる。

In the mid-Heian Period (794-1185), author Sei Shonagon referred to a ``chest disease,'' along with a disease induced by some evil spirit and a leg disease, in her essay collection ``Makura no Soshi'' (The Pillow Book). TB has been a frequent topic for the literati, whose numbers have been thinned over time as writers battled the disease to their deaths while penning hauntingly beautiful works. Poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) and novelist Tatsuo Hori (1904-1953) are just two examples.

 「やまひは 胸。物の怪(け)。脚の気(け)」と『枕草子』にもあるように、胸の病、結核はしばしば文学にも登場してきた。壮絶な闘病生活を送った正岡子規をはじめ哀切で美しい作品を残した堀辰雄など枚挙にいとまがない。

Poet Michizo Tachihara (1914-1939), who died of TB at 24, wrote: ``Autumn/ Beyond the blue sky/ Sorrow has departed/ Not to return.'' The disease was often seen to represent what the Japanese call yosetsu no bigaku-the ``aesthetics of premature death.''

Today, it appears to have become a calamity that strikes the elderly. The nation observes the TB Prevention Week until Sept. 30.

 「秋 青い空の向うに/かなしみは行き かへらず」。こんな一節を残した詩人立原道造も結核のため24歳の若さで亡くなった。「夭折(ようせつ)の美学」をいわれたこともあった。いまは「お年寄りを襲う災害」のようでもある。30日まで、結核予防週間だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 26(IHT/Asahi: September 27,2003)

(09/27)
 
 
 
Questioning `perfection' in world politics


Article 99 of the United Nations Charter stipulates, ``The secretary-general may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.''

09月25日付
■《天声人語》

 国連憲章の99条には、こうある。「事務総長は、国際の平和及び安全の維持を脅威すると認める事項について、安全保障理事会の注意を促すことができる」

Although Kofi Annan spoke before the General Assembly rather than the Security Council, his address Tuesday came across more as a stern warning than an attempt ``to bring (such matters) to the (assembly's) attention.''

The U.N. secretary-general denounced unilateralism without Security Council support as a ``fundamental challenge'' to the principles of the U.N. Charter.

 場所は安保理ではなかったが、総会でのアナンさんの演説は「注意を促す」というよりも警告のようだった。安保理の同意なしの単独行動主義を、国連憲章への挑戦と言い切った。

In a manner of speaking, the world's heavyweight ``sheriff'' was awaiting his turn on the floor to justify his crusade against ``outlaws.'' But it was as if Annan beat him to it by pointing out that the sheriff himself might have broken the law.

The Guardian newspaper observed Annan was ``calm, balanced, rational, sharp-and utterly convincing.''

 無法者退治を訴えようとして登壇を待つ大物保安官に対して、そちらにも無法の疑いがあると批判したようなものだ。「穏やかで合理的で鋭かった」と、ガーディアン紙は評した。

As a career U.N. official, Annan must have suffered unbearable anguish over the disastrous terrorist attack in August against the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. Yet, he spoke as he did Tuesday, presumably because the president of the United States-the nation that played a central role in the creation of the United Nations-was scheduled to address the General Assembly later.

 国連の生え抜きの事務総長として、8月のバグダッド現地本部の爆破テロの惨害は、さぞ耐え難い痛手だっただろう。しかし総会の場であそこまで言わせたのは、後に控えていたのが、国連の創設の中心となった米国の大統領だったからではないかとも思った。

Toward the end of World War II, then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in April 1945, only two weeks before the new world body's founding members were due to meet in San Francisco. Roosevelt was a key player.

According to ``Kokusairengo Seiritsu-shi'' (A History of the Founding of the United Nations) published by Yushindo Kobun-Sha Publishing Co., Roosevelt sent a message to the House in early 1945, noting to the effect that any abuse of power, often passing for an exercise in ``power politics,'' must not become a factor to rule international relations in the future world.

 大戦末期の45年4月、時の大統領フランクリン・ルーズベルトが死去した。サンフランシスコで国際連合の創設会議が開かれるわずか2週間前だった。国連誕生に力を尽くした大統領は、この年の初め、下院にメッセージを送った。「将来の世界ではパワー・ポリティクスという言葉に含まれたような権力の誤用が、国際関係における支配的要素となってはならない」(『国際連合成立史』有信堂高文社)

Annan admitted the imperfections inherent in the United Nations itself. Nothing made by humans is ever perfect. Nobody expects the United States and Britain to be perfect. All we ask is that they have the courage to doubt their own ``perfection.''

 アナンさんは、国連自身の「不完全性」をも認めた。人間のつくるものに完全は無い。米英に対しても、だれも完全など求めてはいない。せめて、自らの「完全性」を疑う勇気を、なくさないように願いたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 25(IHT/Asahi: September 26,2003)

(09/26)
 
 
 

Voters must look behind politicians' masks


The mask worn by a Noh actor is called omote. In Japanese, this name sounds like ``the front side.'' For those watching a Noh performance, seeing the mask in this way, the name is a temptation to imagine the face behind the mask.

The Liberal Democratic Party's new executives and the new Cabinet ministers, picked recently by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, met the news media following their appointments. As I watched them on TV, I wondered if they were really the LDP's ``faces'' or its masks.

09月24日付
■《天声人語》

 能のお面を、おもてと呼ぶ。それは、表のようにも響く。裏の顔を覆いつつ、見る側には、裏の顔をも想像させる。自民党の新しい役員と新閣僚の映像を見ていて、これが党の顔なのか、お面なのかと、戸惑うところがあった。

In his book ``Le Droit de Rever'' (The right to dream), Gaston Bachelard, a philosopher on science, says, ``When we try to know what a person's face really looks like by identifying the self concealed below, we find ourselves tacitly viewing that face as a mask.'' (A Japanese translation was published by Chikuma Shobo.)

 科学哲学者のG・バシュラールが書いている。「ある顔の下におのれを隠しているものをそれと見分け、ある顔を読み取ろうとするや否や、われわれは暗黙のうちにその顔をひとつの仮面と見なしているのである」(『夢みる権利』筑摩書房)

I did not cite the Noh mask and Bachelard to argue that Koizumi's new teams constitute a kamen taisei (masked system). That would be unfair.

But as Koizumi selected members of the new teams, there was a phase in which something like a mask was involved. The focus was on whether Taku Yamasaki would be retained as LDP secretary-general. Eventually, Koizumi named him party vice president and appointed Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe to succeed him as secretary-general.

In elevating Yamasaki, the prime minister appeared to put the ``convenient and vague'' mask of the vice presidency on him-convenient because the post is prestigious enough, but vague because the authority of the vice president is not clearly defined. To play on relevant Japanese words, was it not fukumen jinji (auxiliary mask appointment), with fukumen not to be interpreted as ``masked face,'' as would more commonly be the case?

 ここで「小泉仮面体制」などと言うつもりは無い。しかし「面」が絡むようなことはあった。人事の焦点だった幹事長を副総裁にして、後に官房副長官を据えた。幹事長に、「副」総裁という便利であいまいなお面をかぶせたように見えた。覆面ならぬ「副面」人事ではなかったか。

Beginning with Koizumi and the new LDP secretary-general, many of the current Diet members are second- or third-generation lawmakers. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. Politicians are rated for their merits and demerits. With such legislators aboard, the new Koizumi Cabinet seems like an omokage Cabinet, with omokage referring to the faces of their fathers and grandfathers showing up in their job performances.

 さらに、首相も新幹事長もそうだが、国会議員の2世、3世が多い。もちろん評価は本人の仕事次第だとしても、祖父や父の顔がちらつく「面影」内閣の様相だ。

In the TV broadcasting world, a situation that requires people to finish a job without fail by a certain deadline, due to a scheduled air time, used to be referred to as ketsukatchin, or so I have heard. This reminded me that the new Cabinet may be viewed as a team that will last only until the Lower House election expected in November, depending, of course, on the LDP's showing.

There is good reason to call this Cabinet a ketsukatchin Cabinet: It was brought into being to meet a set schedule, namely the Lower House election, and to assure the LDP's victory in that contest.

If Koizumi is determined to press on with reforms, as he has repeatedly stated, why did he need to reshuffle his Cabinet? For what purpose did he change his team?

 以前、テレビ業界で、後ろが決められているため、ある時間までに必ず終わらせなければならない状態を「ケツカッチン」と呼ぶと聞いた。これは国民の選択次第だが、11月に見込まれる総選挙までの体制ともなりうる。選挙での勝利という、すぐ後に控えた党の目標のために生まれた「ケツカッチン」内閣か。これまでの改革路線を変えないのなら、そもそもの改造の必要性と、その目的が問われる。

To all appearances, his commitment to reforms is a ``mask.'' Look behind it and you will get a glimpse of manju (sweet bean paste buns)-remember the rumors of ``poisoned manju'' deals used to pull off Koizumi's victory in the LDP presidential election?-and tools of other such trickery.

 改革というお面の陰から、まんじゅうや手品の種が見え隠れしている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 24(IHT/Asahi: September 25,2003)

(09/25)
 
 
 
Will Koizumi become the Gorbachev of Japan?


Going through overseas newspapers Monday to see how they covered the outcome of the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election, I was somewhat surprised by their general tone of cool indifference. Gone completely was the ebullience seen when the foreign media hailed the birth of the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi two and a half years ago.

In fact, the absence of enthusiasm over Koizumi's latest election victory became more pronounced when I recalled the field day the overseas news organizations had last week over the clinching of the league pennant by the Hanshin Tigers.

09月23日付
■《天声人語》

 総裁選を報じる海外の新聞を見ていて、その熱のなさには少々驚いた。2年半前の小泉政権誕生のときには、あれほど書きたてたのに、と。今回は、海外でも阪神タイガース優勝報道の方がにぎやかなほどだ。

An Australian newspaper still depicted Koizumi as a ``lone wolf,'' obviously not having bothered to keep a tab on him and learn he has since formed a pack around himself. A Singaporean newspaper described new LDP Secretary-General Shinzo Abe as ``always nattily-dressed and every hair in place,'' and summed him up as a hawk just like Koizumi.

 オーストラリアの新聞が小泉首相のことを相変わらず「一匹オオカミ」と形容していた。いまや彼のまわりに群れができていることには関心がないらしい。シンガポールの新聞は新任の安倍幹事長を「きちんとした身なりに一糸も乱れない髪」と形容し、首相と同様「タカ派」の政治家と評していた。

Several newspapers predicted the Koizumi administration will be around until 2006, if the LDP wins the upcoming Lower House election. This will make it one of the longest-lived administrations. The question, though, is whether it is the sort of administration we can trust to steer the nation through its many difficult problems.

 いくつかの新聞が、こんどの総選挙に勝てば小泉政権が06年まで続くだろうと指摘する。歴代の政権でも最長に近い。重要な問題をさまざまかかえるこの時期を託するに足る政権かどうか。

It is often said that people change when they are given a position of responsibility. It means that they will grow or mature into what the position requires of them. But in reshuffling his Cabinet, Koizumi has gone the opposite route, as if he believes people should change the posts and the overall organization to fit their mold.

Specifically, his appointment of Abe-hardly a seasoned heavyweight-to the key post of party secretary-general is bound to change the very nature of that post and the party itself.

Koizumi's stated resolve to reform the Foreign Ministry, which he stressed two and a half years ago by giving the foreign affairs portfolio to Makiko Tanaka, is all but history now. And Heizo Takenaka remains state minister in charge of financial, economic and fiscal policy to face his ultimate test.

 「ポストが人を変える」とはよくいわれる。任にふさわしい人物に育っていくものだ、という。小泉政治は逆に「人がポストや組織を変える」方式ではないか。「実力者」とはいえない安倍氏の起用で、幹事長というポストも自民党の仕組みも変質するだろう。かつて田中外相を起用しての「外務省改革」は頓挫した。竹中大臣は留任、正念場を迎える。

But the real focus of our interest is Koizumi himself. Will he be able to change the LDP and Japan? U.S. Time magazine editorialized that ``Koizumi may be remembered as the Mikhail Gorbachev of this era in Japan,'' meaning he will go down in history as someone who broke old tradition, but his presence will be only transitory.

 もちろん最大の焦点は小泉氏自身である。彼によって自民党、そして日本が変えられるか。米タイム誌が「将来、小泉首相は日本のゴルバチョフとして回顧されるだろう」との説を掲載していた。古いものを壊した極めて重要な、しかし過渡期の人物として、と。

In his second term as LDP president, I wonder if he will be capable of living up to the Confucian precept of ``act with swiftness, speak with restraint.''

 2期目に入って「事に敏にして言に慎む」(論語)ことができるかどうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 23(IHT/Asahi: September 24,2003)

(09/24)
 
 
 
Foes may have outmaneuvered Koizumi


``I will destroy the Liberal Democratic Party (if necessary).'' That set the tone of Junichiro Koizumi's bid for Liberal Democratic Party chief in 2001. This time, turning himself around, he took to issuing a clarion call for party unity. The Koizumi re-election drama played out quite differently from his first ascent to the top.

The prime minister's style of speech, long marked by speaking at the top of his voice, also changed. In his acceptance address to LDP members and at a following news conference, he spoke rather quietly, choosing his words carefully.

09月21日付
■《天声人語》

 「自民党をぶっ壊す」はずの人が、「全党一丸になって……」との号令を発し始めた。誕生のときとはずいぶん違う小泉総裁再選劇である。当選あいさつや記者会見でも、得意の絶叫調でなく、慎重に言葉を選びながら語っていた。

Looking back, it may be said that Koizumi did pretty well in playing politics within his party through recourse to classic tools-``divide and rule'' and ``the carrot and the stick.''

He successfully applied the ``divide-and-rule'' strategy to drive the largest intraparty faction into a corner. For now, there is no way to know how he applied the ``carrot-and-stick'' strategy. But this much can be said: Many LDP members thronged to join his camp, arbitrarily seeing a ``carrot'' or a ``stick'' being dangled before them.

Koizumi could innocently get away with describing these members as ``people voluntarily giving me support.''

 振り返ってみれば、総裁は古典的な手法を使ってなかなか巧みな党内操作をしたのかもしれない。「分断して統治する」。橋本派を追い込んだ手法である。そして「アメとムチ」。これは表には出ていない。しかしまわりは勝手に判断して群がってくる。本人は「自発的な支持をいただいた」と言っていればいい。

Split by Koizumi's strategy, the largest intra-LDP faction, nominally headed by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, was unable to put up its own candidate and let its members vote freely in the presidential election.

The intramural division led some members to whisper a doku manju (poisoned bean-jam bun) theory: that post-election appointment to Cabinet or other posts had been promised to the fellow members who had thrown their support behind Koizumi. This behind-the-scenes theory was the only thing that gave a little jolt to the boring re-election drama and stirred talk in the public.

 分裂選挙になった橋本派内では、「毒まんじゅう」説まで飛び出した。ひそかに総裁選後のポストを約束された人が小泉支持にまわったというのだ。退屈だった再選劇を少しばかり揺さぶって巷間(こうかん)にぎわせたのが、この楽屋話だった。

There is a well-known rakugo comic story titled ``Manju Kowai'' (I fear bean-jam buns), which tempts me to replace its main characters with two lawmakers. On the assumption that one is like the comic story's protagonist and denies the conspiracy theory, a conversation between them would go as follows:

``I have a confession to make. I fear being appointed to a post.''

``You must be kidding.''

``No, I'm not kidding. I have the unstoppable shakes when I hear someone talking of a post for me.''

``Are you thinking of a key post, like secretary-generalship?''

``Well, that's the one I fear most.''

 密約説を否定するさまには、落語の「まんじゅうこわい」を重ねてみたくなる。「実は、ポストがこわい」「うそだろう」「いや、ポストと聞くだけでふるえがとまらないんだ」「ていうと、たとえば幹事長とか」「そう、そいつが一番こわい」

It may be possible to say that Koizumi was the one who was tricked into eating the poisoned bun. By this, I mean his new commitment to kyoto taisei (all-party cooperation system) and zento ichigan (all-party unity). These terms are tricky.

When you eat the poisoned bean-jam bun, the body first feels heavy. You feel the same way about the mouth. When you try to move about, you feel as if you were tied here and there.

 毒まんじゅうを食わされたのは実は小泉首相だった、との見方もできるかもしれない。「挙党態勢」「全党一丸」などという毒まんじゅうである。これを食べると、まず体が重くなる。口も重くなる。動こうとすると、体のあちこちを縛られているような拘束感に襲われる。

Should Koizumi have felt such symptoms in contemplating new LDP executives and Cabinet ministers, he would have to watch out.

 党役員人事、そして内閣改造にかけてそんな症状が現れるとすると、要注意である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 21(IHT/Asahi: September 23,2003)

(09/23)
 
 
 
At 77, Nonaka fights on to stop Koizumi


It is hard to say whether for the man who was born in 1925, things have been good in his life. In that year, two major pieces of legislation were enacted-the universal suffrage law and the notorious security maintenance law to crack down on socialists and communists.

09月15日付
■《天声人語》

 普通選挙法と治安維持法が成立した1925年に生まれた彼のこれまでの人生を、順調だったといえるかどうかはわからない。

Born the oldest son of a farmer, he attended middle school and worked for a railway company. Drafted into military service, he was a 19-year-old soldier stationed in Kochi Prefecture when Japan surrendered in World War II. Stunned, he thought of committing suicide, but an officer persuaded him not to.

Only later, he realized that Japan had recklessly plunged into war because its people had been educated to such an end before they knew what was happening. He said he was frightened by the character of Japanese, who allowed themselves to be manipulated like that.

 農家の長男に生まれ、いまでいうと高校を出て鉄道マンになった。軍隊にとられ、高知県で敗戦を迎えた。19歳の青年は茫然(ぼうぜん)自失し、自決も考えた。上官にさとされ思いとどまった。知らないうちに教育され、戦争に突入してしまった民族性に恐怖を感じる、とは後の思いだ。

Based on his prewar and wartime experiences, Hiromu Nonaka, former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, described himself as a man who constitutionally detested any attempt at uniformity. He said, ``An organization made up of like-minded members is bound to make crucial mistakes.''

Nonaka was slow to rise as a politician. He made his start as the leader of a young men's association. That led him to gain a seat in a town assembly. Then, a town mayoralty came his way, followed by a seat in the Kyoto prefectural assembly and the deputy governorship of Kyoto Prefecture. He was 57 when he was first elected to the Lower House of the Diet.

 戦前の体験から、一色に束ねるということに生理的に反発するともいう。「一色に束ねられた組織は、必ず間違いを起こす」と。青年団運動から町議、町長を経て京都府議、副知事そして衆院議員に初当選したのは、57歳のときだった。

These postwar footsteps, recounted by Nonaka himself in an autobiography, may not necessarily constitute the career path of the average man of his generation. In his autobiography, published by Bungeishunju under the title ``Watashi wa Tatakau'' (I have carved out my career by fighting), Nonaka said he would quit politics when his term as a Lower House member ends.

 戦後の足跡は、必ずしもあの世代の平均像とはいえないかもしれない。「引退宣言」をした元自民党幹事長の野中広務氏である。著書の『私は闘う』(文芸春秋)などによる半生だ。

In announcing his decision to retire, the 77-year-old LDP heavyweight bitterly said he had been betrayed by everyone. With his voice shaking as he said this, he was a picture of mortification. For me, it was a reaffirmation of how ruthless the political world is.

Nonaka looked comical and even pathetic (forgive me for saying this), but I also thought I was going to miss the man, who has continually denied ambitions of becoming LDP chief and wrote in his autobiography, ``Your desires are what keep you from saying what you want to say and what you think is right.''

Discussing his political enemies in the book, he also says: ``Don't be afraid of being the loser. Have the courage to be the loser. Then, you will be able to kill your enemy in exchange for your own life.''

 77歳にして「裏切られた」と声を震わせ、無念の表情をさらした政治家に、あの世界の生臭さを改めて実感させられた。失礼ながら滑稽(こっけい)にも哀れにも見えたが、一抹の寂しさも感じる。日ごろ自分に野心はないといい、著書でも「欲があるから、好きなこと、正しいことが言えなくなる」と言い聞かせる人の退場である。政敵に対して「覚悟を決めてしまえば、少なくとも刺し違えるぐらいの勝負はできるだろう」とも記す。今回はその「刺し違え」のつもりだったのか。

Is he putting this lesson into practice-giving up his political life to block Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's re-election as LDP president? At 77, he is still a fighter, far removed from what Confucius was like when he was 70. According to the Analects of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher said, ``By age 70, I had learned not to go beyond the natural way of life, even as I behaved as I pleased.''

 「七十にして心の欲するところに従えども、矩(のり)を踰(こ)えず」からは遠い、77歳の「闘い」である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 15(IHT/Asahi: September 22,2003)

(09/22)
 
 
 
Koizumi's intoxicating words lose their buzz


``Haiboku no bigaku'' (aesthetics in defeat) is a Japanese expression favored by people who believe in sublimating defeat into an aesthetic experience.

However, even they would readily admit that nothing beats ``shori no bishu'' (tasty sake of victory) or the intoxication of victory.

This past week must have been intoxicating indeed for all long-suffering fans of the Hanshin Tigers. The perennial cellar-dweller team clinched its first Central League pennant in 18 years.

In the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, where many members have decided to share the intoxicating cup of victory in the party presidential election, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has already declared himself the winner. But the campaign is not even over yet, and I must say Koizumi is being a spoilsport.

09月19日付
■《天声人語》

 「敗北の美学」というのもあるが、やはり「勝利の美酒」の味わいは格別である。阪神タイガースファンは今週、18年ぶりの美酒に酔いしれたことだろう。美酒にあずかろうとの流れが強まる総裁選では、小泉首相が早々と勝利宣言を出してしまった。こちらは興ざめの感をぬぐえない。

Speaking of the influence of alcohol, an experiment was conducted years ago at a university in the United States. The test subjects consisted of alcoholics as well as social drinkers, and they were split into two mixed groups, A and B.

The subjects were told that Group A was being served an alcoholic beverage, while Group B was being given alcohol-free carbonated water. In reality, however, some of the glasses given to Group A contained nothing but carbonated water, while glasses of booze were included among the supposedly alcohol-free offerings for Group B.

 かつて米国の大学でこんな実験が行われたことがある。アルコール依存症の人たちと普通に酒をたしなむ人たちを、取り交ぜて二つのグループに分けた。仮にAとBとする。Aには酒を与える、Bには炭酸水を与える、と伝える。実際は、Aにも炭酸水だけのグラス、Bにも酒の入ったグラスを紛れ込ませる。

As everyone had been asked to abstain from drinking prior to the test, some of the alcoholics came to the test site complaining of the shakes and other withdrawal symptoms. But where those in Group A were concerned, their shakes stopped the moment they started drinking. But this was not the case with Group B.

According to the researchers, this difference had nothing to do with whether those particular individuals had actually imbibed alcohol. The researchers also revealed that Group A members had drained more glasses than their Group B counterparts.

 実験前の飲酒が禁じられていたため、禁断症状の震えを訴える人たちがいた。飲み始めるとAでは震えがおさまった。Bではおさまらなかった。その人が酒を飲んだかどうかとは無関係だったという。また、Aの人たちの方がたくさん飲み、Bの方が少なかった。

The conclusion drawn from this experiment was that the influence of alcohol is largely a matter of what you think you have drunk, rather than what you have actually drunk. In other words, it's mostly in your head. Ergo, you can get high even from water, depending on the situation.

Given the giddy elation of those Hanshin Tigers fans over the past week, I should imagine they could well have got quite mellow without booze.

 何を飲んでいるかより、何を飲んでいると思っているか。その心理面の影響の方が大きいとの結論だった。状況次第では水でも酔うことができる。確かに高揚するタイガースファンだったら、この間、水でも心地よく酔うことができたかもしれない。

From the start of his administration, Koizumi had a way of intoxicating people with his words and action. In retrospect, however, I strongly suspect the people were getting drunk on just plain water.

 政権発足当初からの小泉首相の言動にも、人々を酔わせるところがあった。しかし、実はただの水に酔わされていたのではないかとの思いも強い。

Those who have since awakened from their ``stupor'' are now watching closely how Koizumi is going to distribute the post-election ``cups of victory.''

Specifically, the question is this: After those cups have been passed around his cronies, how many will there be left for us ordinary citizens?

 「酔い」からさめた多くの人々は総裁選後の「美酒分配」を注視している。仲間内だけでなく、国民にどれだけまわってくるのか、と。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 19(IHT/Asahi: September 20,2003)

(09/20)
 
 
 
Failed WTO talks reflect shift in global order


From the days of ancient city states, duties and various charges were slapped on goods being transported or traded via land or sea. There was a word that denoted such fees, and the English ``customs'' is derived from it, according to ``Sekai Dai-hyakka Jiten'' (World encyclopedia) published by Heibonsha Ltd.

09月18日付
■《天声人語》

 古代の都市国家の時代から、物の通過や貿易には手数料や道路・港の使用料が課せられていた。それはクストムスと呼ばれ、関税(customs)の語源となった(平凡社・世界大百科事典)。

The latest negotiations on tariffs and other trade issues have collapsed. On farm trade, the United States and the European Union clashed head-on with Brazil and other developing nations that formed a unified front. A frustrated EU delegate noted to the effect, ``The developing world and the developed world are on different orbits. Nothing will be accomplished while the developing nations continue their space travel. If they want to negotiate, they should return to Earth.''

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, highlighted North-South confrontation.

 関税など貿易の約束ごとを話し合う交渉が決裂した。米国・欧州連合(EU)と、ブラジルなど団結した途上国が農業分野で激しく対立した。「途上国と先進国は別の軌道上にいる。(途上国が)宇宙旅行を続けても成果は出ない。取引するには地球に戻るべきだ」。こんなEU側の発言もあった。メキシコでの世界貿易機関(WTO)閣僚会議では、南北間の対立が際立っていた。

From time to time, hostilities over trade have resulted in wars. France and Holland went to war in the 17th century after France more than doubled its import duties on Dutch woollen textiles in a single sweep, according to ``Furansu-shi'' (French history) published by Yamakawa-Shuppansha. And the post-World War I trade protectionism and emergence of economic blocs eventually led to World War II.

 貿易を巡る対立は、戦争の原因にもなってきた。17世紀、フランスがオランダなどからの毛織物の関税を一挙に2倍以上に引き上げたことが、仏蘭戦争の背景となった(『フランス史』山川出版社)。第一次大戦後の保護貿易やブロック経済は第二次大戦の誘因になった。

Having learned a bitter lesson from such mistakes, the world began to try to set trade rules.

It seems like ages ago, but there was a time when Japan was adamant about ``not allowing even a grain of foreign rice'' into its market. At Cancun, Japan came under attack again for its domestic rice protection policy. Do Japanese politicians still see one vote in every grain of rice?

 この大きな反省から、戦後は世界でのルール作りが続いた。日本が「一粒たりとも入れさせない」とコメの輸入を拒んだのも、今は昔のようだが、今回も「コメ保護」の姿勢が批判された。「一粒が一票に見える」状態が続いているのだろうか。

Cancun was the venue of the 1981 North-South summit. The Mexican government prevailed upon then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan to come to the summit, where the leaders of 22 developed and developing nations discussed North-South problems.

But this time, Cancun became the scene of North-South confrontation and failed trade negotiations.

 会議のあったカンクンでは、81年に南北サミットが開かれた。メキシコがレーガン米大統領を引っ張り出し、22の先進、途上国の首脳が南北問題で対話した。その地が、南北対立と決裂の場となった。

This is a rather ironic twist of fate. However, I would like to think of the failed WTO talks as ``customs'' levied on the world for its transition to a new stage of global trade order.

 因縁を感じるが、今回の決裂は、新しい地球像へ至る道に課せられた「クストムス」と考えたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 18(IHT/Asahi: September 19,2003)

(09/19)
 
 
 
A day to remember for abduction victims


On Sept. 17 last year, word arrived from Pyongyang that five Japanese nationals were living in North Korea, but that eight others had died there. I sensed that the shock and anger felt by everyone at the reported fate of those abducted to that country reverberated across the Japanese archipelago. And now I recall another Sept. 17.

09月17日付
■《天声人語》

 昨年の9月17日、あの「5人生存、8人死亡」の報が平壌から届いた。国中の人々の驚きや憤りが重なり合い、共に震えながら列島に広がってゆくのを感じた。そして今、もう一つの9月17日のことを思い起こす。

On that date in 1988, I was at the stadium where the curtain was about to rise on the Seoul Olympic Games. South Korea hosted the Olympics in part to change the dark image held about the country as a result of its history of successive military governments.

The opening ceremony was a spectacle, rich in local color. South Korea made a powerful and fascinating debut on the world stage.

 88年のその日、ソウル五輪が開幕するスタジアムに居た。長く続いた軍政による韓国の暗いイメージを転換する願いも込められた五輪だった。開会式は、民族色濃く、華やかだった。韓国は、世界の大舞台で力強くあでやかに舞った。

On the other hand, the country north of the stadium and not so distant was silent. During the previous year, a Korean Air Lines plane had been blown up by North Korean agent Kim Hyung Hui. South Korean Olympic officials had North Korean flags and national anthem tapes ready, even though they knew the North would not participate. Pathetic as it was, I sensed that there was togetherness deep down between the two divided Korean states. But many Japanese had been abducted to North Korea by that time.

 一方、スタジアムの北の、そう遠くない所にある国は沈黙していた。前年に金賢姫(キムヒョンヒ)元死刑囚らによる大韓航空機爆破事件があった。韓国は、不参加とは分かりながら、北朝鮮の国旗と国歌のテープを準備していた。民族分断の切なさと、深いところでのつながりとを感じた。しかしそのときまでに、あれほど多くの日本人が拉致されていた。

In November last year, I took a walk in the vicinity of the spot in Niigata Prefecture from which Megumi Yokota had been spirited away exactly 25 years ago. A straight road ran from the junior high school she was then attending to her home. I followed the road farther and reached the Sea of Japan. Sado Island, home to Hitomi Soga, one of the five returnees, could be seen across the sea.

 昨年11月、横田めぐみさんの拉致から25年になる日に、新潟の犯行現場の辺りを歩いた。めぐみさんの中学校から自宅のそばまでは、一本道だった。その道をさらに行くと日本海に突き当たり、かなたには曽我ひとみさんの佐渡が見えた。

During her train ride home, Soga wrote a note: ``The minds of people, the mountains, rivers and valleys-everything looks heartwarming and beautiful. The sky, land and trees are whispering to me, `Welcome home, you have done well under adverse circumstances.''' The four other returnees probably had the same thoughts.

 「人々の心、山、川、谷、皆温かく、美しく見えます。空も土地も木も私にささやく。お帰りなさい。頑張ってきたね」。曽我さんがふるさとへの列車で書き留めた言葉は、すべての被害者の思いだろう。

On that day in 1988, beyond the seemingly quiet peaks north of the stadium in Seoul, Soga and other abduction victims were praying for the day of homecoming to Japan. I will remember to keep this in mind.

 88年のあの日にも、スタジアムの北方に静まりかえって見えた峰の向こうで、曽我さんたちが日本に帰る日を念じていたということを、改めて胸に刻んだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 17(IHT/Asahi: September 18,2003)

(09/18)
 
 
 
To Ishihara: Put your remarks in mothballs


Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, recalling his days as a Diet member in ``Kokka naru Genso'' (A phantom that is called a nation), published by Bungeishunju Ltd., notes that in Japan's political world, ``words are lonely.'' But Ishihara's recent utterances are better described as ``ominous,'' rather than ``lonely.''

09月13日付
■《天声人語》

 「日本の政治の中では、『言葉』はいかにも孤独だ」。国会議員時代を振り返った著書でしみじみと述懐するのは石原慎太郎・東京都知事だ(『国家なる幻影』文芸春秋)。このごろの知事の言葉は「孤独」というよりは「物騒」といった方がいいだろう。

Reacting to news about an explosive planted at the home of Deputy Foreign Minister Hitoshi Tanaka earlier this month, Ishihara said, ``(Tanaka) had it coming.''

In explaining himself to the media Friday, Ishihara said it was ``obviously wrong'' to plant a bomb, but nevertheless insisted in effect that it was a case of the Foreign Ministry getting what it amply deserved.

 外務省の外務審議官の自宅で爆発物のようなものが見つかった事件で「当たり前の話だ」などと語った。きのうの記者会見で知事は釈明をした。爆弾を仕掛けることは「良いわけがない」。しかし、そういう事態を招来して当然の外務省である。そんな趣旨だった。

Ishihara emphasized the magnitude of public frustration and anger with the Foreign Ministry. I can understand that. But surely, there is a huge difference between being frustrated and angry with someone and planting a bomb to threaten that person.

The governor seems to be somewhat unaware of that decisive difference.

 国民の中にある外務省への不満や怒りの大きさを強調した。その部分を「当たり前」と表現するのはいいとして、爆発物のようなものを仕掛けて「脅迫」するのは断じて「当たり前」ではない。両者の間の決定的な違いに、知事は少々無頓着のように思える。

Asked his view on how the culprit might have taken his ``Tanaka had it coming'' remark, the governor replied he hadn't thought that through. That was irresponsible of him. Didn't Ishihara see that he could well have given the culprit an out-that in planting that bomb, he was merely acting out on behalf of the angry and frustrated public?

 犯人は「当たり前」発言をどう受け取ると思うか、との質問には「そこまで考えていなかった」。これは甘い。知事の論法を頼りに犯人は「国民の怒りや不満を代弁しただけだ」と居直りかねないことがわからないのだろうか。

But even though Ishihara often comes across as an arrogant and abrasive individual, he apparently suffers from one serious phobia. ``There is nothing I dread more than moths,'' he confesses in ``Waga Jinsei no Toki no Hitobito'' (People from various periods of my life), also a Bungeishunju book. ``The moment I see a moth fluttering around the room, I jump out of my chair and scream in terror ...''

 しばしば不遜(ふそん)にも見える石原知事だが、大の苦手があるようだ。「私は何が嫌いといって蛾ほど嫌いなものがない。部屋の中を飛び回る蛾を見てたちまち腰を浮かし悲鳴を上げる私を見て……」(『わが人生の時の人々』文芸春秋)。

We must not send moths to Ishihara, no matter how much we resent his words and deeds. Such an act can never be condoned, just as planting a bomb must never be condoned.

 石原知事の言動が気にくわないからといって、決して蛾(が)を送りつけたりしてはいけない。爆弾を仕掛ける行為が決して許されないのと同じ理である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 13(IHT/Asahi: September 17,2003)

(09/17)
 
 
 
Visiting places on an imaginary world tour


Mankind's first round-the-world voyage was completed on Sept. 6, 1522. To mark the day, I decided to make a similar trip on paper, a trip that follows events that have cropped up in the news.

09月07日付
■《天声人語》

 人類初の世界一周航海がなされたのは、1522年の9月6日だった。その日にちなみ、世界のニュースをたどっての一周を試みた。

First, I headed west to the Asian Continent, just as the great Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan had. Fragments of Buddhist sutras, apparently dating back to around the seventh century, have been found in the ruins of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. According to the great Chinese Buddhist priest Hsuan Chuang, the two giant stone images of Buddha at the ruins, blown up by the Taliban, were radiantly golden with their ornaments glittering, when he visited them around that time. This account can be found in a Toyo library book known as ``Daito Saiiki Ki'' (Travels in great Tang China's western marches).

 マゼランにならい、西回りでアジア大陸へ向かう。アフガニスタンのバーミヤン遺跡で、7世紀ごろのものらしい仏典の断片が見つかった。タリバーンが破壊した遺跡の巨大な石像を、そのころに訪れた玄奘(三蔵法師)は、金色に輝き、宝飾がきらきらしていると記した(『大唐西域記』東洋文庫)

Next I went further west to Iraq, where a senior officer of an anti-U.S. armed group calling itself the ``Iraq Islam Liberation Army'' claims its membership has recorded a tenfold increase since its foundation in May, while Iraqis cooperating with U.S. forces have grown by the same number.

 さらに西のイラクでは「イラク・イスラム解放軍」を名乗る反米の武装組織幹部が語る。組織は、5月の結成時から10倍になる一方で、米軍に協力するイラク人も10倍になった。

Looking north, Israeli military planes have flown in formation over Auschwitz in Poland. Officials at the memorial museum that administers the site of the Nazi concentration camp were opposed to the flight, saying Auschwitz was now a graveyard, a place where visitors quietly remember those who were killed there. The Israeli action is regrettable because it looked like a show of military power by those who were trampled on by the Nazis.

 北を見れば、ポーランドのアウシュビッツの空を、イスラエル軍機が編隊飛行した。「収容所跡は墓地であり、静かに犠牲者を思い起こす場所」と、収容所の記念館は反対していた。ナチスの軍事力で踏みにじられた側による軍事力の誇示のようで、残念だ。

Far away to the west is a tiny Caribbean island country by the name of St. Kitts and Nevis, home to Kim Collins, who won the 100-meter title at the athletics World Championships in Paris. Beginning next year, the day he took the gold medal will be celebrated as ``Kim Collins Memorial Day'' on the island, a colony that has the British queen as its sovereign and whose official language is English.

 はるか西の、カリブの小さい島の国セントクリストファーネビスには世界最速男誕生。パリで金メダルを取った日は、来年からは「キム・コリンズ記念日」となる。元首は英女王、公用語は英語という。

The Portuguese navigator Magellan was killed in a battle before his globe-circling voyage could be completed. It took his crew three years to finish the trip.

In a sense, the trip brought the world together. But it also helped spur Western powers to grab up more colonies.

In the course of the nearly 500 years that have passed since then, history has seen a cycle in which major powers have been changing places, some countries surging and others falling out of their circle.

But little has changed in one respect: The reigning powers at any given time invariably try to drag the whole world toward their goals.

This is one thought that struck me during my brief globe-circling imaginary tour.

 マゼラン自身は、一周の途上で戦死した。3年かかって世界を一つに結んだが、植民地支配拡大の一つの契機にもなった。500年近い時が流れ、世界の強国は入れ替わってきた。しかし、時の強国が世界をひきずろうとする姿は、それほど変わってはいない。短い「紙上世界一周」で、そんな思いも浮かんだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 7(IHT/Asahi: September 15,2003)

(09/15)
 
 
 
Deaths recall 20th century's twin monsters


The moment the man began his oration, the woman was ``mesmerized,'' she recalled. She felt it was an ``apocalyptic moment'' she would never forget. The orator was Adolph Hitler. The woman was Leni Riefenstahl, who died Monday, aged 101.

09月12日付
■《天声人語》

 その男が演説を始めた瞬間のことを彼女はこう回顧している。「決して忘れられない黙示録的光景だった」「私は麻痺(まひ)させられた」。演説するのはヒトラー、思い出を記すのは、101歳で8日死去したL・リーフェンシュタールである。

Typical of a person who claimed her mistake in life was that she kept telling the truth, the legendary German filmmaker admitted honestly to her attraction to Hitler's bizarre magnetism. The films she was commissioned to direct by the dictator-``Triumph of the Will,'' which documented the 1934 Nazi rally at Nuremberg, and ``Olympia,'' about the 1936 Berlin Olympics-were not without a bizarre beauty of their own.

 私の人生の過ちは真実を語り続けたこと、という彼女だけに、ヒトラーの放った異様な魅力を素直に認める。その独裁者に依頼されて彼女が撮ったナチスの党大会やベルリン五輪の映画も異様な魅力をたたえていた。

The day after Riefenstahl's death, physicist Edward Teller, known as ``Father of Hydrogen Bomb,'' died at age 95. A Hungarian Jew who emigrated to the United States to flee Nazi persecution, Teller participated in the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs at Los Alamos.

 彼女の死の翌日、「水爆の父」といわれる物理学者E・テラーが95歳で亡くなった。ハンガリー生まれのユダヤ人でナチスの迫害を避けて米国に亡命、原爆や水爆開発に携わった。

The shared resolve of the scientists involved in the so-called Manhattan Project was to develop atomic and hydrogen bombs ahead of the Nazis.

But when the first nuclear test proved a success, many must have shared Robert Oppenheimer's feeling-``I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'' This episode is included in Richard Rhodes' book ``The Making of the Atomic Bomb.'' (Its translated version ``Genshibakudan no Tanjo'' is published by Kinokuniya Co.)

 ナチスに先を越されるな。米国で原爆開発に参加した科学者たちに共通の思いだった。しかし最初の核実験に成功したときR・オッペンハイマーの心に浮かんだ言葉「いま私は死神になった。世界の破壊者だ」もまた多くの科学者の思いであったろう(R・ローズ『原子爆弾の誕生』紀伊国屋書店)。

Riefenstahl later noted that while she regretted having made Nazi propaganda films, there was no reason for her to regret having lived through the Nazi era, let alone be blamed for it.

Teller eventually admitted it was a mistake to have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but he insisted Joseph Stalin would have overrun Europe had it not been for high technology including nuclear weapons. Teller never lost his faith in nuclear power.

 「ナチスの映画をつくったことは悔やむとしても、あの時代に生きたことを悔やむことはできない。教えて、私に何の罪があるの」と訴えたリーフェンシュタール。広島、長崎への原爆投下は誤りだったとしながら核兵器を含むハイテクがなければ「スターリンが欧州を支配していただろう」と、核への信仰を捨てなかったテラー。

The Nazis and nuclear weapons were the twin monsters that the 20th century gave birth to. The deaths of two involved people-one an artist, another a scientist-reminded me anew that the 20th century was indeed a tragic century.

 20世紀が生んだ二つの怪物、ナチスと核兵器。それにかかわった芸術家と科学者の死に、改めて悲劇の世紀だったと振り返る。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 12(IHT/Asahi: September 13,2003)

(09/13)
 
 
 
Labels reveal what Koizumi really wants


Consider a sign that says, ``Do not throw stones at this notice board.'' If you happened upon it, what would be your reaction? Would you chuckle? Or puzzle over the message, wondering whether it is a joke or some abstruse message designed to make you contemplate why notice boards exist at all?

British novelist and playwright Sue Townsend came across such a notice board and recounts her experience in ``The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman,'' a Penguin book.

09月06日付
■《天声人語》

 看板にこう書かれていた。「この看板に石を投げないでください」。何のための看板なのかと笑ってしまうか、じっと考え込むか。冗談のようでもあるし、看板とは何かを根源的に問いかけているようにも見える。ある英国作家の経験である。

I have a British book titled ``The World's Stupidest Signs.'' Published by Michael O' Mara Books Ltd., it gives examples of exactly what the title says. Here are a few gems:

A sign at a New York restaurant proclaims, ``Open seven days a week (except Mondays).''

A launderer boasts: ``We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.''

``We can repair anything,'' says a sign on a repair shop door. But written in small print at the bottom is the message, ``Please knock hard on the door-the bell doesn't work.''

 変な看板やポスター、注意書きなどを集めた英国の本が手元にある。「週7日間営業(ただし月曜日を除く)」(ニューヨークのレストラン)。「当店はあなたの衣服を機械では破りません。注意深く手仕事でします」(クリーニング店)。「何でも修理できます」の下に小さく「ベルが故障しているのでドアを強くノックしてください」(修理業)。

A poolside sign at a resort in the Philippines reads: ``Swimming pool suggestions/ Open 24 hours/ Lifeguard on Duty/ 8 a.m. to 8 p.m./Drowning absolutely prohibited.''

A pudding label warns, ``Product will be hot after heating.''

A chain saw label instructs users, ``Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.''

 プールに「おぼれることを固く禁じる」。あるいはプディングの容器に「あたためると熱くなります」。チェーンソーの注意書きには「チェーンを手で止めないでください」。

```Smarts' is the most exclusive disco in town. Everyone welcome,'' says a sign at a disco entrance. In spirit, this message would be good on a notice board proclaiming the imminent Liberal Democratic Party presidential election.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pretends to seek support only from members who back his reform program, but in reality everyone is welcome-even those who resist his reform program-so long as they support his campaign.

 自民党の看板を決める総裁選にあてはまりそうな文句もある。たとえば、入り口に「選ばれた人のためのディスコ/だれでも歓迎」。小泉改革を「踏み絵」に支持者をしぼる構えを見せながら、実際は抵抗勢力からの支持も喜んで受け入れる「だれでも歓迎」である。

A packet of sleeping tablets bears the message: ``Warning: May cause drowsiness.'' Applied to Koizumi's election campaign, it could be rephrased as: ``Warning: May lead to reform.''

A label on a child's Superman costume disclaims, ``Wearing this garment does not enable you to fly.'' A variation of this, again in Koizumi's case, could read, ``Supporting me (in the party presidential election) does not guarantee your victory in the (upcoming) election.''

 睡眠薬の注意書きには「警告/眠気を催すかもしれません」。これは「警告/改革するかもしれません」と言い換えられようか。子ども向けのスーパーマンの衣装に「警告/この衣装で飛ぶことはできません」。これは「警告/支持を装っても総選挙の当選は保証できません」と。

I suppose what Koizumi really wants to say is, ``Do not throw stones at this notice board.''

 小泉首相の心境を推察すれば、「この看板に石を投げないでください」か。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 6(IHT/Asahi: September 12,2003)

(09/12)
 
 
 
Contributions for Iraq seem like tributes


Often, when we actually see a person we usually see only on television, that person strikes us as unexpectedly small. The White House struck me the same way when I saw it in the U.S. capital for the first time.

09月10日付
■《天声人語》

 テレビでしか見たことのない人を実際に見た時、想像していたよりも小柄だと感じることがある。人物ではないが、ワシントンで初めてホワイトハウスを見た時に、同じような印象を受けた。

Of course, it was a stately and elegant edifice. But I thought it was small for the symbol of a superpower. In fact, I heard some Americans say in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that one of the reasons the terrorists did not target the White House was that its small size made it difficult to aim a hijacked airliner at.

 もちろん堂々として、かつ優美な建物ではあるものの、大国の象徴としては小さく感じた。同時多発テロの標的にならなかった理由の一つは、小さくて狙いにくいからとの見方を現地で聞いた覚えがある。

The small White House has sent out massive ``bills.'' While asking Congress to appropriate an equivalent of about 10 trillion yen to finance operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, U.S. President George W. Bush on Sunday urged Japan, Europe and states in the Middle East to make financial contributions as countries that ``will benefit from the success of freedom'' in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 その小さなホワイトハウスから、大きな「請求書」が発せられた。米国内には約10兆円の出費を要求し、日本や欧州、中東など「アフガン、イラクでの自由の勝利によって恩恵を得る国」に対しては「貢献」を求めている。

The United States resorted to military action in Iraq despite misgivings expressed by a considerable number of countries. Getting bogged down with the Iraqi occupation, Washington seeks massive financial contributions from other nations, even letting it be known that it will collect the sums it has asked for.

Criticisms are prominent in the American and European media that the war in Iraq was based on overly optimistic prospects and that Bush has switched the focus from weapons of mass destruction to the war on terror.

The mess in Iraq has fundamentally resulted from the Bush administration's pursuit of unilateralism.

 世界のかなりの国々が疑義を示す中でイラク戦争を始めたのに、占領がおぼつかないと巨額の請求をし、取り立てを予告する。欧米のメディアでは「見通しが楽観的過ぎた」「ブッシュ大統領は大量破壊兵器から対テロ戦争に問題をすりかえた」などの論評が目につく。この事態の根底には現政権の単独行動主義がある。

In his farewell address, George Washington, the first American president, said, ``Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... Nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded.'' (A Japanese translation of the text of Washington's address is available in the form of a collection of American presidential speeches, published by Hara Shobo.)

 初代の大統領ワシントンは、退任を前にこう演説した。「すべての国ぐににたいして信義と正義を守れ。すべての国ぐにとの平和と調和との関係を育成せよ」「ある特定の国ぐににたいして永久的な深刻な反感をもち、他の特定の国ぐににたいして熱情的な愛着をもってはならぬ」(『アメリカ大統領演説集』原書房)。

About 200 years have passed since then. The times and relations between the United States and the rest of the world have drastically changed. But Washington's farewell address holds out eternal lessons to be learned by all leaders.

 それから約200年。時代も、米国と世界の関係も激変した。しかし、この「遺訓」には、時を超えて訴えてくるものが十分にある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 10(IHT/Asahi: September 11,2003)

(09/11)
 
 
 
Labels reveal what Koizumi really wants


Consider a sign that says, ``Do not throw stones at this notice board.'' If you happened upon it, what would be your reaction? Would you chuckle? Or puzzle over the message, wondering whether it is a joke or some abstruse message designed to make you contemplate why notice boards exist at all?

British novelist and playwright Sue Townsend came across such a notice board and recounts her experience in ``The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman,'' a Penguin book.

09月06日付
■《天声人語》

 看板にこう書かれていた。「この看板に石を投げないでください」。何のための看板なのかと笑ってしまうか、じっと考え込むか。冗談のようでもあるし、看板とは何かを根源的に問いかけているようにも見える。ある英国作家の経験である。

I have a British book titled ``The World's Stupidest Signs.'' Published by Michael O' Mara Books Ltd., it gives examples of exactly what the title says. Here are a few gems:

A sign at a New York restaurant proclaims, ``Open seven days a week (except Mondays).''

A launderer boasts: ``We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.''

``We can repair anything,'' says a sign on a repair shop door. But written in small print at the bottom is the message, ``Please knock hard on the door-the bell doesn't work.''

 変な看板やポスター、注意書きなどを集めた英国の本が手元にある。「週7日間営業(ただし月曜日を除く)」(ニューヨークのレストラン)。「当店はあなたの衣服を機械では破りません。注意深く手仕事でします」(クリーニング店)。「何でも修理できます」の下に小さく「ベルが故障しているのでドアを強くノックしてください」(修理業)。

A poolside sign at a resort in the Philippines reads: ``Swimming pool suggestions/ Open 24 hours/ Lifeguard on Duty/ 8 a.m. to 8 p.m./Drowning absolutely prohibited.''

A pudding label warns, ``Product will be hot after heating.''

A chain saw label instructs users, ``Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.''

 プールに「おぼれることを固く禁じる」。あるいはプディングの容器に「あたためると熱くなります」。チェーンソーの注意書きには「チェーンを手で止めないでください」。

```Smarts' is the most exclusive disco in town. Everyone welcome,'' says a sign at a disco entrance. In spirit, this message would be good on a notice board proclaiming the imminent Liberal Democratic Party presidential election.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pretends to seek support only from members who back his reform program, but in reality everyone is welcome-even those who resist his reform program-so long as they support his campaign.

 自民党の看板を決める総裁選にあてはまりそうな文句もある。たとえば、入り口に「選ばれた人のためのディスコ/だれでも歓迎」。小泉改革を「踏み絵」に支持者をしぼる構えを見せながら、実際は抵抗勢力からの支持も喜んで受け入れる「だれでも歓迎」である。

A packet of sleeping tablets bears the message: ``Warning: May cause drowsiness.'' Applied to Koizumi's election campaign, it could be rephrased as: ``Warning: May lead to reform.''

A label on a child's Superman costume disclaims, ``Wearing this garment does not enable you to fly.'' A variation of this, again in Koizumi's case, could read, ``Supporting me (in the party presidential election) does not guarantee your victory in the (upcoming) election.''

 睡眠薬の注意書きには「警告/眠気を催すかもしれません」。これは「警告/改革するかもしれません」と言い換えられようか。子ども向けのスーパーマンの衣装に「警告/この衣装で飛ぶことはできません」。これは「警告/支持を装っても総選挙の当選は保証できません」と。

I suppose what Koizumi really wants to say is, ``Do not throw stones at this notice board.''

 小泉首相の心境を推察すれば、「この看板に石を投げないでください」か。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 6(IHT/Asahi: September 12,2003)

(09/12)
 
 
 
Deaths recall 20th century's twin monsters


The moment the man began his oration, the woman was ``mesmerized,'' she recalled. She felt it was an ``apocalyptic moment'' she would never forget. The orator was Adolph Hitler. The woman was Leni Riefenstahl, who died Monday, aged 101.

09月12日付
■《天声人語》

 その男が演説を始めた瞬間のことを彼女はこう回顧している。「決して忘れられない黙示録的光景だった」「私は麻痺(まひ)させられた」。演説するのはヒトラー、思い出を記すのは、101歳で8日死去したL・リーフェンシュタールである。

Typical of a person who claimed her mistake in life was that she kept telling the truth, the legendary German filmmaker admitted honestly to her attraction to Hitler's bizarre magnetism. The films she was commissioned to direct by the dictator-``Triumph of the Will,'' which documented the 1934 Nazi rally at Nuremberg, and ``Olympia,'' about the 1936 Berlin Olympics-were not without a bizarre beauty of their own.

 私の人生の過ちは真実を語り続けたこと、という彼女だけに、ヒトラーの放った異様な魅力を素直に認める。その独裁者に依頼されて彼女が撮ったナチスの党大会やベルリン五輪の映画も異様な魅力をたたえていた。

The day after Riefenstahl's death, physicist Edward Teller, known as ``Father of Hydrogen Bomb,'' died at age 95. A Hungarian Jew who emigrated to the United States to flee Nazi persecution, Teller participated in the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs at Los Alamos.

 彼女の死の翌日、「水爆の父」といわれる物理学者E・テラーが95歳で亡くなった。ハンガリー生まれのユダヤ人でナチスの迫害を避けて米国に亡命、原爆や水爆開発に携わった。

The shared resolve of the scientists involved in the so-called Manhattan Project was to develop atomic and hydrogen bombs ahead of the Nazis.

But when the first nuclear test proved a success, many must have shared Robert Oppenheimer's feeling-``I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'' This episode is included in Richard Rhodes' book ``The Making of the Atomic Bomb.'' (Its translated version ``Genshibakudan no Tanjo'' is published by Kinokuniya Co.)

 ナチスに先を越されるな。米国で原爆開発に参加した科学者たちに共通の思いだった。しかし最初の核実験に成功したときR・オッペンハイマーの心に浮かんだ言葉「いま私は死神になった。世界の破壊者だ」もまた多くの科学者の思いであったろう(R・ローズ『原子爆弾の誕生』紀伊国屋書店)。

Riefenstahl later noted that while she regretted having made Nazi propaganda films, there was no reason for her to regret having lived through the Nazi era, let alone be blamed for it.

Teller eventually admitted it was a mistake to have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but he insisted Joseph Stalin would have overrun Europe had it not been for high technology including nuclear weapons. Teller never lost his faith in nuclear power.

 「ナチスの映画をつくったことは悔やむとしても、あの時代に生きたことを悔やむことはできない。教えて、私に何の罪があるの」と訴えたリーフェンシュタール。広島、長崎への原爆投下は誤りだったとしながら核兵器を含むハイテクがなければ「スターリンが欧州を支配していただろう」と、核への信仰を捨てなかったテラー。

The Nazis and nuclear weapons were the twin monsters that the 20th century gave birth to. The deaths of two involved people-one an artist, another a scientist-reminded me anew that the 20th century was indeed a tragic century.

 20世紀が生んだ二つの怪物、ナチスと核兵器。それにかかわった芸術家と科学者の死に、改めて悲劇の世紀だったと振り返る。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 12(IHT/Asahi: September 13,2003)

(09/13)
 
 
 
Contributions for Iraq seem like tributes


Often, when we actually see a person we usually see only on television, that person strikes us as unexpectedly small. The White House struck me the same way when I saw it in the U.S. capital for the first time.

09月10日付
■《天声人語》

 テレビでしか見たことのない人を実際に見た時、想像していたよりも小柄だと感じることがある。人物ではないが、ワシントンで初めてホワイトハウスを見た時に、同じような印象を受けた。

Of course, it was a stately and elegant edifice. But I thought it was small for the symbol of a superpower. In fact, I heard some Americans say in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that one of the reasons the terrorists did not target the White House was that its small size made it difficult to aim a hijacked airliner at.

 もちろん堂々として、かつ優美な建物ではあるものの、大国の象徴としては小さく感じた。同時多発テロの標的にならなかった理由の一つは、小さくて狙いにくいからとの見方を現地で聞いた覚えがある。

The small White House has sent out massive ``bills.'' While asking Congress to appropriate an equivalent of about 10 trillion yen to finance operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, U.S. President George W. Bush on Sunday urged Japan, Europe and states in the Middle East to make financial contributions as countries that ``will benefit from the success of freedom'' in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 その小さなホワイトハウスから、大きな「請求書」が発せられた。米国内には約10兆円の出費を要求し、日本や欧州、中東など「アフガン、イラクでの自由の勝利によって恩恵を得る国」に対しては「貢献」を求めている。

The United States resorted to military action in Iraq despite misgivings expressed by a considerable number of countries. Getting bogged down with the Iraqi occupation, Washington seeks massive financial contributions from other nations, even letting it be known that it will collect the sums it has asked for.

Criticisms are prominent in the American and European media that the war in Iraq was based on overly optimistic prospects and that Bush has switched the focus from weapons of mass destruction to the war on terror.

The mess in Iraq has fundamentally resulted from the Bush administration's pursuit of unilateralism.

 世界のかなりの国々が疑義を示す中でイラク戦争を始めたのに、占領がおぼつかないと巨額の請求をし、取り立てを予告する。欧米のメディアでは「見通しが楽観的過ぎた」「ブッシュ大統領は大量破壊兵器から対テロ戦争に問題をすりかえた」などの論評が目につく。この事態の根底には現政権の単独行動主義がある。

In his farewell address, George Washington, the first American president, said, ``Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... Nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded.'' (A Japanese translation of the text of Washington's address is available in the form of a collection of American presidential speeches, published by Hara Shobo.)

 初代の大統領ワシントンは、退任を前にこう演説した。「すべての国ぐににたいして信義と正義を守れ。すべての国ぐにとの平和と調和との関係を育成せよ」「ある特定の国ぐににたいして永久的な深刻な反感をもち、他の特定の国ぐににたいして熱情的な愛着をもってはならぬ」(『アメリカ大統領演説集』原書房)。

About 200 years have passed since then. The times and relations between the United States and the rest of the world have drastically changed. But Washington's farewell address holds out eternal lessons to be learned by all leaders.

 それから約200年。時代も、米国と世界の関係も激変した。しかし、この「遺訓」には、時を超えて訴えてくるものが十分にある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 10(IHT/Asahi: September 11,2003)

(09/11)
 
 
 
Koizumi `recipe' offers nothing for the future


Painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is known for his vivid portrayal of Paris life. In one painting done by a friend, Lautrec is shown displaying his culinary flair before the kitchen oven.

09月09日付
■《天声人語》

 ロートレックが料理をしている絵がある。パリの風俗を生き生きと描いたあの画家が、台所のオーブンの前で腕を振るっているさまを、友人が描いた。

Lautrec, who died on Sept. 9, 1901, loved to cook and entertain. His culinary repertoire was extensive. After his death, many of his daringly original and tempting recipes were compiled into a cookbook by Maurice Joyant, a friend and art dealer.

The book is titled ``The Art of Cuisine,'' and its Japanese edition, ``Rotorekku no Ryori-ho,'' is published by Bijutsu Koronsha.

Introduced at the end of the book is an imaginary concoction described as a veritable tour de force. It bears the somewhat irreverent name of ``Saint on the Grill.''

 1901年の9月9日に他界したロートレックは、料理好きだったことでも知られている。よく手作りの料理を振る舞い、多くのレシピを残した。死後に、友人の画商、ジョワイヤンが編集して出版された料理書には、独創的でうまそうな、野趣に富んだ調理法が載っている。巻末の「きわめつけ」という仮想メニューの一つには、「聖人の網焼き」などという過激なものまである。

This recipe requires the assistance of the Vatican in procuring a real saint. The book goes on to note with biting sarcasm that when the saint has been grilled on one side, he would offer his other side to be grilled, too.

 「ヴァチカンの援助を得て、正真正銘の聖者をあなた自身で捕らえるようにしなさい」と始まる。片面をあぶると、聖者は、もう片面も焼くように頼むはず、と続く(『ロートレックの料理法』美術公論社)。冗談も、なかなかきつい。

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is reported to be leading in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election campaign, announced his set of campaign pledges Monday. These pledges are effectively Koizumi's recipe for how he means to ``cook'' Japan.

 自民党総裁選で優勢を伝えられる小泉さんが、政権公約を発表した。いわば、日本をどう料理してゆくのかというレシピである。普段の小泉さんの言動からは、こんなレシピを仮想していた。

Given his typical pattern of speech and behavior, I was imagining a ``recipe'' like this: ``First, deep-fry the party's anti-Koizumi elements in a batch. Then add the party factions and public corporations separately in a blender to crush them. Combine all ingredients, and there's your `Trinity Combo' that will electrify you with the deepest emotion!''

 「まず、抵抗勢力を丸揚げにしておきます。次に派閥と公団を別々にミキサーにかけて、ぶっこわします。丸揚げと一緒にすれば『感動!の三位一体盛り』の出来上がり」

My version was inspired by the artist's ``tour de force'' recipe. I was expecting Koizumi to come up with something more persuasive and dynamic. His announcement was devoid of even his usual ``elan.'' From his insipid recipe, there is no telling what he intends to dish out to the Japanese people.

 これは、画家の「きわめつけ」に触発された世界としても、もう少し説得力と躍動感のあるものを示すかと思っていた。しかし昨日のレシピには、いつもの「勢い」もなかった。国民にどんな料理を味わわせようとしているのかが、見えてこない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 9(IHT/Asahi: September 10,2003)

(09/10)
 
 
 
Award-winning `Zatoichi' is pure Kitano


Takeshi Kitano won the Silver Lion award for best director at the Venice Film Festival with his entry, ``Zatoichi.'' A second Golden Lion for best film did not come his way this time. Still, to be honored with a Golden Lion and a Silver Lion is an amazing achievement.

The movie is about a fictitious blind masseur who is a fearsome swordsman. The word ``zato'' is a generic term for the man's profession, while ``Ichi'' is the name of the hero.

``The story of Zatoichi is something like kusaya,'' Kitano said before the opening of the Venice Film Festival. Horse mackerel dried in the sun, kusaya was viewed as a delicacy in the old days. But it gives off a rank smell because it is first dipped in special saltwater containing fish guts. Apparently, he meant that it was difficult to present the story in an appealing way while being true to the traditional treatment. ``So, my primary concern as director was how to cook the stinking fish (without departing too much from the traditional patterns).''

His comment upon learning he had won the Silver Lion award was also characteristic: ``Am I really worth the honor? People will think of me as being brazenfaced.''

09月08日付
■《天声人語》

 ベネチア国際映画祭で、「座頭市」の北野武監督が銀獅子賞(監督賞)を受けた。2度目の金獅子は逃したが、金、銀と取るのは大変なことだろう。「座頭市ってクサヤみたいなもんでさ」「プンプンにおうのをどう料理するか、考えたね」と、開幕前に語った。受賞には「そんなずうずうしいことしちゃっていいのかな」。

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Venice Film Festival. The first festival took place in 1932, but because of cancellations over the years, the ordinal number is less than the number of years that have passed.

In the early years, the festival was very much under the influence of the fascist government that held power in Italy at that time, as indicated by the fact that a Mussolini Cup was presented. It is said that the Cannes Film Festival, rated as the largest of its kind in the world now, was launched primarily to rival the ``political'' film festival in Venice.

 この映画祭は、節目の60回を迎えた。最初は1932年だが、中止もあり、回数と年数は合わない。初期は、時のファシスト政権の色に染まっていて「ムソリーニ杯」が設けられた。今では世界最大とされるカンヌ映画祭は、そもそも、政治的「ベネチア」に対抗して計画されたという。

The First Cannes Film Festival was scheduled to open on Sept. 1, 1939. With preparations completed, Gary Cooper and other film stars had arrived. But German forces invaded Poland that day-World War II had begun. The festival was called off after only one film was screened, according to ``Kannu Eigasai no Gojunen'' (50 years of the Cannes Film Festival), a book published by Aspect.

 その第1回は、39年9月の予定だった。準備が整い、ゲーリー・クーパーらスターも顔をそろえた。ところが開幕の1日、ドイツがポーランドに侵攻して世界大戦が始まり、1本を上映しただけで中止された(『カンヌ映画祭の50年』アスペクト)。

On Sunday, I saw the movie ``Zatoichi.'' Although I arrived at the movie theater 30 minutes before show time, only the seats down in front of the screen were unoccupied. Perhaps because I was seated close to the screen, I felt as if I had got a good spraying of blood from all the mock killings. Jokes provoked laughter, and the audience clapped when the movie came to an end.

 昨日「座頭市」を見た。上映30分前に着いたが、スクリーンのすぐ前しか空いていなかった。そのせいか、殺陣の血しぶきを相当浴びた気分になった。ギャグに笑いが起き、終わりには拍手もわいた。

Here is a selection from the original novel, ``Zatoichi,'' by Kan Shimozawa: ``Ichi (the blind masseur) twitched his cheeks a bit. Everyone held their breath. In that instant, a sake bottle standing in front of Sukegoro (the bad guy) broke apart, sliced through the middle. The sword that did it like a flash of lightning was already back in its sheath. The sound of the sword guard sliding home seemed to ring eternally in the air.'' (Translated from a book in the Chuko paperback library.)

 「市は少し頬をゆがめた。そして、みんなはっと思った途端に、助五郎の前に立っていた酒徳利が、ぱっと真っ二つに割れた。稲妻のように閃いた刀はすでに鞘へ――。鍔鳴りだけがいつ迄も余韻をひいてそこに残っている」(『座頭市』中公文庫)。

The movie retains the flavor of the original novel. At the same time, I found it to be pure Takeshi Kitano.

 子母沢寛の原作の味も残しつつ、監督のにおいプンプンに仕上がっていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 8

(09/09)
 
 
 
Bombings straining the nerves of U.S. troops


Four months have passed since U.S. President George W. Bush's declaration that major combat operations in Iraq were at an end. The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq during this time has surpassed the death toll of 138 cited from the opening of hostilities to their cessation in May.

08月31日付
■《天声人語》

 ブッシュ大統領の「大規模戦闘終結宣言」から4カ月になる。この間の米軍の死者は、開戦から宣言までの「戦闘中」の138人を超えてしまった。

Michiya Kumaoka, president of the Japan International Volunteer Center, a nongovernmental organization, recently returned to Japan after taking a first-hand look at this extraordinary state of affairs, in Baghdad and elsewhere. He noted a palpable fear of explosions, visiting just after the devastating terrorist strike on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

Even more worrisome, Kumaoka said, was the behavior of U.S. troops on guard duty. To him, they appeared on the verge of breaking.

``Watching them, I was concerned that even something trivial could trigger an excessive reaction from them,'' he said.

 この異様な占領状態のバグダッドなどを見て、日本国際ボランティアセンターの熊岡路矢代表が数日前に帰国した。国連へのテロの直後で、爆発などへの恐怖は常にあった。しかしそれより、警備の米兵に平静さが失われているのではないかと気になったという。「何かのきっかけで過剰反応しないかと不安でした」

The volunteer center has been in touch with Iraqi children through exchanges of pictures and messages. Its activities are detailed in ``Kodomotachi no Iraq'' (Iraq in the eyes of children), recently published as part of the Iwanami booklet series.

The booklet was written by Maki Sato, the center's official in charge of Middle East affairs. In late July, she visited the Baghdad office of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

 センターでは、イラクの子どもたちと、絵やメッセージの交換を通じた交流を続けている。活動は、新刊の『子どもたちのイラク』(岩波ブックレット)に詳しい。その筆者で、センターの中東担当の佐藤真紀さんがバグダッドの国連児童基金(ユニセフ)を訪れたのは、7月下旬だった。

Sato asked an old acquaintance there by the name of Chris for prompt action by UNICEF to repair a facility for children called ``Sindbad Children's Club,'' which had been damaged by looters.

Even though the facility had not reopened, she told Chris that robbers still kept coming, adding that a child of a security guard there had been beaten to death by a robber. Chris gave her his word that UNICEF would carry out the needed repairs.

 略奪で荒らされた児童館「シンドバッド子どもクラブ」の早期修復を、ユニセフの担当者で顔なじみのクリスさんに頼んだ。児童館が再開されないので、いまだに盗賊が侵入する。守衛の子どもが賊に殴り殺された。そう聞いて、クリスさんは「我々が責任を持って補修します」と約束したという。

On Aug. 19, a car bomb destroyed the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. Sato found the name of Christopher Klein-Beekman on a list of victims. He was 32. Mourning his death, she said, ``He struck me as a person who was looking at children the same way as we did. He had such a charming personality. It was so easy to be friends with him.''

 そして8月19日、国連現地本部が爆破された。死者の中に、クリスさんことクリストファー・クライン・ビークマンさんの名があった。32歳だった。「私たちと同じような視点で子どもたちと接しているなと、親しみを感じさせてくれる人でした」と佐藤さんは悼む。

Even a mosque has come under terrorist attack. Not just the lives of soldiers but those of civilians are being lost in Baghdad.

 モスクでも爆弾テロが起きた。軍人以外の命も、日々失われている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 31(IHT/Asahi: September 8,2003)

(09/08)
 
 
 
Vengeful spirits charging the political air?


In olden days, people used to chant ``kuwabara, kuwabara'' to escape lightning. The incantation is believed to have derived from a legend concerning Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and court official in the Heian Period (794-1185).

Michizane, who died a painful death while in exile in Kyushu, is said to have taken the shape of the god of thunder and repeatedly struck Kyoto to take revenge on his foes. However, Kuwabara, his domain, escaped lightning. Hence the incantation.

09月05日付
■《天声人語》

 「くわばら、くわばら」。昔の人は雷が鳴るとそう唱えて落雷の難を避けようとした。菅原道真をめぐる伝説に由来するらしい。左遷されて九州で悶死(もんし)した道真が雷神になって京都に襲来、次々と復讐(ふくしゅう)するが、彼の領地桑原は落雷を免れた。その「桑原」にあやかった呪文だという説である。

The Tokyo area was struck by a violent thunderstorm during the evening of Sept. 3. Listening to the loud crash of thunder, I thought I understood why people in olden times associated it with intense fury and deep-seated grudges. Lightning also struck the Diet building. It must have set off rumors that a vengeful spirit was at work.

 3日夕から夜にかけて首都圏を襲った雷雨は激しかった。バリバリという雷鳴に昔の人が、すさまじい怒りや怨念(おんねん)を感じ取ったのも無理ないと思わせる荒れ方だった。国会議事堂が落雷の被害に遭ったとあっては「だれの怨念か」といったうわさ話も流れたに違いない。

Some people may have been reminded of the funeral service of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. Three years ago, when the funeral procession passed near the Prime Minister's Official Residence, lightning struck the building with a loud crash. Perhaps others may remember the words of former Prime Minister Takeo Miki. When he was named to take over the administration after the resignation of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, he expressed his surprise, saying, it was ``a bolt from the blue.''

 小渕元首相の葬儀を思い出した人もいるだろう。3年前、首相の葬列が官邸近くを通りかかったとき、雷鳴がとどろき官邸に落雷した。三木元首相の言葉を思い出す人もいるかもしれない。田中首相の退陣を受けて後継に決まったときの驚きを言い表した「青天の霹靂(へきれき)」である。

The horror of lightning was driven home to us by the tragic deaths of 11 students of Matsumoto Fukashi Senior High School in Nagano Prefecture, who were struck by lightning while climbing the northern Japan Alps in 1967. In 1987, six people, including senior high school students, were also killed by lightning while surfing in Kochi Prefecture. There appears to be no end to lightning accidents.

 落雷の恐ろしさを見せつけたのは67年、北アルプスであった惨事だ。集団登山をしていた長野県の松本深志高校の生徒が落雷に遭い、11人が死亡した。その後も87年、高知県でサーフィンをしていた高校生ら6人が死亡するなど落雷事故は後を絶たない。

In Japan, perhaps because of their topographical features, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures are particularly prone to lightning. Globally, for some reason or other, Zimbabwe is known for frequent lightning accidents with about 150 deaths reported annually.

 日本では、地形の関係からか栃木県や群馬県に雷が多いらしい。世界では、なぜかアフリカのジンバブエに落雷被害が多く、年間150人ほどが犠牲になってきたそうだ。

According to experts, the best way to escape damage is to take shelter in strong buildings or trains. But there is no way to prevent rumors of vengeful spirits haunting the political world.

 被害を防ぐには、しっかりした建物や電車などに避難するのが一番だとか。政界での怨念論などのうわさ話は、防ぐすべがない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 5

(09/06)
 
 
 
Are convenience stores too convenient?


Sometimes I suddenly become uneasy while traveling abroad. That is when I feel thirsty or hungry at night, feeling more so when I realize there is no refrigerator in my hotel room. At a time like this, no convenience store is to be found in town.

09月04日付
■《天声人語》

 海外旅行をしていて急に不安を覚えるときがある。冷蔵庫もないホテルで、夜中にのどが渇いたり、空腹感が募ってきたりしたときだ。何もないと思うとよけいに渇きや空腹が切実になる。そんなとき、街にはコンビニもないのだ。

In Japan, the number of convenience stores of Seven-Eleven, a leading chain in the industry, has surpassed 10,000. The industry as a whole has more than 40,000 stores going and is approaching a level double the number of post offices-25,000-across the country.

With their bright lights on, many of these stores wait for customers around the clock.

 コンビニ大手のセブン−イレブンの国内店舗が1万を突破した。業界全体では4万を超える。全国2万5千の郵便局の2倍に迫ろうとしている。これだけの数の店の多くが24時間、こうこうと照明をつけ、客を待ち受けている。

Convenience stores are certainly convenient. But they sometimes make me uneasy, wondering whether we may be losing something in exchange for the convenient service they provide.

The ubiquity of convenience stores has spared us the trouble of cooking and made it unnecessary to stock up on food. We no longer have to go on empty stomachs. The question is, ``Is it morally right to leave so much of our life to convenience stores?''

 名前の通り、確かに便利である。しかし、便利さと引き換えに何かを失いつつあるのではないだろうかと不安になるときもある。料理の手間を省いてくれる。買い置きの算段をしなくていい。空腹などの我慢を強いられることもない。その便利さに安住していいのだろうか、と。

It seems to me that the combination of convenience stores, cellular phones and growing Internet use is radically changing people's perceptions about time and space. Now that it has become possible to get in touch with someone or obtain necessary things ``anytime and anywhere,'' a new world is emerging. It is a world in which divisions are lost about time and space, and the sense of ``being removed from one another'' diminishes as a result.

 携帯電話やインターネットの普及とあわせて考えると、時間や空間に対する考え方がいま大きく変わりつつあるのではないかとの思いも強まる。「いつでもどこでも」人に連絡したり、必要な品を手に入れたりすることができる。時間には区切りがなく、空間には仕切りのない世界、そして「隔たり」の感覚が薄れていく世界である。

Someone coined the phrase ``losing the sense of loss'' about an era in which people indulge in the affluent and convenient times to the point of ``losing the sense that something is wanting.'' While counting so much on my cellphone and convenience stores in my everyday life, I intend to do my best not to lose ``the sense that something is wanting.''

 「喪失の喪失」を言われたときがあった。「何かがない」という喪失の感覚を喪失した豊かで便利な時代についての形容である。携帯電話やコンビニに依存する日々を送りながら、せめて「喪失」への感覚は失わないでいたい。

Let me quote a relevant poem contributed to The Asahi Shimbun's tanka 31-syllable poetry column: ``Keeping an old signboard/ The old-fashioned tofu shop/ Stands aloof and quiet/ Facing straight across a convenience store.''

 朝日歌壇にこんな短歌があった。〈古看板古い造りの豆腐屋は静かに孤高にコンビニへ向く〉

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 4(IHT/Asahi: September 5,2003)

(09/05)
 
 
 
A bad omen for Koizumi from monkey park?


A leadership change took place this summer at the Hagachizaki-en wild monkey park in Shizuoka Prefecture. The No. 2 and No. 4 monkeys reportedly toppled the old boss.

Over the years, it is said, leadership changes at this park have often been accompanied by similar political shifts in Tokyo. Does this mean an ominous fate is in store for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is seeking re-election as president of the Liberal Democratic Party this month. Or even the long reign of the LDP itself?

09月03日付
■《天声人語》

 静岡県の野猿公園「波勝崎(はがちざき)苑」でこの夏、ボスザルの交代劇があった。序列2位と4位のサルがボスを追放したそうだ。ここのボス交代は現実の政変と連動することが多かったとか。波乱の予兆なのかどうか。

The world of monkeys has several formulas for succession to the leadership. Kojima island in Miyazaki Prefecture is known for ``boss'' monkeys serving a lifetime tenure. In the latest succession, a second-ranking monkey named Kemushi moved up to the top in 1999 after Noso, the boss who was older than 90 in human years, dropped out of sight, presumably dead from general prostration. There have been revolts, but they all ended in failure. And so, power is said to have been changing hands peacefully on the island.

 サルの世界にも政権交代の方式がいろいろある。終身制で知られるのは宮崎県の幸島(こうじま)だ。99年、人間なら90歳を超える高齢のボスザルのノソが姿を消した。衰弱死したと見られる。序列2位のケムシが繰り上がってボスになった。これまで謀反が起きたこともあったが、いずれも失敗に終わり、穏やかな政権移譲が続いているそうだ。

Things are not that simple at Takasaki-yama natural zoo in Oita Prefecture where about 2,000 monkeys live. There are three factions named A, B and C, each with its own leader. Monkeys eat according to an order based on the relative power of the faction to which they belong.

 約2千匹のサルをかかえる大分県の高崎山自然動物園では、そう簡単にはいかない。ABCの三つの派閥にそれぞれボスがいる。派閥の力関係によって餌にありつく順番も決まっている。

About 10 years ago, the A faction, whose members were always the first to show up at the feeding places as the prerogative of belonging to the largest group, was brought down from the top by the C faction, which was the smallest bloc at that time. Apparently, the A group had it coming. Its boss and the second-ranking monkey were not getting along, resulting in an internal dispute over the succession issue.

Members of the A faction stopped showing up at the feeding areas last year, perhaps still reeling from the setback they had suffered.

 最大派閥を誇り、いつも最初に餌場に現れていたAが、当時は最小派閥だったCに追い落とされたのが10年ほど前だ。Aのボスとナンバー2との折り合いが悪く、政権交代をめぐる内紛が起きたのが原因らしい。その後遺症か、去年からAのサルたちは餌場にも現れなくなったという。

The latest theories seem to agree that wild monkeys do not have bosses. They reason that the fact that monkeys find something to eat here and there makes it unnecessary to establish a strict hierarchy.

On the other hand, monkeys fed by people need a hierarchy because they have limited amounts of food to eat and only at certain places.

 野生のサルにはボスはいないというのが最近の通説らしい。野生の状態では餌が分散していることが多いからそれほど厳しい序列を必要としない。しかし餌付けされたサルの場合、特定の場所に限られた餌しか与えられないから序列が必要とされるのだろう。

Certainly, there is a close resemblance between human society in which people engage in power struggles over the limited access to vested interests and the limited posts and the groups of monkeys living on food provided by human beings.

 限られた利権やポストをめぐって権力闘争を繰り広げる人間社会と、餌付けされたサルの集団と。確かに似ている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 3(IHT/Asahi: September 4,2003)

(09/04)
 
 
 
2 young athletes and their fixed vision


Mizuki Noguchi, a petite woman of 150 centimeters, won the silver medal in the women's marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Paris over the weekend by putting on a powerful spurt until the finish line.

Japanese runners placed second, third and fourth. Noguchi's run, in particular, was striking.

09月02日付
■《天声人語》

 身長150センチという小柄な野口みずきさんが最後まで力強い走りで銀メダルを獲得した。2、3、4位を日本選手が占めた世界陸上パリ大会の女子マラソンでは、野口さんの走法が印象的だった。

The way she swings her arms is most distinctive. At a glance, the two arms seem to move out of rhythm but actually, she uses her whole body to synchronize her movements. Including the swinging of the arms, the well-trained muscles of her upper torso seem to support her powerful run.

 腕の振りが独特だ。左右の腕がちぐはぐな動きをしているように見えながら、リズミカルに体全体の調子をとっていることがうかがえる。腕の振りをはじめ、筋力トレーニングで鍛えた上半身が、彼女の力強い走法を支えているらしい。

Shingo Suetsugu, who won the bronze medal in the men's 200-meter dash to become the first Japanese to win a medal in a major international sprint event, also uses an unusual training method that has to do with the swinging of the arms. According to Mizuno Track Club to which he belongs, Suetsugu got the idea from traditional Japanese martial arts. In the old days, it was common for Japanese to put their right leg and arm forward at the same time when running. Although he does not do so in actual races, Suetsugu introduced this method in his training to grasp the best timing to apply pressure in his arms.

 男子200メートルで銅メダルという快挙を遂げた末続(すえつぐ)慎吾さんも、腕の振りに独特の感覚を導入している。所属するミズノトラッククラブによれば、古武術から得た発想だそうだ。右足が前に出るのと同時に右腕も前に出す。昔の日本では普通だったこの走り方を、練習に取り入れた。実際に競技でそうするのではなく、腕の力を入れるタイミングをはかるのに利用している。

Suetsugu has an excellent spring. When he was in senior high school, he could easily top 7 meters in the long jump in his bare feet. As a runner, he has to apply that power forward rather than upward. In addition to swinging the arms, he does 2,000 sit-ups everyday to train his abdominal muscles to maintain a forward-bent posture to the limit.

 高校のときの走り幅跳びでは、裸足で軽く7メートルを超えたという末続さんはバネが素晴らしい。走るときには、バネを上ではなくいかに前に向けるか。腕の振りも大事だが、1日2千回の腹筋運動で鍛える。ぎりぎりの前傾姿勢をとるためである。

The two athletes tell us that in order to run fast, it is not enough to train their legs. They must also do seemingly useless exercises, which require strong will power.

 速く走る。そのためには脚力を鍛えるだけではだめだということを2人は教える。一見無用とも思える練習もしなければならない。それに耐える強い気持ちも必要だ。

``The more people count on me, the more power I can exert,'' Suetsugu said.

``I always try to think positively even when I feel down. I never brood over things,'' said Noguchi.

The two young athletes continue to run forward looking straight ahead.

 「周囲に期待されるほど力が出る」という末続さん、「いやなことも、プラスに考える。くよくよしない」という野口さん。ひたすら前をにらんで走り続ける若者2人である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 2(IHT/Asahi: September 3,2003)

(09/03)
 
 
 
Why `Yuyake Koyake' tugs at the heartstrings


``Yuyake Koyake'' is probably one of the best-loved children's songs in Japan. It recounts what was once thought to be a typical scene involving children at sunset.

More monuments have been erected across the country in honor of this particular song than any other, according to Michito Goda, the author of books on children's songs.

``Counting the ones I personally know, monuments inscribed with lyrics from the song have been put up at 13 locations,'' Goda says in ``Doyo no Nazo-3'' (The myths of children's songs-3). Another book says 14 is the correct figure.

09月01日付
■《天声人語》

 「日本の童謡の中で、各地にもっとも数多く歌碑が建てられているのは、『ゆうやけこやけ』である。(略)私が知っているだけでも13カ所にものぼる」(合田道人『童謡の謎3』)。14基あるはずとした本もある。

Whatever the precise number, two of the monuments are located at schools in Tokyo's Arakawa Ward, the No. 2 Nippori Elementary School and the No. 3 Nippori Elementary School. I have visited both schools.

The song begins with ``Yuyake koyake de higakurete,'' a line that translates as, ``The sun is setting with the usual afterglow.'' At No. 2 Nippori, I found the monument inscribed with the lyrics in hiragana, the curvy form of the Japanese syllabary. It stood where cicadas were singing in chorus. The following line ``Yama no otera no kane ga naru'' can be rendered into, ``The bell at the mountain temple is tolling.'' The monument at No. 3 Nippori was inscribed in a script mixing hiragana and Chinese characters. It stood in the shadow of cherry trees.

 そのうちの二つ、東京・荒川の第二日暮里小と、第三日暮里小の碑を訪ねた。「ゆうやけこやけで ひがくれて」。かな書きの第二の碑は、せみ時雨の中にあり、「山のお寺の鐘が鳴る」と漢字交じりの第三の方は桜の木陰にあった。

The lyrics of the song were written by Uko Nakamura, who taught at the two schools in his youth. The scores were published in the summer of 80 years ago. A month later, on Sept. 1, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck. Most of the scores were destroyed by fire. But the song gained wide currency from the fragments that survived.

 両校の青年教員だった中村雨紅が作詞したこの歌の楽譜が出版されたのは、80年前の夏だった。そのひと月後の9月1日に、関東大震災が起こる。おおかたの楽譜も燃えた。しかし、わずかに残った楽譜の周りに生まれた歌の輪が、大きく広がっていったという。

To be sure, ``Yuyake Koyake'' offered a song that could be sung by surviving quake victims as a requiem for the lives that had been lost or to satisfy people's nostalgia for familiar aspects of the town where they had grown up. Goda says in the book that many people identified it as their own song even as they struggled to recover from the temblor's terrible devastation. ``The simple and naive lyrics made it a song that touched the heartstrings of people,'' he writes.

 確かに、あの歌詞に、震災で失われた命への鎮魂や育った街、なじんだ景色への追想を込めることはできる。崩れ、焼け落ちた街で、これは「自分たちの歌」なのだと信じた被災者が多くいたと合田さんは書く。「素朴な歌だったからこそ胸に沁(し)みた」。

Nakamura left nothing in writing that clearly indicates when and where he composed the lyrics. But there is no question that they sprang from his childhood experience. ``The sunset scene described by the lyrics was familiar to him,'' says a book compiled by the authorities in Hachioji, his birthplace in suburban Tokyo, and the municipal library of Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture, where he spent many years as a teacher. ``It was a familiar sight ever since he was a toddler growing up in a mountainous area. ... Nostalgia for the scene and other sentiments combined to produce the lyrics.''

 雨紅は、この詞がいつどこで出来たかをはっきりとは記していない。生地の東京都八王子市や、長く教員生活を送った神奈川県厚木市の図書館が編んだ本には「幼い頃から山国での、ああいう光景が心にしみ込んでいたのが(略)郷愁などの感傷も加わって……」とある。

In the song, the tolling temple bell tells children it is time to link hands and go home. The lyrics evoke the fortune of having a place to go back to with someone-it does not matter when or where-and the sorrow one experiences when such a place is lost.

 それが、いつどこであってもいい。手をつないで帰ってゆける所があるというさいわいと、それが失われるかなしみとを、歌は呼び起こしてくれている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 1(IHT/Asahi: September 2,2003)

(09/02)
 
 
 
Save the historical name of Asuka village


Different sets of Chinese characters and even hiragana, the rounded Japanese phonetic syllabary, are used to spell the word ``asuka,'' making it look different to the eye. But no matter what script is used, the word sounds exquisite to Japanese ears.

The good news is that Asuka, a village in Nara Prefecture, has decided against merging with nearby municipalities. If the proposed union materialized, the dear name of Asuka, rich in historical associations, would have vanished. Local authorities have received petitions requesting the retention of the name from around the country, with the signees numbering about three times the village's population.

08月24日付
■《天声人語》

 あすか、飛鳥、明日香。見た目は違っても、その音の響きの美しさは変わらない。奈良の明日香村は、周りの市町との合併を見送ることにした。明日香村を残してと、全国から、村の人口の約3倍もの署名が寄せられているという。

The village is known as home to the Takamatsuzuka tumulus and the Kitora burial mound, which contain ancient artifacts. The great number of petitioners seems to suggest many people think the tumuluses serve as an excellent guide to the ancient world because they are located in the village of Asuka, a name that lends authenticity to things one comes across there.

My thoughts shifted to Pompeii, the ancient Italian city, because it resembles the Nara village in one respect: Both have preserved the ways ancient people lived.

 あの高松塚やキトラ古墳も、明日香というふさわしい地名が寄り添っていてこそ、より豊かに古(いにしえ)の世界へといざなってくれる。人々の、そんな思いが伝わってくる。そこで、やはり古の姿を今に伝え、今日があの「最後の日」にあたる、イタリアのポンペイを思い浮かべた。

The Italian city's ``Last Day'' came on Aug. 24, 79 A.D., when Mount Vesuvius erupted around noon. Apparently Pompeians did not flee at once. In time, vast amounts of ejecta fell on the city. The volcanic rocks and ash fixed fleeing people and aspects of the town at that time in a cast. When the city was excavated long afterward, the name of Pompeii came to signify a time capsule conveying information on how ancient people lived.

 西暦79年の8月24日の昼ごろベズビオ山が噴火したが、人々はすぐには逃げなかったらしい。やがて大量の火山礫(れき)が降る。逃げ遅れた人たちと街のその瞬間の姿を、礫や火山灰が固めた。そして後世発掘され、ポンペイという地名は、古代人の姿を伝えるタイムカプセルとの意味を獲得する。

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited Pompeii in the second half of the 18th century. Writing of his tour of Italy, he says: ``We went to Pompeii on Sunday. ... Various kinds of disasters have occurred in the world, but we will never witness few cases that delight people of later generations like this Italian city.'' (A Japanese translation of Goethe's account is available in the Iwanami paperback library.)

 ゲーテは、18世紀後半に訪れた。「吾々は日曜にポンペイへ行つた。――世界にはこれまで色々の災禍が起つたが、後世の人々をこれほど愉快にするものは余り他に類がないだらう」(『伊太利紀行』岩波文庫)

For a moment, one could be puzzled by the word ``delight.'' It is not a word used to portray the scene of a great disaster in which thousands of people were killed. I think Goethe probably meant to say it was miraculous to be able to see how ancient people lived by visiting Pompeii, where the streets and stores remain intact and the colors of the murals are vivid as before.

 何千人もが命を落とした大災害の地で、愉快という言葉はどうかと一瞬戸惑う。しかし、この愉快とは、古の暮らしを、街路や店の様子もそのまま、壁画の色も鮮やかに知ることができる奇跡という意味だろう。

The statues of victims, cast in plaster, are displayed at the ruins of Pompeii. While one cannot take delight in encountering them, I hear the ruins have been crowded this summer, thanks to the drawing power of Goethe's ``ancient miracle.''

 今の遺跡には、石膏(せっこう)でかたどられた犠牲者の像が展示されている。その対面だけは「愉快」になれないが、古の奇跡の力は強く、この夏も相当にぎわっているという。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 24(IHT/Asahi: September 1,2003)

(09/01)
 
 
 
Deep sorrow for precious lives cut short


During closing arguments in June in the trial of Mamoru Takuma, a defense attorney quoted Misuzu Kaneko's poem ``Ki'' (Tree): ``Flowers fall, fruits mature, the fruits fall, leaves fall, trees bud and flowers bloom.'' The lawyer then addressed his client, accused of fatally stabbing eight children and injuring 15 others at the Ikeda Elementary School in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, two years previously: ``You nipped the buds before they could bloom.''

08月29日付
■《天声人語》

 6月の最終弁論で弁護人は金子みすゞの詩「木」を紹介して付属池田小事件の宅間守被告に語りかけた。「お花が散って、実が熟れて、その実が落ちて、葉が落ちて、それから芽が出て、花が咲く」。そして「君は花が咲く前の芽を摘んでしまったのだ」と。

Throughout her life, Kaneko (1903-1930) showed great affection for all living things. Takuma, on the other hand, brutally extinguished those eight young lives. Even to this day, he remains defiant and has said, ``I am not afraid to die.'' The difference between the two is so great that it is mind-boggling. Even at Thursday's court session in which a death sentence was passed, the defendant offered no apology nor remorse.

 あらゆる命へのいとおしさを表現し続けた詩人と、小さな命を無残にも奪ったうえ「死ぬことは、びびっていません」と開き直る宅間被告と。2人の世界のあまりの隔たりに目まいがするほどだ。きのうの判決公判でも、被告は謝罪の態度を見せなかった。

On the morning of the incident, second-grader Yuki Hongo had her favorite breakfast of fried eggs, nicely browned toast and cold tea as usual and left for school cheerfully. Her parents cannot accept her death easily. Their agony is described in detail in the book ``Niji to Himawari no Musume'' (Daughter of rainbow and sunflower, Kodansha) written by Yuki's mother, Yumiko.

 事件の朝、2年生の本郷優希ちゃんはいつものように目玉焼きとこんがり焼いたトースト、冷たい紅茶など好物の朝食をとって元気に出かけた。その死を、両親は容易に受け入れることはできない。その後の苦しみは、母の由美子さんがつづった手記『虹とひまわりの娘』(講談社)に詳しい。

They were told their daughter died instantly. When they later learned that Yuki collapsed after reaching the hallway from her classroom, they were shocked beyond words. Thinking about the fear, despair and pain that their daughter must have felt, their hearts broke with grief. The mother lay down beside a dried-up pool of blood on the school hallway to keep her daughter's spirit company. On the 8th of each month, marking the day Yuki died, the mother visited the school to ``talk'' to her daughter's blood.

 即死だと聞いていた。優希ちゃんが廊下まで歩いていって倒れたと知ったときは言葉では言い表せないショックを受けた。娘が味わっただろう恐怖、絶望、苦痛に胸が張り裂ける思いをした。廊下に残る乾いた血だまりに横たわって添い寝をした。月命日ごとに学校へ出かけ、血だまりに話しかけた。

She still cannot bring herself to pick up a knife because it reminds her of the brutal crime. When she sees elementary school girls, she ``sees'' a knife sticking in their backs. For a long time, she was troubled by these nightmarish visions.

 凶行を思い出させる包丁が持てない。小学生の女の子を見ると背中に包丁が突き刺さっている。悪夢と現実とが入り交じる日々が長く続いた。

The passage of time may help relieve the pain, if only by a little. But their grief will always be with them. As we think about the deep sorrow of the families, once again, our hearts go out to them.

 時間とともに苦しみは少しはやわらぐかもしれない。しかし悲哀の感情が消えることはあるまい。遺族の方々の悲しみの深さを改めて思う。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 29(IHT/Asahi: August 30,2003)

(08/30)
 
 
 
Signs of autumn amid a summer late in coming


At last, a typical midsummer sky unfurled over Tokyo.

On Aug. 2, the Meteorological Agency reported, ``It appears that the rainy season is over.'' But weather patterns remained in rainy season mode.

The result was an easier summer to handle. But it felt somehow uneasy, the way one feels when one is missing something.

08月23日付
■《天声人語》

 東京に、ようやく真夏のような空が広がった。今月2日に「梅雨明けしたとみられる」と気象庁が発表したものの、梅雨時に似た空模様が続いていた。しのぎやすいといえばそうなのだが、忘れ物をしたような落ち着かない日々だった。

While the true arrival of summer was delayed, signs of autumn already began to appear.

Freshly harvested saury began to turn up in stores. So far, most of the saury have been caught off Hokkaido. The first hauls unloaded at Kesennuma port in Miyagi Prefecture contained mostly large fish with a lot of fat.

In a world marked by unusual weather and extraordinary events, I look forward to seeing the saury pile in-just like in a ``normal'' year.

 夏が足踏みしているうちに、秋の便りが届き始めた。新サンマが入荷している。目下の漁場は北海道沖らしい。宮城の気仙沼港での初水揚げでは大型で脂の乗ったものが多かった。気候も世の出来事も、異変、異様が続く。サンマぐらいは「平年並み」にと願いたい。

I popped into a supermarket in central Tokyo and found saury selling for about 200 yen each. The price was 350 yen at a store boasting big saury.

A glossy section runs from the blue back of saury to their silver-white belly. It looks as if it is reflecting the blue waves and white spray of distant northern seas. The white trays on which saury are sold seemed inadequate for the neatly elongated shape of the fish. Their snouts and tails squashed, the fish looked a little cramped.

 都心のスーパーをのぞくと、1匹200円ぐらいで、「大型」とうたう店では350円だった。パックのサンマを見る。青い背中から銀白色の腹にかけてのきらめきが、遠い北の海の青い波と白いしぶきを映しているかのようだ。きりりとして、すうっと伸びた姿に、白いトレーは短すぎる。口と尾の先っぽが、つかえて窮屈そうだった。

Saury have long been a familiar fish for Japanese.

During the Edo Period (1603-1867), there was the saying, ``when saury (sanma) become available, masseurs (anma) go out of business.'' It was not until after the halfway point of the Edo Period, however, when the fish began to be widely eaten.

According to Kuniyuki Tsukada's book ``Sakana Monogatari'' (Tales about fish), the widespread consumption of saury by common people began around when fish dealers started to sell saury by advertising them as ``long and inexpensive fish.'' Samurai, however, hardly ate them.

 「さんまが出るとあんまが引っ込む」といわれた、なじみ深い魚だが、広く食されるようになったのは江戸時代の半ば以降らしい。「安くて長きはさんまなり」といって売る魚屋が現れたあたりから庶民に広まったが、武士はほとんど食べなかったという(塚田國之『さかな物語』)。

The appearance of saury at stores reminds one of ``Sanma no Uta'' (Song of saury), a poem by Haruo Sato (1892-1964).

But to welcome the midsummer, which arrived at least a month late, I turn to a passage from Sato's poem ``Natsu no Sora o Utaeru'' (Song about the summer sky): ``The summer sky brims with life/ That makes it powerful/ Magnificently splendid, it is also subtle/ It is bluer, and at once richer, than the sea below.'' (Translated from a version appearing in ``Nihon Shijin Zenshu,'' or Complete Works of Japanese Poets-a collection published by Shinchosha.)

 サンマといえば佐藤春夫の「秋刀魚の歌」だが、月遅れの盛夏を歓迎して、春夫の「夏の空を歌へる」を引く。「命あふれて力満つ/壮麗微妙(さうれいみめう)の夏の空/海より青くまた富(と)めり」(『日本詩人全集』新潮社)

Sato's poem conjures the image of saury swimming in the sea, shining blue.

 青く光り輝きながら泳ぐ、サンマの姿をも連想させる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 23(IHT/Asahi: August 29,2003)

(08/29)
 
 
 
Koizumi rewrites past to rewrite Constitution


Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has reached all the way back to 1955, the year his Liberal Democratic Party was founded, to unearth justification for his call for constitutional amendment. According to Koizumi, the enactment of an independently drafted Constitution (as opposed to the pacifist Constitution, viewed by many as a basic law imposed on Japan by the United States) was his party's aspiration at its founding.

I have searched my memory for a reminder of whether this was the case when the LDP was brought into being through the merger of two conservative parties. Led by Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, the Democratic Party was in power then, despite lacking a parliamentary majority. After a number of twists and turns, it merged with the main opposition Liberal Party.

08月27日付
■《天声人語》

 「結党の精神が自主憲法制定だった」という小泉首相の言葉に誘われて55年の保守合同のころを振り返ってみる。鳩山首相率いる少数与党の民主党と野党第一党の自由党が曲折の末、合同を果たしたころである。

As secretary-general of the Democratic Party, Nobusuke Kishi, who was to become prime minister later, was one of those who pushed for the union. When asked to identify the highest hurdle to the merger, he recalled, ``In a nutshell, the most difficult problem was whom to appoint as president. That was the only real problem. The remaining issues were easy to handle.'' (The quote is taken from the book ``Kishi Nobusuke Shogenroku'' or ``Records of testimony by Nobusuke Kishi,''published by The Mainichi Shimbun.) It is testament to the truth of the saying that ``the distribution of posts is the key in politics.''

 民主党の幹事長として合同を推進した一人が岸元首相だった。一番苦労したのは?の問いに「要するに総裁問題ですよ。それだけですよ。後は大したことはなかった」と(『岸信介証言録』毎日新聞社)。政治は人事、の言葉通りの証言だ。

Looking back on the merger, Motoo Goto, who covered it as a political reporter for The Asahi Shimbun, says: ``I don't think the two parties merged to stabilize the political situation or assure the course of the nation. Rather, it was overwhelmingly contrived as a means of assuring the passage of bills through the Diet.... People began to talk about the significance of the merger after the fact, nor before.'' (Goto's book ``Sengo Hoshuseiji no Kiseki'' or ``The footsteps of postwar conservative politics'' is published by Iwanami Shoten.)

 政治記者はこう見ていた。「政局安定とか、日本の進路を考えてやったとはぼくは思えないね。むしろ当面の国会乗り切りという要素が非常に強かった。……保守合同の意義といったものは、合同ができてからあと考え出したんであって……」(『戦後保守政治の軌跡』岩波書店)。朝日新聞記者だった後藤基夫の回顧である。

In its Declaration of Founding, issued in November 1955, the new party vowed to follow ``the great road of government based on parliamentary democracy.'' It also stated that ``we consider respect for the freedom and dignity of individuals as the basic condition for maintaining social order.'' But the term kaiken, or constitutional amendment, is nowhere to be found in the declaration.

The term is also missing from the LDP platform that was adopted at the same time. One has to wait for the appearance of the phrase jishu kenpo, or independently drafted Constitution, which shows up in less important documents that outline ``the party's mission'' and ``the party's policies.'' In 1955, importance attached to it was not so great as to deserve Koizumi's claim that it was his party's ambition at its founding.

 55年11月の立党宣言は「議会民主政治の大道を歩む」「個人の自由と人格の尊厳を社会秩序の基本的条件となす」を挙げるが、改憲の文字はない。同時に採用された「綱領」にもなく「党の使命」「党の政綱」になって初めて「自主憲法」が現れる。「結党の精神」と強調するほどの位置は占めていない。

To be sure, Hatoyama was advocating constitutional revision as well as restoration of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. But peculiar political dynamics were then at work. He was an archrival of Shigeru Yoshida, who had set a ``follow-the-U.S.'' policy line in the occupation years following the end of World War II. Antagonism to that line led him to move in the opposite direction, advocating a principle of self-determination in writing a new Constitution.

 確かに当時の鳩山首相はソ連との国交回復とともに憲法改正を唱えていた。占領時から続いた吉田政権の「対米追随」への反発が自主憲法制定などの「自主独立」路線へ傾かせたという政治力学も働いていた。

The international environment has drastically changed since then. We cannot help feeling that the claim that an independently drafted Constitution was the LDP's ambition at its founding-after leaving it on the shelf all these years-is but a temporizing ploy.

 あれから国際環境は激変した。改憲論議に「結党の精神」を持ち出すとは、姑息(こそく)の感をぬぐえない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 27(IHT/Asahi: August 28,2003)

(08/28)
 
 
 
North Koreans' displays of allegiance backfire


A chill spread through the opening ceremony of the 2003 World University Games at the World Cup Stadium in Taegu, South Korea, on Thursday as soon as the American and Japanese athletes entered the stadium. The North Korean cheerleaders who were passionately cheering suddenly became quiet. The abrupt change in the attitude of the cheerleaders took me by surprise. I couldn't help but ask myself what they were thinking.

08月26日付
■《天声人語》

 それまで熱烈とも見える声援を送っていたのにアメリカと日本の選手団の入場にはしーんと静まり返った。韓国で開催中のユニバーシアード大会開会式でのことだ。北朝鮮からやってきた女性応援団たちのあまりに極端な振る舞いには驚いた。彼女たちの胸中は?と素朴に問いかけたくなるほどだ。

Just prior to the start of the Summer Universiade, North Korea said it would boycott it. It appears the decision was made in protest to the burning of the North Korean national flag and Kim Jong Il's photograph at an anti-North rally in Seoul several days before. On Sunday, North Korean reporters crashed into another anti-North rally at the Universiade venue, giving rise to a skirmish. Some people were injured.

 開催直前に北朝鮮が参加拒否を表明する一幕もあった。ソウルの集会で北朝鮮の国旗や金正日総書記の写真が焼かれるという事態への反発からだったようだ。24日にはユニバーシアード会場で開かれていた反北朝鮮集会へ北朝鮮の記者団がつめかけ、もみあいになってけが人が出た。

These developments must be a result of a display of ``allegiance'' to the Kim Jong Il regime. But surely the North Koreans must realize that when they act like that under the watchful eyes of the world community, it will have the opposite effect. The more they show their ``allegiance,'' the stronger the impression they give to international society that theirs is ``a strange country.''

 いずれも金正日体制への「忠誠心」から出た行動だろう。しかしそれが国際社会注視の下で行われるとき、逆に作用することがわからないのだろうか。「忠誠心」を発揮すればするほど「異様な国」だとの思いが国際社会に広がることが。

In Japan, harassing incidents to pro-Pyongyang organizations keep occurring. If the people responsible for the incidents think they can do what they like because they are dealing with ``a strange country,'' it is tantamount to renouncing their right to criticize it.

 日本国内では北朝鮮系の組織への嫌がらせが続いた。「異様な国」相手だから何をしてもいい、という発想がどこかにあるとすれば、相手を批判する資格を放棄するに等しい。

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se Hyun as saying, ``Just as North Korea should understand the diversity of South Korean society, we must also make an effort at understanding the uniqueness of North Korean society.'' I agree. At the same time, however, the more we come to recognize its ``uniqueness,'' the more difficult the country appears to get along with.

 「北朝鮮も韓国社会の多元性を理解すべきだが、われわれも北朝鮮社会の特性を理解するよう努力しなければならない」とは韓国の丁世鉉(チョンセヒョン)統一相の言だ(朝鮮日報)。その通り、とはいえ「特性」を理解すればするほどつきあいの難しい国だ、との思いも深まる。

Meanwhile, the North Korean ferry Man Gyong Bong-92 entered Niigata-Nishi port and six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear development will convene shortly in Beijing. We are facing the moment of truth on how to accept North Korea as part of international society.

 ユニバーシアードが続くなか、万景峰号入港から北京での6者協議へ。北朝鮮を国際社会にいかに迎え入れるかの正念場である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 26

(08/27)
 
 
 
Now is the best chance to view Mars up-close


Even through the thin veil of clouds, a brightly shining star is clearly visible in the southern sky.

That star is Mars, and this week it will make its closest pass to Earth in about 60,000 years.

But urbanites may regard it as a lonely light in the absence of a starry firmament.

08月25日付
■《天声人語》

 うっすらと雲がかかっていても、いま南の空に明るく輝く星を見ることができる。今週、約6万年ぶりに地球に大接近する火星である。満天の星空とはいかない都会では、孤高の光といった風情ではあるが。

Excluding the moon, Mars is the most familiar star for inhabitants of Earth. As for Martians themselves, we can even imagine what they might look like-aliens with mushroom-like heads and octopus-like legs, as conceived by British novelist H.G. Wells in the late 19th century.

 月は別格として地球の住人には最も身近な星である。その星に住む火星人といえば、風貌(ふうぼう)まで思い浮かぶ。19世紀末、英国のH・G・ウェルズが考え出したあれ、キノコのような頭にタコのような足を伸ばした異星人である。

In the world of fiction, Earth has been attacked by Martians countless times since Wells' ``The War of the Worlds.'' In one well-known incident, a radio drama based on the famous scientific fantasy broadcast in the United States by the CBS network in 1938 caused panic because so many people believed a Martian invasion was taking place.

 虚構の世界でのことだが、ウェルズの『宇宙戦争』以来、地球は何度彼らの襲来を受けたことか。実際パニックを誘ったこともあった。1938年、『宇宙戦争』を脚色したラジオドラマを米CBSが流したとき、あまりの迫真性に事実だと思い込んだ人が少なからずいたことはよく知られる。

In Frederic Brown's ``Martians, Go Home,'' Earth is thrown into great confusion by an invading army of mean Martians. (A Japanese translation is available in the Hayakawa Library.) The secretary-general of the United Nations announces ``surrender'' in a radio broadcast and calls for an end to all wars, saying it is time for hate groups to stop fighting. People all over the world chant ``yes'' in unison. The collective response booms as if it could be heard on Mars.

 意地悪な火星人が大挙やってきて地球を混乱させるF・ブラウンの『火星人ゴーホーム』(ハヤカワ文庫)では国連事務総長が「降参」のラジオ放送をする。人類は互いに憎みあい、戦争をしてきたが、もうやめる、と。世界中の人が一斉に「イエス」と呼応する。火星にまで届こうかという大音響だった。

Many of the stories told about Mars in the West are related to war. This reflects the fact that Mars is the god of war in Roman mythology. At the same time, Mars has been thought of as something like a mirror-a next-door star urging self-reflection on ceaseless strife on Earth.

 西洋では、戦をつかさどる神マルスの名がつけられる火星には戦にからむ話が多い。他方、地球という争乱の絶えない星について、鏡のような存在として反省を促す隣の星でもあった。

Imagine what it was like on Earth 60,000 years ago. It must have been a pitch-dark world at night, with stars filling the heavens.

I wonder what Neanderthals thought as they looked up at Mars, a particularly radiant star in the cosmos.

 6万年前の地球を想像する。夜は漆黒の闇の世界だったろう。満天の星が空を埋めていたことだろう。なかでひときわ輝く火星に、ネアンデルタール人たちは何を思ったか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 25(IHT/Asahi: August 26,2003)

(08/26)
 
 
 
Poor harvest a reminder of days of hunger


I received a letter from M in Tochigi Prefecture about the food shortages in 1945, during the last days of World War II.

When M, who was a junior high school student at the time, picked weeds by the wayside to fill his empty stomach, he was scolded by farmers for stealing grass from horses and cattle, the letter states.

08月19日付
■《天声人語》

 戦争末期の45年ごろの食べ物について栃木県のMさんからお便りをいただいた。中学生だったMさんがあぜ道の雑草を採って食べようとして「馬や牛の草を盗むな」と農家の人からしかられるような時代のことである。

M remembers the time he was given 1 sho (1.8 liters) of polished rice by his friend's family. Such luxury was so rare that it was almost like a miracle.

M took a small portion of the rice to make porridge, ate it and saved the rest in a bottle for his father who was at the front. He kept the bottle under the floor but the rice got wet and started to turn bad. He had no choice but to eat it before his father's return. The letter recounts M's unforgettable memory of eating nothing but rice.

 当時としては奇跡といってもいいだろう、友人宅から白米1升をもらったという。少しをおかゆにして食べ、あとは出征中の父のために残しておこうとびんに入れて縁の下に隠した。しかし水に浸って腐りかかった。父の帰りを待たずに食べてしまった。お米だけを食べた貴重な経験についてのお便りである。

What luxury to stuff oneself with polished rice. The days when people were seized with such powerful hunger are long over. However, as bad weather continues and we hear reports of a poor rice harvest because of an unseasonably cold summer, I cannot help but feel uneasy reflexively.

 白米をおなかいっぱい食べたい。そんな飢餓感が世を覆っていた時代からは、いまははるかに遠い。しかし、不順な天候が続くなか「冷夏によるコメ不作」という報を聞くと、反射的に不安がかすめる。

In 1993, when the rice harvest was said to be the poorest since the end of the war, then 91-year-old writer Sue Sumii wrote: ``Yesterday, we had a light rain. Today, it is drizzling again. Without sunlight, it's chilly. This is serious.'' When she spoke of her apprehensions that there might not be enough rice to go around, her family laughed and did not take her seriously, saying she was overanxious.

 戦後最悪の凶作とされた93年、当時91歳だった作家の住井すゑさんがこんなことを書いている。7、8月とも「昨日も小雨。今日もまた小雨。陽(ひ)の光がとどかぬままに小寒く……これは、ただごとではない」。飯米も危ない凶作になる、と心配を口にすると、家族は「取り越し苦労よ」と笑って取り合わない。

That year, the government made emergency imports of rice and took its first step toward ``import liberalization'' at the same time. We no longer live in an age when a poor harvest leads to starvation. But as we face a poor crop, I don't think we should laugh off as anachronistic Sumii's reminder to re-examine the importance of ``farming and life.''

 あの年、政府はお米を緊急輸入し、同時に「輸入自由化」の第一歩を踏み出した。もはや凶作が飢饉(ききん)につながる時代ではない。しかしこんなときこそ「農と命」の大事さを見直そうと説いた住井さんの思いを時代錯誤と一蹴(いっしゅう)する気にはなれない。

Mokichi Saito, a native of Yamagata Prefecture, left the following tanka poem: ``Every grain of rice is the fruit of hard work / That is to say each grain contains sorrow.''

 山形県出身の斎藤茂吉はこんな短歌を残している。〈粒粒皆辛苦(りふりふかいしんく)すなはち一つぶの一つぶの米のなかのかなしさ〉

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 19(IHT/Asahi: August 25,2003)

(08/25)
 
 
 
Artists who face their objects straight on


Each picture of insects and flowers lining the walls has a magnifier hanging beside it. The drawings are so precise and real that visitors looking through a magnifier can almost hear the insects buzzing as they appear ready to fly out of the picture at any minute.

08月05日付
■《天声人語》

 壁に並んだ虫や花の絵の脇に、虫眼鏡がぶら下がっている。それで虫たちをのぞくと、いまにも絵から飛び出してきそうだ。実に精密で、小さな命の息づかいさえ聞こえてくる。

I visited an exhibition of artwork by Chikabo Kumada, a 92-year-old painter who specializes in depicting nature, at the Konandai Takashimaya department store in Yokohama. The painter used brushes with a fine point to patiently and minutely draw his subjects. At 70, Kumada's work was accepted for the illustrators' exhibition of the Bologna International Children's Book Fair in Italy.

 92歳の生物画家・熊田千佳慕(くまだちかぼ)さんの展覧会を見た(横浜・港南台高島屋で11日まで)。絵は細い筆の先で根気よく描かれる。70歳でイタリアのボローニャ国際絵本原画展に入選した。

He is also known for his work in illustrated versions of Jean-Henri Fabre's ``Souvenirs Entomologiques'' and ``The Adventures of Maya the Honeybee'' by Waldemar Bonsels. Kumada also draws such pictures that show a mantis catching a grasshopper or a dragonfly feeding on a fly. They show the artist's determination to accurately portray the working of living creatures close to us without sparing the harsh reality.

 「ファーブル昆虫記」や「みつばちマーヤの冒険」の絵本化などで知られる。バッタを捕らえるカマキリや、ハエに食いつくトンボのような絵も描く。そうした厳しい場面も含めて、身近な生命の営みを、精確に書き記そうとしているように思われる。

The exhibition also showed Kumada's works before World War II, when he was a graphic designer. They included a collage of photographs taken by Ken Domon. The two met at Nihon Kobo (Japan Studio) directed by Yonosuke Natori, a pioneer of Japanese photojournalism, and worked together.

 会場では、グラフィックデザイナーだった戦前の仕事も紹介されていた。土門拳の写真を、熊田さんがコラージュにしたとある。ふたりは、日本の報道写真家の草分けとなった名取洋之助の主宰する「日本工房」で出会い、共同作業を重ねた。

Domon died in 1990. According to Kumada, in his later years, while using a wheelchair, Domon firmly held Kumada's hand and told him, addressing him Goro, his real name: ``Goro-chan's realism excelled mine.''

``I told him photographs and pictures do not share the same realism but Domon was crying,'' Kumada recalled.

 土門は90年に他界したが、晩年、車いすの上で熊田さんの手を握りしめ、本名の五郎で語りかけたという。「ゴロちゃんのリアリティーには負けたよ」。「写真と絵のリアリズムは違うんだ。そう言ったんだけど、土門は泣いていたなぁ」と熊田さんは回想している。

I also went to an exhibition of Ken Domon's photographs at the Nihonbashi Takashimaya department store in Tokyo. I was moved once again by the way he squarely captured his subjects. Kumada depicts insects and flowers while Domon focused on people, times and Buddhist images. Although they specialized in different areas, I thought the way they approached their subjects to the maximum extent possible, straight on, was common to both.

 土門拳の写真展にも、足を運んでみた(東京・日本橋高島屋で11日まで)。被写体への真っすぐな迫り方に、改めて心打たれた。虫や花と、人・時代・仏像。それぞれの分野は違っていても、対象への限りない肉薄ということで、ふたりはつながっていると思った。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 5

(Both exhibitions closed Aug. 11.)(IHT/Asahi: August 23,2003)

(08/23)
 
 
 
U.N. at the mercy of a negligent superpower


In the book ``Douglas MacArthur Reminiscences,'' MacArthur touches on the consequences of military occupation. In most cases, writes the commander in chief of Japan's post-war Occupation, history shows that it plants the seeds for another war.

08月21日付
■《天声人語》

 占領の専門家が、こう書いている。「軍事占領はほとんどの場合、新しい戦争の種をまく結果となることを歴史は教えている」(『マッカーサー回想記』朝日新聞社)。

The suicide bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad took many lives, including that of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. special representative in Iraq.

This is a new type of attack from past onslaughts on occupational forces. The United Nations may not be perfect. Nevertheless, it is an important organ painstakingly built by humanity for the sake of world peace and civilized coexistence. We are outraged by this atrocious assault on this institution.

 バグダッドの国連現地本部への爆弾テロで、代表ら多くの命が奪われた。占領軍を狙うのとは次元の違う新しい攻撃だ。未完成にしろ、国連は、世界の平和と共生のために人類がたどり着いた大切な仕組みだ。それを標的にした凶行に憤りを覚える。

Vieira de Mello reportedly accepted the post for a limited period, four months. He probably did so because he knew the job would be difficult and dangerous. Still, after taking office he stressed the need to put the fate of the Iraqi people in their own hands as soon as possible.

 犠牲になったデメロ特別代表は、任期を4カ月に限って引き受けたという。仕事の困難さと危険性を知ってのことだろうが、就任後には、こう述べた。「イラク人自身の運命を、早く彼らの手に委ねなくてはならない」。

Perhaps what moved Vieira de Mello to accept an assignment from which most people would cower was a conviction he expressed upon being named the United Nations high commissioner for human rights last fall: Human rights is about securing dignity, equality and safety for everyone. Vieira de Mello's job, he said at the time, is to serve the unprotected, those suffering from the ravages of war, poverty and oppression.

 誰もが尻込みするような役目を受けたのには、昨秋の国連人権高等弁務官就任時に表明した思いがあったかもしれない。「人権とは、すべての人の尊厳、平等、安全を確保すること。戦乱の犠牲者、貧困、圧政に苦しむ者など、守られていない人々に奉仕するのが私の仕事だ」。

In ``Reminiscences,'' MacArthur also notes that when a military occupation continues longer than necessary, or fails to take appropriate precautions from the start, one side becomes the slave while the other assumes dominance. No one wants to submit themselves for long to an arbitrary authority providing little security.

The occupation of Iraq is the inevitable result of a pre-emptive attack. Be that as it may, the occupational forces are to blame for failing to protect the United Nations.

 『回想記』はこうも言う。「軍事占領というものは、長く続き過ぎたり最初から慎重に警戒することを怠ったりすると、どうしても一方はドレイとなり、他方はその主人公の役を演じはじめる」。長く警戒不十分な占領など、誰しも避けたいだろう。先制攻撃の果ての待ったなしの占領だが、治安を保てず、国連を守れなかった占領軍の責任は重い。

The ``world,'' as embodied by the United Nations, appears to be at the mercy of a superpower that behaves as if that world isn't necessary. It is time we took a hard look at the way recent developments have distorted this globe of ours.

 国連に頼らないかのように振る舞う超大国に、国連という「世界」が振り回される。最近の地球のゆがんだ様を見つめ直す時だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 21

(08/22)
 
 
 
Kyogen play offers a model for reconciliation

The Asahi Shimbun


A prominently displayed photograph showing a Jewish cleric standing side by side with an Islamic leader, seemingly in a relaxed manner, caught my attention in the Financial Times, a British newspaper. Personally close to each other, the two men have been working to reach an accommodation between the Jewish and Islamic communities in Britain, according to the story that accompanied the picture.

While reading the story, I recalled a Kyogen drama, a comic interlude performed as supplementary entertainment during a Noh program.

08月20日付
■《天声人語》

 ユダヤ教の聖職者とイスラム教の指導者が並んで立っている。くつろいだ様子に見える。実際2人は親しい間柄で、英国での両社会の融和を推進してきた。2人の大きな写真をあしらった英フィナンシャル・タイムズ紙の記事を読みながら、日本のある狂言を思い浮かべた。

The drama is titled ``Shuron'' (Religious argument). It depicts two monks from archrival denominations traveling together. It identifies one as hokke-so, or a monk who believes salvation lies in chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra, known as Hokekyo in Japanese. Pitted against him is jodo-so, or a Pure Land monk who believes in chanting the name of Amida Buddha, a deity who promised afterlife deliverance in Pure Land for those who do so.

In terms of personality, the hokke-so monk is aggressive, while the Pure Land monk is gentle. So they clash over everything. The Kyogen players provoke laughter by greatly exaggerating their differences.

 法華僧と浄土僧といういわば宿敵同士が一緒に旅をするさまを描いた「宗論」である。「南無妙法蓮華経」の法華僧は剛、「南無阿弥陀仏」の浄土僧は柔で、ことごとく対立する。狂言だから両者の違いを誇張して演じ、笑わせる。

A hilarious scene unfolds the morning after their stay at the same inn. The two monks launch into their morning ritual, the Pure Land monk chanting ``Nanmaida, nanmaida,'' a clipped form of ``Namu Amidabutsu'' that he is supposed to say, and the other chanting ``Rengekyo, rengekyo,'' also a clipped form of ``Namu Myo Horengekyo.''

As they become absorbed, they begin to dance. Then, they begin to mix things up, with the Pure Land monk chanting ``Rengekyo'' and the hokke-so monk chanting ``Nanmaida.''

 同じ宿に泊まっての翌朝の場面が抱腹絶倒である。浄土僧が「なんまいだ、なんまいだ」とまずお経を読み始める。法華僧も「れんげきょう、れんげきょう」とお勤めを始める。だんだん熱中して、やがて2人は踊り始める。そして浄土僧が「れんげきょう」、法華僧が「なんまいだ」。つい取り違えてしまう。

In a television production I watched the other day, the monks were performed by players from two Noh groups, Shigeyama Sensaku of the Okura denomination and Nomura Mansaku of the Izumi denomination. The added duality-players from different groups performing as monks from different religious sects-piqued my interest in the production.

I thought the last mix-up scene would be difficult for Shigeyama and Nomura to perform because it takes subtle timing to succeed. They did it excellently, living up to their reputation as leading performers of the Okura and Izumi denominations. As the amusing drama came to an end, it struck me that the two groups had identical roots.

 先日テレビで見たときは、大蔵流の茂山千作と和泉流の野村万作という異流の競演だった。宗派の違いと流派の違いとが重なって興味深さもひとしおだ。両派を代表する狂言師だけに、間合いが難しい最後の取り違えの場面も見事だ。宗派は違っても根は同じなのだ、と笑いのうちに締めくくる。

Getting back to the Financial Times picture, almost the same thing can be said of Judaism and Islam. The two religions have been too ignorant about each other. It is said that the more they learn about each other, the more they will realize they have many similarities. Fundamentally, they have identical roots.

 ユダヤ教とイスラム教の指導者の話に戻れば、二つの宗教はこれまで相手を知らなすぎた、互いに知れば知るほど両者に類似点の多いことがわかってくる、という。こちらもいわば同根である。

Is it futile to hope that the day will come when the Palestinian conflict becomes something to laugh about, as in the Kyogen drama?

 そして思うのは、パレスチナでの対立、紛争が笑いに昇華できる日が来ないものか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 20(IHT/Asahi: August 21,2003)

(08/21)
 
 
 
War takes toll on cultural properties, too


An exhibition with an explicit message, as evident from its title-``Recovering Missing Treasures of Afghanistan and Iraq''-is now being held.

I visited the show that runs through Sunday at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo's Nihonbashi. (Afterward, it will tour Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.)

08月16日付
■《天声人語》

 「主張する」あるいは「呼びかける」展覧会とでも言えばよいだろうか。「流出文化財を守れ――アフガニスタンそしてイラク展」を見た(東京・日本橋三越で24日まで。以後大阪、広島、福岡などを巡回)

The exhibition has a subtitle: ``Urgent Appeal From Ikuo Hirayama.'' Hirayama, a well-known painter, refers to cultural properties lost in a war and other conflicts as ``cultural refugees,'' and the subtitle represents his wish to rescue ``refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq.''

Among the items on display are cultural artifacts that were smuggled out of Afghanistan and collected in Japan.

There is also a display of Hirayama's artworks drawn in the two countries.

 副題に「平山郁夫からの緊急アピール」とある。戦争などで失われる文物を「文化財難民」と呼ぶ平山画伯の「両国難民」を救おうとの願いが込められている。日本国内で集められたアフガニスタンからの流出文化財や、画伯の両国での絵が並ぶ。

I was drawn to a foot carved in marble-a left ankle with the rear half missing, to be exact. I learned that what was officially known as ``The Left Foot of Zeus'' dated back to the third century B.C. It was excavated in the Ai Khanum ruins of northern Afghanistan in 1968.

The foot seems to have measured about 50 centimeters lengthwise before its rear half broke off. A brief explanation says the statue of Zeus itself was probably 3 to 4 meters tall. I imagined what such a statue of Zeus would be like, and then it appeared to me that everlasting time was pulsating in the numerous cracks cut into the foot and the powerfully sculptured toes of Zeus.

 1個の大理石の足、正確には、後ろ半分が欠けた左足首に引き寄せられた。紀元前3世紀の「ゼウス神像左足」とある。アフガニスタン北部のアイ・ハヌム遺跡で68年に発掘された。欠ける前の足の大きさは50センチ前後だったらしく、ゼウス像は3〜4メートルにもなるかという。その姿を想像しながら見ていると、足に刻まれた幾筋ものひびや力強い指の造形に、悠久の時が宿っているように思われた。

The foot represents the best flowering of Hellenic culture brought to Asia by Alexander the Great. The treasure, from the Kabul Museum, vanished during the Afghan civil war. Three years ago, a Japanese antique art dealer bought it and donated it to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its safekeeping is the concern of the Japan Committee for Recovering Missing Cultural Properties.

 アレクサンドロス大王がアジアにもたらしたヘレニズムの精華で、カブール博物館の宝だったが、内戦で行方不明となった。3年前に日本の古美術商が買い取り、ユネスコに寄贈、今は流出文化財保護日本委員会が保管している。

The catalogue for the exhibition bears a message from Kosaku Maeda, a professor emeritus at Wako University: ``When the Left Foot of Zeus returns to Afghanistan, we will take it as evidence that peace has taken hold in the country, a mountainous motherland of cultural refugees.''

 展覧会の図録に、前田耕作・和光大名誉教授が書いていた。「左足が、ふたたび生地アフガニスタンに戻ったとき、私たちは、『難民』たちの母なる山多き国アフガニスタンに平和が根付いたなによりの証しとするだろう」

I fervently hope the time will come promptly to permit the wandering masterpiece to set foot in the soil of Afghanistan, long known as the crossroads of civilizations.

 さまよえる左足が「文明の十字路」の土を踏みしめる時が早く来るようにと祈りたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 16(IHT/Asahi: August 20,2003)

(08/20)
 
 
 
Irony of low-tech prevalence in blackout


When eastern regions of North America were crippled by the massive power blackout last week, guests at a ritzy hotel in downtown New York had to sleep on the street. As I looked at television images and newspaper photographs showing the scene, a thought struck me: the vulnerability of what should be the most comfortable space.

The hotel's vulnerability was the result of its dependence on systems that electrically controlled everything, including the opening and closing of doors. The blackout left many lessons to be learned.

08月17日付
■《天声人語》

 ニューヨークの真ん中の高級ホテルの滞在客が路上で寝かされている写真や映像を見ながら思った。最も快適であるはずの空間が何ともろいことか。ドアの開閉も含めすべてを電気で制御する方式の弱みである。北米東部で発生した大停電では、考えさせられることが多かった。

The upper floors of high-rise apartment buildings in normal circumstances should also provide elegant living quarters commanding the beautiful night view of Manhattan. But these apartments are the first to be affected in a power outage because high-rise buildings use power pumps to send up water from below. The higher an apartment, the more difficulty this system has delivering water to its occupants. Those who ordinarily enjoy comfortable living become the ones to suffer most in an emergency.

 高層アパートの高層部も、ふだんはマンハッタンの美しい夜景を眺めながらの優雅な居室だろう。しかし電動ポンプで下から水を送る仕組みでは停電時に真っ先に影響を受ける。高層部ほど水が届きにくくなる。平時の快適さが非常時には逆転する。

Candles and radios, items far removed from cutting-edge civilization, proved useful. These are essential items, not just in a power outage but also in a natural disaster. What is worrisome is that the use of candles caused many fires-reportedly causing a death in one. Does this mean that people have become less adept in the handling of fire-a primitive but basic skill?

 先端文明からは遠いロウソクとラジオが活躍した。停電に限らず災害時にも必携品だ。ただ、ロウソクによる火災の多発が気になる。死者まで出たようだ。火の扱いという原始的技術の衰えなのか。

When a massive power blackout hit New York in 1977, rampant looting followed, with nearly 4,000 people arrested this time. New York then was notorious as a crime-infested city. By contrast, looting was scarcely reported. Perhaps, a sense of solidarity, dating from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was at work among New Yorkers. The moral is that the shape of society in ordinary times escalates or checks a crisis.

 77年のニューヨーク大停電では略奪事件などが横行し、4千人近くが逮捕された。犯罪都市として悪名高いころのニューヨークである。今回はあまり聞かない。一昨年のテロ事件以来の連帯意識が働いたのかもしれない。日ごろの社会のありようが、危機を増幅もすれば抑制もすることを教える。

Reporting what citizens of Baghdad are saying, The New York Times said they have fallen back on age-old wisdom to survive the terrible heat in the absence of refrigerators and air-conditioning. Two examples of traditional practice: To preserve something to eat, hang it in a basket, with a wet piece of cloth over the food; have a nap after pouring water over oneself without taking off clothes.

 ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙がバグダッド市民の声を伝えていた。酷暑の下、冷蔵庫も空調もないが、昔ながらの知恵はある。「食べ物はかごにつるして湿った布をかぶせておくと保存がきく」「服を着たまま水を浴びて、昼寝をするといい」等々。

It struck me that the massive power blackout would lead Americans to think about the people of Iraq, doing so with a hint of irony about the outage's devastating effect on civilization.

 大停電がイラクの人々を思いやるきっかけにならないか。「文明」への多少の皮肉も込めつつ、そんな願いがにじむ声だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 17

(08/19)
 
 
 

Being No. 2 is sometimes a matter of choice


It is common to hear mothers exhort their children to be No. 1.

In this context, a Chinese proverb is relevant: ``Better to be the head of an ass than the tail of a horse,'' is often directed at grown-ups to achieve more in life. By that, we mean one should endeavor to lead a small group, rather than be satisfied with occupying a minor position in a large organization.

08月13日付
■《天声人語》

 1番になりなさい。そう言って激励する話はよく聞く。あるいは、鶏口となるも牛後となるなかれ。つまり大きな集団の後ろをついていくよりは、たとえ小さな集団でもトップになった方がいい、とも。

So ours is a No. 1-oriented society with a pecking order for every strata.

Masahiro Kawai, a veteran infielder of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, has struck back against the trend in a small way.

In his younger days, he regularly played as second batter in the line-up, playing the role in an unassuming manner. He was a master at rolling sacrifice bunts, a baseball tactic aimed at sending runners ahead, mostly from first base to second base. By equaling the American major league record in sacrifice bunts, he showed what an asset the unassuming second batter was to the team.

 そんな「1番志向」の序列社会に、プロ野球の川相昌弘選手がささやかな反撃を見せてくれた。地味な2番打者の役割をアピールした。自分が犠牲になって走者を進塁させるバントの名手で、大リーグの犠打記録に並んだのだ。

Like Kawai, Shigeru Chiba, who died last year, used to play as second batter when he was with the Giants. At one time, he was known as the best second batter ever to play in Japanese professional baseball. Wearing No. 3 on his uniform, he played second base. One of the team's powerhouses, he helped create a golden age for the Giants.

But Chiba had to be content with a rather obscure status. The star of the team was Tetsuharu Kawakami who was nicknamed dageki no kamisama (God of batting). He turned over his uniform number to Shigeo Nagashima, perhaps the most popular star of Japanese baseball, when the latter joined the Giants. In his final years, he seemed to fade from the public's memory.

 去年亡くなった千葉茂さんは最強の2番打者といわれたこともある。背番号3の二塁手で、巨人黄金期を築いた一人だ。しかし同時期、打撃の神様といわれた川上哲治さんがいては地味な存在にとどまらざるをえない。背番号3も長嶋茂雄さんに譲って、忘れられがちな晩年を送った。

In his recent book, Osamu Ikeuchi, a scholar of German literature, follows the footsteps of 16 people who chose not to be No. 1. Published by Shobunsha, the book has a long title: ``Niretsume no Jinsei-Kakureta Isai tachi'' (Lives in the second row-unknown people with unusual talent).

The title refers to people who were not blessed with fame and glory despite having unusual traits. Instead, they chose to carve out paths to their liking.

 ドイツ文学者池内紀さんの近著『二列目の人生 隠れた異才たち』(晶文社)は、華やかな名声とは無縁だったが、異能を携え独自の人生を歩んだ人たち16人の足跡を追っている。「一番を選ばない生き方」をした人たちだ。

Swimmer Shiro Hashizume is among the athletes taken up in the book. He was the principal rival of Hironoshin Furuhashi, a freestyle swimmer who amazed the world by living up to his nickname: ``Fujiyama no Tobiuwo'' or ``flying fish of the country of Mount Fuji.''

Although Hashizume once set a world record, the spotlight was always on Furuhashi. Even his hometown has done practically nothing to commemorate his feats, according to the book.

 スポーツ選手では、水泳の橋爪四郎さんが登場する。「フジヤマのトビウオ」と世界が目をみはった古橋広之進さんに寄り添うように泳いできた。世界記録を出したこともあるが、注目は常に古橋さんに集まった。故郷にも彼を顕彰するようなものはほとんどない。

In the book's afterword, Ikeuchi says: ``The people I have written about have a common trait. They are removed from concern about what others say of them. They have something that fills their minds-something that crowds out talent to get along in the world.''

They have led the kind of life they could not have lived if they had opted to be No. 1.

 池内さんは「あとがき」に記す。「世評といったことへのこだわりから遠い人たちである。ほかに心を満たすことがあって、世才にまでまわらない」。「1番」では味わえない人生である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 13(IHT/Asahi: August 18,2003)

(08/18)
 
 
 
On this day, recall the path that led to ruin


On the 15th of August 58 years ago, many people jotted down their thoughts upon hearing the radio broadcast of Emperor Hirohito's announcement that he had accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.

08月15日付
■《天声人語》

 天皇のポツダム宣言受諾のラジオ放送を聞いて、多くの人が日記などに記した。58年前の8月15日へと思いを致す。

``It is finally over. Over. The war and everything else. It is over,'' wrote author Taiko Hirabayashi that day. Her entry is included in ``Hachigatsu Jugonichi no Nikki'' (Diaries dated Aug. 15), published by Kodansha. The book also quotes writer Hyakken Uchida: ``Hot teardrops kept falling from my eyes. I was unable to think what this flood of tears meant to me.''

 「ああついに終った。終った。戦争も、何も彼も、終ったのだ。終ったのだ」(平林たい子・講談社『八月十五日の日記』)。「熱涙垂れて止まず。この滂沱の涙はどう云ふ涙かと云ふ事を、自分で考へる事が出来なかつた」(内田百けん・同)。

Film actress Hideko Takamine was entertaining air corps personnel in Chiba Prefecture, according to ``Watashi no Tosei Nikki'' (My professional diary), published as an Asahi Bunko paperback. She listened to the broadcast with the men, who were lined up before the radio.

In the evening, handbills were dropped from a plane that flew so low that it almost skimmed the roof of the inn where she was staying. The message on the bills screamed: ``We will resist to the bitter end! We will fight to the death!''

Late into the night, Takamine kept hearing the roar of planes heading one after another out to the ocean beyond. She sensed the pilots were determined to go on a desperate suicide mission.

 女優の高峰秀子は、千葉県内の航空隊を慰問していた。ラジオの前に整列した隊員と共に聞く。夕方、宿の屋根すれすれに飛ぶ飛行機から「徹底抗戦、われわれは死ぬまで闘ふ!」というビラがまかれた。深夜、爆音を残してあとからあとから海の方へ消えてゆく飛行機に、絶望的な「自爆」を感じていた。(朝日文庫『わたしの渡世日記』)。

Shuji Terayama was a third-grader at an elementary school in Aomori Prefecture when he heard the broadcast in a bombed-out neighborhood. ``I had just caught a cicada,'' he recalls in a book of his included in the ``Sakka no Jiden'' (Writers' autobiography) series published by Nihon Tosho Center. ``I was clutching the voiceless cicada in my sweaty palm, and the insect's painfully labored breathing became one with the pounding ache in my heart.''

 寺山修司は青森の国民学校の3年だった。焼け跡で放送を聞く。「つかまえたばかりの唖蝉を、汗ばんだ手にぎゅっとにぎりしめていたが、苦しそうにあえぐ蝉の息づかいが、私の心臓にまでずきずきと、ひびいてきた」(日本図書センター『作家の自伝』)。

Haiku and tanka poets also reflected on that day. Hakusen Watanabe wrote: ``The crape myrtles are in bloom/ I long to own/ A new pair of undershorts.'' And here is one by Zenmaro Toki: ``Did you think we were going to win?/ My old wife asks me/ Poignantly.''

 俳人、歌人もその日をうたった。〈新しき猿又ほしや百日紅 渡辺白泉〉〈あなたは勝つものとおもつてゐましたかと老いたる妻のさびしげにいふ 土岐善麿〉。

That day was a long time ago. Yet, damage is still being done today by chemical weapons, for instance, abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army in various parts of Japan and China. And there are many people at home as well as abroad who still ache from their physical and emotional scars.

Aug. 15 is a day of soul-searching for anyone who cares about our world of today and tomorrow, a day on which to humbly recall the path that led the nation to irrevocable harm.

 長い年月が流れた。しかし、例えば日本や中国での旧日本軍の化学兵器による被害のようなことが、いまだに起こる。心と体に残された古い傷のうずく人々も、国の内外に多い。取り返しのつかないことをなすに至った過去の道を、今と未来のために省みる日である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 15(IHT/Asahi: August 16,2003)

(08/16)
 
 
 
Liberia's chaos highlights an irony of history


Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, has an ironic history. Founded in 1847, Liberia was a haven for Africans who had been liberated from slavery in the United States and sought their own ``new world'' of freedom. Hence the name Liberia.
08月14日付
■《天声人語》

 アフリカ西海岸のリベリア共和国は、皮肉な運命をたどった国である。アメリカの奴隷制度を脱したアフリカ系の人々が新天地を求めて移住したのが始まりだ。建国は1847年で、国名はずばり「自由・解放」を意味する。


The west coast of Africa was at the heart of the slave trade with anywhere between 10 million and 20 million Africans shipped off to the New World.

At its peak in the late 18th century, the slave trade accounted for two-thirds of Africa's total trade value.

Many Africans began to return to their ancestral homelands in the early 19th century, aided by people who supported their cause.

 アフリカ西海岸は奴隷貿易の拠点だった。奴隷として新大陸に送り込まれたアフリカ人は1千万人とも2千万人ともいわれる。最盛期の18世紀末には総貿易額の3分の2を占めるほどだった。その「奴隷」たちが19世紀初めごろから理解者の支援を得て、故郷のアフリカへ続々とUターンした。

They modeled their ``new world'' after the United States, building American-style towns and homes, speaking English, and using the U.S. dollar as their currency.

The pattern was eerily similar to how early British emigrants to America fashioned their new world in the image of their old country.

 新しい土地では家も街もアメリカ風につくられた。英語を話し、通貨もドルである。英国から新大陸アメリカへ移住した人々が、母国をなぞって国づくりをしたのと同じような経過をたどった。

One major irony in Liberia's case was that even though the returned Africans and their descendants were a minority group, they monopolized power and continued to ignore the rights of the indigenous population.

 大きな皮肉は、人口でいえばごく少数派の「アメリカ系アフリカ人」つまり移住者とその子孫たちが政治の実権を握り、多数派の先住民は疎外され続けたことだった。

In another ironic twist of history, a coup d'etat in 1980 toppled Liberia's 130-year-old dictatorship, but this served only to throw the nation into chaos.

Repeated tribal wars and civil unrest created refugees in growing numbers, and left a heavy toll. The situation went from bad to worse when Charles Taylor, who was born in Liberia - his father was American - stepped in by becoming president in 1997.

 もう一つの皮肉は、130年ほど続いた権力の独占が80年、クーデターによっていったん崩壊すると同時に、部族間抗争などの混乱が始まったことだろう。断続的な内戦で難民、犠牲者は増え続けた。97年、アメリカ系アフリカ人のテーラー氏が大統領に就任するとともに、内戦は激しさを増した。

Taylor resigned on Aug. 11 and left Liberia. Whether his self-exile ends the chaos remains to be seen. Even though Liberia is far away, I felt I could not remain indifferent to its fate as I thought about the bitter and tragic history of Africa since the days of slave trade.

 11日、テーラー大統領は退陣、亡命した。これで混乱が収まるかどうかは予断を許さない。奴隷貿易以来のアフリカの苦難の歴史を思い浮かべつつ、遠い国のこととして無関心を決め込むわけにはいかないと思った。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 14(IHT/Asahi: August 15,2003)

(08/15)
 
 
 
Preteen killer slipped through surveillance


More than a month has passed since a 12-year-old boy was taken into custody in Nagasaki in the slaying of a 4-year-old. The older boy took the kindergartner on a short tour before killing him on July 1. The other day, I went over the route they took.

08月10日付
■《天声人語》

 長崎で、12歳の少年が補導されて1カ月たった。少年が4歳の幼稚園児を連れ歩いたという経路を、先日たどった。

Their trip through the city started when they stepped out from a home electronics discount store at the foot of the hill on which stands the Urakami Cathedral. They headed for a streetcar stop. The old cars running on the line make for a stark contrast with the discount store, which looks like a giant, square-shaped factory. The lettering on the body of the car I took said, ``Made in 1953.'' There was something quaint about the car, a quality that reflected its half-century of service.

 浦上天主堂がそびえ立つ丘の下にある家電量販店を出て、路面電車の停留所に向かう。巨大な四角い工場のような量販店とは対照的な、古びた電車が来る。「昭和二十八年製造」とある、半世紀も走ってきた風格ある車両に乗り合わせた。

The streetcar passed by ground zero, where the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945.

The line lay close to Nagasaki port and Dejima, which was Japan's only trading post during its two centuries of virtual seclusion. It took nearly 30 minutes before the car reached the city's downtown.

The passengers seemed to feel very close to each other. I wondered how the junior high school student and the kindergartner had behaved during the streetcar ride.

 原爆の爆心地のそばを通り、長崎港や出島の脇を走って繁華街へ。30分近くかかった。狭い電車の中では、客同士、目を近くに感じる。ふたりは、どうしていたのだろうか。

I followed those getting off into an arcaded shopping area. Surveillance cameras mounted at the entrance probably caught the two boys on film. I saw more at a pachinko pinball game parlor down the street.

Finally, my trip took me to the crime scene. The older boy allegedly killed the 4-year-old by throwing him off the top of a multistory parking lot. I found my way to the road running below, only to discover that an altar and a great variety of offerings had vanished, contrary to my expectation. With the approach of a typhoon, the municipal authorities had removed them for safekeeping.

 アーケード街に入る。ふたりを写したらしい防犯カメラがそこここにあり、その先のパチンコ店にもあった。犯行現場の立体駐車場の下の道に出たが、祭壇も供えの品々もない。台風接近のため、市が一時撤去、保管していた。

I asked municipal officials to allow me to look at the collection of scribblings left by mourners on the roadside. The batch included words written by children and other youngsters, judging from the handwriting. Some took the form of computer printouts.

Predominant among the words of mourning were these: kanashii (saddened), nidoto (never again), gomeifuku wo (rest in peace), tengoku de (in heaven), and wasuremasen (I won't forget you).

Evidently, these sentiments were penned by people who wanted to set their minds at rest, while mourning Shun, the murder victim.

 お願いして、そこに残された数十の言葉の束を見せてもらう。幼い文字や、若い筆跡に、パソコン印刷のもある。多いのは「悲しい」「二度と」「ご冥福を」「天国で」「忘れません」。駿ちゃんを悼みつつ、自らの心をも鎮めたいという願いが伝わってくる。

While I was looking up at the top of the parking lot, the phrase tomei na sonzai (transparent being) came to mind. This is an expression coined by a 14-year-old who referred to himself as Sakakibara and brutally killed two children in Kobe. It occurred to me that Shun and the older boy were literally ``transparent'' on that fatal day in July.

 駐車場を見上げていると、「透明な存在」という言葉が浮かんできた。あの酒鬼薔薇のというよりも、文字通りの透明である。

They were seen by many people. They were photographed by surveillance cameras. Even so, the murder took place-as if they had slipped past the eyes of passers-by and recording equipment. What makes the case more worrisome is that the slaying was committed in a town where modernity and tradition make a proper mix, not in a big city with its vast sea of anonymity.

 あの日、ふたりの周りに人の目は少なくなかった。カメラにも写っていた。残念なことに、その目や装置をとおり抜けるかのように事件は起きた。そして大都会の途方もない匿名の海ではなく、古さや程良さの残る街で起きたことも重苦しさを募らせる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 10(IHT/Asahi: August 14,2003)

(08/14)
 
 
 
California election the ultimate political show


The curtain has risen on a new political show in the United States. I am given to wondering if there is a clear line between politics and entertainment, reality and fiction.

08月12日付
■《天声人語》

 これは政治なのか、エンターテインメントなのか。現実の世界のことなのか、虚構が紛れ込んできたのか。そんな思いを抱かせる政治ショーが米国で幕を開けた。

With movie actor Arnold Schwarzenegger running, the California gubernatorial race could hardly be described as an orthodox affair. For Californians, it is as if the circus has come to town, featuring the former world champion bodybuilder-turned Hollywood superstar.

 カリフォルニア州の知事選は、俳優のシュワルツェネッガー氏が立候補したことで通常の選挙の枠には収まりそうになくなった。かつてのボディービルの世界チャンピオンで、いまや世界的な人気スターの登場とあって、現地は「街にサーカスがやってきた」のお祭り騒ぎらしい。

Ballots are to be cast in October. This will also be a recall election to decide the fate of the incumbent Democrat governor, whose approval ratings have plummeted because of a massive budget deficit for which he is being held responsible.

President George W. Bush has said of Schwarzenegger, ``I think he'd be a good governor.'' Bush, who always likes to pose as a tough president, must have a weak spot for the ``Terminator.'' But I just wonder if Bush might not have been a bit too enthusiastic.

 巨額の財政赤字を抱えて不人気の民主党現職知事に対するリコール投票とともに10月に実施される。ブッシュ大統領は「彼はいい知事になるだろう」と勇み足気味の発言をした。常にタフな大統領を演出しようとする氏が「ターミネーター」には、一目置かざるをえないのはわかるにしても。

As if stimulated by the presence of a superstar in the race, the entire affair has turned into something of a free-for-all. The more than 150 candidates include a 100-year-old woman sponsored by a 99-cent store chain, and a police officer who just wants his grandchildren know that their grandpa ran for California governor. ``All walks of California society are taking their shot at the big time,'' notes a local newspaper.

 主役人気にあやかろうとしてか、多数、多彩な人たちが届け出をした。「99セントショップ」の支援を得て立候補した100歳の女性もいれば、「孫たちに『おじいちゃんはカリフォルニア知事選に立候補した』と言わせたい」というだけで立候補した警察官もいる。地元紙などが様々伝えている。

Back to Schwarzenegger. He is definitely a high-profile Hollywood celebrity, but his prowess as a politician is anyone's guess. Needless to say, his immortality on the silver screen has nothing to do with his credentials to be state governor. The focus of this ``ultimate political show'' must lie in the extent voters will be able to tell fiction from reality.

 シュワルツェネッガー氏に戻れば、俳優としては高名だが、政治家としては「いったい何者?」である。もちろん銀幕の不死身ぶりが知事としての能力にはつながらない。虚構と現実とをどこまで区分けできるか。「究極の政治ショー」ともいえる選挙の注目点だ。

Americans love show business. ``There's No Business Like Show Business'' went the title of a popular movie, but an election is hardly a frivolous affair.

 ショーの好きなお国柄だが「ショーほどすてきな商売はない」と浮かれてばかりもいられない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 12(IHT/Asahi: August 13,2003)

(08/13)
 
 
 
A tortured soul forever changed by Nagasaki


When I arrived in Nagasaki, Typhoon No. 10 was roaring to the east, buffeting the city with strong gusts and heavy downpours off and on, even though it was relatively far away.

I visited Zenza Elementary School near ground zero of the 1945 atomic bombing and noticed that preparations were under way in the gymnasium for Saturday's ceremony to offer prayers for world peace-a citywide annual school ritual.

08月09日付
■《天声人語》

 長崎に来ている。東方にある台風10号の強さを思わせるように、突風とたたきつける雨が断続的に続いた。爆心地に近い市立銭座(ぜんざ)小学校の体育館では、きょう学校ごとに開かれる平和祈念集会の準備が進んでいた。

Kuninobu Noro, who was later to receive the nation's most prestigious literary award, enrolled at this school in 1944. In those days, it called itself Zenza Kokumin Elementary School. (The word kokumin means people or people's, and its insertion was ordered to mobilize the nation for war.) Noro was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for a novel ``Kusa no Tsurugi'' (Grass sword).

In the spring of the following year, after his father was drafted into military service, he moved to live with his mother's parents in Isahaya, about 20 kilometers from Nagasaki. The move spared him from falling victim to the Aug. 9 atomic bombing.

 この学校が銭座国民学校と呼ばれていた44年、後に「草のつるぎ」で芥川賞を受賞する野呂邦暢(のろくにのぶ)が入学した。翌年春、父が応召し、彼は20キロほど離れた諌早の母親の実家へ移った。そして8月9日が来る。

On that day, the sky was blue, with no speck of cloud. Noro went to a nearby park with friends to catch cicadas. It was while he was trying to catch insects that he saw a blinding flash in the direction of Nagasaki. ``In time,'' he wrote later, ``clouds eerily tinted with the color of blood spread against the darkening sky at sunset. The sky over Nagasaki remained bright even at night.'' In his book ``Okoku Soshite Chizu'' (Kingdom and map), Noro went on to say the tragedy that befell him was that he witnessed an apocalyptic catastrophe at the start of his boyhood.

 雲一つない天気だった。彼は友達と公園へセミとりに出かける。「長崎の方角にまばゆい光がひらめくのを見た。やがて空が暗くなり血を流したような夕焼けがひろがった。夜に入っても長崎の空は明るかった」。少年時代の入り口で、終末的世界とでもいうような破局を目撃したと、野呂は記す(『王国そして地図』集英社)。

Noro's classmates and his teachers at Zenza Elementary School, as well as the districts of Nagasaki that he knew so well, all perished in the atomic bombing that he witnessed from a distance. He grew up with a tremendous sense of loss.

``The areas that I can genuinely call my hometown vanished when the plutonium bomb flashed,'' he said in the book, published by Shueisha.

 机を並べていた友も、先生も町並みも消滅する。それを目撃していた自分。この幼い日の、とてつもない喪失感を抱いて、野呂は成長する。「本当の意味で私の故郷といえる町はプルトニウム爆弾が一閃したとき消えうせてしまったのだ」。

Part of a staircase from his elementary school is on display at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. The concrete steps are embedded with shards of glass shattered by the blast. Looking at the exhibit, I recalled that the Isahaya Municipal Library described Noro as ``a master of words at landscape painting'' in its corner of hometown writers.

 被爆当時の銭座国民学校の階段の一部が、原爆資料館にある。爆風で飛び散ったガラス片が、コンクリートの階段にめり込んでいる。それを見ながら、諌早図書館の郷土作家のコーナーでは、野呂を「言葉による優れた風景画家」と紹介していたのを思い起こした。

Noro's works abound in poetic portrayals of nature in Isahaya. But he died at the young age of 42. His premature death may have had to with that cruel experience, possibly embedded in his soul like broken pieces of glass.

 諌早の自然を詩情豊かに描き、42歳で早世した野呂。その心には、あの過酷な体験が、ガラス片のように、めり込んでいたのかもしれない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 9(IHT/Asahi: August 12,2003)

(08/12)
 
 
 
Scary consequences of ubiquitous computing


Yubikitasu is the Japanese rendition of the word ubiquitous. The word is still unfamiliar to many of us, but one must really be behind the times to immediately associate it with yubiki, Japanese for parboil.

The National Institute for Japanese Language believes foreign words should be rendered into understandable Japanese wherever appropriate. The institute has proposed that ubiquitous be translated as jiku jizai-a state of being free from the confines of time and space. The term is used to refer to a thoroughly computerized society where practically nothing escapes an all-encompassing information network.

08月08日付
■《天声人語》

 ユビキタス。多くの方にもまだ耳慣れない言葉だろう。一瞬「湯引き」という料理用語を思い浮かべるようでは、あまりに時代遅れかもしれない。外来語の言い換えを提案している国立国語研究所は「時空自在」と訳した。あらゆる物がコンピューターにつながり、情報が行き交う社会のことをいう。

The word ubiquitous, which means omnipresent, is derived from Latin. It is often used as a common attribute of God. In its new usage, the word implies the computer is just as omnipresent and ubiquitous as God.

 元々は「どこにでもある」「遍在」という意味のラテン語で、神はあらゆるところに現れる、というような場合につかわれたらしい。その神のようにコンピューターが「遍在」する状態がユビキタスだ。

Here is one illustration of how the system works. A food item is ``implanted'' with a microchip that contains all vital information about it-its place of origin, the date by which it should be consumed, and so on-so that the consumer immediately knows all about the product, even if it is buried deep in the refrigerator. The information could even include helpful instructions, such as ``parboil this fish before cooking.''

 たとえば食品一つひとつに超小型コンピューターを埋め込む。そして自分の「個人情報」を持ち運ばせる。家庭で冷蔵庫に詰め込まれても、生産地はどこ、賞味期限はいつ、などが一瞬にしてわかる。「この魚は湯引きしてお使い下さい」などの指示を内蔵することもできるだろう。

Ubiquitous computing enables people to ``instruct'' household appliances to function while away from home. And builders of a ubiquitous society say it will no longer be a flight of fancy to expect household appliances to switch themselves on and off at their ``discretion.'' The term ``jiku jizai'' seems to imply the convenience promised by all this.

 外出先から自宅の「物たち」に命令することもできる。さらに「物たち」が自分の判断で電源を入れたり消したりすることも可能になるという。「時空自在」という言い換えは、そうした便利さを考えてのことだろう。

The ubiquitous society is believed to be achievable in the not too distant future. But opinions differ on whether this will result in an ultra-convenient society or one that is completely controlled. Professor Ken Sakamura of the University of Tokyo, one of the proponents of the ubiquitous concept, notes: ``We must hurry the technological development, but we need to go slow with its actual application to society.''

 「超利便社会」到来なのか、「超管理社会」への道と見るのか。実現はそう遠くないともいわれるユビキタス社会については見解が分かれる。「技術開発は急ぎ、社会への適合はゆっくりと」とは推進者の一人、坂村健東大教授の意見だ。

Even then, I cannot help imagining the worst. The very last thing I seek is a future where every single citizen has a microchip implanted.

 それでも最悪事態を想像してしまうのは悪い癖か。人間一人ひとりにまで超小型コンピューターが埋め込まれるような未来だけはご免被りたい、と。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 8(IHT/Asahi: August 9,2003)

(08/09)
 
 
 
Reality check shows change can be cosmetic


Is it all right to keep hoping for change, or is that a futile idea? I am not sure.

08月07日付
■《天声人語》

 変化への希望を抱いていいのだろうか。あるいは希望を抱くのはむなしいことなのか。そんな思いの間で揺れる。

Kim Dae Jung was abducted from a Tokyo hotel on Aug. 8, exactly 30 years ago. ``The citizens of Seoul were horrified by yet another manifestation of raw authoritarian power, of naked power,'' observed a writer who at the time called himself T.K.

Everyone knew the abduction was the doing of South Korean secret agents, but nobody dared say so in public, T.K. pointed out. ``The public is completely powerless before the almighty government.''

 30年前の8日、金大中氏が東京のホテルから拉致された。「ソウルの市民たちはまたむきだしの権力、裸の権力にであってぞっとした」。こう記したのは、先日その筆者が明らかになったT・K生である。韓国の情報機関の仕業だと皆が思っている。でも公にはいえない。「民間は無力そのものであり、政府は全く万能である」。

T.K. revealed his identity last month. He is Chi Myong Kwan, a South Korean philosopher.

Without a question, South Korea has changed over the last 30 years. The transformation from military to civilian rule culminated in Kim's election to the presidency-Kim the dissident hero.

How about its neighbor up north? Is it preposterous to even hope for any change in North Korea?

 あれから30年、韓国は間違いなく変わった。軍政から民政へそして反体制の英雄だった金大中氏が大統領にまでなった。そこで思いは北隣の国に向かう。あの国については、変化という希望は抱きえないのか。

The leader's pictures are displayed reverently in every village. Schoolchildren are taught songs extolling the leader. This was how South Koreans of 30 years ago worshipped President Park Chung Hee, as described by T.K.

But South Korea did change. Is this not cause for hope?

 指導者の写真が村々に飾られる。指導者をたたえる歌が学校で教えられる。30年前の韓国の朴大統領への個人崇拝ぶりをT・K生は伝えた。その後の韓国の変わりようを、希望の種と見ることはできないか。

Just 10 years ago in Japan, the inauguration of the administration of Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa on Aug. 9 halted the 38-year monopoly of power by the Liberal Democratic Party. To the Japanese people, this was effectively a political cataclysm, something the nation had been waiting for.

Hosokawa broke from tradition in ways that were refreshing to watch. All Diet members wear a pin that identifies their status, but Hosokawa held news conferences without one. And he would remain standing throughout, and point a pen in his hand at the media to designate questioners.

 わが国では10年前の9日、38年にわたる自民党政権にいったん終止符を打つ細川政権が誕生した。あの時、日本人の目には「激変」と映った。変化を望む国民の期待を反映した、と。議員バッジをつけないで立ったままの記者会見、手に持ったペンで質問者を指示するといった細川スタイルは、外見上も新鮮だった。

What has changed in the last 10 years? If Japanese politics were to be likened to a building, one could perhaps say the walls have been repainted and new furniture brought in. But the foundations still remain the same, or so I must conclude.

 あれから10年、何が変わったのか。建物でいえば、家具を取り換えたり、壁を塗り替えたりといった程度の変化はあったかもしれない。しかし日本政治の土台を取り換えるところまではいかなかったとの思いが強い。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 7(IHT/Asahi: August 8,2003)

(08/08)
 
 
 
Telling tales about Hiroshima to save world


Shigeru Orimen, a junior high school first-grader, was looking forward to the lunch break, and he said so when he left home early in the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. He was elated because his lunch box was packed with a wartime treat-rice boiled with soybeans and barley.

He was heading for the center of Hiroshima. He had been mobilized for work to demolish houses there and create empty space for the purpose of preventing fires from spreading. But the atomic attack that came at 8:15 a.m. deprived him of a chance to eat his favorite food.

08月06日付
■《天声人語》

 米に大豆と麦とを加えて炊いた混ぜご飯の弁当に、中学1年の滋くんは「やったあ、きょうはおいしいぞ」と大喜びで出かけた。45年8月6日早朝のことだった。防火帯づくりに動員され、広島市中心部に向かったのだった。8時15分、滋くんは被爆、好物の混ぜご飯を口にすることはなかった。

Over the years, storyteller Kankyusha Kumosuke has been telling this story under the title of ``Kurokoge no bentobako'' (Charred lunch box) as part of his repertoire of Hiroshima-related tales.

The lunch box in question is on display at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Kankyusha told the story at a symposium that was held on Sunday at a conference hall facing the museum. The theme of the symposium was ``Toward the Abolition of Nuclear Weaponry-Standing Up to the Theory of Power.''

 講釈師の緩急車(かんきゅうしゃ)雲助(くもすけ)さんが語り続ける演目の一つ「黒焦げの弁当箱」である。この弁当箱は広島市の原爆資料館に展示されている。資料館に向き合う会議場で3日に催されたシンポジウム「語り続けよう核廃絶の道を」でも演じた。

It had taken time before the story of Shigeru's uneaten lunch came to be widely known through a book. His mother, Shigeko, donated the lunch box to the peace memorial museum, but she kept saying, ``I don't want to talk about it because it pains me to look back.''

 弁当箱をめぐる悲話が本になり、広く知られるようになるには時間がかかった。資料館に弁当箱を寄贈した滋くんの母、折免(おりめん)シゲコさんは「思い出すのがつらいから話したくない」と。

Nevertheless, Shigeko changed her mind after turning 80 and began to provide a detailed account. According to Tatsuharu Kodama's book ``Makkuro na obento'' (Charred lunch), a few days after the atomic bomb was dropped, she miraculously searched out Shigeru's body and his lunch box from among a litter of unrecognizably mangled bodies. (The book was published by Shin-Nihon Shuppan-sha.)

 80歳を超えて、シゲコさんは詳しく語り始めた。原爆投下の数日後、見分けのつかないたくさんの遺体の中から、シゲコさんが奇跡的に弁当箱と滋くんの遺体を探し当てた話である(児玉辰春『まっ黒なおべんとう』新日本出版社)

Shigeru kept turning up in Shigeko's dreams. Initially, he would look back for a moment when his mother called, ``Shigeru!'' Then he would trudge away.

It was not until about five years later that Shigeru began to speak. Even then, Shigeko could not hold her son in her arms, according to storyteller Kankyusha's version of the tale.

 滋くんの死後、シゲコさんは夢を見続けたそうだ。最初は「しげる!」と呼ぶと一瞬振り向くが、とぼとぼ去っていく。5年目ごろから滋くんが話し始めた。しかし「夢の中でも息子を抱きしめることはできなかった」と緩急車さん。

A panel at the nearby state-run Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall states that about 140,000 atomic bomb victims died by the end of 1945, with a margin of error placed in the neighborhood of 10,000.

The magnitude of the death toll and the large margin of error attest to the extraordinary nature of nuclear weapons that cause immense destruction in a flash.

 会場近くの国の平和祈念館のパネルに、45年中の原爆死没者は約14万人とあった。誤差は1万人内外とある。「誤差」という言葉が、またその数の大きさが、一瞬にして破滅をもたらす核兵器の異様さを映す。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 6

(08/07)
 
 
 
Lesson to be learned from Tonkin Gulf history


It is often said that war is easy to start but difficult to end. This is reason enough not to go to war frivolously. Leaders who lie about or overstate their justification for war deserve strong condemnation.

08月02日付
■《天声人語》

 戦争を始めるのは容易だが、終わらせるのは難しい。よくいわれることだが、その含意は、だから戦争を安易に始めてはいけないということだろう。いわんや開戦理由にうそや誇張があっては、指導者は重大な責めを負って当然だ。

In this connection, the Tonkin Gulf incident of 39 years ago immediately springs to mind. Official records say two U.S. Navy destroyers were attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The United States bombed North Vietnam in retaliation, causing the Vietnam War to escalate-and eventually turn into a quagmire.

 過去の例でまず思い浮かべるのは、ベトナム戦争時のトンキン湾事件だ。米駆逐艦が北ベトナムの攻撃を受けたとされる事件である。米国は北ベトナムを報復爆撃した。あの戦争が拡大し、泥沼化していくきっかけをつくった。

The administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the attacks took place on Aug. 2 and 4, 1964. At the time, The Asahi Shimbun expressed reservations about the Pentagon's true intentions, and pointed out the whole affair was shrouded in mystery.

Later, it emerged that the administration's official reports were full of fabrication.

 39年前のきょう2日と4日の2度にわたって攻撃されたとの発表だった。当時の本紙も「作為的疑いも」と米軍の行動に疑問を呈し、事件に謎が多いことを指摘していた。その後、この事件が発表とはずいぶん違い、捏造(ねつぞう)に近いことがわかってくる。

This was uncovered by The New York Times, which scored a major scoop by publishing the so-called Pentagon Papers, leaked by Daniel Ellsberg.

Ellsberg noted that had these classified documents been disclosed earlier, the Vietnam War might not have turned into a quagmire. He apologized to his fellow Americans for failing to live up to the responsibilities that went with his position.

 ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙がスクープした国防総省の秘密文書が事実解明に力あった。その文書を漏らしたエルズバーグ氏は後に語る。トンキン湾事件にかかわる文書を早く公開していれば、泥沼化は避けられたかもしれない。そして「米国民に謝罪する。私のような立場にいた人間に課せられた義務を果たさなかった」。

More recent documents suggest that Johnson himself was doubtful about the actual sequence of events in the Tonkin Gulf. Years later, as is well known, former Pentagon chief Robert McNamara admitted that the Vietnam War was a complete mistake, and said he regretted having ever let it happen.

In 1964, incidentally, the Japanese defense chief in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda was Junya Koizumi-the father of present Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

 最近の資料では当時のジョンソン大統領自身、攻撃の有無に疑問をもっていたようだ。国防長官として指揮したマクナマラ氏が「あの戦争は完全に間違いだった」と悔いていることもよく知られる。ちなみに当時、日本は池田内閣で、防衛庁長官は小泉首相の父、純也氏だった。

The justification used by the United States to attack Iraq remains highly suspect. There are lessons to be drawn from the Tonkin Gulf history.

 開戦理由をめぐって大義が揺らいでいるイラク戦争にも教訓を与える歴史である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 2(IHT/Asahi: August 6,2003)

(08/06)
 
 
 
Mixed signals in tidings from North Korea


Hearing from a blood relation who has not sent word in ages would naturally make most people happy.

The reaction of the five returnees from North Korea to letters from their children still living over there was rather more complicated, however. It was probably because the letters and photographs they received served as a stark reminder that they remain forcibly separated from their children.

08月04日付
■《天声人語》

 長い間、消息の分からなかった肉親が、無事でいることが分かる。うれしいはずのことなのに、そうはならない。それは、引き裂かれていることを、改めて強く思い知らされるからではないだろうか。

In fact, the letters and photographs delivered out of the blue from North Korea doubly shook up the returnees. While assuring their parents that they were fine, the children asked them to return: It was as if North Korea were exploiting parental weakness.

Almost 10 months have passed since the parents returned to Japan, so it is quite natural that their children would make such an appeal.

Even so, returnee Kaoru Hasuike commented, ``I have the feeling that our children were forced to write that way.'' It would be outrageous if the North Korean government viewed the returnees' children as hostages it can manipulate like puppets.

 北朝鮮から突然届いた手紙と写真は、拉致の被害者たちを、二重に揺さぶった。無事な様子を伝えて安心させる一方で、「帰ってきて」と、親にはつらい訴えをする。去年の秋の5人の帰国から、もう10カ月がたとうとしている。子が親を強く求めるのは自然だが「書かされている感じがする」と蓮池薫さん。もしも、子どもたちを、意のままにできる人質のようにでも考えているとすれば、言語道断だ。

Some of the photographs were reported to show the children smiling. But returnee Hitomi Soga said they weren't ``genuine.'' She cut a pathetic figure as she discussed the latest tidings from North Korea, speaking with motherly concern and anguish at a news conference.

 写真の表情には、笑顔も見られたという。しかし「本当の笑顔ではない」と曽我ひとみさん。母親として、心配と苦悩がにじむ、痛々しい会見だった。

Smiles and laughter can sometimes convey complex messages. People don't always smile out of positive feelings like friendship, sympathy, joy and happiness. Bitterness and a sense of resignation can also make people smile. It can be said that the letters and photographs from North Korea hit a raw nerve, conveying both positive and negative messages.

 一般に、人の笑みや笑いには、かなり複雑なメッセージが込められていることがある。親しみ、共感、喜び、うれしさなどの肯定的な感情だけではなく、苦さや、あきらめのようなものも、笑みを引き起こすからだ。今回の手紙と写真は、正と負の両方の、生々しい伝言をもたらしたとも言える。

So, do the letters have anything to do with the fact that Pyongyang has sounded out Tokyo on the idea of letting the families of the five returnees come to Japan? Also, is there any connection to Pyongyang's decision to go along with six-nation talks on its nuclear development program?

 この動きは、北朝鮮が日本政府に5人の家族の帰国を非公式に打診してきたことと、どう関連するのだろう。核開発問題での6カ国協議の受け入れとも絡むのか。

Efforts to draw North Korea into multilateral talks are welcome. But it is painful to see that the lives of the returnees and their families shaken up depending on the designs of the North Korean leadership at a given time.

 北朝鮮を国際協議の場に引き出すための動きは歓迎したい。しかし、その時々の北朝鮮の思惑で、拉致犯罪の被害者と家族の人生が大きく揺さぶられる様は、まことに痛切だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 4(IHT/Asahi: August 5,2003)

(08/05)
 
 
 
Sandwich family butters up supermarkets


A story on The Asahi Shimbun's home-life page the other day featured a homemaker's recollections about sandwiches.

An assortment of colorful and elegantly made sandwiches were put on the table when, as a child, she visited a large residence owned by a man who was her father's senior at his company. From there, she would go to a nearby beach to bathe. She would bring along her lunch-rice balls with half-dried Japanese apricots inside-which had been prepared by her mother. For the paper's home-life section, the woman reminisced about the vivid contrast the sandwiches made with the rice balls.

07月28日付
■《天声人語》

 先日、家庭面にサンドイッチをめぐる思い出話が出ていた。海水浴を兼ねて父の先輩の大きなお屋敷を訪ねた。そのとき出された色とりどりの上品なサンドイッチと、母がつくってくれた梅干しのおにぎりとの鮮烈な対比についてだった。

To the girl, the sandwiches symbolized a level of affluence beyond her reach that was enjoyed by those who lived in the residence.

More than 30 years on, sandwiches and rice balls are fierce rivals at convenience stores and other outlets. Recently, rice balls may be gaining the upper hand over sandwiches.

 手の届かない裕福な暮らしの象徴としてサンドイッチが描かれていた。それから30余年後、いまやサンドイッチとおにぎりは好敵手同士だ。コンビニなどでしのぎを削る。最近、おにぎりの方が押し気味かもしれない。

About what time did sandwiches become widely available in Japan? A passage in ``Dankyo'' (Broken bridge), a novel by Iwano Homei published toward the end of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), may offer a clue.

At Japanese National Railways' Sapporo Station in Hokkaido, the story's protagonist steps into a store selling bread and canned goods to buy sandwiches. He is told the sandwiches have not yet been made, so he settles for bread. The episode indicates sandwiches were quite popular at the time.

 サンドイッチが日本で普及したのはいつごろだろうか。明治末期の小説「断橋」(岩野泡鳴)にはこんな一節がある。札幌駅でのこと。パンや缶詰などを売っている店で「サンドヰチを買はうとしたのだが、まだ出来て来ない」といわれてパンを買う。なかなかの普及ぶりである。

Sandwiches are said to have originated in 18th-century Britain. Legend has it that John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, had sandwiches made so he would not have to leave the card table for meals. Sandwiches are a rare case in which a food item bearing a person's name or title has gained worldwide currency.

 発祥は18世紀英国とされる。食事の時間を惜しんでトランプに興じるサンドイッチ伯爵が作らせたという伝説である。人名のついた食べ物が世界中に広がった稀有(けう)の例だろう。

The 11th Earl of Sandwich has started up a sandwich business, according to The New York Times. The paper quotes his second son, who controls the business, as saying the relationship between the Sandwich family and the food item has switched from a story to a brand.

 その子孫、11代目サンドイッチ伯がついにサンドイッチ商売を始めたそうだ(ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙)。「私たちの家族とこの食品との関係は、物語からブランドに転じた」とは商売を仕切る次男。

The company supplies sandwiches with an Earl of Sandwich signature to supermarket chains.

The 11th Earl of Sandwich seems to be a man who goes in for some mischief. He buys some sandwiches at a supermarket, pays for them with a credit card. The trick of letting his signature be examined at the cash register never fails to astonish anyone.

 スーパーに「サンドイッチ伯爵」の署名入りの品を出している。そのスーパーでサンドイッチ伯がサンドイッチを買う。レジでカード支払いの署名をする。ブランド名そのまま「サンドイッチ伯爵」だ。レジ係がびっくりする。そんないたずらを楽しんだりもする11代目らしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 28(IHT/Asahi: August 4,2003)

(08/04)
 
 
 
Why is Japan raising its beef import tariffs?


The fish known in English as ``catfish'' goes by the Japanese name of namazu. But in Japan, the fish's identity is often cloaked under various other appellations, such as seisui-dai (clear-water snapper) used in catfish sashimi, or hirame (flounder), ainame (rock trout) or suzuki (sea bass). Some restaurants have even come up with the fancy name kawa-fugu (river globefish).

08月01日付
■《天声人語》

 清水ダイと名乗って刺し身になったこともある。ところによっては、ヒラメやアイナメ、スズキなどを僣称(せんしょう)したこともあるらしい。河ふぐと命名している食堂もある。正体はキャットフィッシュ、ナマズの一種である。

As can be surmised from these assumed identities, the catfish is a freshwater fish with a somewhat bland taste. In the United States, catfish breeding is a thriving business around the Mississippi Delta.

The American catfish is blander than the Japanese namazu. This is said to add to the catfish's versatility as food, and it is commonly served fried in America.

 僣称された魚たちからも推測できるように、淡泊な味の白身の淡水魚だ。米国では、ミシシッピ川などで多く養殖されている。日本のナマズに比べてくせがないことから、食材としての利用範囲が広いともいわれ、あちらではフライ用として好まれる。

But an influx of cheap Vietnamese imports have churned the water, so to speak, in the U.S. market. U.S. authorities have banned the use of catfish appellation for the Vietnamese imports. The fish are now being called by such other names as basa and tra, but they certainly look no different from the American catfish.

 このナマズをめぐって米国で騒ぎが起きている。ベトナム産が安く出回り始めたのが原因だ。まず、ベトナム産はキャットフィッシュと名乗ってはいけないことになった。どう見てもキャットフィッシュなのだが、市場ではバサとかチャーとか名乗らされる。

Last month, the Commerce Department ruled that Vietnam had dumped catfish on the U.S. market and that the imports are to be subject to stiff anti-dumping tariffs.

Years after the Vietnam War, relations were normalized at long last between the two nations, and a trade and commerce agreement came into effect about 18 months ago.

Given this background, a recent U.S. newspaper editorial denounced the Commerce Department's ruling and said it constituted a ``rigging of global trade'' by politicians and domestic catfish breeders.

 先月にはとうとうダンピングと認定された。懲罰的な関税がかけられることになる。ベトナム戦争後ようやく両国の関係が正常化し、1年半ほど前には通商協定も発効した。そんな時期だけに「業界と政界が結託しての乱暴な措置」などと厳しく批判する米紙社説も現れた。

This is not an issue Japan can just sit back and watch. Japan will raise its beef import tariffs this month, effectively invoking the ``safeguard'' tariff that is permitted under Japanese law.

Beef imports remained sluggish after the much ado about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, but imports have since begun to rebound. The Japanese government maintains this ``surge'' in imports is big enough to warrant the safeguard tariffs.

But imports have not even recovered their pre-BSE level yet. Naturally, consumers want to know why the government is doing this.

 対岸の火事とはいっていられない。わが国では今月から輸入牛肉の関税を引き上げる。いわゆるセーフガードの発動だ。BSE(牛海綿状脳症)の影響で落ち込んでいた輸入が持ち直した。その増加の割合が大きいとして自動的に発動するらしい。従前の水準にまでも回復していないのになぜ? 消費者側が疑問を抱くのは当然だろう。

The government's explanation is anything but convincing, not only to Japanese consumers but to the whole world, too.

 胸を張って世界に説明できる措置とはとても思えない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 1(IHT/Asahi: August 2,2003)

(08/02)
 
 
 
July was a month that gave pause for thought


A series of disquieting incidents occurred around the nation during July. Toward the end of the tsuyu rainy season in Kyushu, torrential rains and mudslides claimed more than 20 lives. In Okinawa Prefecture, where the tsuyu ended in late June, the mercury has registered 40 consecutive days of manatsu-bi (daytime highs of over 30 degrees) and nettai-ya (nighttime lows of over 25 degrees). Water shortages are feared in Okinawa.

07月31日付
■《天声人語》

 不安列島といいたくなるような事象の続く7月だった。梅雨の終わり際、九州を襲った局地的豪雨は、土石流などで20人余の犠牲者を出した。一方6月末に梅雨明けした沖縄では、40日間連続の真夏日、熱帯夜が続く。こちらは水不足が心配される。

The tremors that jolted the Tohoku region were so-called chokka-gata earthquakes that occurred directly above the epicenter. This was contrary to what seismologists had predicted-that the epicenter of quakes in this region would be off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Apparently, there was an active fault that had been overlooked.

It was a blessing that nobody was killed. Even so, there was extensive damage and residents are still living in fear. This sort of catastrophe could befall anyone.

 東北地方を襲った地震は、予測されていた宮城県沖地震とは別種の直下型地震だった。今まで注目されていなかった活断層が地下にあったらしい。幸い犠牲者は出なかったが、被害は大きく、なお不安な日々を送る人たちがいる。だれもが襲われるかもしれない。

Aside from natural calamities, there were also extremely disturbing crimes. A 12-year-old boy was arrested in the slaying of a 4-year-old in the city of Nagasaki. In Tokyo, four 12-year-old girls were held ``prisoner,'' and the chief suspect committed suicide.

 自然災害だけではない。嫌な事件が続いた。長崎市での幼児殺害事件では、12歳の少年が補導された。東京では小学生が監禁され、容疑者の男が自殺した。

Also disturbing was a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry survey on hikikomori - people who withdraw from all social contact and effectively live like hermits. The survey found more than 30 percent of such people are past the age of 30.

There were also reports to the effect that more children are now suffering from depression, and that the situation warrants close examination. Mental illness is spreading across generations, with the age of the hikikomori population becoming higher and the age of patients of depression becoming lower.

 ひきこもり相談の30%強が30歳以上との厚生労働省の調査結果も気がかりだ。子どもの間でうつ病が目立ってきたため実態調査に乗り出すとの報もあった。ひきこもりの「高齢化」と、うつ病の低年齢化という心の病の広がりである。

On the political front, the highly divisive bill to send Self-Defense Forces to Iraq was passed by the Diet. A senior Ground Self-Defense Force officer noted, ``Our troops have not had sufficient training to shoot back in the event they are fired upon in Iraq. Should we kill anyone, I am not sure if public opinion will be on our side. This worries me.''

This is a deeply disturbing law in many ways.

 国会では、世論を二分したイラク特措法が成立した。「イラクで襲撃を受けた場合に、撃ち返せるような訓練を十分していない」「撃ち殺した場合に世論が支持してくれるかも不安だ」とは陸幕幹部の言葉だ。さまざまな不安を抱えこんだ法律である。

History shows that dictators appear when the people are nervous and fearful. The following exchange occurs in a play by Bertolt Brecht:

``A nation without a hero is an unfortunate nation!''

``No, a really unfortunate nation is a nation that needs a hero.''

It is up to each individual citizen to decide for themselves, not leave it up to someone else.

 振り返れば、不安が独裁者を呼び出した歴史もあった。ブレヒト劇のせりふの応酬を思い浮かべよう。「英雄のいない国は不幸だ!」「英雄を必要とする国こそ不幸なんだ」。だれかに委ねるのではなく、一人ひとりが考えていかねば。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 31(IHT/Asahi: August 1,2003)

(08/01)
 
 
 
Heartfelt thoughts as July draws to a close


As July draws to a close, it's time to offer readers some recent quotable quotes.

In accordance with tradition, two North Korean abductees, Yasushi Chimura and his wife Fukie, wrote their wishes on strips of fancy paper and attached them to bamboo branches when they attended a July 7 ``Tanabata'' Star Festival meeting of well-wishers.

The poem on one strip read: ``Meteors disappearing into space far beyond!/ I pray for the safety of my dear children.'' This was in reference to the children the Chimuras left behind in North Korea when they returned home last year. The couple's other poem read: ``The starry sky above!/ With all my heart, I am praying/ For the speedy return of my children/ So grant my wish for reunion.''

07月30日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。拉致被害者の地村保志さんと富貴恵さんが「七夕のつどい」で短歌を短冊に記した。〈遥(はる)かなる彼方(かなた)に消える流れ星 愛(いと)しき子らの安堵(あんど)を祈る〉〈ひたすらに早く帰れと祈りたる 願いよ届け天の星空〉。

The father of a 4-year-old boy named Shun, who was slain in Nagasaki, wrote the following:

``Three weeks are about to pass since the death of my son, but I still cannot fully come to terms with the loss. Every night, my sleep is disturbed by Shun's cries for help.''

 長崎市で4歳の長男を殺害された父親が心境をつづった。「駿が亡くなってから3週間が過ぎようとしていますが、いまだに居なくなったことを完全に受け入れることができず、寝ていても駿の助けを求める声でうなされる日々が続いております」。

In a comment on the murder case, Sosuke Umeno, principal of Maruo Junior High School, a municipally run public school in Nagasaki, said, ``My heart aches whenever I think about it. Everyone has only one life to live. I wish the children at my school would grow up into adults who could listen to the chirping of a cricket or a bird.''

 事件について長崎市立丸尾中の梅野壮助校長は「いつ思い出しても心が痛む。二度とない人生だから、一匹のコオロギにも一羽の鳥にも耳を傾けられる人になってほしい」。

People are increasing who have not seen the blossoms of indigenous Japanese grass species, according to Hidetaro Sugimoto, a scholar of French literature. ``I am putting up resistance to the inroads of foreign species in a small way. I have grown waremokou (burnet) and fujibakama (boneset) in my yard,'' he said. ``Boneset leaves have a very good smell. Pluck some leaves and judge for yourself,'' he went on. ``In the old days, people used to treasure them, putting them in chests of drawers after drying them in the shade.''

 本来の日本の草花を見たことない人が増えているという仏文学者の杉本秀太郎さんは「ささやかな抵抗で、庭にワレモコウやフジバカマを育ててる」。フジバカマは「葉をちょっとちぎっても、すごくいい香りがする。昔は陰干しにして、タンスにしまったもんですがねえ」と。

Speaking of the Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto, costume designer Emi Wada said, ``Those who built this temple didn't have meticulously drawn blueprints. Everywhere, you can find sections that are not artificial, sections where nature remains intact. That is why you make new discoveries no matter how many times you go there. And I suppose that is why the temple has a healing effect on troubled souls.''

 衣装デザイナーのワダエミさんは、清水寺について「緻密(ちみつ)に計算して建てた寺ではなく、至る所に手を加えない部分や自然が残っています。だからこそ、何度通っても発見があり、心が癒やされるのでしょう」。

``Unwanted weeds are lumped together as zasso (miscellaneous grass),'' said horticulture researcher Munetami Yanagi. ``But even these have virtues. For example, they mirror the four seasons of Japan. Enokorogusa (bristle grass) looks best when it sways in the summer wind,'' he went on. ``Take a good look at any weed, and you will find something good about it. The trouble is that I often stop myself when I am about to pull out a weed.''

 園芸研究家の柳宗民さんは「邪魔者としてひとくくりにされる雑草も、日本の四季を映しています。エノコログサは、夏の風に揺れる姿が一番でしょう。どの草にもじっと見ると何かいいところがあるから、抜く手がとまることもたびたびで、困ります」。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 30(IHT/Asahi: July 31,2003)

(07/31)
 
 
 
Life force that suddenly blooms and withers


Standing tall and straight, the tree looked like a pine from the distance. But as I drew closer, there were clusters of flowers I had never seen before. The tree is called ryuzetsuran, a variety of agave or maguey.

It was planted 55 years ago in the Hamarikyu Garden in Tokyo's Chuo Ward. And for the first time in as many years, it was blooming.

07月29日付
■《天声人語》

 遠くから見ると、まっすぐ伸びた松のように見える。近寄って、初めてお目にかかる花であるとわかった。東京都中央区の浜離宮庭園で、55年目にして開花したというリュウゼツラン、漢字で書くと竜舌蘭である。

Indigenous to Mexico, agaves are known to bloom only once in their lifetime. Nobody can tell when. Until that time comes, an agave is essentially a ``rosette'' of fleshy, aloe-like leaves hugging the ground.

All of a sudden, a stalk sprouts from that basal rosette. The stalk keeps growing skyward at a phenomenal rate. Then, blossoms appear suddenly. For a while, the tree is at its zenith. But this is short-lived as death follows quickly. The tree's life is dramatic indeed.

 メキシコ原産で、一生に一度花を咲かせることで知られる。いつ咲くかはわからない。ふだんはアロエのような肉厚の葉が地上に横たわる。ある日突然、花茎が天に向かって伸び始め、みるみる高くなった末、花開く。つかの間の高揚期を過ごしたあと枯死する。劇的な生と死である。

The ryuzetsuran at Hamarikyu was planted in 1948, three years after the end of World War II. After more than half a century, the stem began growing in early May. It grew at an amazing pace, about 10 centimeters a day, gradually gaining girth in the process.

When the stalk reached a height of 8 meters in late July, its branches began to bloom with thick clusters of yellow flowers.

 浜離宮庭園のリュウゼツランは戦後まもない48年に植えられたそうだ。半世紀以上を経て今年5月初めから茎が伸び始めた。1日約10センチというスピードだ。高さ8メートルほどになった7月末から開花し始めた。太い茎から伸びた枝に黄色い花が密集して咲く。

From time to time, ``blossom reports'' arrive from various parts of Japan. Last summer, it was from Nara University of Education. This particular tree was reportedly planted by a professor who loved gardening.

In English-speaking nations, ryuzetsuran is known as the century plant-a somewhat exaggerated name, but it implies the plant blooms only once a century.

In the United States, a Connecticut zoo recently reported on its Web site that its 80-year-old century plant had finally bloomed.

 開花の報は日本各地から時折届く。去年夏には、奈良教育大学で咲いた。30年ほど前に園芸好きの教授が植えたものだという。英語では、やや大げさに1世紀に一度咲くとしてセンチュリー・プラントといわれる。米コネティカット州の動物園は、ホームページで「ついに咲いた!」と開花を宣伝していた。80年目といっている。

At Hamarikyu, where I was Monday, bees swarmed around the ryuzetsuran flowers, obviously frenzied with joy. Perhaps there is something inexplicably alluring about any flowering plant that bursts into life for the first time in 55 years.

 きのう訪れた浜離宮庭園のリュウゼツランにはハチが群がっていた。狂喜乱舞といいたくなるような興奮ぶりである。55年間にわたって蓄積してきた生命力をすべて開花にそそぎ込んだ植物には、何かうかがい知れない不思議な力があるのかもしれない。

In haiku poetry, ryuzetsuran is a keyword for summer. Toshiko Koba writes: ``Morning on the beach/Ryuzetsuran blooms/ In the Sky.''

 季語でいうと夏。〈浜の朝龍舌蘭は空に咲く〉(木庭俊子)

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 29(IHT/Asahi: July 30,2003)

(07/30)
 
 
 
One day Koizumi may have a straight answer


Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi would never think of calling on members of the Self-Defense Forces at their homes. But if he unexpectedly did, he might have the following conversation with an irate wife.

07月27日付
■《天声人語》

 まずはあり得ないことだが、小泉さんが、ある自衛隊員の家を訪れたとする。

Q:Mr. Prime Minister, will the government send SDF troops to serve in a combat zone (in Iraq)?

A:The Japanese contingent will serve in a non-combat zone. That rules out the use of force by SDF troops.

Q:Will you tell me where fighting is going on and where it is not?

A:How should I know? You can't expect me to answer that question.

Q:With all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, I must say that's a strange thing to say. Where will you send the contingent (without breaking your word) when you can't identify a non-combat zone?

How Koizumi, as SDF commander-in-chief, would answer that last question is what everybody wants to know.

 隊員の妻が尋ねる。「戦闘地域に行かされるんでしょうか」「いや、非戦闘地域に派遣するのですから、武力行使はしません」「では、どこが戦闘地域で、どこが非戦闘地域なのですか」「私に聞かれても、分かるわけがないでしょう」「お言葉ですが、それは変ですね。非戦闘地域がどこか分からないで、どこに派遣するんですか」。自衛隊の最高指揮官でもある総理はどう答えるのか。

Koizumi's answers mirror the responses he gave to Diet lawmakers. On that occasion, he added that, ``Some of our troops might be killed. On the other hand, they might also have to kill.''

We wonder if he would be able to face SDF members and their families and say the same things to them.

The prime minister stifled debate on non-combat zones by defiantly insisting it was impossible to say where they are. That was followed by a free-for-all among Upper House members as the SDF dispatch bill was rammed through.

 「殺されるかもしれないし、殺すかもしれない」も含めて、ここに引用した国会での答弁を、隊員や家族に、面と向かって言えるのだろうか。「分かるわけがない」という開き直りの後には、闘技場かと見まがうような採決もあった。

The bill still needed to be approved by a plenary session. The unseemly melee would have given a normal parliament pause for thought. Members would rightly have worried about whether going ahead with the bill was the right thing to do.

After all, the safety of SDF members and the shape of the nation were at stake. The bill affects not only the future of the Japanese but the Iraqi people as well. The cause of the U.S.-led war in Iraq itself has come to be badly clouded.

 真っ当な議会なら、これ以上議事を進めるべきかどうか悩むところだった。大勢の身の安全と、国のありようがかかっている。日本だけでなく、イラクの人々の未来にもかかわる。そもそも、戦争の大義そのものが大きく揺らいでいるのだ。

The nation has been assailed by a succession of major natural disasters peculiar to Japan-heavy rains and big earthquakes. While victims have to be promptly rescued, substantial assistance for reconstruction is urgently required in the stricken areas.

In Kyushu, SDF members waded through deep muddy water to search for missing flood victims. Units have also been called in to provide post-quake assistance in Miyagi Prefecture. With their manpower and equipment, SDF units are a dependable presence in areas hit by large-scale disasters. As human beings, men in uniform would like to do their utmost for people who really need their help.

 集中豪雨に大地震。日本に特有の大きな災害が相次いでいる。速やかな救助と、復旧への手厚い救援が急務だ。九州では、自衛隊員が泥に漬かりながら捜索を続けた。宮城でも、出動している。大規模な災害での自衛隊は、やはり頼りになる。本当に必要とする人々のために力を尽くしたいと願うのが、人の情でもある。

The government has managed to secure passage of the bill to send SDF members to Iraq, but a host of serious doubts about it remain. The day may come when Koizumi says, ``I am prepared to answer any questions about the Iraqi mission.'' When will that be?

 イラク特措法は成立したが、大きな疑問が幾つも残った。「私に聞けば分かる」と首相が言う日は、いつか来るのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 27

(07/29)
 
 
 
Sending SDF troops into a certified war zone


Military officers are usually noted for their candor. We can sometimes benefit from paying attention to what they have to say, especially if the person doing the talking has the kind of cool-headed approach necessary to fulfill his mission of safeguarding the lives of those under his command.

07月21日付
■《天声人語》

 軍人の率直な物言いに耳を傾けた方がいいときがある。とりわけ多数の兵士の命を預かる指揮官、責任の重大さにふさわしい冷めた目が必要とされる人の言葉には。

Gen. John Abizaid, who has taken up the flag at the U.S. Central Command, seems keenly aware of his responsibilities as the officer in charge of the conduct of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Speaking at a recent news conference, Abizaid emphasized the importance of making it clear when the U.S. troops now in Iraq will be able to come home.

``It's very important to all of us to make sure that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines know when they're coming home. I know this personally,'' he said.

 新しく米中央軍司令官に就任したアビゼイド氏は、指揮官としての役割を強く意識しているようだ。先週の記者会見で「たいへん、たいへん重要なこと」と彼が強調したのは、イラクにいる米軍兵士がいつ故郷に帰ることができるかをはっきりさせることだった。自分の例を引きながらこう語った。

``My son was stationed in (South) Korea,'' the general said. ``He was told he was coming home in 12 months. Two days before he was to get on the plane, he was told he was going to stay another three months. My wife immediately cried.''

``My son-in-law was in Afghanistan,'' he went on. ``He was told he was coming home in so many months. He got extended two more months, and my daughter cried.''

Abizaid gave these personal examples to underscore the fact he is aware of the anxiety of troops on the ground as well as their relatives and loved ones waiting for them to return.

 「韓国に配属された私の息子は、12カ月で帰郷できると言われた。帰国便に乗る2日前、3カ月の延長を言い渡された。妻は泣いた」「娘の夫はアフガニスタンにいた。彼も2カ月の延長を言われた。娘は泣いた」。現地で不安を抱える兵士や待ちわびる家族の気持ちがわかっていることを強調したのだった。

Discussing the present situation in Iraq, the general was candid in acknowledging his forces are confronting a guerrilla war. He said U.S. and coalition forces are facing organized opposition by Baathist remnants throughout Iraq. And he said they are conducting ``what I would describe as a classical guerrilla-type campaign against us.'' He went on, ``It's low-intensity conflict in our doctrinal terms, but it's war, however you describe it.''

 その彼がイラクの現状をずばり「ゲリラ戦」だと語っている。「私たちはイラク全土でバース党の残党と戦っている。彼らは古典的なゲリラ攻撃を仕掛けてくる。密度は濃くない戦闘とはいえ、どう形容してもこれは戦争である」と。

Abizaid is a Lebanese-American. He is an expert in Middle East issues. Fluent in Arabic, he has a master's degree from Harvard University. Citing these qualifications, many people say he is the perfect choice for his latest assignment.

 アビゼイド氏はレバノン系米国人で、中東問題の専門家でもある。ハーバード大学で修士号を取得、アラビア語も堪能だという。そんな経歴から、こんどの任務にぴったりと見る人も少なくない。

The legislation created to permit dispatch of members of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq is moving through the Diet. Abizaid's assessment that Iraq is in the middle of a guerrilla war has serious implications for the SDF dispatch plan. It seems to me that lawmakers have failed to adequately consider the risks involved in the course of considering the bill.

 自衛隊をイラクに派遣するための法案が成立しようとしている。「イラクはゲリラ戦の最中」という米軍の現地司令官の言葉は、軽くない。比べて、法案をめぐる議論は軽すぎはしないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 21(IHT/Asahi: July 28,2003)

(07/28)
 
 
 
War rages even as rebuilding effort speeds up


``I am not rejoicing. I mourn the death of anybody, but it has to be said that it is a very great relief for all Iraqis,'' British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was quoted as saying on the demise of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Qusay.

07月25日付
■《天声人語》

 「私は喜んでいない。私はだれであろうと死者を悼む。しかしイラクの人々に、たいへん大きな安堵(あんど)をもたらしたとはいえるだろう」。フセイン元大統領の2人の息子ウダイ、クサイ氏の死について英国のストロー外相がそう語ったと英紙は伝える。

Straw's restrained comment stood out amid the overwhelming applause with which that news was received by the governments of the United States and Britain.

Perhaps the deaths of the two men serve as a much-needed assurance that the Saddam regime will never return. Still, the question lingers: Was there no way they could have been captured alive? Given the fact they were holed up in a private residence that was subjected to a relentless missile attack, I am forced to conclude that capturing them alive was not really a consideration.

 フセイン体制の中枢にいた2人の死について米英政府内では「よくやった」という声が圧倒的な中、冷静さが目立つ発言だった。2人の死はフセイン体制への逆戻りはありえないことを示したかもしれない。しかし2人を生きたまま拘束できなかったのか、の疑問は残る。隠れていた民家にミサイルをどんどん撃ち込んで攻撃したのでは、拘束しようとの意思はなかったと思わざるをえない。

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, told a news conference:

``On whether this (mission) was a failure, absolutely not. I would never consider this a failure. Our mission is to find, kill or capture. In this case, we had an enemy that was defending, it was barricaded, and we had the measures that were necessary in order to neutralize the target.''

Asked if he could have had the house surrounded until Uday and Qusay surrendered, and perhaps they gave U.S. authorities a lot of valuable information, Sanchez replied, ``Sir, that is speculation.''

 イラク駐留米軍のサンチェス司令官は「私たちの使命は見つけて殺す、あるいは捕まえること。今回、敵はバリケードを築き、抵抗した。制圧するために必要な手段をとったまでだ。断じて間違っていない」と。包囲して彼らが出てくるのを待つことができなかったか、の問いには「空論だ」の一言。

The war in Iraq is not yet over. Based on this understanding, the deaths of Saddam's sons were perhaps just one episode in this war. But what if you focus on another angle, which is that Iraq is supposedly in a state of postwar occupation? Then the killing would have to be considered a wanton act of highly dubious legitimacy.

What happened is symbolic of the present chaos in Iraq, where war and peace cannot be distinguished clearly.

 イラク戦争は続いている。そうであれば、この殺害は戦闘の一こまということだろう。しかし戦争終結後の占領期だとすると、どうか。法的には問題の多い乱暴なやり方になる。戦時と平時とが混在するイラクの現状を映している。

Uday and Qusay must have possessed all sorts of vital information pertaining to their father's regime. I still believe they should have been captured and brought to trial.

 2人は様々な重要な情報を握っていただろう。また、フセイン体制のかぎを握ってもいた。拘束して法廷で裁くべきではなかったかとの思いが強い。

War continues in Iraq amid postwar reconstruction efforts. It is a strange situation indeed.

 かの地では、戦争を続けながらの戦後復興という妙な事態が続く。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 25(IHT/Asahi: July 26,2003)

(07/26)
 
 
 
Presaging the darkness of turbulent Showa


``Momotaro'' (Peach Boy) is a popular Japanese folk tale about a baby who popped out of a peach and grew up into a fine youth. One day, Momotaro sets out for Onigashima (ogre island) to punish evil ogres and loot their treasure. A dog, a monkey and a pheasant tag along.

What motivated Momotaro to go on this punitive expedition?

07月24日付
■《天声人語》

 桃から生まれた桃太郎の話はどなたもご存じだろう。犬と猿と雉(きじ)を従えて鬼ケ島に鬼退治に行き、宝物を持ち帰る。では、桃太郎はなぜ征伐に向かったのか。

Such a question is probably irrelevant to the moral of the story in its original, simple presentation. Maybe Momotaro was just after the ogres' treasure. Or perhaps you could say the ogres deserved to be punished because they were evil.

From the Meiji Era (1868-1912) on, the story came to be retold in many forms, but each version portrayed Momotaro as an ``exemplary Japanese citizen'' who fought a ``just war.'' Michio Namekawa pursues this theme in his book ``Momotaro-zo no Henyo'' (The Process of Change in the Image of Momotaro) published by Tokyo Shoseki.

 元々の素朴な話では、そんな問いは無用かもしれない。宝物目当てでもいいし、鬼は悪者だから当然の征伐だと考えてもいい。しかし明治以降、征伐の正当化も含め桃太郎は「期待される日本人像」として様々に脚色された。『桃太郎像の変容』(滑川道夫・東京書籍)に詳しい。

Around the middle of the Meiji Era, Momotaro's war was justified on the grounds that the ogres were rebels against Imperial Japan. The argument was so straightforward that it shaped the underlying philosophy of the new versions that would follow.

One rendition that appeared shortly after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) included a stirring battle scene, the narrative of which goes: ``Charge! Forward! Slay those blue ogres, red ogres and white ogres.'' Clearly, this was written with Japan's ``holy war'' in mind.

 皇国日本に逆らう奴(やつ)だから征伐する。明治中期に出たこの理由づけが明快で、底流をなす。日露戦争後には、こんな勇ましい戦闘場面も描かれた。「突貫! 進め! 斬(き)り伏せよ/青鬼赤鬼白い鬼」。もはや自明の「聖戦」か。

But a very different Momotaro emerged toward the end of the Taisho Era (1912-1926). In this version, Onigashima is depicted as an earthly paradise, and Momotaro is the aggressor who invades this peaceful island and commits every evil deed imaginable.

There is an interesting exchange between Momotaro and the ogres who have surrendered. An ogre asks Momotaro, ``Why did you attack us?'' Momotaro replies, ``Because I had just retained the services of three loyal vassals-the dog, the monkey and the pheasant.'' The ogre presses on, ``Why did you retain them?'' Momotaro answers, ``So that I could attack you.''

The exchange makes it crystal clear that there was no reasonable justification for Momotaro's war.

 異質の「桃太郎」が現れたのは大正末期だった。鬼ケ島が「天然の楽土」として描かれる。平和な島を侵略し、あらゆる罪悪を犯すのが桃太郎だ。降伏した鬼との問答が興味深い。「征伐の理由は?」に「犬猿雉の忠義者を召し抱えたからだ」と桃太郎。「召し抱えたのはなぜ?」には「征伐のためだ」。大義のなさを痛烈に皮肉った。

The author was novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Shortly before he published this story, Akutagawa was traveling in China, where he was stunned speechless by what he heard from a local intellectual. The latter had told him, ``If I must name one Japanese I truly detest, Momotaro is the one.'' This shocking revelation must have shattered Akutagawa's previous image of this folk tale hero.

 作者は芥川龍之介である。その少し前、彼は中国旅行をした。そこで出会った知識人に「最も嫌悪する日本人は桃太郎だ」と言われ、虚をつかれたようだ。その衝撃が桃太郎像の転倒につながったのだろう。

``Greenary Day,'' a national holiday in late April that marked Emperor Showa's birthday, may be renamed ``Day of Showa.'' The Showa Era (1926-1989) is said to have begun with Akutagawa's death. It was as if Akutagawa had presaged the darkness of that turbulent period in Japanese history. Akutagawa committed suicide on July 24, 1927.

 「昭和の日」ができるかもしれない。芥川の死とともに始まったともいわれる昭和である。彼は、昭和の暗い面を見通していたかのようだった。きょうは彼の命日、河童(かっぱ)忌である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 24

(07/25)
 
 
 
Kitajima blazes a trail that others must follow


Champion swimmer Kosuke Kitajima's record-breaking performance in Barcelona brought back a host of memories. Kitajima is the latest in a line of fine breaststroke swimmers out of Japan.

His specialty is a discipline that allows technique to make up for a shortfall in physical power. Perhaps because of this, breaststroke is a discipline in which new swimming methods appear and disappear one after another. Japanese swimmers are often spotlighted because of these new methods.

07月23日付
■《天声人語》

 懐かしい場面が次々と思い出される。日本のお家芸といわれた水泳の平泳ぎである。力で多少劣っても技術で上回ることができる。そんな特色のせいか、新しい泳法が浮かんでは消えた種目で、たびたび日本選手が新泳法で話題にもなった。

What comes to mind is a live broadcast from the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. ``The swimmers are still underwater. None has surfaced yet,'' the announcer said. On the television screen, the breaststroke swimmers disappeared from sight after leaping into the water. Masaru Furukawa, who won the gold medal for the event, swam more than 40 meters underwater.

The submersion method was designed to minimize the resistance of water. Later, it was banned on grounds that it was ``dangerous.''

 「まだ浮かんでこない。まだだ」。そんな実況放送を思い出すのはメルボルン五輪(56年)だ。飛び込んだ後、しばらく選手たちの姿が見えない。あのときの金メダリスト古川勝選手は40メートル以上も潜水した。抵抗を少なくするための泳法だったが「危険だ」などの理由で、その後禁止された。

During the 1972 Munich Olympics, attention focused on Nobutaka Taguchi's style of aggressive kicks for propulsion. He had stuck to the method despite having been disqualified as a competitor using kicks for butterfly in the previous Olympics Games in Mexico.

Taguchi was vindicated by winning the 100-meter breaststroke title. Referring to his peculiar way of kicking, he said, ``This was devised to suit Japanese swimmers with relatively short legs.''

 ミュンヘン五輪(72年)では田口信教選手のキックが注目された。前回のメキシコ五輪では、バタフライのキックだとされ失格になっていた。その疑惑をはねかえして優勝した田口選手は、独特のキックを「足の短い日本人向きに考案したキック」と語っていた。

With his win on Monday at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Kitajima became the first Japanese since Taguchi to shatter the world record for the 100-meter breast-stroke. He put on an amazing speed in the second half of the race.

Much of Kitajima's feat seems attributable to the findings of cutting-edge research on swimming methods, such as analytical studies using computers. The swimmer is, of course, to be credited with superb abilities for putting the findings into practice.

 21日、世界水泳で優勝した北島康介選手は100メートル平泳ぎでは田口選手以来の日本人による世界新記録である。折り返してからのスピードには目を見張った。背景には、泳法のコンピューター解析など最新の研究成果があるらしい。それを生かすことができたのはもちろん、北島選手の優れた能力だ。

Furukawa and Taguchi were far less blessed when it comes to the training environment. As a child, Furukawa swam in the Kinokawa river in Wakayama Prefecture, and Taguchi learned to swim breast- stroke as he chased carp at fish farms in Ehime Prefecture.

The age of high-tech had not arrived to help them. On the other hand, it may be said that Kitajima faces harder competition in a sense because minute differences determine the outcome of races now.

 古川選手は子どものころ和歌山県の紀の川で泳ぎ、成長した。田口選手は愛媛県の養魚池でコイを追いながら平泳ぎを覚えたという。時代の違いを感じる。北島選手には、ハイテク時代に微差を競う別のつらさがあるかもしれない。

Anyway, the 20-year-old added one more unforgettable scene to the annals of breaststroke swimming.

 平泳ぎの歴史に、忘れられない場面をもう一つ加えた20歳だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 23(IHT/Asahi: July 24,2003)

(07/24)
 
 
 
Novel's compelling lesson in self-sacrifice


Amid the recent spate of crimes involving children, I keep thinking of the young heroine of ``Saigo no Ikku'' (The final phrase), a short story written by Mori Ogai in 1915. Ichi, as the protagonist is called, is in her early to mid-teens-a junior high school student in our present society.

07月22日付
■《天声人語》

 少年、少女をめぐる事件が続くなか、ある小説の主人公の姿が脳裏を行き来してやまない。森鴎外の小品「最後の一句」(1915年)に出てくる少女、いちである。いまでいえば中学生の年頃だろう。

The story is set in Osaka in the mid-Edo Period (1603-1867). The day before her father is to be executed as a criminal, Ichi sets out for the magistrate's office early in the morning, taking her younger sister and brother along.

She had stayed up all night to compose a letter begging for clemency. The letter says: ``Please spare our father. Please kill us children instead.''

 江戸中期の大阪が舞台である。父親が死罪になるという前日の早朝、長女いちが妹と弟を連れて奉行所に父親の命乞(いのちご)いに行く。徹夜で書いた願書(ねがいしょ)には「お父っさんを助けて、その代りにわたくしども子供を殺して下さい」と。

The children are shooed away at the gate. But chiding her younger sister who wants to just go home, Ichi parks herself at the gate and refuses to budge, and demands to see the magistrate.

The officials finally give in and let the children present their case. The magistrate asks them: ``If you trade your lives for your father's, we will have to execute you immediately. You won't even see your father. Is that alright?''

``Yes sir, that will be fine,'' Ichi replies.

 「帰れ帰れ」と門前払いされた。弱気になる妹を叱(しか)りつけながら、いちは奉行所の前にしゃがみ込んで訴えをやめない。そして奉行所の調べを受けるところまでたどりついた。奉行が問う。身代わりになるとすぐ殺されて父親の顔を見ることができないが、それでもよいか、と。「よろしゅうございます」と、いち。

The father is eventually set free, and the children also go unpunished.

From this outcome, this may come across as just a pretty story about a brave and devoted daughter. However, there are many elements that are timeless and apply just as well to today's society.

Ichi's mother, for instance, is a passive complainer who cannot act. Ichi knows it is useless to seek her mother's advice. When an officer tells Ichi to bring her mother, the girl dismisses it out of hand.

 結局、父親は死罪を免れ、いちらにもとがめはなかった。孝行娘の美談風だが、それにとどまらない。現代の風景と対比させたくなる点が多々ある。たとえば母親である。ぐちばかり言って無気力な母に相談しても意味がないことを長女は見抜いている。奉行所でも「親が出てこい」と言われるが、いちは取り合わない。

Adults see Ichi as a ``stubborn child'' who ``defies the authorities,'' a ``girl who is as hard as nails.'' One individual remarks, ``I am even afraid to imagine the sort of woman she will become.'' In their original Japanese, such comments are antiquated and rarely heard today.

 大人たちから少女はこんなふうに見られる。「しぶとい奴(やつ)」「上(かみ)を恐れん」「情の剛(こわ)い娘」「生先(おいさき)の恐ろしい」などである。このごろ聞く機会の少なくなった形容の言葉だ。

Ichi offered her own life to try to save her father from being ``paraded through town before being beheaded.'' I wonder how she comes across to her contemporaries today. Or is this story itself simply so farfetched that they will never be able to relate to it?

 「さらしものの上、打ち首」寸前の父親を、身代わりになって救おうとした少女の姿は、現代の少女にはどう映るのだろう。あまりに遠い話だろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 22(IHT/Asahi: July 23,2003)

(07/23)
 
 
 
Spirit of `moyai' in short supply at Shibuya


Every time I go, I have a sense of being drawn into a maelstrom. I'm talking about the main intersection in Tokyo's fashionable Shibuya district near the statue of Chuken (loyal dog) Hachiko. (The statue was erected in honor of Hachiko that futilely kept waiting for its deceased master for years, expecting him to emerge from the train station.)

The density of people there is almost terrifying. It is probably no exaggeration to say there is no other place that is quite so crowded.

07月19日付
■《天声人語》

 通るたびに、人の渦に巻き込まれる思いがする。東京・渋谷の忠犬ハチ公前の交差点には、他ではまず見られない、すさまじいほどの人の密度がある。

With many sloping roads in the vicinity, one may say the intersection forms the bottom of a valley. The intersection is the confluence of streams of people. One stream consists of people who have come down the sloping roads from all directions. Making up the other stream are those who have disembarked at the train station.

Worse still, the blare of loudspeakers used in political and other campaigns assaults one's hearing from all directions, drowning out human voices.

But it would be wrong to equate all this activity with the dynamism of the big city. The situation in Shibuya is close to chaos.

 幾つもの坂道から、谷底のような交差点に人々が殺到する。逆らうように、渋谷駅から人が吐き出される。四方から、宣伝スピーカーの音も谷底へ降り注ぐ。人の声はかき消される。大都会が備えているダイナミズム・躍動という段階を超えてカオス・混沌(こんとん)に近い。

The four elementary school sixth-graders held captive by a man became acquainted with him in Shibuya. There are areas in this district where evildoers lurk under the guise of a festive persona. They draw unwitting victims into their trap by offering to satisfy their desires. But actually they are looking for a chance to kidnap them.

 小学6年の女の子たちと監禁容疑の男は、この街で知り合ったという。人々のさまざまな欲にささやきかけて、あわよくばどこかへ連れ去ろうとしながら、絶えずお祭り騒ぎをしているように見えるかいわいもある。

I recall a passage in novelist Kobo Abe's poem ``Hitosarai'' (Kidnappers): ``Nevertheless, the festival begins/ And the festival ends/ The festival is not life/ And life is not the festival, either/ That is why kidnappers come/ They come at dusk/ When the festival is about to begin.''

It may be said that like kidnappers, the big city itself holds an irresistible charm, and the young girls succumbed to it.

 安部公房の詩「人さらい」に、こんな一節があった。「でも祭ははじまり/祭は終わる/祭は人生ではないし/人生は祭ではない/だから人さらいがやってくる/祭がはじまるその日暮れ/人さらいがやってくる」。巨大都市自体に「人さらい」のような魔性があり、事件は、その姿の一つの現れなのかもしれない。

The four girls had arranged to meet the suspect in the case in front of a statue known as ``Moyai-zo''-a giant stone hewn into a human face. The statue is a gift from Niijima island south of Tokyo. A board standing beside it reads: ``To the people who assemble here. What would the silent Moyai-zo say to you? ... May you open your minds widely to the spirit of moyai, or solidarity.''

The word moyai, I learned, also means joining hands for a cause.

 男が、少女たちと待ち合わせたのは「モヤイ像」の前だった。人の顔をかたどった、大きな石の像の脇に、表示板がある。「ここに集う人々よ。ものいわぬモヤイ像は、あなた方に何を語りかけるであろうか。願わくば(略)『モヤイ』合う連帯の心に、胸を大きく開かれんことを。東京都新島村」。力を合わせることがモヤイ、ともあった。

Shibuya is an extraordinarily congested and noisy district. As for the spirit of moyai, it appeared to be infinitely scarce.

 並外れて人と音の密な谷は、モヤイ合いの方は、残念ながら、限りなく疎のように見えた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 19(IHT/Asahi: July 22,2003)

(07/22)
 
 
 
Politicians routed by journalists in quiz show


Politicians are mocked as ``people who think they know everything when they are truly ignorant.'' What about journalists who are derided as people whose job is to explain to others what they cannot understand themselves? If they vie, which side will win?

07月06日付
■《天声人語》

 「誠に無知である。しかし、あらゆることを知っているつもりでいる。それが政治家というものだ」などと揶揄(やゆ)される政治家と「自分自身が理解できないことを他人に説明する仕事」と皮肉られるジャーナリストと。果たしてどちらに知識が豊富か。

The BBC quiz show ``University Challenge,'' a program that has maintained high popularity in a quiz-loving nation, have brought politicians and journalists together for a contest.

The long-running television program has offered contests between universities. It has been known as a show requiring the contestants to have wide-ranging and advanced knowledge from literature and the arts to natural science. With no prizes offered, they compete for honor.

 クイズ好きの英国でも常に人気が高いBBCのクイズ番組「ユニバーシティー・チャレンジ」が両者を対決させた。大学対抗戦として長く続いたこのテレビ番組は、文学、芸術から自然科学まで高度な知識が要求されることでも知られる。賞金はなく、名誉をかけた対決である。

In the contest against journalists, politicians were represented by four members of Parliament, chosen across party lines.

Journalists were represented by four members of The Times. I could not watch the show that was aired last month, but I learned the outcome in a British newspaper. The team of journalists overwhelmingly won 215 to 25.

 政治家側は超党派の国会議員4人、ジャーナリスト側はタイムズ紙の4人だった。先月放送された番組を見ることはできなかったが、英紙で結果を知った。215対25という差でジャーナリスト側の完勝だった。

When the University of St. Andrews, where Prince William of the British royal family is a student, lost to Cambridge University about two years ago, the score was 215 to 40, a margin said to be near the worst in history. The politicians lost by an even larger margin.

 2年ほど前、英国王室のウィリアム王子が在学するセント・アンドリュース大学がケンブリッジ大学に敗れたときが215対40で、史上最悪に近い負け方といわれた。今回はそれを上回る大差だ。

The Times conceded that the quiz format might have suited the journalists better. But it mercilessly mocked the routed politicians, likening them to people waiting in an absent-minded manner for a delayed incoming flight in the airport departure lobby.

 当のタイムズ紙は「クイズはジャーナリスト向きなのかもしれない」と言いつつも、手も足も出なかった政治家たちを痛烈に皮肉っている。「空港の出発ロビーで、遅れている飛行機をとろんとした目で待っている人のようだった」などと。

The contest was quite in character with the British. There may be no hope for organizing a similar event in Japan. British journalists must be relieved at the outcome because they now have valid statistics to quote to counter politicians who regularly tell reporters, ``Come back when you know more about this thing.''

 日本では、実現しないかもしれない。いかにも英国らしい試みだった。英国のジャーナリストは結果にほっとしていることだろう。「もっと勉強してこい」というのが口癖の政治家が、あちらにもいるだろうから。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 6(IHT/Asahi: July 21,2003)

(07/21)
 
 
 
Onus on Bush, Blair to explain Iraq decisions


On July 17, 1945, the leaders of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union gathered outside Berlin for a conference that lasted about a fortnight.

This was the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, or the Potsdam Conference, and the leaders were Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Their agenda was to discuss postwar arrangements in Europe.

07月18日付
■《天声人語》

 第二次大戦が終わる45年の今頃、ベルリンの郊外に米英ソの首脳が集い、半月余り会談を続けた。トルーマン、チャーチル、スターリンによる「ポツダム会談」である。主題は、欧州の戦後処理だった。

The three countries eventually adopted the Potsdam Declaration, but this is not to be confused with the Potsdam Proclamation (known as Potsdam Declaration here) that forced Japan into surrender. This proclamation was co-signed by the United States, Britain and the Republic of China.

This document is kept at the U.S. National Archives. Somewhat surprisingly, all three signatures at the bottom of this document are in Truman's hand, says Akira Naka in his book, ``Mokusatsu'' (Ignore by silence) in the NHK Books series.

 日本に降伏を迫った「ポツダム宣言」は、この3者の共同宣言ではなく、会談の期間中に、米英と中華民国が発した。やや意外なことに、米・国立公文書館が収蔵する宣言文の署名欄の筆跡は、3カ国ともトルーマンのものだという(仲晃『黙殺』NHKブックス)。

Churchill had returned to Britain to await the outcome of a general election. He lost the election and did not return to Potsdam for the signing. But since the government of his successor, Clement Attlee, had yet to start officially, Truman put Churchill's name on the document.

The third signatory, Chiang Kai-shek, was also not in Potsdam. So, Truman signed for him as ``President of the National Government of the Republic of China,'' with an explanation that the proclamation was approved by telegram.

 チャーチルは、総選挙の開票で一時帰国していたが、敗北したため戻らなかった。アトリーへの政権交代の前だったので、トルーマンが、チャーチルと署名した。蒋介石はポツダムには来ておらず、やはりトルーマンが「中国総統(無線による)」と記した。

Potsdam is a beautiful town southwest of Berlin. It is dotted with palaces and villas. The Cecilienhof, where the conference was held, belonged to the last crown prince of the German empire. The conference room has been preserved in its original state.

One section of the Cecilienhof has been converted into a hotel. I took a room there one winter night. I was hoping I might encounter the ghosts of the Big Three, but no such thing happened.

 ポツダムは、ベルリン南西の美しい町である。宮殿や別荘が点在している。会談が行われたツェツィリエンホーフは、ドイツ帝国の最後の皇太子一家の館だった。会議場は、ほぼ当時の姿で残されている。一角はホテルにもなっており、ある冬の一夜、泊まってみた。3巨頭の亡霊にでも会えないかと思ったが、何事も起きなかった。

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was to meet U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington. Since the two leaders were due to discuss ``postwar settlements,'' their summit may be likened somewhat to the Potsdam Conference.

One decisive difference, however, is that Bush and Blair attacked first.

And whereas World War II was fought for the clear purpose of ``liberating Europe from Adolph Hitler,'' questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the Iraq war.

 ブッシュ大統領をブレア首相が訪ねるという。「戦後対策」の米英首脳会談としては、ポツダムと似てなくもない。しかし今回は、両国が先に攻撃した点で大きく異なっている。「ヒトラーからの解放」というような明確な大義も、今度は怪しい。

The Bush-Blair summit was a curious affair at best. It makes me feel as if the world is waiting to see how these leaders are going to explain themselves.

 世界が、両者の釈明を待っているかのような、奇妙な首脳会談に見えてくる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 18(IHT/Asahi: July 19,2003)

(07/19)
 
 
 

Chance to find out what's on your cat's mind


In the poem ``Neko'' (Cats) by Sakutaro Hagiwara, two cats greet each other on a moonlit night.

``Oaah, good evening.''

``Oaah, good evening.''

``Oaah, the master of this house is ill.''

Having the sensitive soul of a poet, Hagiwara must have been one of those rare humans capable of understanding the language of cats.

07月17日付
■《天声人語》

 『おわあ、こんばんは』『おわあ、こんばんは』。月夜の晩にこんなあいさつをかわした後『おわああ、ここの家の主人は病気です』。萩原朔太郎の詩「猫」に出てくる猫たちの会話だ。繊細な神経の詩人はまた、猫語を解する数少ない人類だったようだ。

For ailurophiles who are frustrated with their lack of command of feline language, here's good news. A cat-language ``translation'' gadget is expected to be marketed this autumn. Called Meowlingual, this is the cat version of Bowlingual, a hugely successful dog-language translation device from toy maker Takara Co.

Cat language is said to be more sophisticated than dog language. We'll see.

 猫語を解さない猫好きには朗報である。犬語を「翻訳」して評判になった「バウリンガル」に続いて、猫語用の「ミャウリンガル」が今秋発売されるらしい。犬語に比べて猫語の方が難しそうだが、どうだろうか。

A confident Takara spokesman noted, ``Cats, too, have voiceprints that reveal their emotions.'' As with Bowlingual, Meowlingual picks up animal utterances and displays the ``translation'' in Japanese characters on the hand-held monitor screen. But whereas Bowlingual comes with a microphone that has to be attached to the dog's collar, Meowlingual has a microphone built into the monitor screen itself. The user ``interviews'' the cat face-to-face, so to speak.

 発売元の玩具大手タカラは「喜怒哀楽に対応する声紋が猫にもありますから」と自信ありげである。「バウリンガル」と同じように、鳴き声を翻訳して、手元の画面に文字表示する。犬では送信マイクを首輪につけるようにしたが、猫ではマイクと画面を一体にし、インタビューの要領で使う。

I imagine this interview format makes a lot of sense with cats, who are generally more reticent than dogs and have a predilection for subtle, euphemistic speech. Wouldn't it be fun to stick the mike in your cat's face and ask questions, and wait for comments? This, explained the Takara spokesman, was one of the concepts behind Meowlingual's development.

 犬に比べて無口な上に婉曲(えんきょく)表現が多い猫にはインタビュー方式の方がいいだろう。マイクを向けて話しかけることで間合いを楽しむこともできる。そんな発想からだという。

It seems cats are inscrutable creatures even to animal experts. Dogs and horses can be trained. ``With cats, that's practically impossible. To us humans, cats are full of mystery,'' writes Yoshihiro Hayashi, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Tokyo, in UP issue No. 355. Hayashi also notes there is little accumulation of academic data pertaining to cats.

 専門家から見ても猫は理解しにくい存在らしい。犬は訓練、馬は調教できる。猫は「それがほとんど不可能に近い。私たち人間からすると不思議な存在です」と東大教授(獣医学)林良博氏(『UP』355号)。猫に関する学問的蓄積も少ないそうだ。

The feline protagonist of Soseki Natsume's ``Wagahai wa Neko de Aru'' (I Am a Cat) observes dryly: ``But humans are animals that have never attained the state of grace to understand our language.''

Were this famous-and nameless -cat alive today, what would he have said of this Meowlingual business?

 生きていたら、あの彼はどう語ったことか。「然し人間といふものは到底吾輩猫属の言語を解し得る位に天の恵に浴して居らん動物」とうそぶいた『吾輩は猫である』の高名な、いや名無しの猫である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 17(IHT/Asahi: July 18,2003)

(07/18)
 
 
 
A soliloquy amid the high school baseball epic


Across the country, prefectural-level tournaments are under way to select teams for next month's National Senior High School Baseball Championships at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

In Tochigi Prefecture, an incredible 22 records were set on Sunday when Fujioka Senior High School lost 54-0 to Oyama Senior High School.

Despite the humiliating defeat, the Fujioka team was not dejected. After the game, the team members repeatedly tossed Captain Kazuki Tabata into the air in celebration, signaling their sense that he had done well.

07月16日付
■《天声人語》

 一試合で22もの大会新記録が出た。甲子園をめざす高校野球の栃木大会でのことだ。13日、小山高校に0対54で大敗、最多得点をはじめ数々の記録を献上した藤岡高校だが、選手らに屈辱感はなかった。試合終了後、田畑一樹主将を胴上げし、健闘をたたえた。

The baseball club at Fujioka High had only eight members in the spring of 2001, one short of the nine needed to play. Because of the deficit, the club was unable to hold games, prompting the players to throw in the towel. By December, Tabata was the only club member left.

In general, membership shortages reflect a disturbing trend: senior high school student numbers are declining in step with the low birthrate. At Fujioka High, a prefecturally run public school, the student body has dropped by 427 to 257 in 10 years.

 藤岡の野球部は2年前の春には部員8人だった。試合ができない人数で、部員はだんだんやめていった。去年12月には田畑君1人になった。少子化が進む中、生徒数が減少を続けている影響もある。この県立高校では10年間で生徒数が427人減って257人になっていた。

Tabata continued to train alone under Yasuaki Tanaka, manager of the baseball club. Tanaka teaches health and physical education.

This past spring, Tabata began a recruitment drive to find players for the Tochigi tournament. He asked members of other clubs and former baseball club members to help him make a team.

Early in June, The Asahi Shimbun started running a series of articles on his lonely struggle, titled ``Hitorikara no Shupattsu'' (Starting off from a sole member), in its Tochigi edition.

The going was anything but easy. About a month before the Tochigi tournament opened, Tabata had assembled a nine-member team.

 田畑君は、保健体育の先生でもある田中康明監督の下、1人で練習を続けた。栃木大会に何とか出場したい、と春から他の部や元部員に頼んで「助っ人」集めをした。本紙栃木版が「1人からの出発」と題して連載を始めたのが6月初め、それからしばらく後の大会が始まる約1カ月前にようやく9人そろった。

In the end, the hastily assembled Fujioka squad probably was among the weakest of the 4,163 schools participating in the prefectural-level tournaments.

Even so, there are various unknown dramas surrounding the teams that made an early exit. A good example is offered by Fujioka High, which was represented by a team with only a single member of the baseball club on its roster.

 地方大会に参加する全国4163校のうちでも、急造の藤岡は最も弱いチームの一つだったかもしれない。しかし、早々と消え去っていくチームにも様々な物語が秘められている。たった1人の野球部員という藤岡もそんな例だ。

The Fujioka story was also flavored by an unexpected event. It happened when lots were drawn to determine which team would play which one and which team would have its captain pledge the oath of sportsmanship at the start of the Tochigi tournament. Tabata was the 51st person to draw lots.

The number he drew was ``1,'' meaning he had won the right to make the sportsmanship oath. He later said there was no mistaking the fact, since the figure is the same even when turned upside down.

 この物語には、もう一つ意外な展開があった。対戦相手と選手宣誓を決める抽選会でのことだ。51番目に田畑君がくじを引いた。「1」だった。選手宣誓が当たったのだ。田畑君は「逆にしても1だな」と思ったそうだ。

Tabata's delivery was brief and powerful. He will never forget this summer even though his team failed in its first game.

 田畑君は簡潔で力強い選手宣誓をした。初戦で敗退したとはいえ、忘れられない夏になるだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 16(IHT/Asahi: July 17,2003)

(07/17)
 
 
 
Life goes on for Okushiri quake survivors


I visited the Hokkaido island of Okushiri recently. On July 12 exactly 10 years ago, the island was devastated by a killer tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the southwestern coast of Hokkaido.

(07/16)
■《天声人語》

 北海道の奥尻島へ行ってきた。この島が、北海道南西沖地震による大津波に襲われて、今日でちょうど10年になる。

I had been to Okushiri once before, just one month after the disaster. Since my last visit, the most visible transformation had occurred in the Aonae district. Devastated by fire and tsunami, the whole neighborhood was a desolate expanse of rubble when I last saw it. But the district has since been transformed into something like a seaside park. There now stands a massive monument dedicated to the souls of the dead, and nearby is the Okushiri Tsunami-kan, a memorial museum of sorts. All Aonae residents have been relocated to higher ground.

 地震のひと月後にも、一度行っている。当時から一変したのは、津波と火災でがれきの町となっていた青苗地区だ。海辺の公園のように平らにならされて、巨大な慰霊碑と「奥尻島津波館」が建てられた。住民は、盛り土した所や高台に移った。

New homes lined new streets. Skylarks sang in the sky. As I ambled on beyond the Cape Aonae breakwater to the beach, I came across two women cutting overgrown grass. They said they were cleaning the beach for the toro-nagashi lantern-offering rite that was scheduled for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. One of the women told me she had lost her mother.

 新しい道に新しい家並みが続く。ヒバリが、高みでさえずっている。青苗岬の堤防を越えて波打ち際に出ると、女性がふたり、夏草を刈っていた。10周年に合わせた灯籠(とうろう)流しのための清掃だという。ひとりは、母を失っていた。

The Okushiri Tsunami-kan was opened two years ago to remember the tragedy. Among the exhibits was a poem by a fourth-grade girl: ``An earthquake happened. I ran outside at once. The lighthouse had crumbled ... The next morning, I went back to my house. There was no house. It made me sad.''

For many Aonae residents, it was not only their homes that had disappeared overnight; their loved ones and routine lives had disappeared too. A total of 202 people were killed and 28 are still missing, mostly Okushiri islanders.

 津波館は、災害を記憶し記録を伝えようと、一昨年開館した。小学4年の少女の詩がある。「地震がおこった。すぐに外にでた。とうだいが、くずれていた。(略)次の朝、私の家に行った。家がなかった。悲しかった」。次の朝、無くなっていたのは、家であり、人であり、暮らしだった。死者は、島を中心に202人に及び、28人が行方不明のままだ。

At 10:17 p.m.-the time the earthquake struck-I retraced my steps to the Aonae neighborhood. A half moon hung in the night sky, and power lines whined in gusty winds. There was not a living soul in sight. Exactly 10 years ago, the sleeping streets and houses were swallowed up instantaneously and sunk to the bottom of the sea.

 地震の発生時刻の午後10時17分に合わせて、昼も歩いた青苗の町に行った。半月が傾き、風に電線がうなる。人影は全く無い。あの時、この道も、寝静まりつつあった家々も、一瞬のうちに「海底」になったのである。

This overwhelming tragedy must have left yet-to-heal scars in the hearts of survivors. But the words of one survivor struck me: ``Living on high ground, I certainly feel safe now. Still, nothing beats the good feeling I get when I go down to the beach.''

Perhaps this is exactly what the islanders feel in the deepest part of their souls.

 とてつもない体験の傷は、まだまだ癒えるはずがないと改めて思いつつ、高台に移り住んだ人の、こんな一言も耳に残った。「安心にはなりました。でも、海のそばに行くと、やっぱりいい」。島の心を聞くような気がした。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 12(IHT/Asahi: July 16,2003)

07月12日付
yet to heal


A run of gaffes works to feed Japan stereotypes


Stereotypes tend to be self-perpetuating, gaining currency by themselves, irrespective of whether they are valid or not.

This may be the case with 18th-century French thinker Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu's view that the Japanese were a cruel people.

07月13日付
■《天声人語》

 事実とは違っても、固定観念が独り歩きすることがある。日本人は残忍だという18世紀フランスの思想家モンテスキューの説もそのたぐいかもしれない。

In one of his major works, ``The Spirit of Laws,'' there are references to the Edo Period's (1603-1867) cruel penal system. To quote from an Iwanami's pocketbook-size version of the book, he wrote: ``People lived in terror everywhere. It brutalized their minds more. The result was that only the threat of harsher penalties could make them behave.''

 彼は「いたるところでおびえさせられ、いっそう残虐にさせられた魂は、より大きな残虐さによってでなければ導かれえなくなった」と江戸時代の過酷な刑罰について記した(『法の精神』岩波文庫)

The United States has often cast doubt on Japan's criminal justice system when dealing with demands that U.S. military criminal suspects be turned over to Japanese authorities, contending they might not get a fair trial under a system that pays little respect to human rights.

Such a sense of mistrust is probably common among Westerners, aside from whether its origins lie in Montesquieu's work.

Misunderstandings need to be corrected to match facts.

 軍関係の犯罪容疑者の身柄引き渡しをめぐり、米国はしばしば「人権軽視」といって日本の刑事司法制度に疑いの目を向けてきた。欧米人には日本へのそうした不信感が巣くっているのではないか。モンテスキューにさかのぼるかどうかは別にして。誤解は実態に即して一つひとつ正していく必要がある。

Some people act to perpetuate misunderstandings. Referring to the murder of a 4-year-old boy in Nagasaki, an incumbent Cabinet minister whose job is to direct juvenile education programs proposed that the parents of the 12-year-old suspect be paraded through the streets and then beheaded. The minister later said he was criticizing the legal system for dealing with teenage and younger criminals. He described himself as a fan of samurai dramas, but even so it was inappropriate for him to propose an Edo-style punishment.

 あえて逆の動きをする人もいる。加害者の親は「市中引き回しのうえ、打ち首にすればいい」。長崎の4歳児殺害事件をめぐる現役閣僚の言である。青少年育成の先頭に立つ人でもある。少年犯罪の扱いへの批判だといい、また時代劇ファンだからといって、江戸時代の刑罰を口にするのは穏当でない。

The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) produced the most comprehensive report of all the foreign media that showed interest in the incident. The BBC introduced the minister's proposal as the latest addition to a collection of ``insensitive gaffes'' ranging from seemingly defensive remarks on rape by senior Liberal Democratic Party official Seiichi Ota to former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's controversial statements. Most recently, Mori ruffled feathers by saying women who have not reared children are unqualified to receive pensions.

 各国メディアが報じる中、詳しかったのは英国BBCだ。レイプをめぐる太田誠一発言から森前首相の諸発言まで引きながら「無神経な」失言集として紹介した。

Leaving aside overseas outrage on the incumbent minister's proposal, it is dangerous to have someone with such ideas directing juvenile education programs. On his home page, the minister calls on the public to ``teach children what a beautiful country Japan is.''

If parading the parents of a suspected killer through the streets and then beheading them is what the minister means by a ``beautiful country,'' it makes me shudder to think of the country he envisions.

 海外の見方は別にしても、こんな発想の人が青少年育成を推進する危うさは重大である。彼は「日本の美しい国柄を子供たちに教えてください」とホームページで訴えている。「市中引き回しと打ち首」が、彼の頭に浮かぶ「美しい国柄」だとすると、何とも寒々しい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 13(IHT/Asahi: July 15,2003)

(07/15)
 
 
 
Profound question haunts pilgrim on the run


An obscure shingeki (new school) stage actor is discovered by a famous film director and lands a big movie contract. The director is captivated by the actor's strikingly ``nihilist'' looks. Ecstatic as he is to get his chance at stardom, the actor is also tormented by a sense of doom.

07月11日付
■《天声人語》

 名もない新劇俳優が映画出演を依頼される。彼の舞台が高名な監督の目にとまったのだ。「虚無的な風貌(ふうぼう)」が気に入られての抜擢(ばってき)である。スターへの足がかりをつかんだ幸運に俳優は有頂天になりつつも、破滅の予感にさいなまれる。

The actor is the protagonist of the short story ``Kao'' (The Face) by Seicho Matsumoto (1909-1992). Nine years before the actor met the director, he went on a trip with a woman, intending to kill her. On the trip, they accidentally ran into a man who knew the woman. But this did not stop the actor from murdering her.

Would the actor's face be eventually remembered by that sole witness? Suspense mounts. The more famous he becomes on the silver screen, the greater the chance of his unique face being recognized.

 松本清張の短編小説「顔」である。俳優は9年前、殺意を秘めてある女と旅行した。途中、女の知り合いの男に偶然出会った。しかし俳優は殺人を決行する。唯一の目撃者の男は果たして自分の顔を覚えているか。舞台からスクリーンへ、有名になればなるほど俳優の特異な顔が男の目にとまる可能性は高まる。そのサスペンスを描いた。

I immediately recalled this story when a pilgrim to Shikoku's 88-temple circuit was arrested Wednesday. The 80-year-old man was sought by police as the suspect of an attempted murder 12 years ago. But over his six-year pilgrimage, he had become something of a legend-a haiku writer who touched the hearts of everyone he met on his way, reciprocating whatever hospitality he received by giving out his collection of poems.

 9日逮捕されたお遍路さんに、まずこの小説を思い浮かべた。12年前の殺人未遂事件で指名手配されていた80歳の容疑者である。俳句をつくり、接待のお礼に句集を配りながら四国八十八カ所を6年間巡っていた彼は、出会う人々に感銘を与えてきた「伝説的」人物だった。

NHK television did a feature on this man and aired it in Shikoku in late May. The program was even rebroadcast. Had that been the end of the story, the arm of the law probably would not have reached him. But when the program was shown nationwide in late June, an officer with the Chiba prefectural police recognized his face.

 彼を追うNHK番組は5月末に四国で放送され、再放送もされた。そこで終わっていれば、逮捕には至らなかったかもしれない。しかし6月末に全国放送され、千葉県警の警察官の目にとまった。

NHK portrayed him as a ``lifetime pilgrim prepared to die a pilgrim.'' I wonder what his thoughts were as he plodded from temple to temple. All I know is that he must have been carrying a heavy burden on his conscience.

 「死を覚悟の生涯遍路」とNHKが紹介した容疑者は、どんな思いで歩いていたのか。重い荷を背負っての巡礼であったことは間違いないだろう。

The publishing house that released his poetry collection reminded readers of the words of the director of the NHK program: His pilgrimage raises the fundamental question of what human beings live for.

Now that this pilgrim has been exposed as a criminal suspect, that question carries a heavier significance than ever.

 彼の句集を出した出版社が、番組担当ディレクターの言葉を紹介していた。人は何のために生きているのかという根源的な問いを投げかけている遍路、と。容疑者と発覚したいま、問いはさらに切実に迫る。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 11(IHT/Asahi: July 12,2003)

(07/12)
 
 
 
`Sorry for being with you for so short period'


Many years ago, when the day of my graduation from elementary school was nearing, a teacher told us, ``All you children are about to enter seinen-zenki (pre-adolescence).''

07月10日付
■《天声人語》

 はるかな昔、小学校卒業を前に、ある教師が「これから、皆さんは、青年前期に入ります」と話した。

In Japan, elementary school pupils are referred to as jido (children) to distinguish them from their secondary school counterparts, who are called seito (students).

I took my transition from jido to seito as a matter of course. But I can still recall the odd, out-of-place feeling I got from the word seinen (adolescence). By association, the word led directly to otona (adulthood) which implied something far too distant and big for me then. I was 12 years old that spring.

 「児童」から「生徒」へという、学校での呼ばれ方の変化には、どうということも感じなかった。しかし「青年」という、大人に直結するような遠くて大きいものと、小さな我が身との落差に感じた、妙な据わりの悪さが記憶に残る。12の春だった。

A 12-year-old boy, in his first year at a junior high school in the city of Nagasaki, has been taken into custody over the abduction and murder of preschooler Shun Tanemoto. Police say the boy has admitted to throwing Shun to his death from atop a multi-level parking lot in downtown Nagasaki.

If the police report is correct, how might this 12-year-old have appeared in little Shun's eyes? Thinking of this drives me into poignant sorrow and bizarre feelings.

 長崎市の幼稚園児、種元駿ちゃんが誘拐され殺された事件で、中学1年の12歳の少年が補導された。「突き落としたと認めています」。警察発表の通りだとしたら、その時、駿ちゃんの目に、少年の姿はどう映ったか。改めて、痛切でおぞましい思いにかられた。

Generally speaking, 12-year-olds still need a lot of adult protection. They are not even teenagers yet. On the other hand, they are in that precarious period of puberty when their minds and bodies undergo dramatic changes. I wonder how it was for that Nagasaki lad.

 12歳は、一般的には、まだまだ大人からの保護を必要とする時期だ。語尾がteenで終わるからそう呼ばれる、13歳からのティーン・エージャーにも入らない。一方で、心身が大きく変化する微妙な年頃でもある。少年の日常はどうだったのか。

Right before he disappeared, Shun reportedly told his parents his wish for the upcoming ``Tanabata'' Star Festival on July 7. The wish was to become ``Kamen Raida,'' a popular animated cartoon hero.

His father, Tsuyoshi, addressed Shun's soul at the funeral: ``We were able to be with you for only four years and eight months. We are so terribly sorry.'' Shun's was far too short a life, ended so cruelly.

 事件の直前、七夕の短冊に書く願い事を聞かれた駿ちゃんは「仮面ライダーになりたい」と答えたという。父親の毅さんは葬儀で述べた。「4年8カ月しか一緒にいてあげられなくてごめん」。無残に断たれた、あまりにも短すぎる生だった。

The annual ``Hozuki-ichi'' (Chinese lantern plant market) began Wednesday at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo's Asakusa district. Almost all visitors with small children either carried them or held their hands firmly. Perhaps this wasn't so significant as toddlers can easily get lost in a crowd. Still, I fancied that every big hand that clasped a tiny hand was firmer than usual.

 きのう東京・浅草の浅草寺で、恒例の「ほおずき市」が始まった。参拝客のうち、幼い子を連れた人たちのほとんどが、手をひくか、だっこしていた。例年のことかもしれない。迷子のこともあるだろう。しかし、握る手の一つひとつに、心なしか力が加わっているように思われた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 10(IHT/Asahi: July 11,2003)

(07/11)
 
 
 
Ghost of the Nazi past still haunts Europe


Like longtime neighbors that they are, countries in Europe speak ill of each other by tradition. For example, Germans have a saying that goes, ``Italy is a paradise inhabited by devils.'' This amounts to saying that while the climate of Italy is marvelous, its inhabitants are evil.

Italians counter it with a saying of their own: ``Any place inhabited by Germans is bad for the health of Italians.'' This saying seems to reflect Italians' dislike for what they see as the ``glumness'' of Germans.

07月09日付
■《天声人語》

 長いつきあいのヨーロッパ諸国では、互いに悪口を言い合う伝統もある。たとえばドイツとイタリアである。ドイツのことわざで「イタリアは悪魔が住んでいる天国だ」。気候風土は素晴らしいが、人間は性悪だ、と。イタリアでは「ドイツ人がいるところはどこもイタリア人の健康を害する」。ドイツ人の「暗さ」を疎んでいるのだろう。

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi overstepped the traditional standard by making a statement that provoked an uproar in the European Parliament the other day. It was clearly a gaffe.

Berlusconi was in the spotlight as Italy's presidency of the European Union had just begun. Responding to criticism by a German member of the European Parliament, he said: ``I know there is a producer in Italy who is making a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I will suggest you for the role of kapo (commander). You'd be perfect.''

The German lawmaker had criticized Berlusconi over a bribery scandal

 イタリアのベルルスコーニ首相の先日の発言は、そんな伝統を一歩も二歩も踏み越えた「失言」だった。欧州連合の議長国になったばかりの晴れ舞台、欧州議会で、自分の汚職疑惑をめぐって批判をしたドイツの議員にこう言ったそうだ。「ナチスの強制収容所の看守役にぴったりだ」。

The Italian leader later explained himself by saying that his response had been intended to be sarcastic. But nobody would buy that.

Germany re-emerged from World War II by fundamentally reflecting on its prewar system; rejecting the Nazi past is something like a national article of faith. The affair inevitably casts doubt on Berlusconi's views of history and his sense of international relations.

 首相は後に「皮肉をこめた冗談のつもりだった」と弁明しているらしいが、単なる軽口ではすまされないだろう。戦前の体制を根本から反省したドイツでは、ナチス否定は国是のようなものだ。ベルルスコーニ首相の歴史観や国際感覚が疑われても仕方ない。

I have another misgiving about the prime minister. Conceivably, when he is called a fascist, the affront he feels may not be so strong as the insult a German feels when he is called a Nazi. As a matter of fact, some people see his government as a dangerous new type of fascism, pointing to the fact that Italy's mainstream media are under his control.

 ただ、こんな疑念もわく。彼が「ファシスト」とののしられてもドイツ人が「ナチス」といわれるほどには侮辱と感じないのではないか。実際、主要メディアを掌握している彼の政権を新し
いタイプのファシズムと危険視する声もある。

Earlier this year, a senior official of the Bush administration made a statement that appeared to be aimed at dividing Europe by making a distinction between ``Old Europe'' that challenges American leadership and ``New Europe'' that follows U.S. initiatives. This time, Europe is rocked by internal strains provoking a 20th century trauma.

 少し前にはブッシュ米政権から欧州分断を狙うような発言があった。自分にたてつく古い欧州と自分に従う新しい欧州、などと。今回は、前世紀の古傷を刺激する内部のきしみである。

The picture is ironic. Europe is being plagued by a ghost from the bygone century just when it is trying to build a new coalition of countries in the 21st century.

 21世紀、新しい国家連合をめざす欧州が、皮肉にも前世紀の亡霊に悩まされている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 9(IHT/Asahi: July 10,2003)

(07/10)
 
 
 
Recalling 1st contact with Perry's Black Ships


When Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy arrived off Uraga in Kanagawa Prefecture to force Japan out of its centuries-old isolation, he reportedly perceived the occasion as one in which the world's youngest nation was marching into one of the oldest civilizations. It took place on July 8, exactly 150 years ago.

07月08日付
■《天声人語》

 最も古い文明国の一つに、最も若い国が乗り込む。150年前のきょう、日本の開国を求めて神奈川県の浦賀沖に到着した米国のペリー提督には、そんな思いがあったという。

Lest he be slighted by the representatives of this old civilization, Perry took a high-handed approach. He included state-of-the-art warships in his fleet for effect, and demanded to see only the highest officials. But although the gunboats did intimidate the Tokugawa Shogunate, the latter did not comply tamely with Perry's terms. The government appointed junior officials for prior negotiations, lying about their rank.

 当時としては世界最新の設備を備えた軍艦を誇示する。しかるべき高官しか相手にしない。古い文明の国から侮られないように、とペリーは強い態度で臨んだ。砲艦を恐れる日本側だったが、要求に素直には応じなかった。下級役人を高官と偽って事前交渉に当たらせた。

These were Nakajima Saburosuke and Kayama Eizaemon, both yoriki (police sergeants) of the Uraga magistrate's office. The Americans were impressed by Kayama's ``gentlemanly dignity'' and his ``attitude that bespoke his high learning and refinement.'' Nakajima, on the other hand, was summed up as a ``nosy and impertinent barbarian.''

 交渉の先陣をつとめたのが浦賀奉行所の与力、中島三郎助と香山栄左衛門である。米国側から「紳士らしい落ち着きと高い教養を示す態度」と評された香山に対して、中島の方は「せんさく好きで、でしゃばりの野人」と見られた。

In a sense, these two men symbolized the two faces of Japan in the final days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kayama stood for the Japan that maintained its own civilization and code of honor while keeping the doors closed to the world.

Nakajima, on the other hand, represented a sense of crisis that was building up over the nation's continued isolation, as well as an all-consuming eagerness to steal the latest technology of the time at any cost. Nakajima, in fact, keenly observed every aspect of Perry's ``Black Ships,'' eventually becoming Japan's foremost shipbuilding engineer.

 2人は幕末日本の2面を象徴してもいた。香山は鎖国を続けながらも独自の文明と礼節を維持してきた国であることを示し、中島は、鎖国日本の状況に危機感を抱き、当時の先端技術を何とか盗もうと貪欲(どんよく)だった。黒船をじっくり観察した彼は、後に造船技術の第一人者になった。

I walked around the Uraga neighborhood recently. A memorial cenotaph stood at Perry's landing place in Kurihama. Erected in 1901, it is a massive stone monument with an inscription in the handwriting of Hirobumi Ito. It says, ``Monument to mark the landing by Commodore Perry of the United States of America.''

Toward the end of World War II, the cenotaph was pulled down as a symbol of ``national humiliation'' and covered with black cloth as in a mock funeral. However, just before the arrival of the postwar U.S. occupation forces, the monument was re-erected. The construction workers reportedly worked stealthily through the night.

 先日、浦賀周辺を歩いた。ペリーが初めて日本の土を踏んだ久里浜に記念碑があった。1901年の建立で伊藤博文筆「北米合衆国水師提督伯理上陸記念碑」と刻んだ大きな石碑である。第二次大戦末期、「国辱の碑」として倒され、黒布をかけて「葬送」されたという。戦後、米軍の進駐間際に夜陰に乗じて再建したそうだ。

On the day I visited the ``birthplace'' of Japan's relations with the United States, the sea was placid as if it remembered none of the turbulent affairs of the past 150 years since the arrival of the Black Ships.

 日米関係の原点の地を訪れた日の海は、黒船来航以来150年の激動を忘れたかのように、穏やかだった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 8(IHT/Asahi: July 9,2003)

(07/09)
 
 
 
The margins can be pivotal in politics here


Recalling his childhood, animation director Hayao Miyazaki once said: ``It was a revelation when I learned I could make a three-dimensional thing from drawing paper through the trick of setting norishiro (the space for putting paste, usually at the edge of a piece of paper). The discovery made my heart pound.''

07月05日付
■《天声人語》

 アニメーション監督の宮崎駿さんが、子ども時代を思い出してこう語ったことがある。「のりしろをとって画用紙を貼(は)り合わせると立体ができると知ったときには、世界の秘密にふれたような気がしました。本当にドキドキしましたよ」。

Miyazaki went on to make castles and various other structures from flat pieces of paper. It was essential to learn where and how to set norishiro. He learned the trick by trial and error. The childhood hobby may account for the secret of Miyazaki's animation movies that transforms the seemingly mundane world into one of depth.

 平らな紙からお城などいろいろな建物をつくる。のりしろをどこにどう取るかが大事だ。失敗しながら立体づくりに挑戦した。平板に見えがちな世の中を奥行きのある世界に変貌(へんぼう)させる宮崎アニメの原点かもしれない。

The word norishiro that thus stirs the imagination of children serves as political jargon. In this sense, it is a tricky term. During the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the Liberal Democratic Party floated the idea of raising the tobacco tax to help finance the operations of the multinational forces. Behind the scenes, LDP officials let it be known that they wanted to ``use tobacco as norishiro'' to induce Komeito, a particularly image-conscious party, to support the proposal.

Evidently, they were hopeful that while Komeito was against any tax increase, the marginal nature of the tobacco tax might lead the party to acquiesce. They were prepared to withdraw the proposal if Komeito refused the deal. Norishiro meant a bargaining chip in this case.

 子どもの創造力をかきたてる「のりしろ」と違って、政界用語としての「のりしろ」は生臭い。湾岸戦争時、多国籍軍支援の財源論議で自民党からたばこ増税論が出た。裏で流れたのは「たばこを公明党向けの『のりしろ』に使いたい」。増税反対の公明党を引き込むため、最後には取り下げてもいい。そんな駆け引きで動く部分を「のりしろ」といった。

The LDP has employed a similar ploy about the bill to send members of the Self-Defense Forces on a mission to help with postwar Iraq's reconstruction, this time to induce the major opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) to back the legislation, which has cleared the Lower House of the Diet. To this end, the LDP offered a compromise proposal that would make it mandatory for the government to seek advance Diet approval of detailed plans for the dispatch of SDF units, instead of seeking approval after the fact.

But recourse to a ``norishiro approach'' will not work to paper over the important basic problems entailed in the legislation.

 衆院通過のイラク特措法案でも民主党向けの「のりしろ」があったようだ。国会の事後承認を事前承認にするなどの歩み寄り案だ。しかし法案の骨格に無理がある以上「のりしろ」で糊塗(こと)することはできまい。

People may be described as those with large norishiro space or those with small space for pasting. People of the former type may be called ``resourceful.'' U.S. President George W. Bush, who innocently said, ``Bring 'em on,'' in reference to attacks on American troops in Iraq, seems to belong to the latter category. The remark reinforced the impression that SDF units are being sent to a dangerous place.

 人にも「のりしろ」の多少がありそうだ。多い人は「懐が深い」といえようか。イラクで続く米軍への攻撃をめぐって「かかってこい」と無邪気に挑発したブッシュ大統領は「のりしろ」過少型か。自衛隊派遣の危うさを印象づける発言だった。

There is one more thing to be said about norishiro: Its service is self-effacing. It is indispensable to put something together, but it is gone when the assemblage is completed.

 物事を組み立てるのに欠かせないが、できあがったときには姿を消している。「のりしろ」という存在の奥ゆかしさである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 5

(07/08)
 
 
 
Slow and stress-free turtles-a lifestyle model


There is an aquarium that goes by the odd name of ``Turtle Bank.'' It lends turtles only to children. Borrowers are obliged to raise the turtles, and there is no time limit for repayment.

06月29日付
■《天声人語》

 タートルバンクという風変わりな銀行がある。カメ銀行、つまりカメを貸し出す銀行である。貸出先は、子どもに限られる。義務は、借りたカメを育てることで、返済の期限はない。

The Himeji City Aquarium in Hyogo Prefecture began the service in 1988. Initially, it lent young turtles. After a while, it switched to lending eggs by improving incubators. Even though turtles are full of vitality, their eggs are frail. Many turtles die before hatching. The lending service gives child borrowers a chance to witness the birth and death of turtles.

That is the objective of the service. ``It is a program designed to let children know the mystery and preciousness of life,'' says Noritaka Ichikawa, the aquarium's chief researcher.

Incidentally, now is the egg-laying time of turtles.

 兵庫県の姫路市立水族館が88年に始めた。当初は子ガメを貸し出したが、孵化(ふか)容器を改良し、途中から卵にした。生命力旺盛なカメとはいえ、卵は弱い。死んでいく卵も少なくない。子どもたちはカメの生と死に立ち会う。市川憲平主任専門員は「いのちの不思議さと大切さを子どもたちに知ってほしいとの願いを込めた試みです」。ちょうどいまが産卵期だ。

The turtle is a strange creature. It has inhabited the earth for about 200 million years. During this time, it has slowly evolved with hardly a change in its shape. It is an existence for which time passes very slowly.

 カメというのは不思議な生き物である。ほぼ2億年も地球に生息してきた。その間、姿形をほとんど変えないでゆっくりと進化した。悠々たる存在である。

The distinctive feature of the turtle is, of course, its shell, a strong suit of armor that protects it from enemies. With some varieties, the shell can withstand as much as 200 times the weight of its body. The turtle withdraws itself into the shell for protection, imposing a heavy burden on its skeletal structure. It represents wisdom needed to live through the species' everlasting years.

 カメの特徴はもちろん甲羅である。外敵から守ってくれる強固な鎧(よろい)だ。種類によっては自分の体重の200倍の重さに耐えられる。そこにすっぽり身を隠す。骨格には無理が強いられる。楽な作業ではない。悠久の時間を生き抜くために築いた知恵である。

Based on his research on the turtle's long life, Haruaki Nakamura, director of the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture, says, ``The turtle is omnivorous, but it likes to eat foods in season. It can stand adverse circumstances, enduring the heat and cold weather.''

He adds, ``It lives long mainly because of its slow and stress-free lifestyle.''

 カメの長寿の理由を調べたことのある三重県・鳥羽水族館の中村幸昭館長は「雑食だが、旬のものを好む。我慢強い。暑さ、寒さに強い」などを挙げながら「ゆったりとした生活でストレスがないことが大きい」と語っていた。

The newly developed complex Caretta Shiodome in Minato Ward has joined the list of major sightseeing spots in Tokyo. The ``caretta'' in the name is derived from the scientific name of the turtle. Whoever chose the name presumably did so to provide present-day people with a chance to experience the turtle's hustle-free lifestyle.

The turtle will never cease to be an object of awe and respect.

 東京新名所の一つといわれる港区の「カレッタ汐留」、その「カレッタ」はカメの学名に由来する。現代人もあくせくしないカメの生き方を、との思いからだろう。カメへの畏敬(いけい)の念が消えることはない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 29(IHT/Asahi: July 7,2003)

(07/07)
 
 
 
A natural wish in the urban, concrete jungle


``Hashizukushi'' (The Seven Bridges), a short story by Yukio Mishima (1925-1970), is set in Tokyo's Tsukiji district. One moonlit night, four women make a tour of seven neighborhood bridges, hoping the journey will make their respective wishes come true.

07月04日付
■《天声人語》

 三島由紀夫の短編「橋づくし」は、東京の築地辺りが舞台である。月夜に、4人の女たちが、それぞれの願い事を胸に、七つの橋を巡る。

``Soon, the first bridge they were supposed to cross-Miyoshibashi-loomed ahead,'' the narrative goes. ``It is an unusual three-forked affair that spans the confluence of three rivers. On the corner of one opposite riverbank, there squatted the gloomy building of the Chuo Ward Office ... .'' The story is included in ``Showa Bungaku Zenshu'' (Collection of Showa Era literature) published by Shogakukan Inc.

 「程なく四人の渡るべき最初の橋、三吉橋がゆくてに高まって見えた。それは三叉の川筋に架せられた珍らしい三叉の橋で、向う岸の角(かど)には中央区役所の陰気なビルがうずくまり……」(『昭和文学全集』小学館)。

Both the bridge and the ward office building still exist, as portrayed in Mishima's novella. However, motor traffic has replaced the flow of water under the bridge. As I stood near the middle of Miyoshibashi, my senses were assailed by the roar of engines and exhaust fumes from a Metropolitan Expressway that has replaced the waterways. I doubt anyone would choose this spot to make his or her wish.

 三吉橋(みよしばし)も区役所も、今も同じ場所にある。しかし、橋の下を流れるのは川ではなく、車だ。橋の中ほどに立つと、足下の川面ならぬ首都高速道路から、エンジンの爆音と排ガスとが吹き上げる。願をかける人も、あるまい。

A Tokyo taxi driver once told me that memorizing the names of the main bridges in central Tokyo is tantamount to memorizing the locations of a considerable number of intersections. The latter go by bridge names, but they span no rivers today.

 都心では、主な橋の名前を覚えることは、相当な数の交差点の名を覚えることになると、タクシーの運転手に聞いた覚えがある。橋とは名ばかりで、水は見えない。

I went to Miyoshibashi because a recent news item, datelined Seoul, had piqued my interest. According to the story, work has begun to demolish an elevated highway that runs through downtown Seoul, and dig up the culvert to restore the river that once flowed there for people to enjoy. The demolition was partly due to the sloppy construction of the elevated highway, which it was feared could lead to disaster. But in any case, I hope the river turns out as nice as its name-Chonggye-chon, which means ``clear stream.''

 三吉橋まで来たのは、ソウル発の記事が気になったからだ。都心の高架道路を撤去し、暗渠(あんきょ)を地表に出して憩いの川に再生する工事が始まったという。手抜き工事で高架が危険という事情もあるらしいが、清渓川(チョンゲチョン)という名前にふさわしい姿に戻るかどうか、見守りたい。

Like Japan, South Korea underwent frenetic development after World War II, letting motor traffic take over roads, rivers and even overhead space. I think both nations have gone far enough.

 韓国もそうだが、戦後の日本もひたすら走りに走ってきた。道を、川を、頭の上までも、車に明け渡した。行き着く所まで来たと思う。

``The little river flows clear and smooth in spring,'' goes an old Japanese song. It was reportedly inspired by a river that ran somewhere in the vicinity of Tokyo's Shibuya district.

I know such a clear stream is but a dream in Tokyo today, but is it impossible to at least give rivers back to those ``riverless bridges''? Cringing from the roar of engines and exhaust fumes, I could not help making that wish.

 「春の小川は、さらさら行くよ」のモデルは、渋谷辺りを流れる川だったという。今更こんな清流は無理として、川の無い橋を、川のある橋に戻すのも無理なのだろうか。爆音とガスにたじろぎながら、つい、願をかけてみたくなった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 4(IHT/Asahi: July 6,2003)

(07/06)
 
 
 
Elder Honda had a steady hand, unlike his son


Honda Motor Co. announced recently that its new car sales for the first half of this year set a record in the United States. Honda founder Soichiro Honda, who died in 1991, would have been proud.

07月03日付
■《天声人語》

 アメリカでのホンダの新車販売台数が、過去最高になったという。今年の上半期の実績で、91年に亡くなった本田宗一郎さんも喜んでいるだろう。

But a recent development involving his eldest son Hirotoshi would no doubt have deeply grieved this legendary entrepreneur. Hirotoshi Honda, president of Mugen Co., was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of massive tax evasion. Before his arrest, Honda had stated that an auditor handled all accounting matters. ``If you are not an expert yourself, delegate the responsibility to someone who is a real expert. That's our family motto,'' Honda explained. One wonders what his father would have said to that.

 しかし、この伝説的創業者を深く悲しませるようなことも起きている。長男の本田博俊「無限」社長が、脱税の容疑で逮捕された。逮捕の前に、経理の一切は監査役に任せきりだったと述べた。「不得手なことはできる人に頼め」が本田家の家訓、とも語った。創業者は、どう聞くだろうか。

Soichiro Honda used to jot down his thoughts and observations. A collection of his essays is titled ``Watashi no Te ga Kataru'' (My hands speak), a paperback published by Kodansha Ltd.

He noted in one essay: ``Whenever I compare my right hand and left hand, I am always struck by how visibly they differ in the size of the palms and the shape of the fingers. It must be unusual indeed to have such an odd pair of hands.''

 宗一郎さんが、心に去来する思いを正直に書きとめたという随筆集『私の手が語る』(講談社文庫)には、こんなくだりがある。「手のひらの大きさや指のかたちをくらべて、右と左がこんなにちがう手もめずらしいだろう」。

With what I am sure was loving tenderness, he sketched his left hand and included the drawing in an essay. It is a hand with numerous scars, left by hammers, drills and cutters that the right hand wielded over many years.

Honda went on to describe himself as a ``hand person''-an expression of honest pride in himself for creating new things with his bare hands.

 長い間、右手が存分に振るってきたハンマーや、キリ、カッターの刃を受け続けて傷だらけになった左手の姿を、イラスト入りで、いたわるように書いた。その手で新しいものをつくり出してきた誇りを込めて、自らを「手の人」とも記した。

Austrian-born American writer Walter Sorell authored ``Story of the Human Hand,'' a Japanese translation of which is available from Chikuma Shobo Publishing Co. Sorell notes that the human hand is reticent, but it literally ``grasps'' the world it creates. It serves its master and reveals everything about him, just like a mirror.

 「黙して語らないが、(略)手は、それが創造する世界を、言葉の真の意味において『把握』している。手は、その主人に仕えて、彼のすべてを映す――まるで鏡のように、彼のありとあらゆる姿を」(W・ソーレル『人間の手の物語』筑摩書房)。

Mugen, the younger Honda's company, produced superb racing car engines that won four Formula One races. The Japanese word mugen means ``infinite'' or ``limitless.'' The company name probably reflected the president's dream to reach his distant destination at full speed.

But beautiful as this dream was, the hands that held the steering wheel were apparently unsteady.

 「無限」のレース用エンジンは優秀で、搭載車はF1で4度も優勝した。名前にふさわしい時期も、あったのだろう。かなたへ、誰よりも速く行き着こうという夢も美しいが、肝心のハンドルを握る「手」が、ぶれていたようだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 3(IHT/Asahi: July 4,2003)

(07/04)
 
 
 
Photographs could be works of eternal value


Two years ago, Nobuko Ichinose, now 81, wrote in a note: ``Enter the darkroom about 10 a.m. Get down to work with the developing solution and fixing solution, which my dead husband made and kept in issho (1.8-liter) sake bottles.'' This is how she began printing the rolls of film left behind by her son, photographer Taizo Ichinose, who died in 1973 while covering war-torn Cambodia.

The woman who lives in Takeo, Saga Prefecture, worked on 20,000 frames of film shot by her son. Her effort resulted in the publication last month of a photo album titled ``Mo Minna Ie ni Kaero!'' (Everyone, let's go home now). The publisher is Mado-sha Publishing Co.

07月02日付
■《天声人語》

 「一〇時頃暗室入り。夫が生前作って一升瓶に保存していた現像液、定着液で仕事始め」

 2年前、佐賀県武雄市の一ノ瀬信子さん(81)は、そう書きとめた。内戦のカンボジアで73年に亡くなったカメラマン、一ノ瀬泰造の母である。息子の残した2万コマの焼き付けを続け、先月、写真集『もうみんな家に帰ろー!』(窓社)を出版した。

A ``darkroom diary'' is attached to the album. Nobuko says in it that she was prone to mistakes two years ago. In time, she realized it was essential to keep the developing and fixing solutions at an appropriate temperature. She also learned to concentrate on her work. The picture of an old woman cherishing each frame she was printing in the darkroom comes across from the diary.

 本の「暗室日記」には、2年前の失敗の多かったころから、液を適温に保つのが大事と気づき、集中するまでがつづられている。一コマ一コマをいとおしんで焼き付ける姿が伝わってくる。

``If your photos aren't good enough, you're not close enough,'' said Robert Capa, who stepped on a land mine and died during the Indo-china War, about 20 years earlier than Ichinose. I found the observation in a pamphlet introducing ``Capa in Love and War,'' a documentary film I saw at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. (The film runs through July 18.)

 「もし、いい写真が撮れないとしたら、近寄り方が足りないからだ」。泰造より約20年前に、インドシナ戦争で地雷を踏んで死亡したロバート・キャパの言だ。東京都写真美術館で見た記録映画「キャパ イン・ラブ・アンド・ウォー」(18日まで)のパンフレットに紹介されていた。

The Japanese photographer is known as a man who remarked, ``If I step on a land mine, it's goodbye.'' He made the remark in a letter he wrote to a friend just before he went missing. Actually, the whole sentence read: ``If I got lucky and stepped on a land mine, it would be goodbye!'' The wording with an exclamation mark conjures up the profile of a 26-year-old who was trying to get ever closer to the action.

 泰造は「地雷を踏んだらサヨウナラ」の文句で知られている。行方不明になる直前の友人あての手紙の一節だが、文全体はこうなっていた。「もしうまく地雷を踏んだらサヨウナラ!」。「もしうまく」と「!」とに、一歩でも「そこ」に近寄ろうとした26歳の青年の横顔が見える。

A photo exhibition, ``World Press Photo 2003,'' is also under way at the museum of photography. (After running through July 21 at the museum, the exhibition will tour Osaka and three other cities.) As I expected, the photos on display mainly consisted of those that had been taken close to the action-such as battlefield scenes, crime scenes and sites of natural disasters. A tour of the exhibition led me to have a higher opinion of the works of Capa and Ichinose.

It occurred to me that while the camera captures a moment in the past, the time thus arrested could constitute eternity.

 写真美術館では「世界報道写真展」も開かれていた(21日まで。以後、大阪など4都市を巡回)。やはり、戦場や事件、災害の現場が多い。そこに近寄ろうとした記録を見、キャパ、泰造を見直す。写っているのは過去の一瞬だが、止められた時が手にする「永遠」というものもある、と思った。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 2(IHT/Asahi: July 3,2003)

(07/03)


Children's songs recall a long-gone Japan


There are children's songs from my childhood that suddenly come back to my lips, unbidden. Some bring back fond memories of people and places. The memories are sometimes sentimental, sometimes bittersweet. I am sure everyone can relate to these feelings.

07月01日付
■《天声人語》

 ふと口ずさむ童謡がある。懐かしい風景や人々を運んでくる童謡もある。ときには感傷とともに、あるいは、ほろ苦い記憶とともにかもしれない。誰にも童謡にまつわる思い出があるだろう。

In 1956, a certain children's song was sung in a most unlikely setting. This has always intrigued me.

It happened during a protest rally against the planned expansion of the then-U.S. military base at Tachikawa in western Tokyo. The protest movement was called ``Sunagawa toso'' (Sunagawa strife) after the town that was to be swallowed up into the expanded base. Protesters clashed repeatedly with police while land surveyors tried to do their job. There was bloodshed every time.

In what would become the final showdown, someone started warbling a children's song. It was ``Aka-tonbo'' (Red dragonfly).

 あのとき、なぜ童謡が歌われたのか。いつもその思いにとらわれる事件がある。東京・立川の米軍基地拡張に反対して起きた「砂川闘争」である。測量の強行を阻止しようとする反対同盟が警官隊と流血の衝突を繰り返した。その「決戦」のときに歌われたのが「赤とんぼ」だった。

The song goes: ``A red dragonfly/ Against the sunset sky/ When was the last time I saw it?/ When I was a piggy-backed child.''

The warble soon swelled into a full-throated chorus.

Novelist Shigeko Yuki, who was at the scene in 1956, writes in ``Dokyumento Showa-shi 7'' (Documentary of Showa history 7) published by Heibobsha: ``In the few minutes that preceded their final, most ferocious charge, the protesters were no longer inspired by a protest song or the Red Flag song of the working class.''

 #夕焼小焼の/赤とんぼ/負われて見たのは/いつの日か――大合唱が起きた。「最後の、もっとも激しい攻撃に立ち向う前の何分間かの歌、それはもうあの行動隊の歌や赤旗の歌ではなかった」。56年当時、現場にいた由起しげ子さんが記録している(『ドキュメント昭和史7』平凡社)。

Yuki goes on to note that another children's song-``Furusato'' (Hometown)-was also sung at that rally. ``The song evoked the deepest feelings of nostalgia in everybody, transporting them beyond the reality of their harsh strife.''

Perhaps it was the love of their farmland - doomed to forced confiscation-that made these people break out in a chorus of ``Furusato'' as well as ``Aka-tonbo.''

This is an episode to be retold over and over as a part of Japan's post-World War II history.

 「赤とんぼ」とともに「故郷(ふるさと)」も歌われたらしい。「現実の戦いを超えて哀切に、人びとの郷愁をそそった」と由起さんは記す。強制収用されようとする故郷の田畑への愛着が生んだ歌声だったのか。語り伝えられる戦後史の一コマである。

To mark the so-called ``Doyo no Hi'' (Day of children's songs) on July 1, ``Nihon Doyo no Kai'' (Japan children's song association) asked people around the nation to name their favorites.

``Aka-tonbo'' was the easy winner, collecting the most of the 6,000 votes and the most in all age groups. ``Furusato'' and ``Akai Kutsu'' (Red shoes) came in second and third.

The lyrics of all three songs date from the Taisho Era (1912-1926). ``Aka-tonbo'' was written by Rofu Miki, and Kosaku Yamada put it to melody in 1927.

 きょうの「童謡の日」を前に、日本童謡の会が全国約6千人から「わたしが好きな童謡」を募った。「赤とんぼ」が他を引き離して1位だった。どの世代でも最も多くの支持を集めた。「故郷」と「赤い靴」が続く。いずれも作詞は大正時代で、三木露風の「赤とんぼ」に山田耕筰が曲をつけたのは、昭和2年だった。

Around that period, hometown scenes were beginning to change drastically around the nation.

 大正から昭和へ、故郷の風景が大きく変わろうとするころだった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 1(IHT/Asahi: July 2,2003)

(07/02)
 
 
 
For ballerinas, injury signals the time to rest


The monthly ritual of presenting some recent quotable quotes has come around again:

Ballerinas are prone to injuries. Referring to this problem, ballerina Hana Sakai said, ``The Chinese characters for injury read, `I wonder (why it's happened).' To be injured, therefore, means the time has come to reflect on what I have been doing. Besides, resting from practice brings the strange benefit of calming my nerves.''

06月28日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「けがというのは『我、怪しむ』ですから、自分を反省する『気づきの時』。それに、休んでいると、神経のざわめきみたいなものが、不思議と落ち着いてくるんです」。怪我(けが)がつきもののバレリーナ酒井はなさんの言。

``It's really strange. In the formative arts, ideas crop up one after another,'' said artist Toko Shinoda. ``While I am giving shape to something, an idea occurs to me, an idea that suggests my next project or at least has some influence on it,'' she explained.

 「制作って不思議です。作っていると、ある形がわいてくる。次のものを呼ぶ。ふっと宿って影を落とす」と美術家の篠田桃紅さん。

``At times, I stop in the middle of a level crossing,'' said poet Masayo Koike. ``Birds are chirping and the wind is blowing. Suddenly, the sense of being free fills me. It's strange because I am always free.''

 「踏切の真ん中で、立ち止まってみることがある。……鳥の声がする。風が吹いている。自由という思いが、突如、胸いっぱいに広がる。不思議なことだ。わたしはいつも、十分、自由なのに」とは詩人の小池昌代さん。

Speaking of a blind piano tuner, Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman said, ``He had metal plates fixed on the backs of his shoes. Thanks to the sounds the plates made, he could tell where doors were, where he was stepping on to the roadway, where cars were, and where he was. What he taught me was that the sounds that are audible if you listen for them become inaudible when you rely on the eyes for information.''

 ある盲目の調律師についてポーランドのピアニストのツィメルマンさんが語る。「彼は靴の底に金属のプレートを付けて歩いたが、その反射音で扉や段差、車の位置がわかり、自分のいる場所を把握できた。耳を澄ませば聞こえる音が、目に頼ると聞こえないということを教えてくれた」。

For 60 years, Morie Sawadaishi has raised Akita dogs in the mountains. ``Countless creatures live on the mountains,'' he said, ``so when you take a dog for a walk there, it automatically sharpens its senses. The sight of my dog running through tall grass and balancing itself on slopes makes me feel the dog is walking around by making full use of its four legs. In the city, someone may well scoop it up into their arms.''

 「山には多くの生き物がいる。散歩すると、犬は自然に神経をとぎすます。草むらを抜けたり、斜面でバランスをとったり、四つの足を存分に使って歩き回ってる、と実感する。都会だと、抱っこされちゃったりするからね」。山間部で秋田犬を60年間育てる澤田石守衛(さわだいしもりえ)さん。

For novelist Chokitsu Kurumatani, the Banshu plains in Hyogo Prefecture are where he played on oaten pipes and looked for skylarks' nests in his youth. Missing the vanished scenery of the plains, he said, ``When June approached, it was the time for the wheat crops to ripen. The sea of golden-colored wheat ears stretched to the distantly looming city of Himeji (known for the beautiful Himeji Castle). It was a sight of ultimate beauty.''

 麦笛を鳴らし、雲雀(ひばり)の巣を捜した昔を思い出しながら、消えた播州平野の風景を懐かしむのは作家の車谷長吉さん。「六月が近づくと麦熟るる頃である。黄金(こがね)色の穂が遠い姫路の城下まで続いていた。胸に沁(し)みる美しさである」

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 28

(07/01)
 
 
 
Israeli girl's diaries full of dreams for peace


Bat-Chen Shahak, an Israeli girl, died on her 15th birthday by the Jewish calendar. It was in the spring of 1996. She was killed in a suicide bombing while with a friend in Tel Aviv.

She left behind a number of poems in diaries found after her death. One was titled ``Dreaming of Peace.''

06月22日付
■《天声人語》

 友だちとテルアビブへ遊びに行ったイスラエルの少女が自爆テロの犠牲になったのは、96年の春だった。バトヘン・シャハクさん。ユダヤ暦で15歳の誕生日にあたる日だった。死後見つかった彼女の日記にはたくさんの詩が書かれていた。

Her mother, Ayelet, read it aloud at a recent symposium called ``For Peace-Overcoming Hate,'' which was held in Tokyo's Tsukiji area. It goes: ``It will be a special day/ When the left and the right, Arabs and Jews/ Will join hands and become friends/ Hatred and war will be gone/ Could such a day come only in a fairy tale?''

 きのう東京・築地で催されたシンポジウム「和平へ 憎しみを超えて」で、少女の母親アイェレットさんがその一つ「平和の夢」を読み上げた。「右も左も、アラブもユダヤも、手を結んで友だちになる/憎悪も戦争もなくなる特別な日/おとぎ話からしかやってこないのかしら」。

Israelis and Palestinians who lost family members in the Middle East conflict formed an association of bereaved families in 1995. Joining forces to break the vicious cycle of animosity on their own volition, they have been campaigning for peace. Two association members each from both sides attended the symposium.

 かの地の紛争で家族が犠牲になった人たちが95年、遺族の会を結成した。イスラエルとパレスチナの遺族が憎悪の連鎖を自らの意志で断ち、手を結んで和平を訴え続けている。シンポジウムには双方から2人ずつ出席した。

Palestinian Ghazi Brighith recalled how he had felt when his younger brother was killed by an Israeli soldier. He said he had wanted to strangle Israeli soldiers with his own hands. But he quickly gave up the idea, telling himself that all religions preached forgiveness, not revenge.

Shedding tears, he reported that when he joined the association of bereaved families, even his wife and children suspected that he had betrayed the Palestinian cause in the conflict.

 弟をイスラエル兵に殺されたパレスチナ人ガズィ・ブリギスさんは「そのときは自分の手で彼らを絞め殺したいと思った」。しかし「そりゃだめだ」「どの宗教も復讐(ふくしゅう)ではなく、赦(ゆる)しを説いている」と自分に言い聞かせた。遺族の会に参加すると「妻や子どもからも裏切り者ではないかと疑われた」と涙を流した。

Bat-Chen's poem goes on: ``Perhaps I am too naive for my age/ Even so, is it too much to ask for peace and security?/ I wish to walk down the old town streets without any worry/ Is this too wild a dream?''

 バトヘンさんの詩はこう続く。「私はたぶん素朴な少女/でも平和と安全とを求めるのはそんなに欲張りかしら/旧市街の通りを何の心配もなく歩きたいというのは欲張りな夢かしら」

Ayelet has published her daughter's diaries, issuing an Arabic version, too, to have them read by Palestinians, all in the hope that the books will help translate Bat-Chen's dreams into reality.

 アイェレットさんは娘の日記を本にした。パレスチナの人にも読んでもらおうとアラビア語版も出した。娘の夢を何とか実現したい、の一念である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 22(IHT/Asahi: June 30,2003)

(06/30)
 
 
 
Real progress more weighty than manifestos


``A specter is haunting Europe-the specter of communism.'' This all-too-famous first line from ``The Communist Manifesto,'' issued by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, may be falling into public oblivion.

06月27日付
■《天声人語》

 「ヨーロッパを妖怪が徘徊(はいかい)している」。この有名な書き出しも忘れられつつあるのかもしれない。「共産主義という妖怪が」と続く『共産党宣言』(マルクス、エンゲルス著)である。世に出たのが1848年だった。

Manifesuto, a Japanese corruption of ``manifest'' or ``manifesto,'' is a word we hear so often these days that I can't help offering the following pun: ``A specter is haunting Japan-the specter of manifesto.''

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi frivolously summed up manifesto as ``just an election pledge of sorts.'' But the word packs a more pro-active meaning than that.

 『宣言』を借りて「日本を妖怪が徘徊している。マニフェストという妖怪が」と言いたくなるほど「マニフェスト」という言葉をこのごろよく聞く。小泉首相は「公約のことなんでしょう」と突き放していたが、もう少し積極的な意味が込められている。

It came into currency because many people have grown weary of election pledges that amount to nothing more than wish lists and empty slogans.

The manifesto concept was conjured up to dispel the public's sense of frustration and disillusionment with politics. A manifesto is supposed to spell out party policy, including revenue sources to make things happen once the party comes into power. The manifesto is also supposed to set target dates for the implementation of policy. In short, it amounts to a solemn promise to the voting public.

 「公約という言葉にはうんざりだ」「きれいごとを並べたむなしい掛け声にすぎない」。公約につきまとうそんな思いを一掃しようというねらいである。実施時期や財源まで示した政策を掲げ、政権獲得後の実行を国民に約束する。その中身がマニフェストだ。

In the past, manifesto automatically implied the Communist Manifesto.

But while this word now ``haunts'' the nation in its new reincarnation, few people stop to reflect on the spirit of the Communist Manifesto.

 『共産党宣言』の「宣言」の原語は「マニフェスト」である。かつては、単に「マニフェスト」といえば『共産党宣言』を意味するほどだった。このごろ「マニフェストの徘徊」はあっても、本家の『宣言』はほとんど顧みられることはない。

The Japanese Communist Party, regarded as the inheritor of the spirit, is currently busy revising its Koryo, or Program. Koryo sounds somewhat weighty or aloof, but Program has a much more casual ring. This could be one case where an imported foreign word is less ``alien'' than its Japanese counterpart.

 『宣言』の継承者と見られる日本共産党はといえば、目下「綱領」の改定作業に忙しい。「綱領」というと重々しいが、英語やドイツ語でいえば「プログラム」という日常語だ。少し軽くなる。こちらは外来語の方が親しみやすいかもしれない。

Marx wrote in ``The Critique of the Gotha Program'': ``Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programs.'' Every political party ought to take those words to heart.

 マルクスの『ゴータ綱領批判』には、こんな一節がある。「現実の運動の一歩一歩は、一ダースの綱領よりも重要です」。どの政党にもかみしめてほしい言葉だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 27(IHT/Asahi: June 28,2003)

(06/28)
 
 
 
Fruit thieves are everywhere, every season


``Cherries. My children probably have never seen them. But I'm sure they'd love it if someone were to let them sample the fruit, especially if that someone happened to be their father.''

With these thoughts, the father looks at a bowl of cherries served in a bar. He starts eating the fruit with a feigned grimace.

This is from the last scene in ``Oto'' (Cherries), a short story by novelist Osamu Dazai.

06月26日付
■《天声人語》

 「子供たちは、桜桃など、見た事も無いかも知れない。食べさせたら、よろこぶだろう。父が持って帰ったら、よろこぶだろう」。そう思いながら酒場で出されたサクランボを、父はまずそうに食べる。太宰治の短編小説「桜桃」の最後の場面だ。

The story is dated in the early post-World War II era, but cherries are just as expensive now as then. Although we can today enjoy more affordable American imports-which are quite tasty in their own way-nothing compares with the exquisitely mellow lusciousness of the domestic Sato Nishiki variety. At a Tokyo fruit store, 500 grams of premier-grade Sato Nishiki cherries sell for 20,000 yen. That's about 250 yen per cherry. ``In terms of size, this is probably the most expensive fruit on the market,'' notes the store owner.

 小説は戦後すぐの光景だが、サクランボが高価なのはいまも変わりない。割安なアメリカンチェリーにも独特のうまみがあるとはいえ、国産の佐藤錦の繊細で豊潤な味わいは別格だ。東京都内の果実店の話では最高級の佐藤錦は500グラムで2万円、1粒が約250円もする。「大きさからすると最も高い果実かもしれません」。

Whenever expensive cherries are grown, cherry thieves go after them every year. This year, however, their operations are unprecedented in scale. In Yamagata Prefecture, the amount stolen so far already exceeds 1 ton. I doubt people are making off with them to bring home to their children. I should think the loot is being fenced somewhere.

 高価なサクランボをねらって摘み取る泥棒は毎年のように出没する。しかし今年は異様に大がかりだ。山形県での被害はすでに1トンを超えた。まさか子どもたちのために持ち帰っているわけではあるまい。どこかで売りさばいているのだろう。

Actually, it's not just cherries. Fruit thieves go after everywhere whatever produce is in season-strawberries in spring, watermelons and melons of various other kinds in early summer, pears in early autumn, and apples and grapes in mid-autumn. That's really a big problem for all farmers.

In watermelon country in Kagoshima Prefecture, some farmers have erected watch towers in the middle of their vast fields to successfully reduce the losses.

 サクランボにかぎらず、季節ごとに果実泥棒は全国各地で出没する。春はイチゴ、初夏にはスイカやメロン、初秋にかけてのナシ、そして秋のリンゴとブドウ、と農家泣かせである。鹿児島県のスイカ産地では、広い畑の真ん中にやぐらを建てて監視、被害を少なくした地区もある。

Dazai also says in ``Oto'': ``You string the cherries together by their stems, and they'll look like a coral necklace.''

His sensitive depiction of the beauty of the fruit enhances the pain he felt in his heart-as a father who thought fondly about his children and pretended he got no pleasure from eating the cherries.

 太宰の「桜桃」に戻れば「蔓(つる)を糸でつないで、首にかけると、桜桃は、珊瑚(さんご)の首飾のように見えるだろう」と描く。美しいサクランボと、まずそうなふりをして食べる父の内面の苦渋との対比が鮮やかだ。

Shortly after writing this story, Dazai killed himself. It was in June, and cherries were in season.

 この小説を書いてまもなく、彼は死を選んだ。6月、サクランボの盛りの季節だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 26(IHT/Asahi: June 27,2003)

(06/27)
 
 
 
Iraqi needs for aid should first be determined


Just like U.S. President George W. Bush maneuvering for re-election, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's primary concern is to get himself re-elected as president of the Liberal Democratic Party. After months of devoting his energies to that end, he plans to do even more.

06月25日付
■《天声人語》

 小泉さんには、ブッシュさんと同じ再選という大きな目標がある。この一点のために注いできた力を、さらに強めるのだろう。

Considering the fact that Koizumi's term as LDP chief runs out soon, I think it is only natural for him to step up his efforts.

Nevertheless, I find it incomprehensible that he proposed a bill to help with Iraq's postwar reconstruction when the current Diet session's scheduled close was near. The bill provides for the dispatch of members of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq as part of Japanese contributions. But it does not make clear why the dispatch of SDF units is needed. A question arises: Koizumi may have lived up to Bush's expectations, but would the bill help with his re-election bid?

 当然のことだとは思う。だが、国会の会期末に、イラク特措法案を持ち出したのは解せない。何のための自衛隊派遣かもはっきりしない。ブッシュさんの期待には応えたとしても、再選のためになるのかと余計な心配をしてしまう。

Both Japan and the United States are entering the season for increasingly intensive re-election politics. It is not that the people who attack those in power for their mistakes dislike power. The public will have to keep careful watch to determine what is the truth.

 日米両国ともに再選を巡る応酬は激しくなるだろう。権力者の「失策」を突く側も権力が嫌いではない。何が本当のことなのか、気をつけて見ていかねばなるまい。

A collection of aphorisms by novelist Shugoro Yamamoto can be found in a Shincho paperback ``Nakigoto wa iwanai'' (I would not whimper). This month marks the centennial of his birth.

Aphorisms on political power from the book show that the novelist had a severe opinion of politics. The book has a subsection titled ``Omoichigai Monogatari'' (Tales of misunderstandings). In it, Yamamoto says: ``By definition, politics entail oppression, injustice and vice. Those who engage in politics, no matter how they are noble-minded and disinterested, are certain to be corrupted in time.'' In another subsection ``Hibi Heian'' (At peace every day), he writes: ``After all, politics are inseparable from vice. It has always been the case.''

 今月、生誕百年を迎えた山本周五郎の箴言(しんげん)集『泣き言はいわない』(新潮文庫)から、権力に絡むものを引く。「政治というものは、それ自身が横暴と不正と悪徳を伴うものであって、どんなに清高無私の人間がやってもいつかは必ず汚濁してしまう――思い違い物語」「しょせん政治と悪徳とは付いてまわるし、そうでない例はない――日日平安」。

Yamamoto once set forth his moralist views on literature in a lecture, according to Hotsuki Ozaki's commentary in a collection of the novelist's works, published by Shinchosha. He said: ``From the literary point of view, the important question is not what happened at the Osaka Castle on a certain day in 1600, the year when the Battle of Sekigahara was fought (a battle likened to Waterloo as its outcome established the victor, Tokugawa Ieyasu, as paramount leader of the nation), but how an apprentice boy working for a store in Osaka's Doshomachi was saddened by something that occurred on the same day. I believe focusing on the boy's sorrow is the task of literature.''

The observation is characteristic of a novelist who declined to accept all literary prizes that came his way and was nicknamed ``Kyokuken'' (perverse man) for doing so.

 なかなか厳しい。ある講演での言。「(関ケ原の戦いがあった)慶長五年の何月何日に、大阪城で、どういうことがあったか、ということではなくて、そのときに、道修町(どしようまち)の、ある商家の丁稚(でつち)が、どういう悲しい思いをしたか(略)を探究するのが文学の仕事だと私は思います」(新潮社『山本周五郎集』の尾崎秀樹「解説」)。賞に選ばれるたびに固辞し続けた「曲軒さん」らしいまなざしを見る。

Diet deliberations have begun on the bill to help Iraq. I believe the lawmakers should first determine what kind of assistance is really needed by Iraqi citizens.

 イラク法案の審議が始まった。イラクの市民一人ひとりが本当に必要とする支援とは何なのかを詰めてもらいたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 25(IHT/Asahi: June 26,2003)

(06/26)
 
 
 
Miyakejima island at once serene and deadly


Last weekend, I flew over Miyakejima island in a helicopter for the first time in nearly three years. This Thursday marks the third anniversary of a series of volcanic eruptions on the island-one of the so-called Seven Islands of Izu-that eventually caused the evacuation of the entire population in September 2000.

06月24日付
■《天声人語》

 先週末、ヘリコプターから、約3年ぶりに伊豆七島の三宅島を見た。2000年9月の全島避難につながった火山活動の活発化から、26日で3年になる。

Three years ago, I could see a long, thick train of brown smoke well before the chopper neared the island. The acrid stench of volcanic gases assailed my nostrils. Last weekend, however, there was nothing but a wisp of white smoke, and I saw it only when the helicopter hovered almost right above the crater. In fact, thick green vegetation had already sprouted on the mountainside, and the scene below even reminded me of some tourist resort around a dormant volcano.

But when the helicopter reached the east side of the island, the view changed drastically.  

前回は、島のはるか手前からでも、茶色の煙が濃く長くたなびくのが見え、火山ガスが鼻を突いた。今回は、火口にかなり近づいても、白い噴煙が1本見えるだけで、観光地化した火山のような落ち着きすらあった。山腹の緑も豊かに見えていたが、ヘリが島の東側に入った所で様相が一変した。

All the greenery was gone. A forest of dead, brown trees stretched all the way to the coast. It was a severe, desolate world. The effects of volcanic gases were apparently still quite strong, and there was no mistaking their sharp odor when we were downwind.

 眼下の緑は消え、枯れたような茶色の木々が延々と海岸まで続く。乾ききった荒涼とした世界だ。ガスの影響は、まだ相当深刻らしく、ヘリが噴煙の風下に入ると、つんとにおった。

As the chopper continued to circle over the island, my eyes searched for any movement below. There were several motor vehicles. Shovel cars were at work and I could see people around them, and the surf kept pounding on the shores. But the only animal I spotted was a lone black bird.

 全島を巡りながら、動くものを目で追う。何台かの車、作業中のショベルカー、周りの人影、そして打ち寄せる波。しかし、動物は、黒い鳥1羽しか見つけられなかった。

Novelist Shuichiro Tabata lived on Miyakejima island before World War II. A collection of his works, published by Toka Shobo, contains several short stories about the island. In one story titled ``Miyakejima Tsushin'' (Correspondences from Miyakejima island), Tabata writes: ``This is less of an island as such, rather it is a volcanic formation right in the middle of the sea. The 800-meter-plus Mount Oyama soars at the center of the island. The skirts of the mountain slope gently on all sides, until they drop abruptly into the sea.''

The series of eruptions in 2000 blew off the top of the mountain. Its height is said to have shrunk to 783 meters. I saw a pool of reddish brown liquid at the bottom of the crater.

 戦前、この島に居たことのある作家、田畑修一郎の全集(冬夏書房)には「三宅島もの」とよばれる短編が収められている。「島といふよりは海の中にいきなり火山が立ち上つて、そのまゝ固まつたといふ感じだ。島の中心をなしてゐる八百米餘の雄山から、山裾が四方になだらかに流れて、やがて突如として海に落ちる」(「三宅島通信」)。今回の噴火で頂が崩れた雄山は、783メートルにまで縮んだという。すり鉢のような火口の底には、赤茶けた液体がたまっていた。

On our way back, the helicopter flew near Mikurajima island. It was blanketed by lush greenery, conjuring an image of a thick carpet that nurtures life.

 帰路、隣の御蔵島のそばを飛んだ。島を覆っている木々の緑が、生命を育む分厚いじゅうたんのようで、目にしみた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 24(IHT/Asahi: June 25,2003)

(06/25)
 
 
 
Being kept in the dark can still be fearful


Before the advent of electricity, darkness reigned at night. But nowadays, that rarely happens. Only on an exceptional occasion does one encounter pitch-black darkness or ``utter darkness in which someone may sneak up on you and pinch your nose,'' to quote a Japanese expression. Also, we no longer associate darkness with fear.

06月23日付
■《天声人語》

 昔はいたるところにあった闇が、このごろは珍しいものになってきた。「漆黒の闇」とか「鼻をつままれてもわからぬ闇」などに遭遇する機会はめったにない。闇がもたらす恐怖からも遠ざかっている。

In an essay, folklorist Kunio Yanagita (1875-1962) wrote about how people feared darkness in the old days, quoting as proof a nursery song: ``Total strangers are dreadful/ And a dark night is fearful/ Parents and a moonlit night are always nice.'' The essay is titled ``Yami to Tsukiyo'' (Darkness and moonlight nights). The author goes on to give a historical account of efforts made to brighten dark nights.

 「他人おそろし、やみ夜はこはい/親と月夜はいつもよい」。こんな子守歌を引きながら、昔の人がいかに闇を恐れたかを述べたのは柳田国男だ(「闇と月夜」)。闇を明るくするために先人がどんなに苦労してきたか、歴史をたどっている。

Is there an instrument for measuring the degree of darkness? Imagine darkness as zero on a scale. It wouldn't take more than a moment to realize that a scale on which lightness grows after zero would be all that is conceivable. A scale with opposite notches would be inconceivable.

Giving expression to the depth of darkness, therefore, may be the role of literature. Let me quote a passage describing the underground darkness from Hikaru Okuizumi's novel, ``Shin Chitei Ryoko'' (New subterranean trip), being serialized in The Asahi Shimbun.

 暗さや闇の深さを計測する機器はあるのだろうか。闇が「ゼロ」で、明るさが増していくという発想はあっても、逆の発想はないのではないか。闇の深さの表現は文学の役割なのかもしれない。本紙の連載小説「新・地底旅行」で、奥泉光氏は地底の闇をこう描いている。

The passage goes: ``The darkness may be likened to a drop of pitch that is extracted by crushing tens of thousands of tons of coal at a single stroke. It is darkness in which just being in there makes you feel as if your body were blackened to the bones. So, when it comes to fear bred by that darkness, it cannot be an ordinary sort of dread.''

The novelist let his imagination run to depict darkness beyond ``zero.''

 「何万トンの石炭を一遍に圧(お)し潰(つぶ)して、ポタリ一滴搾り出したような闇である。ただいるだけで骨まで黒く染まってしまうような闇である。暗黒の恐怖といったって、尋常の恐怖では済むはずがない」。想像が描く「ゼロ」以下の闇だろう。

My thoughts then sped to ``gama'' in Okinawa Prefecture, to a natural cave which was used as a shelter in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Memorial services were held Monday for those who fell in the only ground war Japan experienced on its soil during World War II.

The darkness of the cave is compounded by collective suicides and other tragedies suffered by local residents who were drawn into the ground war. The abysmal depth of darkness makes a stunning contrast with the brightness of Okinawa's sky and sea.

 思いは沖縄のガマに飛ぶ。きょう慰霊の日を迎えた沖縄戦で避難壕(ごう)に使われた自然洞穴である。集団自決をはじめ住民を巻き込んだ悲惨な地上戦を凝縮した暗闇だ。その闇の深さは、沖縄の空と海の明るさとあまりに極端な対照を描く。

Sunday was the summer solstice. To mark the day, illuminations were put out on well-known structures and the public was urged to turn off lights in a concerted campaign that was carried out across the country. The campaign was a humble expression of soul-searching by all of us who are enjoying too much light in our daily lives.

A haiku poem by Kinsha Yagi seems quite relevant to quote here: ``Tonight, even the winds that/ Blow through the darkness are visible/ Thanks to you, flying fireflies.''

 夏至のきのう、各地で照明を落とすライトダウンや消灯運動が実施された。十分すぎるほどの明るさを享受している私たちのささやかな反省が込められる。〈闇をふく風も見ゆるよとぶ蛍〉(芹舎)

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 23(IHT/Asahi: June 24,2003)

(06/24)
 
 
 
Reflections on Hibiya Park's crane fountain


Anyone who has happened to read Kaoru Maruyama's prewar poem ``Funsui'' (Fountain) can't help but be impressed. It reads:

``Just when the crane was about to take off/ Drops of welling-up water pierced its throat/ Since then, with its beak turned skyward/ The bird has been wondering/ What caused its head to be positioned that way.''

06月16日付
■《天声人語》

 「鶴は飛ばうとした瞬間、こみ上げてくる水の珠に喉をつらぬかれてしまつた。以来仰向いたまま、なんのためにかうなつたのだ? と考へてゐる」。

The poem is said to have been inspired by a bronze statue of a crane shooting water skyward from the tip of its beak in a pond in Tokyo's Hibiya Park.

Maruyama belonged to the Shiki (Four Seasons) group of poets. He composed the Funsui work because he was intrigued by the bronze bird's water-squirting prowess.

Novelist Nobuo Ozawa, who studied writing under Maruyama, wrote an interesting memoir. Sometime after the end of World War II, he took Maruyama to Hibiya Park, saying the bronze crane was still there.

 四季派の詩人・丸山薫の戦前の作「噴水」は、東京・日比谷公園の池にある鶴の噴水がモデルだという。銅像の鶴が、くちばしの先から真上に水を噴く様が呼び起こした印象的な一編だ。丸山に師事した作家の小沢信男さんが、面白い回想を記している。

The crane was squirting water as before, but the poet's comment was not what Ozawa had expected.

Maruyama said: ``This crane isn't the same one as before. The one I saw before was more ferocious and powerful. It shot up water as if to pierce the heavens.''

 戦後しばらくして、あの噴水がまだありますからと、丸山を公園に案内した。鶴は変わらずに水を噴いていた。なのに意外な言葉を聞く。「違いますね。こんなものではありません。もっと猛々しい、力強い、天を刺すような鶴でしたよ」。

Ozawa was disappointed, but he later learned his master had been correct. The crane lost its bronze pedestal to a wartime metal-collection campaign to help with munitions production and was made to stand on a stone pedestal. ``The eyes of the poet did not tolerate the slight difference,'' Ozawa writes in a book published by Shichosha as part of a paperback series on contemporary poetry.

 がっかりするが、後に、銅の台座が戦中の金属供出で失われ、石に変わったことを知る。「詩人の目はその幾らかの違いを許さなかった」(『現代詩文庫・丸山薫』思潮社)。

Hibiya Park marks its centenary this month. The first Western-style park in Japan, it was designed by Seiroku Honda, a doctor of forestry.

Honda's autobiography tells of the reaction to his initial plans. ``My blueprints came severe attack in the (Tokyo) City Council,'' he recalls in ``Honda Seiroku Taiken 85-nen'' (Seiroku Honda's 85 years of experience). ``Council members asked, `Why is it that we don't see doors at the park's gates?' Doorless gates would do in the West, they said, but in Japan, it would be an open invitation for thieves to steal flowers and trees at night,'' he continues in the book published by Dai-Nippon Yubenkai Kodansha. ``They also charged that a pond created in the park could become a popular spot for suicide.''

 日比谷公園は今月、開設百年を迎えた。設計した林学博士・本多静六の自伝は、初の洋式公園誕生時の空気を伝える。設計案に対し「市会で『何故各門に扉を設けないのか、西洋ではよからうが日本では夜間に花や木を盗まれてしまふ』と大分攻撃された」「池をつくると身投げの名所になつて困ると非難された」(『本多静六体験八十五年』大日本雄弁会講談社)。

On Sunday June 15, I went to the pond in the park. The crane and its pedestal seemed like testimony to the wretched times they went through, prompting me to pray that the flow of water running through them would not be brought to a halt again, as during World War II.

Then, I spotted a frog the size of my little finger in the bush on the shore, apparently set to cross the sea of wet fallen leaves.

 昨日、鶴の池へ行った。鶴と台座が、昭和の悲惨な時の刻印とも見えて、貫く水が再び途絶えないように念じた。岸の茂みでは、小指の先ほどのカエルが1匹、ぬれた落ち葉の海を渡ろうとしていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 16(IHT/Asahi: June 23,2003)

(06/23)
 
 
 
Even smelly old mold can be a blessing


Here's a riddle. ``What living thing is neither animal nor plant, but is very familiar to you?'' The answer: mold.

You could also say mushroom, which, although a fungus, is a kind of mold. But for better or for worse, mold is a closer presence to most of us.

06月20日付
■《天声人語》

 「最も身近な生物の一つで、動物でも植物でもないものは何でしょう?」。答えは、カビ。同じ仲間のキノコと答えてもいいのだが、良くも悪くもカビの方が身近な存在だろう。

In academic jargon, mold is ``Eumycetes'' or ``true fungi.'' Including mushrooms, there are said to be 60,000 to 70,000 kinds of mold. Since mold thrives in muggy heat, Japan during the tsuyu rainy season provides a perfect environment. For us humans, however, this is an unpleasant season spent battling mold in our homes.

 正式には真菌類といわれるカビの仲間は、キノコも含めて6、7万種といわれる。適度な高温と多湿を好むから、日本の梅雨時は暮らしやすい。人間にとっては除去に忙しいうっとうしい季節である。

Mold's sole job is to decompose organic matter and literally feed on it. It has an amazing vitality, not to mention its superb adaptability to the present age. It can grow on plastics, and even sneak into computers.

 カビの仕事はひたすら有機物を分解することだ。分解して栄養分として取り入れる。生命力は旺盛で、現代という時代への適応力も優れている。プラスチックにも生えるし、コンピューターにも忍び込む。

Two years ago, it was discovered that an extremely valuable national treasure-the mural of the Takamatsuzuka Tumulus in the village of Asuka in Nara Prefecure-was threatened by mold damage. The government put together a team of experts to deal with this.

Wherever there is dampness, mold grows. A national treasure is no exception. The experts announced their emergency countermeasure Thursday. They are going to protect the mural from rain water seeping in, which is actually the most obvious thing to do. The experts said they would continue to explore further measures.

 超一級の国宝、奈良県明日香村の高松塚古墳の壁画がカビに脅かされていることがわかったのが2年前だった。政府は専門家を集めて対策に乗り出した。水分の多いところに繁殖しやすいというカビの習性は国宝相手でも変わりはない。きのう発表された緊急処置は、雨水などが浸入するのを防ぐという常識的なものだった。抜本策をさらに検討していくそうだ。

Some people automatically judge things in terms of good and bad. But unwelcome as mold is, it is not fair to regard all fungi as bad. While there are types that cause damage to national treasures or ruin people's health, there are also yeast fungi that are indispensable to making bread, sake, beer, wine and whisky. The same applies to shoyu and miso bean paste, too.

 世の中にはすぐ善悪二元論を振りかざす人がいるが、カビ一族を悪とは決めつけられない。国宝に取りついたり病気の原因になったりするカビもあれば、パンづくりや日本酒、ビール、ワイン、ウイスキーづくりには酵母というカビが欠かせない。しょうゆやみそもまたそうだ。

``The Japanese excel over all other people around the world in their skillful use of, and coexistence with, mold,'' asserts mold expert Makoto Miyaji in his book ``Kabi Hakase Funtoki'' (Strivings of a mold expert) published by Kodansha. And a haiku by Kikuko Sudo goes: ``There is beauty/ In the pale green of koji yeast.''

 専門家はいう。日本人ほどカビをうまく利用し、カビと共存してきた民族はない、と(宮治誠『カビ博士奮闘記』講談社)。〈美しき麹の黴の薄みどり〉(須藤菊子)

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 20(IHT/Asahi: June 21,2003)

(06/21)
 
 
 
What is role of post-Cold War secret agent?


Before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, I had the opportunity to sit through a recruitment session held by the Central Intelligence Agency for students considering a career in the intelligence community. This session was in Washington D.C.

Using a booklet titled ``Challenges for a changing world,'' the CIA explained to the students that a meaningful career lay ahead for the chosen few.

06月19日付
■《天声人語》

 米中央情報局(CIA)が学生向けに開いた就職説明会に顔を出したことがある。同時多発テロ以前のワシントンでのことだ。「変わる世界への挑戦」という冊子を元に、集まった学生に「やりがいのあるCIA」を説いていた。

``Only CIA,'' the booklet says: ``Where else could you be the first person on earth to see photos taken from space of a secret terrorist base? ... Where else could you apply your computer science and engineering skills to protecting information that will end up on the desk of the president?...''

 冊子には「CIAだけ」といってこんな宣伝文句が並ぶ。「テロリストの秘密基地の衛星写真を世界で最初に見ることができる」「最後には大統領に届く情報に接し、あなたの習得した技術で機密を守る。ほかのどこにこんな仕事があるか」。

It was at a time when the CIA was searching for answers to such questions as what to do about secret agents made redundant by the end of the Cold War and the role the intelligence community should be playing. The Sept. 11 attacks changed everything. U.S. President George W. Bush is said to value CIA information most highly and expects to be briefed at a moment's notice. And the CIA, now back in the saddle again, fully reciprocates the president's trust.

 冷戦の終結で「失職」したスパイはどうなるか、情報機関の役割は何か。そんな模索が続いていたころだった。同時多発テロで情勢は一変した。ブッシュ大統領はCIA情報を重視し、真っ先にその報告を聞くらしい。出番が巡ってきたCIAも期待に応えようとする。

It is no surprise that suspicions have now arisen over the possible tampering with intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Collusion is suspected between politicians who wanted convenient information and the intelligence community that sought quick recognition.

 イラクの大量破壊兵器をめぐる情報操作疑惑は、都合のいい情報がほしい政治家と、功を焦る情報機関との「連携」であろう。そんな見方が出るのも不思議ではない。

I thought about the mission of secret agents as I watched the movie ``Spy Sorge'' now being shown. Director Masahiro Shinoda notes in his book ``Watashi ga Ikita Futatsu no Nihon'' (The two Japans I lived in), published by Gogatsu Syoboh, that were agent Richard Sorge and his contemporaries transported in time to our present era, what they did would probably fit within the realm of journalism. And Shinoda says that had the pre-World War II Japanese leaders closely examined the intelligence so expertly analyzed by those spies, Japan probably would not have gone to war.

 公開中の映画「スパイ・ゾルゲ」を見ながら、スパイの使命について思った。現代なら彼らの仕事は「ジャーナリズムの範囲」内だったのではないか、とは篠田正浩監督の感想だ。さらに、その優れた情勢分析が当時の日本の中枢で論議されていたら、日本は開戦を踏みとどまっただろう、と見る(『私が生きたふたつの「日本」』五月書房)。

Sorge himself says in the book ``Zoruge no Mita Nihon'' (The Japan that Sorge saw), published by Misuzu Shobo, that had he lived in a time of peace, he probably would have been an academic. At least, he stresses, he would never have been an intelligence agent.

 ゾルゲ自身、平和だったらたぶん学者になっていた。少なくとも諜報(ちょうほう)員にはならなかった、と記した(『ゾルゲの見た日本』みすず書房)。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 19(IHT/Asahi: June 20,2003)

(06/20)
 
 
 
A gray mood reigns under gray skies


Perhaps I had subconsciously expected to see something like it on my way to the station-a Japanese stewartia tree, sprouting a number of smallish white flowers, standing in a thicket in front of a house. It was as if the tree, about three meters tall and known as natsu tsubaki (summer camellia) in Japanese, had been waiting to catch my attention.

There is a mysterious softness about five-petaled natsu tsubaki flowers. To say they are soft to the touch is inadequate. The softness is of an ineffable nature, but there is more to it than that.

06月18日付
■《天声人語》

 その白い花には、ふんわりだけでもなく、ぼんやりだけでもない、不思議なやわらかさがある。高さ3メートルほどのナツツバキが、白色5弁の小ぶりの花を幾つもつけて通り道の家の植え込みに立っていた。

The tableau the tree made-humble white flowers spread out under the cloudy sky of the rainy season-was pleasing to the eye.

The resident of the house, with whom I talked briefly, referred to the tree as sara no ki, another name by which natsu tsubaki is known in Japan. It was so named because it resembles the sal tree of Indian origin. The ``sara'' sound had an exotic ring to it, a ring that seemed to lure me to a faraway world.

 梅雨空の下、葉の緑に控えめな白を点々と置いた姿が、目に程良く感じられる。「ええ、沙羅(さら)の木なんですよ」。その家の人は、木の別名を口にした。「さら」という異国的な音には、はるかな世界へ誘うような響きがあった。

A tall sara tree stands on the grounds of the Ougai Memorial Hongo Library, a Bunkyo Ward institution in Tokyo's Sendagi area. The library was built on the site where Mori Ogai (1862-1922), one of the greatest of modern Japanese writers, used to live.

One of the poems Ogai wrote is titled ``Sara no ki.'' It goes: ``A white flower fell softly/ On a brown stone from Nebukawa/ It was one of the sara flowers/ Screened from view by the green leaves.'' (Nebukawa is the name of a place in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture.)

 東京・千駄木の森鴎外の旧居跡にも、大きな沙羅の木がある。今は文京区立鴎外記念本郷図書館となった跡地の一画に立つ。鴎外は「沙羅の木」という詩を残した。「褐色(かちいろ)の根府川石(ねぶかはいし)に/白き花はたと落ちたり、/ありとしも青葉がくれに/見えざりしさらの木の花。」。

For some time, the weather has been rainy, thanks to a front hovering near Honshu, the largest of the main Japanese islands. This is a phenomenon routinely expected at this time of year, but one succumbs to its depressive effect if it continues too long. For those looking for relief, let me quote a tale about a couple eating loquats, or biwa in Japanese, when the sun breaks through the clouds.

An account of this episode, involving novelist Taijun Takeda (1912-1976) and his wife Yuriko (1925-1993), occurs in ``Kotoba no Shokutaku'' (a banquet of words), a collection of essays on food by Yuriko.

 梅雨前線が、本州近くに停滞している。律義なことだが、あまりに続けばうっとうしい。ここは、少しの光を求めて、梅雨の晴れ間に夫婦でビワを食べる話を引く。武田泰淳の妻百合子の「枇杷」である。

A beefeater, the novelist was not a man who often chose to eat fruit. So, it came as a bit of surprise to Yuriko to find her husband sitting at the opposite side of the table as she prepared to eat some loquats. The novelist's fingers were shaking a little as he pushed two loquats into his toothless mouth. For the man, it was a struggle to eat them. He had to move them around in his mouth. Then, he said: ``Just now I wanted to eat something that would taste this way. I didn't know what it was, and that put me ill at ease. I had no idea that loquats would fill the bill.''

During the rainy season, lack of certainty is not confined to whether the sky will clear or remain overcast. One also cannot tell clearly whether it is hot or cold. The loquat-eating story conveys the mood of ambiguity that prevails at this time of year.

 肉好きで果物など自分から食べたがらない夫が、珍しく「俺にも」と向かいに座る。少し震える指でビワを歯のない口に押し込む。もごもごと、2個と格闘して言う。「こういう味のものが、丁度いま食べたかったんだ。それが何だかわからなくて、うろうろと落ちつかなかった。枇杷だったんだなあ」(『ことばの食卓』中央公論社)。空模様だけではなく、暑さ寒さもはっきりとしないこの季節の、ぼんやりとした気分が感じられる。

A haiku poem about the rainy season by Kineo Fukuda is fitting to quote now: ``There are a few raindrops/ Remaining on natsu tsubaki.''

 二三滴雨のこりゐる夏椿(福田甲子雄)

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 18 (IHT/Asahi: June 19,2003)

(06/19)
 
 
 
Will the `Trinity Reform' reach shore safely?


``Sanmi-ittai no kaikaku,'' which translates literally as ``the Trinity reform,'' is an expression we keep hearing and reading about lately, but I can't quite get used to it.

06月17日付
■《天声人語》

 このところ、ちょっと不思議な言葉遣いを見聞きする。「三位一体の改革」である。

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi positions this reform within his much-touted program of structural reforms. The expression itself was first used in the ``big-boned program'' that was endorsed by his Cabinet a year ago. Koizumi says he will decide on the specifics of the reform before the end of this month.

The three elements that form this particular ``trinity'' are (1) cuts in central government subsidies to local governments, (2) transfer of tax revenue sources from the central government to local governments, and (3) re-examination of local tax allocation. Koizumi intends to proceed with these three reforms as a package.

 小泉構造改革の柱の一つで、1年前に閣議決定された「骨太の方針」の中にあり、今月中に具体策をまとめるという。三位とは、国から地方への補助金削減、税源の移譲、地方交付税の見直しで、これらを一つにして進めようというのだ。

I can well appreciate that. The nation certainly needs to rethink the relationship between the central and local governments. In fact, it is about time.

However, I still get odd feelings about this expression, especially because it is uttered so frequently in the hotbed of power struggles, plotting and conniving that is the political community.

 もっともなことで、国と地方のありようを考え直すのは大事なことだし、まさにその時期だと思う。しかし、主導権争いや駆け引きが目に付く世界で頻繁にこの言葉に出会うと、いささか違和感もある。

The Trinity is central to Christian dogma. According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, the concept of the Trinity is defined as ``the central Christian dogma that the One God exists in Three Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and one substance. ... The Persons differ only in origin, in that the Father is ungenerated, the Son is generated by the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son.''

I understand that early in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Masanao Nakamura translated the Trinity as ``Sanmi-ittai'' in his translation of John Stuart Mill's ``On Liberty.'' Over time, ``Sanmi-ittai'' came into wider usage in the secular sense-that is, as in ``trinity,'' which means the condition of being three or threefold or a set of three persons or things that form a unit.

 周知のように本来の「三位一体」はキリスト教の教義だ。「創造主としての父である神と、贖罪(しょくざい)者として世にあらわれた神の子キリストと、両者の一致と交わりとしての聖霊とが、唯一の神の三つの位格(ペルソナ)として現われたものであるとする説」と『日本国語大辞典』にはある。明治の初めに、ジョン・S・ミルの『自由之理(じゆうのことわり)』の中村正直訳に登場しているという。

But I also assume the word's wider usage owed to the Japanese predilection for the number three (san). The Chinese character for san is composed of a stack of three horizontal strokes. Visually, it looks more balanced or dignified than the single-stroke ichi (one) and the two-stroke ni (two), and concise and crisp than the more cluttered-looking shi (four) or go (five).

Also, the number three is apparently a convenient unit for grouping things or people. There are such words as ``san-yaku'' (the top three posts or triumvirate), ``san-pitsu'' (the three great calligraphers), ``san-ketsu'' (the three heroes), ``san-zan'' (the three great mountains), ``san-kei'' (the three most outstanding scenic spots) and ``san-kan'' (triple crown).

 時を経て、三つのものが一つになるという意味にもなったのだろうが、広く使われるようになったのには、三という数の持つ力もあったと思う。形の上では、一や二より重厚で安定感があり、四や五より簡潔で引き締まって見える。三役、三筆、三傑、三山、三景、三冠。様々な分野での区切りの付け方としても重用されてきた。

As the current Diet session enters its latter stages, the political community faces the highly controversial bill to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq and the likelihood of a Cabinet reshuffle.

Buffeted by such waves, I wonder if the ship ``Trinity Reform'' will safely reach the shore.

 終盤国会では、問題のイラク新法に、内閣改造問題も絡んできた。大きく波立つ政治の海で、「三位一体改革丸」が無事に着岸できるかどうか、気に掛かる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2003)

(06/18)
 
 
 
Gregory Peck shone on and off the screen


It had often been said that actor Gregory Peck embodied the American sense of justice and conscience.

That sense of elegance and capacity for tolerance that he exuded are virtues that seem to be on the way out in the United States. All one hears now from that country, it sometimes seems, is a chorus of vociferous calls for justice.

■《天声人語》

 アメリカ流の正義感や良心を体現した俳優だと亡くなったグレゴリー・ペックについてよくいわれた。しかし今のアメリカからは、彼が醸し出した上品さや包容力が失われてきたのではないか。声高な正義の合唱ばかりが聞こえてくるような気がする。

In Japan, Peck may be chiefly remembered as the American News Service reporter who escorted Audrey Hepburn in ``Roman Holiday'' (1953). In America, however, he is probably best known for playing the lawyer Atticus Finch in ``To Kill a Mockingbird'' (1962).

 ペックといえば日本ではまずオードリー・ヘプバーンと共演した「ローマの休日」(53年)の新聞記者役を思い浮かべる人が多いかもしれない。アメリカでは何といっても「アラバマ物語」(62年)の弁護士役だろう。

This film was released when the civil rights movement was gathering momentum. Peck's performance as Finch fighting discrimination against blacks made a lasting impression on Americans. Peck always said he thought that role best suited his abilities, elaborating in an interview, ``It was easy to do. It was just like putting on a comfortable, well-worn suit of clothes.''

 公開は公民権運動が盛り上がってきたころで、黒人差別と闘うフィンチ弁護士の姿はアメリカの人たちの胸に焼きついた。本人も自分にぴったりの役だとお気に入りだったようで「着慣れた服を着るような」心地よさを感じたらしい。

Peck was a liberal activist in real life. A staunch advocate of nuclear disarmament, he said in an interview, ``It is the No. 1 priority in my life.'' On another occasion, he said, ``I have spoken against bigotry and discrimination of any kind.'' For these remarks, he was blacklisted by the Nixon administration.

 実際、リベラルな活動家でもあった。「核軍縮は私の人生で最も重要な関心事だ」「私はあらゆる差別に反対だ」などの言葉を残している。ニクソン政権では、ブラックリストに名前を挙げられていた。

Peck also advocated gun control. That he starred in ``The Big Country,'' a 1958 Western in which guns were rarely used, no doubt reflected his personal belief. Ironically, Charlton Heston, who also appeared in the movie, later became the chief opponent of gun control as president of the National Rifle Association.

 銃規制論者でもあった。ほとんど撃ち合いのない西部劇「大いなる西部」(58年)は、彼の信条を映してもいただろう。そのとき共演したチャールトン・ヘストンが後に全米ライフル協会長として銃規制反対の先頭に立ったのは、皮肉な交錯だった。

In an interview with a U.S. newspaper six years ago, Peck, listening to his favorite song by Bob Dylan, said, ``It seems to be there is more anger in the world.'' Certainly, I have the feeling that the world is now full of naked anger, not the quietly controlled anger that he embodied.

 6年前に米紙のインタビューを受けている。好きなボブ・ディランを聴きながら語った。「世の中、怒りが増してきているようだ」。確かに、彼が体現した秘めた怒りではなく、むきだしの怒りが世に満ちてきたような気がする。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 14(IHT/Asahi: June 17,2003)

(06/17)
 
 
 
`African Eve' would shed tears if she knew


Perhaps our ancestors did indeed originate in Africa. The recent discovery in Ethiopia of Homo sapiens fossils, believed to be about 160,000 years old, is said to provide strong proof to corroborate the ``Out of Africa'' theory.

■《天声人語》

 人類の故郷はやはりアフリカだった。エチオピアで見つかった「16万年前のホモ・サピエンスの化石」がその有力な証拠になるという。

There have been many twists and turns in the scientific quest to determine the origin of mankind. There was a time when researchers were satisfied with the simple explanation that some species of apes ``branched out'' into hominids and eventually evolved into modern humans. This theory, however, was invalidated by later research.

 私たちの祖先をめぐる研究はいろいろ曲折があった。サルから分かれたヒトの祖先がだんだん「進化」して現代人になる。そんな単純な系統樹を描いた時代もあったが、現代では否定されている。

From evidence accrued over the years, more than 10 species of so-called archaic humans are known to have evolved from apes. Among them was a species of Homo sapiens that originated in Africa and came to populate the entire world over time, while other species such as Neanderthals and Peking Man became extinct.

But widely accepted as this theory has become, it still lacked material evidence until those 160,000-year-old fossils were discovered in Ethiopia. The discovery, it appears, has provided the hitherto missing piece of the puzzle.

 サルから分かれたヒトの祖先はこれまで見つかっただけで10種類以上あるそうだ。そのうちアフリカ生まれの一種ホモ・サピエンスが地球上に広がった。そしてネアンデルタール人や北京原人など他の種類は絶滅した。この説が有力になりつつあるが、物証がなかった。こんどの発見がその穴を埋めたということらしい。

Another theory, propounded 15 years ago, took many people by surprise. It held that all modern humans are descendants of just one African woman. Tracked down by the latest molecular genetics research, she was named ``Eve.''

Although more recent study findings suggest that modern humans are descended from a small group of ancestors rather than just one parent, the ``African Eve'' theory continues to appeal to our imagination.

 現代人の祖先はたった一人のアフリカ人女性にたどりつく。15年ほど前発表されたこの説には多くの人が驚いた。最新の分子遺伝学をもとにした研究だった。人類共通の母は「イブ」と命名された。その後、一人ではなく、祖先は小集団だったという説が有力になったようだ。しかし「イブ」説はいろいろ想像力をかき立てる。

Whether or not we all share the same single ancestor, some people say it is actually much more of a miracle that the 6 billion-plus people in the world today all belong to the same species. Some day, a new species of humans may emerge. Or are they already among us? Perhaps such an idea better belongs in science fiction.

 祖先が一人だったかどうかはともかく、地球上に60億人以上いる人類が一つの種類だというのは奇跡的だという人もいる。いずれ新しい種類のヒトが出現するだろう。いやもう「新人類」が出現しつつあるのかもしれない。というとSF的にすぎるか。

Even though all humans are miraculously of the same species, fighting and killing never cease in our world. Were African Eve watching over us now, her tears would never dry.

 奇跡のように同種の人類なのに地球上から争いが絶えず、殺し合いも続く。もし「人類の母」イブが見守っていたとしたら、涙が途切れることはないだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 13(IHT/Asahi: June 14,2003)

(06/14)
 
 
 
Let's dispatch real baseball players to Iraq


In 1990, a suggestion was made to Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu as he agonized over the role Japan should play in the Persian Gulf War.

It came from American writer Robert Whiting, best known for his studies of comparative culture on the theme of Japanese and American baseball. Whiting suggested that since it was constitutionally impractical for Japan to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to the Gulf-no matter how much the United States wished for it-Japan might send pro ballplayers instead.

■《天声人語》

 90年の湾岸危機のとき、対応に苦慮する当時の海部首相にこんな提案がなされた。米国の要請がどんなに強くても、憲法上「軍隊」の派遣は難しい。そこで「プロ野球の選手を派遣したらどうか」というのだ。

``Since Japan's professional baseball players train so rigorously, they must be in far better shape than any foreign troops,'' he wrote in ``Baseball Junkie,'' the Japanese translation of which was published by The Asahi Shimbun.

Whiting named slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara, among others, for their outstanding stamina.

 「日本のプロ野球選手は、どこの国の兵士よりもコンディションは万全なはずです。あれだけ走ったり練習を積んだりしていますからね」。とくに体力のある清原選手らを推薦した。日米プロ野球の比較論などを書いていたR・ホワイティング氏の提案である(『ベースボール・ジャンキー』朝日新聞社)。

Visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage used a baseball analogy Tuesday in asking for Japan's contribution to the postwar reconstruction of Iraq.

Noting Japan paid ``a huge amount of money'' to help coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War, Armitage said what Japan did then was something similar to ``paying to watch a baseball game on the side of the stands.''

With the Iraqi reconstruction, however, Armitage said, ``I'm hoping that (Japan) will decide to get out of the stands and onto the playing field.''

 来日したアーミテージ米国務副長官はイラク支援をめぐり、日本への要請を野球にたとえて語った。湾岸戦争のとき、日本はとんでもなく高い入場料を払って観客席で野球見物をした。「今度はフィールドに出てプレーしてほしい」と。

Since we are into baseball talk now, why don't we counter-propose to Washington that we will dispatch real ballplayers to Iraq and teach the sport to Iraqi children? Since Japanese personnel are supposed to work only in ``non-combatant areas'' anyway, there is no need to send SDF personnel, is there?

The only problem is, Hanshin Tigers fans would be up in arms against the idea. Their team-perennial losers-are having an incredibly great season.

 野球のたとえでくるなら、実際に野球選手を派遣しようと答えてはどうか。そしてイラクの子どもたちに野球を教えることにする。「非戦闘区域での活動」なら、派遣するのは必ずしも自衛隊でなくていいだろう。ただ、現時点でプロ野球選手となると、好調タイガースのファンが許さないかもしれない。

As for the whereabouts of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction-the removal of which was the stated justification for attacking Iraq-suspicions are mounting that the U.S. and British leaders were manipulating intelligence through fabrication and exaggeration.

In the first place, that war could very well be likened to a powerful professional baseball team clobbering a sandlot team. If there was foul play at the very start, this ought to be an outright case of a forfeited game.

 イラク戦争の開戦理由だった大量破壊兵器をめぐっては「捏造(ねつぞう)」「誇張」などいろいろ情報操作の疑いが出てきた。そもそも草野球チームをプロ野球チームがたたきつぶすような戦争だったが、開始の時点でごまかしがあったとすれば、「没収試合」である。

Unlike baseball, however, there can be no rematch for war. War leaves nothing but scars that will never be erased.

 ただし、野球と違ってやり直しはきかない。傷跡ばかりが残る。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 12(IHT/Asahi: June 13,2003)

(06/13)
 
 
 
Does religion work as catalyst for prosperity?


People in Europe, who now seem to put in fewer hours at work, are simultaneously becoming religiously detached, a trend that endorses a theory advanced by German sociologist Max Weber about a century ago. An article to this effect appeared in a U.S. newspaper the other day.

■《天声人語》

 最近ヨーロッパの人々は働かなくなった。と同時に宗教離れが進んでいる。これは、1世紀ほど前にドイツの社会学者マックス・ウェーバーが唱えた説を裏付ける。先日の米紙にそんな趣旨の記事が出た。

Protestants, who lived stoically in the belief that their diligence and thrift were in accordance with God's will, were the force behind the rise of capitalism. To state matters quite simply, this was what Weber set out to prove in his book, ``The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.''

 勤労と蓄財は神の意にかなっている。そう信じて禁欲的な生活をしてきた新教徒の人たちが資本主義を支えた。ごく大雑把にいえば、著書『プロテスタンティズムの倫理と資本主義の精神』でウェーバーはそのことを証明しようとした。

The article cites statistics to show that while religious detachment and reduced work hours are the order of the day in Protestant countries in Europe, such as Germany and the Netherlands, it is not the case with the United States where Protestants also are in the majority. Based on this contrast, the author looks for the causes behind the widening economic gaps between America and Europe.

I was intrigued by the idea of linking religion and economics, even though the author seemed to be jumping to conclusions.

 記事は、新教徒の多いドイツやオランダなど北ヨーロッパで宗教離れが進むとともに、働く時間が減っていること、新教徒の多い米国ではその現象が起きていないことを統計で示す。そして、米欧の経済格差が広がる原因を探る。少々乱暴な議論だとは思うが、宗教と経済とをつなぐ着眼はおもしろい。

Why did capitalism develop in Japan when it was not a Protestant country? While this is a matter of endless debate, I would suggest that the life of Eiichi Shibusawa (1840-1931), an entrepreneur and business leader known as the the ``father of Japanese capitalism'' offers some clues.

An avid reader of ``The Analects of Confucius'' throughout his life, Shibusawa said he would run a company solely on the basis of the Chinese sage's teachings. In a popularity vote by readers of The Asahi Shimbun some years ago, he ranked third after Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., and Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Co. Readers were asked to pick their favorites from among Japan's business class over the past 1,000 years. So, Shibusawa still commands respect and adoration.

 新教徒国でもない日本でなぜ資本主義が発達したか。しばしば議論になるが、「日本資本主義の父」といわれる渋沢栄一の生き方と重ね合わせたくなる。終生『論語』を手放さず、「論語で事業を経営してみせる」とまで言った人だ。本紙で以前、この千年の日本の経済人をめぐり読者の人気投票を募ったとき、彼は松下幸之助、本田宗一郎についで3位に入った。敬愛の度は高い。

He called for a morality-backed economy and advocated efforts to end kanson minpi (putting government above people) thinking. He founded Japan's first bank, Daiichi Kokuritsu Ginko (first national bank). He would have been saddened beyond description to learn of the magnitude of problems now plaguing Japanese banks.

 彼は、道徳に裏付けられた経済を説き、「官尊民卑の打破」を唱えた。日本で最初にできた銀行、第一国立銀行の創業者でもあった。もし彼がいまの銀行の「退廃」ぶりを知ったら、どんなに悲しむことか。

Incidentally, Daiichi Kokuritsu Ginko came into being on June 11, 130 years ago.

 第一国立銀行の設立は130年前のきょうだった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 11

(06/12)
 
 
 
Don't stop the train bound for the future


I watched South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun's televised speech before the Diet on Monday. Roh began by stressing he was born and raised in Pusan, a port city just a short ferry ride from western Japan. This jogged my memory of a certain Kim-san, whom I had met in 1988 in Pusan's former ``Japan town.''

■《天声人語》

 国会での盧武鉉(ノムヒョン)韓国大統領の演説を、テレビで見た。冒頭で「日本に近い釜山の育ち」を強調するのを聞いて、港町・釜山の、かつての日本人街で出会った金さんを思い出した。

An administrative scrivener by profession, Kim-san was fluent in ``soro-bun''-an old, highly stylized form of Japanese reserved for letter-writing. ``People still ask me to draw up letters in Japanese,'' he told me. ``I went by the Japanese surname of Kanemoto during the Japanese occupation.''

 行政書士で、「今でも日本への手紙の代書を頼まれる」と言い、「貴下ますます…。…を賜り光栄の至りと存じ上げ候…」と、候文を流れるように話した。植民地時代には「金本といっていました」。

Kim-san invited me into his house and recounted to me in great detail how Pusan had changed over the past half century. But he never said a negative thing about Japan, which actually weighed heavily on my conscience for years to come from that summer day just before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

 金さんは、家にあげてくれて、半世紀余りの町の移り変わりを丁寧に語ってくれたが、最後まで、日本に対する恨みを口にしなかった。そのことが、かえって、重く長く心に残った。ソウル五輪直前の、88年の夏だった。

President Roh said recently: ``It is unfortunate that emotional remarks about the past are uttered from time to time, abruptly stopping the `train of South Korea-Japan relations' that usually runs smoothly on schedule. Ideally, this train ought to run without interruption.''

I could not agree more. In his Diet speech, Roh spoke of a ``train journey'' of the future.

 大統領は先日、「ときどき過去をめぐる感情的な発言があり、順調な日韓交流の列車を予告なしに止めてしまうのは残念だが、列車は止めずに走らせ続けた方がいい」と述べた。その通りだと思う。国会では、未来の列車の旅に触れた。

``My dream is that Japan's young people would board a train in Tokyo for their school trip and go all the way to Beijing via Pusan and Seoul,'' he said. ``This dream should not take forever to come true.''

But I am not sure if I share Roh's optimism, when I think of one particular nation that lies just north of Seoul.

 「日本の青少年が東京で列車に乗り、釜山とソウルを経て北京まで修学旅行に行くことは決して、遠い未来の夢ではないはずです」。しかし、ソウルのすぐ先の道筋にある国を思えば、はるかに遠いのでは、とも感じられる。

Roh also called for a brighter future for posterity, citing the old Japanese proverb of ``children grow up watching their parents' backs''-which means the older generation must set a good example for the younger generation. This made me look for some equally inspiring Korean saying in ``Kankoku no Koji Kotowaza Jiten'' (Lexicon of South Korean folklore and proverbs, published by Kadokawa Shoten).

I found one: ``Steel can be polished into a needle.'' It means even the most difficult task can be accomplished through continued effort. I wondered if this is the hope reflected in Roh's vision of the ``train.''

 大統領は日本のことわざの「子供は親の背中を見て育つ」を引いて、よりよい未来を子孫に、とも述べた。刺激されて開いてみた『韓国の故事ことわざ辞典』(角川書店)に、こんな言葉があった。「鉄も研(みが)けば針となる」。努力を続けていくと、どんな難しいことでも遂げられる。そんな願いのこもった列車なのかと思った。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 10

(06/11
 
 
 
Streetcars evoke a more modest way of life

A train is like a boat ``floating'' on rails, swaying gently as passengers board or disembark at the station-like a boat rocking at a pier.

■《天声人語》

 電車とは、鉄路に浮かぶ船である。ホームに着く。人が降り人が乗る。その出入りにつれて、電車はレールの上でゆっくりと揺れる。船着き場の船のように。

Imagine a train with many coaches running on overhead power and a subway train as large boats, then a streetcar would be a small boat.

June 10 is romen densha day (streetcar day), with the ``six'' and ``10'' pronounced ro and ten or den, respectively in Japanese. The day was so designated at a ``streetcar summit.''

The first summit meeting of leaders of municipalities with streetcar services was held in Sapporo 10 years ago. The venue has since shifted to Hiroshima, Okayama and Toyohashi in Aichi Prefecture, and Kumamoto, among other places. Municipalities in 16 prefectural entities have streetcar services.

 長い電車や地下鉄を、大きな船とするならば、路面電車は小舟である。6月の10日は、小舟たちの日「路面電車の日」だ。6をロ、10をテ(デ)ンと読むらしい。「路面電車サミット」で決められた。サミットは10年前に札幌で始まり、広島、岡山、愛知の豊橋、熊本と、路面電車のある町で開かれてきた。目下、16の都道府県を走っているという。

In Tokyo, the Arakawa Line is the capital's last remaining streetcar line. I took it recently, for the first time in many years, after hearing about the beautiful displays of roses along the tracks.

The coach was pretty crowded. Most of the passengers were elderly people and women out on shopping trips, generating a peculiarly ``homey'' atmosphere that put me at ease-much like when one's nerves are soothed in the company of common people on a small ferryboat journey.

 都電で唯一残った荒川線の、沿線のバラが美しいと聞いて、久しぶりに乗ってみた。かなり込んでいる。お年寄りや、買い物の女性が多い。渡し舟に乗り合わせたような、独特の近さと気安さがある。

Years ago, I witnessed an incident at Waseda Station, terminal of the Arakawa Line, that touched me greatly. An elderly person stumbled and fell as he tried to board a streetcar. The accident left him with scratches on his face. A woman helped him to his feet. Once aboard the car, she sat next to the aged person. In addition, the kind passenger went to the trouble of getting off with him at his stop and escorted him hand-in-hand to his home, located some distance away. As she got off, she told the driver, ``I'm OK. Today, I'm taking the day off.''

 昔こんな光景を見た。始発の早稲田の停留所で、電車に乗り込もうとした老人が転んで顔をすりむいた。助け起こした女性が隣に座り、相当遠くの家まで、手を引いて送って行った。運転士に「いいんです。私、今日お休みですから」と言っていた。

Over a 10-year period starting in 1965, streetcar lines shut down one after the other to make way for growing motor traffic. What happened at that time was not merely the loss of a means of transportation. A settled way of life, derived from living within one's means, was lost.

 自動車に追われて、都電の路線が次々に消えていったのは、昭和40年代だった。あの時、一つの乗り物が、というだけでなく、人の身の丈に合った暮らしの落ち着きのようなものも失われた。

In some municipalities, rails were paved over, instead of being removed. I wonder if there are rails below the busy streets that are waiting for the day to keep ``boats afloat'' again.

 廃線の時、レールを撤去せず、その上に舗装したところもあった。今でも、日々車に踏みつけられながら、再び舟を浮かべる日を待っているレールがあるのだろうか。

This thought occurred to me as I watched roses of all colors that paraded outside the streetcar windows.

 車窓を流れてゆく、色とりどりのバラを見つつ、そんなことを思い浮かべた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 8(IHT/Asahi: June 10,2003)

(06/10)
 
 
 
Testimony on war's brutal contradictions


``I never liked the United States or its people ... but I have become very pro-U.S. soldiers (since Iraq),'' writes Asahi Shimbun reporter Tsuyoshi Nojima in the postscript of his book ``Iraku Senso Jugun-ki'' (An account by an Iraq war correspondent) published by The Asahi Shimbun. Nojima was embedded with a U.S. Marine unit.

■《天声人語》

 「米国も米国人も好きではなかった」が「すっかり『親・米兵』になってしまった」。米軍と行動をともにした本紙の野嶋剛記者が『イラク戦争従軍記』(朝日新聞社)の「あとがき」にそう記している。

Nojima found he could not justify the war in any sense. Instead, he developed strong bonds with his American ``comrades-in-arms.'' They were his reliable allies and protectors from harm. Throughout this bonding experience, he nevertheless kept his focus on the brutalities of war.

 戦争の大義には疑問を抱きつつも、寝食を共にする米兵たちとの間には友情も生まれる。彼らは敵から守ってくれる頼もしい味方でもある。そんな自然の感情が増す一方、戦場の悲劇から目をそらすわけにはいかない。

The case of Marine Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley was a sad one. Nojima was particularly close to him. One day, Cawley asked Nojima to send an e-mail message to his Japanese wife in America. ``I am well, so don't worry,'' was all he wanted to say.

Cawley died the following day, run over by a vehicle being driven by a fellow Marine. A few hours after Cawley's death, his wife responded by e-mail, ``I am relieved to know you are safe.''

 日本人の妻を持つ二等軍曹ジムの話が悲しい。野嶋記者が、頼りにしていた彼に頼まれて奥さんあてに電子メールを送った。「ぼく大丈夫だから。心配しなくていい」。翌日ジムは自軍の車にひかれて死んだ。その数時間後「元気な知らせをきいて安心しました」と奥さんがメールを発信していた。

This episode ran in The Asahi Shimbun, and Nojima recalls it as giving him such a jolt that he was distraught in a way he had never before experienced.

Many journalists filed their Iraq stories from the battlefield.

Even though most stories were necessarily written from the U.S. and British military perspective, every account served as valuable testimony of what this war was really about. Nojima's account is no exception.

 紙面にも掲載されたこのできごとを野嶋記者は「記憶にないほどのショック」と振り返っている。イラク戦争では多くのジャーナリストが戦場に入り、なまなましい戦況を伝えた。ほとんどが米英軍側からの視線という限界を持つにせよ、どれもがこの戦争は何だったかをめぐる貴重な証言だ。野嶋記者の報告もその一つである。

``I just cannot reconcile the reality of the battlefield with the reasoned logic of diplomats,'' observes Nojima. ``Nor can I reconcile, even to this day, the intrinsic goodness of those American soldiers with my other image of them as cogs in the machinery for legalized murder that is war.''

 「私が身を置く戦場の現実と、外交の舞台でのロジックは、どうしても一本の線でつながらない」。米兵たちが「戦争という合法的な殺人の歯車であることと、彼らの善良さは、私のなかで今もうまく像を結ばないでいる」

As Nojima has seen, war is full of brutal contradictions.

In Japan, the Diet is passing a new set of laws Friday to prepare the country for a military attack.

 野嶋記者の「つながらない線と結ばない像」が、戦争につきまとう酷薄さだろう。きょう有事法制が成立する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 6(IHT/Asahi: June 7,2003)

(06/07)
 
 
 
It's wrong to gripe about taste of tap water


I tried ``water tasting'' the other day. There were three kinds of water to sample and compare-regular tap water, purified tap water and bottled mineral water-at a public event organized by the Tokyo metropolitan government's Bureau of Waterworks.

■《天声人語》

 先日たまたま「利き水」に挑戦した。3種類の水を味わってどれがおいしいか、まずいか、を言う。普通の水道水と「高度浄水処理」された水道水、それに市販のミネラルウオーターの3種類である。

I wrote what I thought on a slip of paper and gave it to a Tokyo government official, who looked a bit disappointed when he saw my all-too-predictable verdict-that the bottled mineral water tasted best and regular tap water worst.

 参加自由の東京都水道局の催しだった。結果を書き込んだ紙を担当者に渡すと、ちょっとがっかりした表情をされた。一番まずいのを普通の水道水、一番おいしいのをミネラルウオーター、とした「正答」である。

``I guess that's that,'' he remarked unhappily. But his colleague was telling another taster, ``You cannot really tell any difference (between tap water and mineral water) if you chill it.''

I imagine the purpose of this water tasting was to remind Tokyoites that their tap water is not as terrible as everybody claims, although my verdict was to the contrary. In hindsight, however, I know it could have swung either way.

 がっかりしたふうの担当者は「やはりそうですかねえ」。横では別の担当者が「どうです、冷たくすると区別がつかないでしょう」と他の挑戦者に語っていた。いわれるほど水道水はまずくない。そんな結果が期待されたのか。ただ、こちらも自信たっぷりだったわけではない。

One in five people in today's world is said to have no access to safe water. A project has been conceived to reduce this ratio by about half by 2015, and an action plan to that end was adopted at the Group of Eight summit in Evian, France.

 安全な水を利用できない人が、いま世界で約5人に1人いるといわれる。2015年までにその割合を半分にする計画が進められる。先のエビアン・サミットでも目標達成のための行動計画が採択された。

Compared with other nations of the world, Japan is extraordinarily lucky where water is concerned. Japanese are probably being spoiled rotten to complain about the bad taste of tap water.

But since water is deeply linked to life, I would like to think there is nothing wrong with wanting tastier water.

 世界を見渡すと日本はまことに恵まれている。「水道の水などまずくて飲めない」とはあまりにぜいたくかもしれない。だが、生命に最もかかわりの深い水だ。よりおいしい水を求めるのは許されるのではないか、との思いもある。

The ancient Greek philosopher Thales explained nature or the ``primary principle'' in terms of water. He claimed all things came into being from water and returned ultimately to their original material-water.

``Water'' was the first word uttered by Helen Keller, who was born blind and deaf. She ``discovered'' the world through water.

Water is indispensable and its existence is profoundly important.

 古代ギリシャの哲学者タレスは、すべてが水から生まれ、水に還(かえ)っていく、と宇宙の原理を説明した。目も耳も不自由だったヘレン・ケラーが最初に発した言葉が「水」だった。彼女は水を通して世界を「発見」した。日常不可欠で、しかも深遠な存在、水である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 5(IHT/Asahi: June 6,2003)

(06/06)
 
 
 
Is Aqaba a symbolic `signpost' to history?


Aqaba. This place name has a special ring to it, probably because of a movie I saw a long time ago. I am talking about ``Lawrence of Arabia,'' film director David Lean's 1962 masterpiece. After anguished deliberation, the protagonist, played by Peter O'Toole, murmurs, ``Aqaba,'' signaling a decision he has reached.

■《天声人語》

 アカバ。この地名が特別な響きをもって迫るのは、昔見た映画のせいだ。D・リーン監督の「アラビアのロレンス」(62年)である。P・オトゥール扮するロレンスが悶々(もんもん)と悩んだ末、「アカバ」とつぶやく。

The movie portrays the life of British army officer Thomas Edward Lawrence, who helped to engineer an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Lawrence's decision to mount a ground attack on the military port of Aqaba held by Turkish forces proved to be a turning point in the rebellion. But the plan meant the rebels would have to cross the vast desert that stretched behind Aqaba.

The desert trek was viewed as reckless. As feared, the insurgents encountered numerous heart-rendingly difficulties.

 映画は第一次世界大戦中、アラブの反乱を助けた英軍将校T・E・ロレンスの半生を描く。トルコ軍が支配する軍港アカバを陸から攻めるロレンスの決断が分岐点になった。そのためには背後の砂漠を突っ切らねばならない。無謀とも思われた砂漠の行軍は、美しくも過酷な場面の連続だった。

The capture of Aqaba by the Lawrence-led rebels is said to have dramatically tipped the balance of power in the Middle East war theater. Perhaps mindful of the feat, U.S. President George W. Bush arranged talks on Wednesday between the prime ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Aqaba, now a tourist resort in Jordan, to discuss his road map for peace.

 このアカバ攻略で中東の戦局は一変したといわれる。その歴史を意識したのかどうか、今はヨルダンの観光地であるアカバで4日、ブッシュ米大統領を交えてイスラエルの首相とパレスチナ自治政府首相とが話し合う。ロードマップと称される和平への行程表が議題になる。

While pondering the coincidence, I recalled the trackless path followed by Lawrence and his men in the movie. During the desert trek toward Aqaba, Lawrence proposes to retrace his steps to look for a missing man. Evidently, the rescue mission is too risky for the exhausted insurgents to undertake. Yet, he sets off, shaking off restraining hands and saying, ``Nothing is written.'' Decades after I saw the film, this observation still vividly haunts me.

 ロレンスらがたどった道なき道のことを思い浮かべた。アカバへ進軍中、行方不明になった男を捜しにロレンスが引き返そうとする。体力は限界に近く、命懸けの救出である。制止を振り切って出発するロレンスの言葉が記憶に鮮やかだ。「ナッシング・イズ・リトゥン」。

What Lawrence meant to say was that ``there is no such thing as destiny.'' His strong resolve to map out his life on his own made a lasting impression on me.

 何も書かれてはいない。つまり「運命などない」。自分で筋書きをつくるのだ、という強い意志が印象的だった。

The Bush-proposed road map for Middle East peace consists of a rough sketch of progress to be made until 2005. But the difficulties awaiting its implementation will be as arduous as the scenes that Lawrence and his men encountered in their desert trek.

It remains to be seen whether Aqaba will repeat its role as a ``signpost to history.''

 中東和平をめぐるロードマップには2年後までのざっとした筋書きが描かれている。しかし待ち受ける困難は、ロレンスの砂漠の行軍に劣らないだろう。アカバが再び「歴史の道標」としてその名を残すことができるかどうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 4(IHT/Asahi: June 5,2003)

(06/05)
 
 
 
A politician offends low-key patriotism


A cynic may define patriotism as ``believing completely in the superiority of one's nation simply because one happens to be a native of it.'' But the love of one's country could also be much more modest or understated, such as in the case of people who just want to believe their nation isn't much worse than others.

■《天声人語》

 「その国に生まれたというだけで、その国が他国より優れていると信じ込むこと」。愛国心のことをそうからかう皮肉屋もいる。だが、もっと控えめの愛国心もあるだろう。「他の国よりそれほど見劣りはしないと信じたい」。そんなささやかな「愛」である。

Even for Japanese citizens who do not support the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, it is only natural that they hope he won't make a fool of himself at the Evian Summit, because he is representing Japan after all. But this sentiment must not deter anyone from critically assessing the prime minister's performance at the summit.

 各国首脳が集まるサミットで、小泉首相が笑いものになってほしくはない。たとえ小泉政権に反対の立場でも、日本の代表として出席しているのだから、そう思うのは自然だろう。会議の成否についての論評は別途きちんとするべきなのはいうまでもない。

With the international community now being jarred by discord, the summit leaders seem to be trying so hard to impress themselves upon one another. But Koizumi appears to be behaving all right. Or at least he has not done anything to offend low-key ``patriotism.''

 きしみが目立つ国際社会で、各国首脳が存在感を何とか示そうと懸命なサミットと見受ける。そんな中で小泉首相は少なくとも表向きは無難に振る舞っているようで「控えめな愛国心」を傷つけてはいない。

On the home front, meantime, a high-profile politician provoked outrage by stating that Koreans themselves had asked to use Japanese names during Japan's colonial rule. This politician's remark could not have formed a sharper contrast with the summit spirit, which is to patch up shaky relations of cooperation and try to rebuild them in good faith for the future.

 その間、国内では「創氏改名は朝鮮人が望んだ」と有力政治家が「控えめ」ではない刺激的な発言をした。サミットの動向とは好対照の発言だ。壊れかかった協調を取り繕い、未来志向で立て直そう。そんな努力もうかがえる首脳たちとは逆をいく。

I just saw an exhibition called ``Waza no Bi'' (Beauty of artistic craft), which is being held at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo's Nihonbashi district until June 8. (This exhibition will tour the nation later.) Organized to commemorate 50 years of ``Dento Kogei-ten'' (traditional arts and crafts exhibitions), the event reminded me of the diversity and beauty of Japanese arts and crafts. Their understated beauty, made possible by the most sophisticated craftsmanship, satisfied my sense of low-key patriotism.

 伝統工芸展50年を記念する「わざの美」展を見た(東京・日本橋の三越本店で8日まで。以後、全国巡回)。日本工芸の多様さと美しさとを改めて教えてくれる。繊細な技能を駆使した「控えめの美」が「控えめな愛国心」を満足させてくれた。

Whenever I hear political comments fanning nationalistic feelings or listen to arguments on ``patriotism'' in connection with the fundamental education law, I become convinced of this: If ``patriotism'' has to be taught, then it would be far more effective to expose Japanese children to the beauty of their nation's cultural tradition.

 愛国心をあおるような政治家発言や、教育基本法をめぐる「愛国心」論議などを聞くにつれ、思う。日本の伝統が育んだ「美」を見る方が「愛国心」にはどんなに効果的か。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 3(IHT/Asahi: June 4,2003)

(06/04)
 
 
 
Good and evil are not easily distinguishable


After touring the former Nazi death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, U.S. President George W. Bush said, ``These sites are a sobering reminder of the power of evil and the need for people to resist evil.''

■《天声人語》

 「邪悪なものと対決する必要性を再認識した」。ブッシュ大統領は、ポーランドのアウシュビッツとビルケナウの強制収容所跡を訪ねて、こう述べた。

Seeing evidence of the ultimate evil committed there would cause a solemn feeling in anyone, and Bush may have made the remark just to express his sentiment. Even so, one senses a streak in common with his peculiar dualistic views. The issue of ``right and wrong'' and ``good and evil'' is quite complex. It is never easy to distinguish between them.

 誰もが厳粛な気持ちになるような究極の悪を見ての実感かも知れない。しかし、その底の方に、あの独特の二元論に通ずるものを感じる。正邪や善悪とは、相当複雑で、そう簡単に分けられるとは思えない。

In a note for a collection of masterly essays on evil, novelist Taeko Kono, who edited the volume, published by Sakuhinsha as part of an essay series, writes: ``One thing is certain about evil: Something done in the belief that it is the right thing often turns into an act of evil.''

The late novelist Shusaku Endo wrote an essay titled ``Akuma ni Tsuite no Noto'' (A note on Satan), in which he quoted French writer Andre Gide as saying: ``You cannot serve God without faith, but you can be a pawn of Satan without believing in it.''

 『日本の名随筆・悪』(作品社)を開く。編者河野多恵子は記す。「悪に関してただ一つ少しは分っていることがある。正義と信じて為される行為が、しばしば悪そのものの行為になっていることである」。遠藤周作は「悪魔についてのノート」に、ジイドを引く。「神にたいしては、信仰しなければ奉仕することができないのに、悪魔の方は、こいつを信じなくとも、その手先になってしまうことができるのだ」。

Rudolf Hess, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, ends his memoir (translated into Japanese as part of a paperback library on academic subjects, published by Kodansha) with these words: ``People will see me as a blood-thirsty beast and a brutal sadist. They will never understand that I was a human being with a heart, not a bad man.''

 アウシュビッツの収容所長だったR・ヘスは、手記(講談社学術文庫)の最後に、こう書いている。世の人々は、私を血に飢えた獣、残虐なサディストと見なそうとするだろう。そして彼らは決して理解しないだろう。私もまた、心を持つひとりの人間であり、悪人ではなかったことを。

I toured the two concentration camps in February. It was in the middle of a severe winter. At Birkenau, clusters of temporary housing stretched away in the vast snowfield. The place was practically deserted. I heard no sound. As I looked ahead, I noticed a deer watching me. Then I saw another one, presumably a mate, standing by.

 二つの収容所を巡ったのは、厳冬の2月だった。ビルケナウでは、広大な雪原にバラックの群れが続いていた。人影は、ほとんどない。音もしない。ふと、鹿が1頭、行く手でこちらをじっと見ているのに気づいた。そして脇に、もう1頭。夫婦鹿か。

The sight of the animals, which seemed like the only signs of life in the desolate world of death, gave me a slight sense of relief.

 死一色の世界に舞い降りた生の象徴かと見えて、わずかながら救いを得た。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 2(IHT/Asahi: June 3,2003)

(06/03)
 
 
 
Signs rife that the pendulum is swinging back


It's that time of the month again, to present some recent quotable quotes.

Essayist Pak Kyong Nam, a second-generation Korean resident in Japan, has been a target of verbal abuse since North Korea admitted last year that its agents had kidnapped Japanese citizens. Referring to the stream of vicious unsolicited comments made by vengeful Japanese on her Web site, Pak said, ``I really wanted to get away from Japan. There are growing moves toward exclusionist nationalism, which seeks to expel anyone who is different.''

■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「本当に日本から脱出したくなった。異なった存在を排除する排他的なナショナリズムの動きが強くなってきている」。北朝鮮が拉致を認めて以来、ホームページに悪質な書き込みをされた在日韓国人2世のエッセイスト朴慶南(パクキョンナム)さんの思いだ。

In a comment on bills to prepare Japan for a military emergency, which now await action by the Upper House, former South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Kwon O Kie said, ``When a major problem occurs, the Japanese often find it difficult to keep cool heads, and rapidly the tide of public opinion starts running in one direction. The typical Japanese reaction to a problem causes concern among its neighboring countries.''

Speaking of trends generated by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, professor Carol Gluck of Columbia University said the United States has become a country dominated by a primitive form of fascism that swept through Japan and Germany in the 1930s. ``Now that the war in Iraq has ended, Americans should engage in free debate, freeing themselves from fetters and self-restraint.''

 有事法制をめぐって「ことがあれば冷静な思考を失い、急激に世論が一つの方向に流れる姿は、周辺を不安にさせる」と韓国元副首相の権五ギ(クォンオギ)さん。同時多発テロ以来の米国については「30年代の日本やドイツに見られたファシズムの原形が、米にも生じた。戦争が終わった今こそ、足かせや自制を解いた自由な討論が行われるべきだ」と米コロンビア大学のC・グラック教授。

Translator Kayoko Ikeda believes that before meeting their deaths, the World War II victims envisioned a better world for the next generation to live in. Based on this belief, she said, ``Our Constitution is a gift from those who intently listened to the wishes of the war dead for a better world after the war came to an end. In other words, we are the children of dreams. The deceased counted on us to translate their dreams into reality.''

 翻訳家の池田香代子さんは「第2次大戦後、次の世代はこういう世界に生きてほしいという死者の思いに一心に耳を澄ませた人たちが贈ってくれたのが、この憲法。私たちは、死者の夢を託された夢の子どもなのです」。

``I learned how to use Japanese from the youthful pursuit of composing tanka poems, and I learned how to move my body from dancing lessons I took as a little girl,'' recalled sociologist Kazuko Tsurumi of her recuperation process after a stroke. ``These skills pulled me back from the brink of death.''

 「短歌から日本の言葉の使い方を、踊りから日本のからだの使い方を教えてもらった。それが死線を越えさせてくれた」とは社会学者の鶴見和子さん。

When asked about America's seeming inability to find Osama bin Laden, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered a mundane explanation: ``It's a very difficult thing to do. It's a big world.''

Commenting on how he discovered a new vitamin for the first time in 55 years, Takaoki Kasahara said, ``At first, I was disappointed because the fish I caught was not a (prized) sea bream. But a jewel came out from what appeared to be cheap fish.''

 ビンラディン氏を発見できない理由を尋ねられたラムズフェルド米国防長官の弁明は「この世界で1人の人間を見つけるのは非常に難しい。世界は広い」。55年ぶりに新ビタミンを発見した笠原和起さんは「タイを釣ろうとしたのに雑魚か、と思ったら、中から宝石が出てきた」。

Dr. Morris Goodman, a molecular anthropologist at Wayne State University, said, ``We humans appear as only slightly remodeled chimpanzee-like apes.''

 分子人類学者のM・グッドマン博士の言。「人間はチンパンジーのちょっとした改良型にすぎない」

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 30(IHT/Asahi: May 31,2003)

(05/31)
 
 
 
Summits an opportunity to clear the waters


Built 300 years ago, St. Petersburg in Russia is a city of rivers and channels, for which it is sometimes called the ``Venice of the North.'' Some people, however, are more inclined to think of it as the city of gloom depicted by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky in ``Crime and Punishment.''

■《天声人語》

 建都300年のロシア・サンクトペテルブルクは「水の都」として知られる。「北のベニス」といわれることもあるらしいが、ドストエフスキーが描いた陰鬱(いんうつ)な都を思い浮かべる人も少なくないだろう。

The novel is set in the mid-19th century when a population explosion set urbanization in motion. Dostoyevsky writes: ``Closeness, crowds, scaffolding, with lime and brick and dust everywhere, and that special summer stench ... it all jarred instantly and unpleasantly on the young man's nerves.'' This young man is Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, the protagonist of ``Crime and Punishment.''

The city was graced with many magnificent bronze statues, but it also was teeming with the chronically poor.

 19世紀半ば、人口が急増し、都市化が進展したころである。『罪と罰』ではこう描かれる。「いたるところに見かける漆喰(しっくい)、建築の足場、煉瓦(れんが)、砂ぼこり、それに……夏の都会のあの独特な臭気」が主人公ラスコーリニコフを不快にする。「壮麗な、たくさんの銅像に飾られた都」には貧しい人々が暮らす乱雑な街があった。

The late Taku Egawa, a scholar of Russian literature, notes in his book ``Nazotoki `Tsumi to Batsu''' (Solving the mystery of ``Crime and Punishment''), published by Shinchosha, that water figures prominently in this novel. ``Until the very end, water continues to entice as well as repulse the protagonist,'' Egawa observes.

 この小説は水と縁が深いとロシア文学者の故江川卓さんは指摘した(謎とき『罪と罰』・新潮社)。主人公も「最後まで『水』の誘惑、『水』への嫌悪感につきまとわれる」。

World leaders are gathering in St. Petersburg at the end of this month to celebrate the city's anniversary of its founding. Perhaps the leaders will only see the city's beauty and grandeur.

月末にかけ世界各国の首脳が建都を祝って集まる。その目には壮麗さばかりが映るのかもしれない。

They will then move on to Evian, France, for the Evian Summit. This scenic spa resort, famous for its fine spring water, sits by the lake Leman. As usual, the summit site will be held under very tight security.

 主要国首脳はその後「名水の地」として知られるフランスのエビアンに向かう。エビアン・サミットである。レマン湖に接する美しい保養地は、例によって厳重な警戒下に置かれる。

The last time the eyes of the world were on Evian was back in 1961, when peace talks began there over the Algerian War of Independence. The talks culminated in the signing of the Evian Accords the following spring, which liberated Algeria from French rule.

 エビアンがやはり世界の注目を集めたことがあった。アルジェリア独立戦争をめぐる和平会談がここで始まった61年である。翌春まで続いた会談でエビアン協定が成立、アルジェリアはフランスから独立した。

Even though both St. Petersburg and Evian are closely associated with water, I don't think the summit leaders should gloss over their recent disagreement on the wisdom of attacking Iraq-as if it was water under the bridge.

I wonder if they will be able to envision a new world order of collaboration amid confrontation.

 サンクトペテルブルクとエビアンともに水と縁が深いからといって、イラク戦争をめぐる曲折を水に流すわけにはいかないだろう。対立をはらんだ協調という新世界像を描くことができるかどうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 29(IHT/Asahi: May 30,2003)

(05/30)
 
 
 
Shaped by quakes: the Japanese worldview


There's no getting used to earthquakes. With a sense of dread, the body instinctively goes rigid, no matter how many times you experience them. For several seconds, a thought grips you: Human beings are powerless against a quake. You can't say, ``Wait a minute.'' There's no choice for us but to let it do as it pleases.

The temblor that hit the Tohoku region Monday was felt for quite a long time in Tokyo. The way it shook the nation's capital made me think that it might have been a strong earthquake.

■《天声人語》

 何度経験してもその瞬間は体が硬直する。少し待て、というわけにはいかない。相手のなすがままに任せるしかない無力さを実感させられる数秒間だ。26日東北地方を襲った地震は、東京でもずいぶん長く感じた。大きい地震かもしれないと思わせる揺れ方だった。

A major quake that occurred in the center of the Sea of Japan about noon on the same day 20 years ago caused a tsunami. The tidal waves that shortly hit the coast took a heavy death toll. Among the victims were 13 elementary school children on an excursion from the mountains. They were swept away while eating lunch on the beach. The tragedy illustrated afresh the dreadfulness of a tsunami and the importance of issuing prompt tsunami warnings after a quake.

 20年前の同じ日正午ごろに起きた日本海中部地震では、まもなく襲ってきた津波で多数の犠牲者が出た。山の小学校から遠足に来て、海辺で弁当を広げていた児童13人も波にのまれた。津波の恐ろしさ、津波情報の重要さを改めて教えた。

Another strong temblor occurred off Miyagi Prefecture shortly past 5 p.m. in June 25 years ago. Many of the victims were crushed under toppling walls of concrete blocks. Of the 28 deceased, 13 died in this fashion. Mindful of the lesson, people afterward checked that their walls were stable or rebuilt them.

 25年前の6月に起きた宮城県沖地震は午後5時すぎだった。ブロック塀の下敷きになって亡くなった人が多かった。死者28人中13人を数えた。この地震以後、ブロック塀の点検や付け替えが進んだ。

In ancient times, people referred to earthquakes as nai. The modern equivalent, jishin, an imported term, appears in Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan), the nation's oldest ``authentic,'' or imperially commissioned, history book.

While there are various theories about the meaning of the word nai, the prevalent view is that it stands for the earth or the ground. To be precise, nai furu, or ``the shaking of the ground,'' was the term used by the ancients to mean earthquake.

 地震のことを古い日本語では「なゐ」という。地震という外来語もすでに日本書紀に出てくる。「なゐ」の意味については諸説あるが、大地とする説が有力なようだ。正確には地震は「なゐふる」、つまり大地が揺れる。

To the ancients, nothing was more terrifying than an earthquake-a natural reaction to the fact that Japan has been rocked almost incessantly from the very beginning. It almost seems as if the worldview of the Japanese, characterized by ``resignation'' or a ``let things take their course'' attitude, was fomented not by Buddhism but by the onset of nai, a dreadful yet unstoppable phenomenon.

But the sacrifices exacted by quakes have not been entirely in vain, despite the sense of impotence that has plagued us. Little by little, we have learned how to cope with them.

 地震を怖いものの筆頭にもあげてきた。古来、日本の大地は休むことなく揺れ続けた。怖いが防ぎようのない「なゐ」の襲来が、日本人の諦観(ていかん)を育てたのではないかと思われるほどだ。しかし犠牲を積み重ね、無力感につきまとわれながら、教訓も少しずつ積み上げてきた。

For now, the earthquake that struck the Tohoku region seems to have done relatively little damage. A misstep in coping with a natural phenomenon always carries the risk of leading to disastrous consequences. Authorities must be on guard against neglecting to nip a mistake in the bud.

 一昨日の地震は、いまのところ被害が比較的少なかったようだ。だが、何かひとつ間違えば、大惨事につながりかねないのが天災の常である。間違いの芽を摘み取ることを怠ってはなるまい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 28(IHT/Asahi: May 29,2003)
 
 
 
Summits a chance for leaders to tackle SARS


I was taken aback when China coined a new translation for ``superspreaders'' of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. The new word uses the Chinese ideographs for ``poison'' and ``king.'' This seems to be in currency in Taiwan, too, although less commonly. Taiwan has also a new coinage of ``superspreaders.''■《天声人語》

 どきりとさせられる命名である。「毒王」という。新型肺炎SARSで話題になった特別に感染力の強い人「スーパースプレッダー」の中国語訳である。台湾でも一部「毒王」が使われているが、「超級伝染者」ともいわれるらしい。


There are still many unknowns about SARS, and the role of superspreaders is one. A superspreader is an infected individual who appears to be far more contagious than the average SARS patient. Wherever a superspreader goes, he or she instigates a major outbreak. A superspreader is believed to be severely infected, but why he or she is more contagious than others remains a mystery. A superspreader is presumed to be responsible for the revival of SARS in Canada, where the disease had been declared under control earlier.

 新型肺炎には謎が多いが、「毒王」もその一つだ。ある一人の患者に接した人たちが次々感染する。特定の患者の移動する先々で病気が発生する。その患者は重症の場合が多いらしいが、なぜ突出して感染力が強いのかよくわからない。新型肺炎再発のカナダでもこの「毒王」がかかわっていた可能性がある。

This atypical pneumonia has spread across national borders. The primary cause of infection has yet to be determined. Since the virus has been discovered in racoon dogs and civet cats that are sold for meat, some scientists suspect the disease could have spread from animals to humans.

 国境を超えて広がった新型肺炎だが、肝心の感染源もはっきりしない。食用のタヌキやハクビシンから同型のウイルスが発見されたことから国境だけでなく人畜の境界を超えて広がった疑いもある。

Amplified rumors, too, spread quickly and widely. When one kind of food was said to work, people rushed to buy it. There will always be merchants ready to capitalize on people's anxieties. Furthermore, people in Hong Kong became very interested in certain food items unique to Japan, when it was noted that Japanese people in general seemed to be immune to the disease.

 うわさも尾ひれがついて広がりやすい。ある食品が病気に効くという話が流れると突然売れ始めたりする。便乗商法も出てくるだろう。日本人には抵抗力があるようだという説が流れて、香港などで日本独特の食品に関心が集まったこともあるらしい。

The impact of SARS can be felt across a broad spectrum, and international politics is no exception. A string of summit meetings gets under way from the end of this month. Chinese President Hu Jintao is making his debut on the diplomatic stage. But it could be ruined if the leaders of other nations are scared or reluctant to shake one another's hands. A British newspaper recently reported that the Chinese government will make sure Hu and his entourage undergo rigorous health checks and be thoroughly quarantined at every airport of call.

 各方面に様々な影響を与えているが、国際政治も例外ではない。今月末から首脳会談の季節だ。中国の胡錦涛(フーチンタオ)国家主席にとっては外交初舞台である。各国首脳がおそるおそる握手するようではせっかくの初舞台も台無しだ。中国側は国家主席と随員の厳しい健康診断をし、空港での隔離で万全を期すと英紙が伝えていた。

I hope the summit leaders seriously tackle ways to fight the mysterious SARS virus.

 謎のウイルスとの闘いについても首脳会談でよく話し合ってもらいたいものだ。

-The Asahi Shimbun, May 27(IHT/Asahi: May 28,2003)
 
 
 
Highest peaks beckon as a defiance of gravity


When someone lives to the age of 70, people celebrate. That is because, as Chinese poet Tu Fu (712-770) said, ``Few have lived that long since ancient times.'' Some twist the expression to say, ``Many live that long now.''

■《天声人語》

 「人生七十古来稀(まれ)なり」。70歳を表す古希は、杜甫の詩の一節から来ている。このごろは「近来ざらなり」と、おどける人もいる。

The recent feat of 70-year-old adventure skier Yuichiro Miura, however, is definitely not something that can be easily done-to become the oldest person in the world to scale Mount Everest.

Though Miura had considerable help from Sherpas, only a man of steely will and matching physical prowess could have achieved the mission. It strikes me that his age worked not as an impediment but rather an aid to his quest.

 ざらには無いことが、世界の最高峰であった。古希の三浦雄一郎さんが、エベレストの最高齢登頂記録を塗り替えた。分厚いシェルパの支えがあったそうだが、実に強い意志と力をお持ちのようだ。加齢は妨げではなく、挑戦への支えとすら思わせる。

Why do we grow weak with age? The face I see in the mirror, with a hint of flabbiness around the cheeks, reminds me of Sir Isaac Newton, who formulated the laws of gravity.

British alpinist George Mallory, explaining his motivation for scaling Mount Everest, famously said, ``Because it is there.'' That was what came to mind when I heard the news of Miura's feat. Looking into the mirror, I murmur, ``Because gravity is at work here.''

 加齢による老化は、なぜ起きるのだろうか。鏡の中の、垂れ下がり気味のほおのあたりからは、万有引力のニュートン先生を連想する。エベレストからは、英国の登山家、マロリーの言葉として有名な「そこに山があるから」を思い起こす。そして「そこに重力があるから」とつぶやいてみる。

Gravity is the force that constantly pulls all living things toward the center of the Earth. There is a Japanese expression that aptly describes the birth of a baby as umare ochiru-literally ``tumbling to birth,'' like something that comes into being while falling.

Gravity is at work on each cell. Living things contend with its pull by renewing their cells. I suspect that this marathon struggle is what causes things to age.

This view, of course, lacks any scientific foundation.

 生命体は、重力によって常に地球の中心の方へ引っ張られている。誕生することを、生まれ落ちるともいう。体の一つ一つの細胞も引っ張られている。生き物の方も、細胞を入れ替えて新しくしながら、重力の引っ張りに対抗する。その戦いの積み重ねが、生命体に年をとらせるのではないか。もちろん、何の学術的根拠もない話だが。

Even so, I think Mallory's famous remark had something to do with the existence of terrestrial gravitation. It may be said that being constantly subjected to the downward force of gravity tempts humans to explore the farthest places from the center of the Earth.

 とは言え、重力の存在とマロリーの言との間には、どこか通底するものを感じる。常に下向きのくびきがあるから、人は、地球の中心から最も遠い所へといざなわれるのだろうか。

Mallory died in 1924 as he was climbing Everest. It was not until May 1953 that Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay made history by conquering the summit.

Half a century later, the slopes of the mountain were congested with 50-odd climbers, each waiting for their turn to make the final ascent to the highest peak in the world.

 マロリーは1924年にエベレストに挑んだが遭難した。ヒラリーとテンジンが登頂に成功したのは53年5月だった。それから半世紀の最高峰では、順番待ちで約50人もが「渋滞」していたという。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 24(IHT/Asahi: May 27,2003)

(05/27)
 
 
 
'Never give up' has new sense for Matsunami


Judging from a haiku poem by Mantaro Kubota (1889-1963), the playwright-novelist was evidently intrigued to find on a visit to a sumo arena that the covers of floor cushions for wrestlers awaiting their turn on the dohyo were different from ones he had seen before. The poem goes: ``It is the summer tournament/ That is why the cushions for wrestlers/ Have covers of pale blue.''

As in Kubota's days, the present 15-day sumo tourney that ends Sunday at the Kokugikan sumo arena in Tokyo is known as the summer tournament. I went Tuesday, for the first time in two years, for the 10th day of the tournament. The buzz over the over-the-top fighting spirit displayed by grand champion Asashoryu the previous day seemed to linger in the air.

I seated myself in a chair in the upper gallery. From that vantage, I could clearly see that the ring was perfectly circular. I noticed that about half of the spectators around me were non-Japanese. From where they watched, the wrestlers battling it out on the dohyo were distant figures, like actors in a drama being performed at the bottom of an amphitheater. Yet, they kept watching intently.

■《天声人語》

 夏場所やひかへぶとんの水あさぎ(万太郎)。

 2年ぶりに国技館へ行った。10日目。前日の、横綱の過剰な闘志にどよめいた余韻が、かすかに残っている。土俵がまん丸であることが目で確認できるような、天井桟敷のいすに座る。周りの観客の約半数は外国人だ。遠く、すり鉢の底の方で繰り広げられる取組に見入っている。

On the lower floors, many seats were unoccupied except for the sections that offered a good view of the dohyo. This was the case even with the first-floor tatami sections where spectators sit with their legs tucked underneath. These sections are partitioned by wooden bars, as in the old days. Naturally, unoccupied chairs were also conspicuous on the second floor.

To reverse the trend, the Japan sumo association has revised its marketing policy. The change concerns tickets to seats in the tatami sections, which can be hard to come by because of a time-honored custom that allows the sumo chaya (sumo restaurants) catering to sumo fans to buy them up. Now, tickets to some of the prized seats are available at the box office.

The association acted too late to institute the reform. It will need to take other steps, like lowering ticket prices. Otherwise, the downturn in the number of visitors and revenue may continue.

 1階の升席も、2階のいす席も、土俵から離れた所には空席が目立つ。今場所から、相撲茶屋に流れて一般の人にはなかなか買えなかった升席の一部を、木戸口で売るように変えたという。遅すぎたくらいだが、料金も含めて工夫がないと、不入りは続くかもしれない。

This brings me to one of the odd events marring the ``May session'' of the Diet. Kenshiro Matsunami, a Lower House member of Hoshu Shinto (New Conservative Party), has said, ``I believe that the spirit of never giving up is an element of sportsmanship.'' This was his reply when asked how he would define sportsmanship during Lower House ethics panel questioning over suspicions his aides' salaries were paid by a gangster-related company.

His response surely would qualify him as a candidate for the ``technical merit'' award for a sumo wrestler. But simple justice dictates that no one can equate ``Never give up'' to ``I won't quit.''

Matsunami said, ``I intend to let a vote of confidence decide my fate by running in the next (Lower House) election.'' Doesn't he realize he has already lost the confidence of voters? This is another odd thing.

 国会の方の「五月場所」では、へんてこりんなことが続く。「スポーツマンシップとは」と問われた保守新党の松浪健四郎衆院議員の答えは「ネバーギブアップもスポーツマンシップ」。答え方としては技能賞候補だが、「決してあきらめない」ことが「居座り」と同義になっていいはずはない。「次の総選挙で国民の信を問う」と言うが、もう十分に信を失っているのに気づかないのか。これも妙だ。

At Kokugikan sumo arena, I enjoyed the sense of being in touch with the real thing, even though the upper gallery from where I watched was far removed from the ring. Among other things, I was impressed with the large floor cushions for the wrestlers waiting by the dohyo as well as the vivid colors and sheen of the wrestlers' loincloths, and the loud slaps they made as they struck their bodies in self- exhortation. There was something moving about the sight of thoroughly trained men clashing in the ring-men dressed in nothing but loincloths.

 国技館では、天井桟敷からでも、それなりに臨場感が味わえた。控え力士の座布団の大きさ、締め込みの鮮やかな色と光、鼓舞して自らの体をたたくピシッという音。鍛え抜いた裸にまわし一本のぶつかり合いは、やはり心に響くものがあった。

At one point, Matsunami also said, ``I admit that acting with good grace may be another element of sportsmanship.'' Yes, that is what he should do now. I think now is the time for him to remove his clothes like a sumo wrestler and start training again.

 松浪議員は「潔しとするのがスポーツマンシップかもしれませんが」とも言っている。ここは、いったん裸になって、鍛え直してはいかがだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 23(IHT/Asahi: May 24,2003)

(05/24)
 
 
 
Were Jomon and Yayoi two separate periods?


If people who lived around the seventh century B.C. could miraculously be brought back to life, they would complain: ``We have always thought that now is the Jomon period. We didn't know it is now the Yayoi period.''

An archaeological study reported Monday was of a nature that may make it necessary to reassess when the Yayoi period started, apparently several centuries earlier. Better still, a review of the line drawn between the Yayoi period and the earlier Jomon period seems to be in order.

■《天声人語》

 紀元前7世紀ごろの人が「いまは縄文時代だと思っていたら、何だ、弥生時代だったのか」とぶつぶつ文句を言いそうである。弥生時代が大幅にさかのぼるかもしれない。というより、縄文から弥生へ、という時代区分を考え直した方がいいのかもしれない。

To be sure, there are key differences between Jomon culture and Yayoi culture. But the actual shift from one period to another could not possibly have taken place on a certain date, as was the case with the birth of the present Heisei Era from the Showa Era in 1989 on the death of the emperor. It would be natural to assume there was a long transitional period in between, a period during which the Jomon and Yayoi cultures existed side by side.

 確かに縄文文化と弥生文化とを区別することはできる。しかし、昭和から平成に移るように、ある日突然縄文から弥生へ移行したわけではあるまい。両者が混在の時期、長い移行期があったと考えるのが自然だろう。

During my school days, I was taught an easy way to distinguish between the two periods. Primitive Jomon people lived by hunting and gathering daily necessities, while Yayoi people, who developed a lifestyle close to that of people of much later periods, cultivated rice fields and lived in communities. Let me quickly add that perceptions about the Jomon period are currently undergoing marked change because excavations at ruins in recent years have yielded a succession of finds attesting to an advanced civilization.

 昔、学校で教えられたのは、わかりやすい区分だった。狩猟や採集で生活するいかにも原始的な縄文人と、水田を耕作し、集落をつくって生活する現代人に近い弥生人である。近年、縄文時代の豊かな文化を証明する遺跡が次々発掘されて縄文観が大きく変わりつつある。

Let us imagine what things were like when cutting-edge culture, in such forms as metal products and rice cultivation techniques, began flowing into the Jomon world from the Asian continent and the Korean Peninsula. Conceivably, the picture was one of confusion: friction as imported culture clashed with indigenous culture, the intermingling of the two cultures, power struggles between rival groups, and their reconciliation. Actually, there is evidence that bloodshed occurred in some cases. On the other hand, it would appear many people formed relationships across race lines. When I think about this period of great change, a variety of imaginable episodes like those mentioned above come to mind.

 縄文の世界に大陸や半島から先端文化、つまり金属製品や稲作が流入し始めたころのことを想像する。土着文化と輸入文化との間で摩擦もあったろうし、融合もあったろう。争いも和解もあったろう。実際、流血の痕跡もあり、一方で混血も進んだようだ。時代が大きく転回するその時代を思うと、さまざまな物語が浮かんでくる。

In time, with rice paddies spread across the country, Yayoi culture seems to have triumphed, reinforcing the generally accepted theory that rice fields and farming villages form the basis of Japanese culture. But vestiges of Jomon culture also remain intact, and theories about Japanese culture that attach importance to farming villages are being challenged from various quarters.

 やがて日本中に水田が広がり、弥生文化が制圧したかに見える。日本文化の基底には水田と農村があるという「常識」も強まる。だが、縄文文化の名残もいろいろある。農村を重視する日本文化論への異論もこのごろは各方面で出てきた。

Historical studies keep changing, energized by the need to mirror the times. That is what makes history interesting.

 歴史研究は現代を映しながら常に動いている。そこが歴史の面白さでもある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 21(IHT/Asahi: May 22,2003)

(05/22)
 
 
 
Deflation debilitates the entire economy

Falling prices are a blessing to consumers. But if prices keep falling over a prolonged period, you have deflation, and this is unhealthy for the economy.

An inflationary economy, on the other hand, may be likened to a patient running a high fever. There are various cures for it. But deflation is like a chronic illness caused by unhealthy habits, and it is not easy to treat.

■《天声人語》

 ものの値段が下がる。生活する上ではありがたい。しかし長く続くのはデフレといって一種の病気とされる。高熱が出るような症状のインフレには、治療法が種々考えられてきた。デフレは生活習慣病のようなもので、治療が容易でない。

The patient tends to fall into a vicious circle. He stops exercising because he doesn't feel well. Lack of exercise diminishes his appetite, and this enervates him further.

In other words, deflation is not just about falling prices. It causes wages to drop, diminishes consumer spending, forces businesses to downscale, and ultimately debilitates the entire economy.

 悪循環に陥りやすい。体調が悪いから運動をしなくなる。食欲が衰える。ますます体調が悪くなる。つまり物価下落だけならいいが、賃金も下がり、購買意欲も減退、企業活動も委縮し、経済全体が収縮していく。

When you look at busy shopping and entertainment districts teeming with people, it is hard to get any real sense of the illness from which the Japanese economy is suffering. But there are other things that seem unreal. I, for one, find it hard to imagine this small island nation as the second largest economy in the world.

 繁華街のにぎわいなどを見ていると、日本がそんな病を抱えているという実感はわかない。実感がわかないことは他にもある。そもそもこの小さな島国が本当に世界第2の経済大国なのだろうか。

In the immediate aftermath of defeat in World War II, many Japanese referred to their nation as a ``30th-class nation'' in self-mockery. Gen. Douglas MacArthur likened Japan to a 12-year-old adolescent.

From that time, it appears Japan has raced frantically through its youth and prime of life, only to find itself prematurely old today. Japan was obviously a lad who was prone to age rapidly. I doubt its present illness was caused only by the excesses it indulged in during the bubble years.

 戦後すぐ「日本は30等国」という自嘲(じちょう)的な言葉が流れた。マッカーサーには「日本は12歳の少年」といわれた。12歳から青春、壮年を無我夢中で走り抜け、気がついたら思いがけず老け込んでいた。まさに「老いやすい少年」だった。病の原因はバブルのときの不摂生だけではないだろうとの思いがする。

Some economists point out that Japan today is racing a lap or two ahead of other industrialized nations. The rest of the developed world will eventually ``catch up'' with Japan's illness, they say.

During a recent meeting of finance ministers in France, Japan was told to step up deflation countermeasures. If these fellow ministers are coldly watching the front-runner running out of gas, that is not exactly nice of them. But then, only Japan can fix its own problem.

 いまの日本は他の先進国の1、2周先を走っているという専門家もいる。先進国の病を先取りしている、というのだ。サミット財務相会合でも日本のデフレ対策強化をいわれた。先頭走者の失速とあがきを各国が冷ややかに見守っているとしたら意地悪いが、他国頼みもできない。

The government has decided to bail out Resona Holdings Inc. The name derives from the Latin for ``resonate.'' I wonder how the Japanese economy is going to react to the effective nationalization of this financial institution.

 「国有化」されるりそな銀行の名はラテン語からとられた。「そな」は音で「り」は反響や反復の意だ。こんどの処置に日本経済はどんな反響を示すのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 20(IHT/Asahi: May 21,2003)

(05/21)

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