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天声人語英和対訳ファイル付録の追加、2003年11月1日〜2004年3月31日分
http://www.asyura2.com/0401/it05/msg/792.html
投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 7 月 21 日 22:30:48: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11月1日〜2004年3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。

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`Everyone's trying to scare one another off'


Below are some quotable quotes for March.

Greek-born mezzo soprano Agnes Baltsa said of a Greek folk song she sang: ``Historically, Greece was constantly invaded and turned into a battlefield. The human grief born of such a history forms the undercurrent of this song.''

03月30日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。メゾソプラノのアグネス・バルツァさんが故郷ギリシャの民謡を歌った。「ギリシャは、絶えず侵略を受け、戦場となってきたという歴史を背負っています。その中から生まれた嘆きや悲しみが、歌の底辺に漂います」

Poet Hiromi Ito, who has been living in the United States for eight years, noted: ``I realized that the more fascinated I became with my garden, the more homesick I grew for Japan. I still can't quite get used to the names of flowers in English. When I think of the Japanese names of flowers like miyakowasure (aster), jinchoge (sweet-smelling daphne), kodemari (spirea) and hanazuo (Japanese redbud), I see and smell dampness in their colors and fragrances, and sense their shadowiness even in sunlight. I suppose it's their names in Japanese that make me feel these things.''

 米国暮らし8年の詩人伊藤比呂美さんは「庭に夢中になりはじめたら、より望郷の念がつのることに気がつきました」。花の英名になじめない。「『みやこわすれ』や『じんちょうげ』や『こでまり』や『はなずおう』が、色も匂(にお)いも、湿り気をおび、光の中でも陰を持ってるじゃないかとわたしが感じるのも、その名前のせい、のような気がするのです」

Novelist Michiko Ishimure: ``All the way back from the primitive age, from before dinosaurs ever walked our planet, the soil in the ground has always worked wonders in the most mysterious ways to nurture and sustain life on our entire planet. ... I would just love to tell this sort of thing to little kids, making them scoop a fistful of dirt in their little hands.''

 「原始時代、恐竜の時代よりもっと前から、土は神秘的に働き続けて、今も死なないで、全地球の生命を養っているのよ。……土を掌(てのひら)にすくわせ、小さな子たちと話したい」と作家の石牟礼道子さん。

Cultural anthropologist Jiro Kawakita: ``Gosh, the world is becoming `one' amazingly quickly today, isn't it? But here's what I think: The more obvious this trend gets, the more important it becomes for people from different regions or nations to be themselves and accept their differences. I just detest people who are so childishly arrogant as to think their culture is so superior to everyone else's and it doesn't matter if they ruin other people's lives. If the U.S. government can't see this, we've got a problem.''

 驚くような速さで、世界が一本になりつつありますなー。でも、そんな時代になればなるほど、地方色やそれぞれの国が独特の色を出すことが大事なんです。自分とこの文化で相手を叩(たた)きのめすなんて、生意気なこと言うな。それを、アメリカによう分かってもらわな困る」と語るのは文化人類学の川喜田二郎さん。

A recently released CD is a rock-and-rap rendition of the preamble to the Constitution as written by Japanese junior and senior high school kids. One version goes: ``Who are we protecting? ... Who are we protecting them from? I don't see any fun when everyone's trying to scare one another off.''

 中高生たちが書いた「憲法前文」を、ラップやロックで歌うCDには「だれをまもるの? だれからまもるの? ……みんなでおどしあっててもたのしくないでしょ」

Photographer Shinya Fujiwara keeps traveling. He said: ``Life is a pilgrimage. But where is the destination you have in mind right now?''

 放浪の旅を続ける写真家藤原新也さん。「人の一生は巡礼。ところで今、君はどこに行こうとしてるんだ」

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 30(IHT/Asahi: March 31,2004) (03/31)
 
 
 
The revolving door tragedy at Roppongi Hills


In the game of skipping a rope, the trick is to know when to dash for the revolving rope. Similarly, timing can be everything when stepping into a large automatic revolving door.

You may recall the sensation when you faced the revolving rope. Stepping on to a boat can produce the same sensation.

03月29日付
■《天声人語》

 幼いころの縄跳びを思い出す。回転する縄を目がけて飛び出す間合いが難しい。最近ふえている大型の自動回転ドアにも、似たような難しさを感じるときがある。縄跳びのようでもあるし、船に飛び乗るときの感じにも似ている。

So, what happens if one ``fails'' to step into a revolving door properly? Until a 6-year-old boy was killed in the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo on Friday, it had never occurred to me that a revolving door would be responsible for a child's death.

Because the boy's head was caught in a large revolving door, it was probably squeezed with far greater force than we imagine.

The manufacturer of the door as well as those who administered the Mori Tower where it was installed should have known what would happen in the set of circumstances that came into play last week.

Worse still, Friday's tragic accident seems to have been preceded by frequent minor mishaps. Why weren't proper countermeasures taken promptly?

 「乗る」のに失敗したらどうなるか。まさか、東京・六本木ヒルズでの児童の事故のように死につながるとは思わなかった。大型だけに挟まれたときの圧力は想像以上に大きいのだろう。つくった人や管理する人たちにはわかっていたはずだ。しかも小さな事故が頻発していたらしい。なぜ早くちゃんとした対策を講じることができなかったのか。

The term ``entrance technology'' refers to efforts to design suitable entrances to buildings. A suitable entrance is particularly important for a building open to large numbers of people.

 エントランス・テクノロジーという言葉がある。入り口工学とでもいおうか。建物にふさわしい入り口をいかにつくるかを考える。多数の人が出入りする建物では、とりわけ重要なことだろう。

To be sure, the automatic revolving door, which opens and closes at the same time, may be a convenient device for everyone. While revolving, it lets people in and out anytime.

In addition, it keeps buildings airtight and thus diminishes the inflow of air from the outside. But the space between the door and the doorpost became a death trap for the 6-year-old victim in the Roppongi Hills accident.

 「開いて閉じている」自動回転ドアは、確かに便利かもしれない。回転しながらいつも人を出入りさせることができる。しかも建物の気密性は保って、外気の影響を少なくできる。が、開閉の交代のすきまに死角があった。

In one of the works of American novelist Stephen King, I came across a strange scene in which a door stood on a sand beach, with no building in sight. It was a door leading to another world.

I took it as King's way of showing the door's dual function of linking the inside with the outside and keeping them separate at the same time.

 砂浜にドアがぽつんと立っている。建物は見あたらずドアだけである。米国の作家S・キングの小説に、そんな奇妙な光景が出てきたのを思い出す。別世界に通じるドアだった。内と外とをつなぐと同時に隔てるドアの存在が生々しかった。

The 6-year-old may have rushed for the revolving door, taking it for a door leading to another world of entertainment.

In his wildest dreams, he would not have expected it to be a door separating life from death.

 亡くなった児童は、楽しい別世界につながる回転ドアだと思って走り寄ったのかもしれない。生と死とを分けるドアであったとは、夢にも思わなかったろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 29(IHT/Asahi: March 30,2004) (03/30)
 
 
 
The Dutch spirit of openness and tolerance


Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, who died on March 20 at the age of 94, was known as an unassuming monarch who sometimes went to a supermarket on a bicycle. Her life of almost a century made me think of her nation's somewhat turbulent history.

03月25日付
■《天声人語》

 自転車に乗ってスーパーへ買い物に行くような気さくな人だったそうだ。先週亡くなったオランダのユリアナ前女王である。ほぼ1世紀を生きた彼女の死は、変転を重ねたあの国の歴史へと思いを誘う。

Her mother, Queen Wilhelmina, was forced to flee to London when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. But from her place of exile, she continued to broadcast radio messages to her people. Among the audience was a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank, author of the all-too-famous diary she kept at her hideaway in Amsterdam.

According to the Japanese edition of ``The Diary of a Young Girl'' published by Bungei Shunju, Anne wrote with hope on May 11, 1944, that her ``dear queen'' had promised a ``swift deliverance'' for her people upon her return.

 母のウィルヘルミナ女王は、ナチス・ドイツの侵攻で英国に亡命した。アムステルダムの隠れ家で日記を書き続けたユダヤ人少女アンネ・フランクも、英国からのオランダ女王のラジオ演説に耳を傾けた。44年5月11日には「敬愛する女王様」がラジオで「帰国したあかつきには」「急速な解放」という言葉をつかったと期待を込めて書きとめている(『アンネの日記』文芸春秋)。

The Netherlands is a country with many faces. There are those picture-postcard scenes of windmills, tulips and canals. As a conqueror of the oceans, the nation was early to establish a long relationship with Japan. In art, the Dutch produced such great masters as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh. The philosopher Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza is also Dutch.

 オランダは様々な顔を持つ国だ。風車、チューリップ、運河といった風物、世界の海に雄飛する中での日本との長い交流の歴史もあれば、レンブラントからゴッホに至る美術の伝統もある。哲学者のスピノザもいた。

The legend of the ghost ship Flying Dutchman, as immortalized by Richard Wagner's opera of that title, perhaps hints at the nation's less fortunate history. The legend is about a ship condemned to sail the seas for eternity in punishment for having cursed God. The history of the Netherlands is that of a nation surrounded by big world powers and constantly caught in their struggle for supremacy.

 暗い運命を暗示するのが、ワーグナーのオペラで知られる「さまよえるオランダ人」だろう。神を呪ったため、永遠の航海を科せられた幽霊船伝説である。強国に囲まれ、覇権の波にもまれてさまよってきた地でもあった。

Anne Frank repeatedly expressed her love for the Netherlands and its people even while she was being persecuted. With the exception of the Nazi era, the Dutch were indeed always open to people seeking refuge in their land.

 迫害の中にありながらアンネは「わたしはオランダ人を愛します。この国を愛します」とたびたび書き記した。ナチス時代は別にして、古くから亡命者や難民を受け入れてきた開かれた国だとの思いが強い。

The current Dutch government, which has sent troops to Iraq, appears to be moving toward a tougher immigration policy against would-be refugees.

One just hopes from afar that the Dutch people would abide by their truly laudable, traditional spirit of openness and tolerance.

 イラクへ軍隊を派遣したいまの政府は、難民規制への動きなども見せているようだ。「開放的で寛容」という良き伝統を大事にしてほしい、と遠くから思う。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 25(IHT/Asahi: March 29,2004) (03/29)
 
 
 
Power of a song born out of Okinawa's lament


In 1967, when liberal scholar Ryokichi Minobe was elected Tokyo governor, pop songs such as ``Buru Shato'' (Blue castle), ``Kaettekita Yopparai'' (The drunk who came back from the heaven) and ``Sekai wa Futari no Tameni'' (The world exists for us lovers) were on the hit charts.

The song ``Satokibi-batake'' (Sugarcane field) was also born that year.

Written and composed by Naohiko Terashima, who passed away Tuesday, it was inspired by a trip he took to an old battlefield in Okinawa Prefecture. This song was not sung widely back then, though.

03月26日付
■《天声人語》

 「ブルー・シャトウ」「帰って来たヨッパライ」「世界は二人のために」。東京に美濃部革新都政が誕生した1967年、昭和42年には、こんな歌が流れていた。亡くなった寺島尚彦さんが、沖縄の戦跡で着想を得て作詞作曲した「さとうきび畑」もこの年の作品だ。しかし、全国に一気に広がったという記憶は無い。

It has since been immortalized by singer Ryoko Moriyama. However, Moriyama recalled in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun two years ago, ``It was the first song that made me acutely aware of my own limitations as a singer.''

Having grown up steeped in music of practically every genre, she was confident enough of her ability to sing anything. But ``Satokibi-batake'' was entirely different. It was years before she could feel even remotely capable of interpreting and expressing the depth behind the song's haunting refrain-zawawa zawawa-an onomatopoeia for the rustling of sugarcanes in the wind.

 森山良子さんは一昨年、「自分の歌唱の非力さを痛感させられた初めての曲だった」と、本紙で述懐している。幼いころから様々な音楽に接していたから、どんな曲でも歌える少しの自信があった。しかし「ざわわ ざわわ」の奥に広がる深い空間の中で立ち往生して何年も過ぎた。

There were times when she wanted to give up, telling herself she could not possibly sing about a war she had not experienced. Yet, she somehow held on.

And then, something suddenly clicked about 10 years ago. She might not have gotten there, she said in the Asahi interview, had it not been for the fact that every time she performed in concert, someone from the audience invariably requested the song.

 戦争を知らないのに歌えるはずがない、などと逃げ腰になったりもしたが、気が付くとまた「ざわわ」と歌っていた。それが、10年ほど前のある時期、歌と自分が引き合うように近づいた。演奏会で、「ざわわ」を欠かさずリクエストし続けた客席の心も、歌い継ぐ力になったという。

With Japan's defeat in World War II only a matter of time in 1945, Okinawa was being transformed into a bloody battlefield. Civilians were driven to mass suicide on some of Okinawa's islands.

In the three months or so that it took the Imperial Japanese Army to be wiped out, an estimated 200,000 Japanese and Americans were killed, of whom about 94,000 were believed to be innocent Okinawan civilians.

 敗色濃厚な45年、沖縄は激しい地上戦の場となった。住民が、集団自決に追い込まれた島もあった。日本軍の壊滅までの約3カ月間で、日米の死者は計約20万人と推計されている。うち、一般県民9万4千人が犠牲になったとされる。

Terashima visited a former battleground for the first time in 1964. A local resident told him, ``The remains of unknown victims are buried right where you are standing.'' The shock of this revelation found a creative expression in the haunting refrain of his song.

 寺島さんは、64年に初めて沖縄の戦跡を訪れ「あなたの足元に今も遺骨が埋もれている」と聞く。その衝撃から「ざわわ」は生まれた。

Terashima's funeral was to be held March 26. On this day in 1945, American troops landed on Okinawa's Kerama Islands and the Battle of Okinawa began.

 今日、寺島さんの告別式が営まれる。3月の26日は、米軍が沖縄の慶良間列島に上陸し、沖縄の地上戦が始まった日にあたる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 26(IHT/Asahi: March 27,2004) (03/27)
 
 
 
Lessons for Bush in Benjamin Franklin's ideas


Benjamin Franklin, who helped draft the American Declaration of Independence, at one time felt queasy about catching fish.

``I considered the taking of every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder,'' he wrote in his autobiography. (A Japanese translation is available as an Iwanami paperback.)

02月22日付
■《天声人語》

 「どんな魚にしろ魚を捕るのは一種のいわれなき殺生だと考えていた」。アメリカの独立宣言を起草した委員のひとり、ベンジャミン・フランクリンの『自伝』の一節である(岩波文庫)。

He had stopped eating animal protein. But he changed his mind after realizing that ``when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs.'' ``Then thought I,'' he went on, ``if you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you.''

In conclusion, Franklin said, ``So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.''

 肉食をやめていた彼は、ある時、大きな魚が腹に小さな魚をのみ込んでいることを思って、宗旨変えする。「お互に食い合っているなら、私たちもお前たちを食っていけない訳はあるまい」。そして、こう続ける。「人間とは、まことに都合のいいものである。したいと思うことなら、何にだって理由を見つけることも、理屈をつけることもできるのだから」。

More than two centuries since then, the times and the world have greatly changed. But I have a strong feeling that Franklin's view of human nature eerily applies to President George W. Bush's actions.

 独立から、2世紀余の時が流れた。時代も世界も大きく変わっている。ところが、このフランクリンの述懐が、なぜか、今の米大統領のしていることと、どこかで重なり合うような気がしてならない。

Unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush shifted to the argument that overthrowing Saddam Hussein's repressive regime was an achievement of great significance in itself.

In a further shift of positions, he cast doubt on the intelligence he had before waging war in Iraq. But the findings of an intelligence review that has been ordered are not expected to be released until next year-that is, until long after the U.S. presidential election in November.

 イラクの大量破壊兵器の存在が怪しくなると、フセインの圧政を打倒した意義があったとの論になる。次は、開戦前の情報に疑いの目を向ける。そして、その検証の結果が出るのは、大統領選後の来年になる見通しなのだという。

In my opinion, the review should cover not just how intelligence was collected and how the intelligence agencies operated but also how the decision to go to war was made on the basis of intelligence available.

``I came, I saw, I conquered.'' Julius Caesar is said to have made this remark in his triumphant battlefield reports to Rome. ``I received intelligence reports, I studied them, and I gave the green light'' may well have been the case with Bush. Was it out of the question for him to decide against going to war after weighing the intelligence reports?

 検証は、情報収集の仕方や情報機関のありようだけではなく、情報をもとにして開戦を決めたところにも、要るのではないか。「来た、見た、勝った」は、ローマのカエサルの戦勝報告とされている。「情報が来た、見た、始めた」のがブッシュさんか。「来た、見た、やめた」という判断は、有り得なかったのだろうか。

Another memorable observation can be found in Franklin's autobiography: ``There never was a good war and a bad peace.''

 「よい戦争もなければ、悪い平和もない」。フランクリンはこんな言葉も残している。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 22(IHT/Asahi: March 26,2004) (03/26)
 
 
 
Mideast conflict may be turning insoluble


``Got him!'' With those words, Jerusalem Newswire, an Israeli online news source, reported the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

The statement quickly brought to mind what the top U.S. official in Iraq had said in announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi president.

03月24日付
■《天声人語》

 「彼をやっつけた」。イスラエル軍によるイスラム過激派ハマスの精神的指導者ヤシン師殺害について、イスラエルのメディアはそう伝えた。米軍がイラクのフセイン元大統領を捕まえたときと同じ言い回しだ。

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw condemned the slaying as ``unlawful and unacceptable.'' But the Israeli Web site countered by pointing out that Britain had tried last year to assassinate Saddam.

If Israel argues that it is just waging a war on terror ``like you,'' the U.S. and British governments would be hard-pressed for a reply.

 英国のストロー外相が殺害を「違法で、受け入れられない」と非難しても、イスラエル側は「英国もフセイン大統領を暗殺しようとしたではないか」と反論する。あなたたちと同じように対テロ戦争をしているだけ、と開き直られると米英政府も返す言葉に困るだろう。

No matter how one looks at it, we can expect an extreme deterioration of the Middle East situation to be the consequence of the Yassin assassination. Even within the Israeli government, two Cabinet ministers reportedly opposed the attack.

I wonder how ordinary Israelis view it.

``The Israeli situation is surreal,'' says Uri Avnery, one of the few peace activists in Israel.

 どう見ても事態を極端に悪化させる暗殺である。イスラエル政府内でも閣僚2人が反対したそうだ。国民はどう思っているのだろうか。「わが国の状況は超現実的だ」とみるのは、数少ない平和活動家の一人ウリ・アブネリさんだ。

On his Web site, he recently wrote: ``According to all opinion polls, a large part of the (Israeli) public is fed up with the war and the bloody cycle of suicide bombings and targeted assassinations. ... They want a solution and are ready to pay the necessary price. How does this translate into political realities? It doesn't (because) there is no serious political force able to offer an alternative leadership.''

Referring to the change of government in Spain after the 3/11 terrorist attacks, Avnery added: ``I hope that this will happen here, too. What has happened to Jose Maria Aznar in Spain must happen to Tony Blair and George W. Bush.''

 「多くの人々は戦争や自爆テロ、暗殺にうんざりし、解決のためには代償を払っていいと思っている。世論調査ではいつもそうだったのに、政府に代わって本気で代案を出そうとする政治勢力がいない」。最近のホームページでそう記す。スペインで起きた政権交代が米英でもイスラエルでも起きるべきだ、とも。

Avnery also has repeatedly come close to being assassinated while he was a magazine publisher. Labeled ``Public Enemy No. 1,'' he was stalked by Israeli secret police. Still, he never changed his view that as a country occupying Arab lands, Israel has an obligation to take the initiative to push for peace with the Palestinians.

 雑誌を発行していたアブネリさん自身、何度も暗殺の危機に遭遇した。「公衆の敵ナンバー1」と名指しされ、イスラエルの秘密警察につけねらわれたという。しかし訴え続ける。「占領者である私たちが主導してパレスチナとの和平を進めるべきだ」

In a comment on the assassination of Sheik Yassin for a British newspaper, he said, ``This is worse than a crime. It is an act of stupidity.'' Expressing grave concern over its consequences, he added that the slaying moves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ``from the level of a solvable national conflict to the level of a religious conflict, which by its very nature is insoluble.''

 ヤシン師殺害については「犯罪より悪い。愚かな限り」と英紙に語り、解決不能な宗教戦争に陥ることを危惧(きぐ)する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 24(IHT/Asahi: March 25,2004) (03/25)
 
 
 
Thank silkworms for health benefit they offer


There are few insects that people respectfully call by an honorific. I am referring to the way Japanese people call silkworms okaiko-sama.

Bestowing the honorific shows the degree of awe people have in the way the worms produce glossy silk thread. Silk has long been admired as a source of riches.

03月23日付
■《天声人語》

 人間が恭しく敬称で呼ぶ昆虫はあまり例がないだろう。お蚕さまである。虫からつややかな絹糸が生まれる不思議さが敬称にも込められる。絹糸はまた富の源でもあり、敬意を払われてきた。

Raw silk used to be a major export item for Japan. However, with the emergence of synthetic fibers, production declined. About 50 years ago, there used to be 800,000 silkworm farmers in Japan. Now, there are fewer than 3,000. In fact, the silkworm industry appears to be hanging by a thread. Recently, though, silkworms have begun to attract renewed attention.

 かつては日本の主要な輸出品でもあった。しかし化学繊維の登場によって、傾いていく。約50年前にはまだ80万戸を数えていた養蚕農家が減少を続け、いまでは3千戸を切った。風前のともしびとも見える。ところが蚕は、新しい舞台で脚光を浴び始めた。

Cocoons that are the source of silk are made from protein that physiologically agrees with the human body. It is also believed to prevent bacteria and mold breeding and helps to prevent damage by ultraviolet rays. As a natural material, it has great potential health benefits. Already, cosmetics products that use silk protein are on the market.

 絹糸の元になるまゆは人体になじみやすいたんぱく質でできている。細菌やカビの増殖を防ぎ、紫外線を通さないなどの性質もあるようだ。素材として利用価値が大きい。そのたんぱく質を使ってすでに化粧品などが実用化されている。

Japan is also active in analyzing genetic information of the silkworm. Last month, Japanese scientists announced they had deciphered 80 percent of the silkworm genome, a world first. I am told the information will lead to the development of medicines and agricultural chemicals. The silkworm is playing the leading role in the vanguard of insect technology.

 蚕の遺伝子解明にも日本は力を注ぐ。先月には、世界に先がけてカイコゲノムを80%解読したとの研究成果が発表された。こちらの方は、医薬品や農薬の開発につながるらしい。昆虫テクノロジーといわれる最先端分野で蚕は主役を演じている。

Silkworms have been used by humans for thousands of years and are no longer found in their natural habitat in Japan. Unlike honeybees, which also have a long history of co-existing with humans, silkworms have lost their ability to feed themselves or escape. They pose no risk to humans. It takes special skill to produce silk, and the silkworm is a gentle insect that makes it an ideal research subject.

 何千年も人間に尽くしてきた蚕はもはや野生に戻ることはできない。同じ長いつきあいの蜜蜂などとは違って、自力で餌を手に入れることはできないし、逃亡能力もない。人間に危害を与える恐れもない。しかもまゆづくりという特殊技能を持つ。研究材料として、最適ともいえるおとなしい昆虫だ。

They hatch, become larvae and repeatedly shed their skin before they produce thread to wrap themselves up. Silkworms not only teach us the mystery of life but also contribute to the advancement of life science.

 卵から幼虫へ、そして何度も脱皮を繰り返し、やがて糸を吐いて自分を包み込む。その一生で生命の神秘を教えてくれる蚕が、生命科学の発展にも献身している。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 23(IHT/Asahi: March 24,2004)(IHT/Asahi: March 24,2004) (03/24)
 
 
 
Taiwan's Chen seeks society free from fear


Okinawa Prefecture's Yonagunijima is the westernmost island of Japan. The promontory at the western tip of the island is called Irisaki, a name that makes one think of the setting sun. I once stood on the point and gazed westward where the sun would set.

03月21日付
■《天声人語》

 日本最西端の地は沖縄県の与那国島だ。島の西の端を西崎(いりざき)という。入り日を思わせるその岬に立ち、さらに西の果てを見ていたことがある。

Small lilies were in bloom, with their petals fluttering in the sea wind that was creeping up the cliff from the Black current washing the island. I gazed at the western horizon with some intensity, but saw nothing. I didn't realize Japan was in such close proximity to Taiwan until I was told that it could be seen on a clear day.

 がけをはい上がってくる黒潮の気が、小さなユリの花弁を震わせる。水平線に目をこらすが物影はない。しかし時にはそこに台湾の姿が浮かぶと聞き、その地の意外な近さを思った。

President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan was shot Friday, the eve of the presidential election. Published photographs show Chen narrowly escaped death after being shot in the abdomen.

I felt anger on hearing the news, seeing the attempt on Chen's life as an extension of earlier violent incidents seemingly intended to cow the whole population. My sense of alarm was relieved by the calm response of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu whose right knee was grazed.

 台湾の総統を選ぶ投票日の前日に総統が銃撃された。下腹部の銃創の写真は、生と死が紙一重だったことを示している。暴力で生命を奪い、世の中を脅そうとするかのような事件が台湾でも起きたことに、改めて憤りを覚えたが、陳水扁(チェンショイピエン)総統や副総統の落ち着いた対応には救いを感じた。

A hit-and-run traffic accident in 1985, viewed as a politically motivated act of terrorism, left Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, paralyzed from the waist down. Chen was distraught about what happened to his wife, thinking that his political activities had made her a target. But Wu reassured her husband from her bed: ``In the case of a couple participating in the democratization campaign in Taiwan, either of the partners needs to sacrifice himself or herself for the other. I will gladly stand in for you.'' (Quoted from Chen's book published by The Mainichi Shimbun with the title of ``Taiwan-no Ko,'' meaning the child of Taiwan.)

 総統の妻呉淑珍さんは、85年に政治テロとみられるひき逃げ事件に遭い下半身不随になった。自分の政治活動のためにこんな目にあったと申し訳なく思っている時、淑珍さんはベッドの上でこう言った。「台湾で民主化運動に参加したなら、夫婦のうちどちらかが犠牲になる必要があり、自分は喜んで身代わりになる」(陳水扁『台湾之子』毎日新聞社)。

Later, Chen was convicted in a libel case and jailed. During an interview with him at the prison, Wu repeatedly fell from her chair, unable to keep it from turning under her weight. Watching his wife's forced smiles, Chen thought to himself: ``The era in which sufferings like this are exacted as the price of being political prisoners must be ended with our generation.

``My goal is to build a society free from fear, brimming with joy and hope, instead,'' Chen also wrote in the book.

 後に、名誉棄損の罪に問われて収監された時、面会に来た淑珍さんは、不自由なため回転いすから何度も落ちた。無理に笑顔をつくるのを見て思う。「この一切の苦痛、政治犯の代価は我々で終わりにしなければならない」。

The people of Taiwan, an island only a little more than 100 kilometers away from Irisaki, have reappointed him as its helmsman. I intend to keep watch on his second term as the leader of Japan's neighbor.

 「私が求めるのは、おびえる必要がなく、喜びと希望に溢れる社会なのだ」。こうも記した陳総統に、西崎から百余キロ先で日本と隣り合う島の針路が再び委ねられる。隣人として、見守ってゆきたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 21(IHT/Asahi: March 23,2004) (03/23)
 
 
 
When man's great invention turns lethal


The wheel is one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind, but when and where-let alone by whom-it was invented is not clear.

As a practical device, the wheel appears to date back at least 5,000 years, as evidenced by ancient Mesopotamian artifacts.

03月14日付
■《天声人語》

 車輪の発明は人類の歴史のなかでも特筆されるべき発明だろう。しかし、発明者はもちろん、時期も場所もはっきりしない。古代メソポタミアの出土品から見て、少なくとも約5千年前には実用化されていたようだ。

Presumably, the impetus for the wheel's invention was to make it easier to transport things. In Mesopotamia, wheeled hearses were used to carry the bodies of dead kings to their graves.

In time, the wheel was fitted to chariots, and improvements made. Spokes, it is believed, were invented as a means to increase speed by reducing the weight of the wheels.

 物を運ぶためのものだったろうが、メソポタミアでは国王の遺体を墓まで運ぶ霊柩車(れいきゅうしゃ)としても使われた。やがて戦車として利用されるようになり、改良が重ねられた。軽量化してスピードを上げるためのスポークもその過程で生まれたといわれる。

The way the wheel works has remained essentially unchanged since ancient times. But our dependence on the wheel has only grown with the passage of time.

Modern civilization is impossible to conceive of without the wheel. Automobiles, bicycles and trains cannot operate without them. The same holds true for aircraft.

Saddled with the task of bearing the edifice of civilization, the wheel does its job with hardly a squeak.

 車輪の原理は古代も現代も変わりはない。しかし、車輪への依存は、時代とともに深まるばかりだ。車輪のない現代文明は考えられない。自動車、自転車、電車も、そして空を飛ぶ飛行機にも欠かせない。文明の重さを背負いながら、黙々と働いている。

The wheel does its job behind the scenes, usually receiving attention only when something extraordinary happens.

In January 2002, a wheel weighing about 140 kilograms flew off a trailer, hitting and killing a 29-year-old homemaker in Yokohama.

Offering an account of how the wheel turned into a lethal weapon, an eyewitness said, ``The tire flew out sideways as if nothing was attaching it to the trailer, and then I saw it rolling straight toward the woman.''

 陰の存在である車輪が注目されるのは、たいてい異変が起きたときだ。横浜市で02年1月、29歳の主婦が外れた車輪の直撃を受け、死亡した。トレーラーの車輪で約140キロの重さがあった。目撃した人は「タイヤが横にすっと飛び出たかと思ったら、まっすぐ主婦に向かって行った」と、凶器に変じる瞬間を語っている。

Although other accidents of this nature had happened before, the manufacturer of the trailer kept insisting improper maintenance was to blame.

Finally, the other day, the automaker reported to authorities its decision to recall the trailers, admitting that the wheel detachments were the result of faults in design and manufacture.

 同じように車輪が外れる事故が相次いでいたのに「整備不良が原因」と自動車メーカーは言い続けた。ようやく先日、部品の設計・製造に欠陥があったことを認め、リコール(無償回収・修理)を届け出ることにした。

It takes little imagination to see how dangerous an unattached wheel becomes, especially when it starts rolling out of control.

I think the automaker that kept denying its parts were at fault was also seriously flawed in its organization.

 外れた車輪の暴走がいかに危険かは容易にわかることだ。欠陥を否定し続けたメーカーの組織にも重大な欠陥があったのではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 14(IHT/Asahi: March 22,2004) (03/22)
 
 
 
Combat won't win fight against terrorism


In a recent edition of Stars and Stripes, a newspaper authorized by the U.S. Department of Defense for troops abroad, a U.S. military commander in Afghanistan was quoted as saying the war on terrorism began in Afghanistan and will end there. ``Iraq was just a chapter in the book,'' he went on.

03月19日付
■《天声人語》

 「テロとの戦いはアフガニスタンで始まった。そしてアフガニスタンで終わるだろう。イラクは、その物語の一章にすぎない」。アフガニスタンで指揮をとる米軍将校の言葉だ。米軍の準機関紙「星条旗新聞」に今月、現地報告として紹介されていた。

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, ``This will be a war like none other our nation has faced.''

He added: ``Our opponent is a global network of terrorist organizations. ... Forget about `exit strategies.' We're looking at a sustained engagement that carries no deadlines.''

 01年9月11日の同時多発テロ直後、ラムズフェルド国防長官は「対テロ戦争はまったく新しい種類の戦争だ」と語った。「敵はテロリスト集団の国際的なネットワークだ。この戦いに締め切り時間はなく、出口を想定した戦略も通用しない」

It looked as if the Afghan war that started in October 2001 with airstrikes by U.S. and British forces would come to an end with the fall of Kabul the following month. However, operations to mop up remnants of the Taliban regime and al-Qaida terrorists continue to date. Even after the establishment of a new Afghan administration, there still is no clearly marked ``exit.''

 その年10月、米英軍の空爆で始まったアフガン戦争は11月のカブール陥落で一段落したかに見えた。しかしその後もタリバーン政権の残党やテロ組織アルカイダの掃討作戦は続く。新政権ができても「出口」に達しない。

Stars and Stripes also carried comments by U.S. soldiers deployed in southern Afghanistan. ``Can we tell Taliban and pro-American forces apart physically? No,'' said one. ``Everyone in the country has a weapon and is not afraid to use it,'' said another.

It is not easy for the American soldiers to develop a rapport with local residents. Furthermore, it is difficult to know whether they are winning or losing, they said.

 「タリバーンと親米派とを見かけで区別することはできない」「この国では、誰もが武器を持っていて、それを使うのを恐れない」。アフガン南部に駐留する米兵たちの声を星条旗新聞は伝える。現地の人たちに溶け込むのも難しい。その上、自分たちが勝利しつつあるのかどうかもわからないという。

The war overthrew the Taliban regime. But it did not mean putting an end to terrorism. Rather, it marked the beginning of a truly difficult ``war.'' This ``post-Afghan war'' tells us that the ``fight'' against terrorism cannot be won through combat.

 戦争でタリバーン政権を倒した。しかし、それでテロを一掃できたわけではない。困難な「戦い」はむしろその後だ。「アフガン戦後」は、テロとの「戦い」が戦闘で解決できるものでないことを教える。

I found the following words of an American soldier, also quoted by Stars and Stripes, particularly striking: ``If we get to the children and prove to them Americans are not the evil devil,'' in 20 years, they will be terror-proof.

 ある米兵の言葉が印象的だ。「子どもたちにアメリカ人は邪悪な悪魔でないことをわかってもらうことだ。20年もすれば彼らがテロの防壁になってくれるだろう」

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 19(IHT/Asahi: March 20,2004) (03/20)
 
 
 
Respect the right to privacy, but with proviso


``Leave me alone'' is a line that often crops up in American movies. There are Japanese equivalents of that sentiment.

03月18日付
■《天声人語》

 アメリカ映画などでよく耳にするせりふに「リーブ・ミー・アローン」がある。直訳すれば「ひとりにしておいて」、少し意訳すると「ほっといて」「そっとしておいて」あるいは「じゃましないで」

U.S. lawyer Ronald B.Standler said in a thesis that the ``right to be left alone'' has a long history in the United States. According to him, it was already being mentioned in 1834 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Crisp and pithy, it has since come into common use whenever people's right to their privacy is at issue.

 「ほっといて」の権利には長い歴史がある、と米国の法律家R・B・スタンドラー氏が、ある論文で指摘している。すでに1834年、連邦最高裁が言及している権利だという。その後、「ほっといて」権は、プライバシーの権利を簡潔に表現する言葉として定着していった。

To be sure, our society is full of things that make people want to scream, ``Leave me alone.'' Gossip and rumor that used to be whispered only in private are now spilled by the media to an indefinite audience. Often enough, something one wants to keep to oneself becomes public knowledge.

 確かに「ほっといて」と言いたくなるようなことがあふれる現代社会だ。かつては井戸端会議でささやかれていたうわさ話や世間話を、いまは多様なメディアが多数の人に向けて流す。そっとしておいてほしいと思うことでも公になってしまうことがしばしばだ。

It was only natural that former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka's daughter balked at having a story printed in a magazine about her private life. As the object of prying, she probably had no choice but to demand that the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine withhold publication of the story in question. For the Tokyo District Court, however, issuing an injunction of this nature is a truly grave matter, and the decision will be anything but easy.

 田中真紀子前外相の長女が自分の私生活を取材され、報じられることに抵抗するのはもっともなことだろう。記事を掲載した週刊文春の出版禁止を求めるのも当事者としては当然かもしれない。しかし、出版禁止という重大な命令を出すかどうかの裁判所の判断は、容易ではないはずだ。

Many copies of the magazine are already in circulation, not to mention the fact that most people could guess the general content of the story from the headline splashed across pre-publication advertisements.

Banning the publication is unlikely to do any good at this point. In fact, one could argue that controversy has already served to publicize the magazine. The ban will only highlight the issue of freedom of the press.

 週刊誌は多くが出回ってしまった。発売前の広告を見ても、記事の概要はわかってしまう。禁止の効果は薄いだけでなく、論議を呼んだことで宣伝の役割を果たしたとさえいえるだろう。出版禁止の重さばかりが浮き上がる。

I know I should humbly heed her plea to be left alone. But the court injunction was not something I could accept without question.

 「ほっといて」という切実な声には謙虚に耳を傾けなければならない。しかし、それがすべて、と甘受もしきれない命令だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 18(IHT/Asahi: March 19,2004) (03/19)
 
 
 
Terrorist attacks tip the scales in Spain


Anger over last week's terrorist attacks in Madrid evidently brought out massive crowds of protesters into the rain-drenched streets. Watching the scenes on television, I wondered where the fury over the train bombings that left 200 people dead would find vent next.

An estimated 11 million Spaniards reportedly participated in demonstrations and rallies across the country last Friday. The sheer number offers a measure of the intensity of their anger.

03月17日付
■《天声人語》

 雨のマドリードの街を、テロに抗議する人々が埋め尽くす光景をテレビで見ながら思った。200人の犠牲者を出した列車同時爆破テロへの怒りは果たしてどこへ向かうのか。12日のデモや集会には全国で1100万人が参加したというから、並大抵ではない。

In Sunday's general elections, abusive words like ``Murderer'' and ``Liar'' were reportedly hurled against senior officials of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's party as they headed for the polls.

It appears the government and Aznar's Popular Party, which sought to pin the blame on the Basque separatist group ETA (a Spanish acronym standing for Basque Homeland and Freedom) in the absence of sufficient evidence, became the targets for the outpouring of collective rage over the train bombings.

 14日の総選挙で、投票所に向かう与党幹部らに「人殺し」「うそつき」といった罵声(ばせい)が飛んだという。事件直後、十分な根拠もなくテロを武装集団「バスク祖国と自由」(ETA)のせいにしようとした政府・与党へと怒りは転じていったようだ。

The general elections resulted in a dramatic change of government. In an upset victory, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, which had criticized the Iraq war as ``unjust and illegal,'' won the largest number of seats in the Congress of Deputies, surpassing the Popular Party. The latter had aligned Spain with the United States and Britain over Iraq and sent troops there.

The Socialists are led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a 43-year-old lawyer.

 劇的な政権交代だった。イラク戦争を「正義に反した違法な戦争」として批判した社会労働党が、米英を支持してイラクに軍隊を派遣した与党に代わって第一党になった。予想をくつがえす結果だった。社会労働党を率いるのは43歳の法律家サパテロ氏である。

Zapatero's grandfather, who fought on the side of republican forces in the Spanish Civil War, is said to have been executed by the forces of Gen. Francisco Franco. Reputedly, this was what made the grandson a leftist idealist. The civil war in the 1930s and Franco's long dictatorial rule that followed are still a raw chapter of history for Spaniards who experienced unspeakable hardships in those days.

 祖父がスペイン内戦で共和国側で戦い、フランコ勢力によって処刑されたと伝えられている。彼の左翼理想主義を形作る原点だという。30年代の内戦からフランコ独裁へと辛酸をなめてきた人々には、まだ記憶に生々しい歴史だ。

The Spanish Civil War provided the setting for Ernest Hemingway's novel ``For Whom the Bell Tolls?'' The novelist fought on the side of the republican forces, too. Mourning the Americans who fell in the civil war, he said, ``For our dead are a part of the earth of Spain now and the earth of Spain can never die.'' He wished that the wishes of the dead Americans would be carried on into the future.

 スペイン内戦を舞台にした小説『誰がために鐘は鳴る』を書いたヘミングウェーも共和国側で戦った。彼は「死者たちはスペインの土になった。そしてスペインの土が死ぬことはない」といって戦死者たちを悼み、遺志が引き継がれることを願った。

Zapatero may be one of those aspiring to carry on what they wanted to accomplish. During the election campaign, he appealed to voters by saying, ``My first principle is: `Thou shalt not kill.''' Naturally, he takes a highly critical view of the Iraq war.

 サパテロ氏も遺志を継ぐひとりかもしれない。選挙期間中、「私の原則の第一は『汝(なんじ)、殺すなかれ』だ」と訴えた。イラク戦争に向ける目は厳しい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 17(IHT/Asahi: March 18,2004) (03/18)
 
 
 
Praying a new path will open up for Q-chan


Until Monday, it was fun just to imagine marathoner Naoko ``Q-chan'' Takahashi running through Marathon, the birthplace of the sporting event.

In the end, though, she was not selected for the Japanese marathon squad for the Athens Olympics. This got me thinking: Had she been chosen, which of her rivals could the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) have dropped?

03月16日付
■《天声人語》

 マラソン発祥の地を駆けるQちゃんの姿を思い浮かべるのは楽しいことだった。しかし、もし高橋尚子選手が代表に選ばれていたとしたら、誰が外れたのかと考えてみる。

Reiko Tosa? Unlikely. She won her dramatic come-back-from-behind victory in the Nagoya International Marathon last Sunday, marking the fastest time in the four qualifiers.

Naoko Sakamoto? Also unlikely. After placing third among all Japanese runners in the World Championships in Paris last August, Sakamoto won the Osaka International Marathon less than six months later.

JAAF could not have come up with any persuasive reason for denying either of them an Olympic berth.

 名古屋で逆転優勝を果たし、四つの選考レースを通じての最高タイムを記録した土佐礼子選手が外せるだろうか。世界選手権で日本人3位になったあと、半年たらずの大阪で見事に優勝した坂本直子選手を外せるのか。そのいずれの場合でも、ふたりを落とす説得力のある理由は、見つからなかった。

The prerequisite for candidacy surely has to be an athlete who can win a gold medal. Realistically, though, this medal business is nothing more than wishful thinking. No athlete is ever guaranteed a gold medal ahead of a race.

In this sense, I believe the JAAF decision was appropriate and in keeping with its stated rules.

 「五輪で勝てる人を」というのは、あくまで希望、願望の世界の話であり、「勝てる」と請け合える人はいないだろう。昨日の代表選考は、公表されているルール、基準のもとでは順当と言えるのではないだろうか。

At the same time, however, I could not but feel deeply for Takahashi's disappointment at being denied a berth in Athens. It is reported that her participation in the 5,000-meter race in the 1997 World Championships at Athens led her to concentrate on marathon running.

``It would be ideal if I could complete my career or have my final run in the birthplace of marathon in the Athens Olympics, Athens being the place where I decided to become a marathoner,'' she said last autumn.

 しかし同時に、アテネへの道を断たれた高橋選手の無念さも、どれほどかと思った。そもそも、マラソンを始めるきっかけになったのが、5000メートルに出場した97年の世界選手権のアテネ大会だったという。「マラソン発祥の地で、自分がマラソンを始めたいなと思ったアテネで、最後の締めというか、区切りの最後に持っていけたら」と、昨秋語っていた。

But she will not be on the starting line in Marathon on Aug, 22. Many people, however, will surely be recalling her moment of victory in Sydney when she became Japan's first female track and field athlete to bring home a gold medal. They will be recalling her running style that was delightfully rhythmic and yet serious, and her ever-friendly smile.

 8月の22日、五輪のマラソンの出走地点・マラトンには、その姿は無い。しかし多くの人が思い起こすに違いない。日本の女子陸上選手で初めて五輪の頂点に立ったシドニーの瞬間を、軽やかで厳しいあの走りを、ひとなつっこい笑みを。

As I applaud Q-chan once again for all her peerless and spectacular performances, I pray a new path will open up for her.

 これまでの比類のない活躍に改めて拍手を送りながら、Qちゃんの前に、新しい道が開けることを祈りたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 16(IHT/Asahi: March 17,2004) (03/17)


◎ここから


Seoul's `impeachment game' goes to court


A demonstration at Seoul's Yonsei University in July 1987 resulted in fatality when a participant named Lee Han Yeol was hit by a tear-gas shell. A poem by the deceased read in part: ``For democracy/ For independence/ And for the liberation of the people of this country.'' (Quoted from an Iwanami Shinsho written by Chi Myung Gwan on South Korea's road to democracy.)

The poem was symbolic of the times. One million citizens turned out to attend the ``national democratic funeral'' for the deceased.

03月13日付
■《天声人語》

 「民主のために、自主のために/この地の人間解放のために」。87年7月、ソウル・延世大学のデモで催涙弾の直撃を受けて死んだ李韓烈さんが残した詩の一節だ(『韓国 民主化への道』池明観・岩波新書)。彼の「民主国民葬」には100万人の市民が参集したという。

A groundswell of popular demands for democracy was sweeping through the country, eventually forcing the government of President Chun Doo Hwan to propose constitutional amendment. The revised Constitution, stipulating such changes as naming the president by direct election, was promulgated in October 1987. It is still in force.

 当時の全斗煥政権は、民主化を求める国民のうねりに押され、憲法改正に踏み出さざるをえなくなった。大統領の直接選挙などを含む改正憲法は、87年10月に公布された。現行憲法である。

South Korea's Constitution had previously been repeatedly amended. Most amendments were pushed through by dictatorial governments to extend their life. The amendments made in 1960 and 1987 were exceptional cases. Both reflected mounting popular demands for democracy, with President Syngman Rhee toppled in 1960. In both cases, success came at the price of bloodshed.

 それまで韓国の憲法はたびたび「改正」を重ねてきた。多くは、独裁政権が延命を図るためだった。際だった例外は、李承晩政権を倒した60年の民主化運動による改憲と87年の改憲だ。いずれも流血の犠牲の上に築かれた。

The South Korean National Assembly voted Friday to impeach President Roh Moo Hyun. In crises involving a president, arguments usually focus on how to apply the brakes on presidential powers. Instead, the parliament suspended Roh from office, forcing him into ``temporary retirement.''

Praising the impeachment vote, the opposition parties said they were motivated by a desire to rescue the country. They said it signified a victory for the country's parliamentary democracy. To be sure, the parliament, representing the people's wishes, seems to have dealt Roh a smart blow.

 昨日、韓国の国会が盧武鉉大統領の弾劾訴追案を可決した。大統領の権限にどう歯止めをかけるかがしばしば議論になる中、歯止めどころか権限の全面停止である。大統領を「休職」に追い込んだ野党は「救国の決断」「議会民主主義の勝利」と自賛した。確かに国民を代表する議会が痛撃を与えた図だ。

But South Korean newspapers do not take it at face value. With a general election set for April 15, newspaper editors see pre-election inter-party political strife behind the impeachment drama.

Commenting on the events that led to the impeachment vote, the Chosun Ilbo said the president and the opposition parties were engaged in an ``impeachment game,'' holding the general election hostage. The Dong-A Ilbo expressed concern by asking, ``Whom is this fight supposed to benefit?''

 しかし、新聞は総選挙前の政党間の政争が背景にあると見る。この間の動きを「総選挙を“人質”にした大統領と野党の“弾劾ゲーム”」(朝鮮日報)「誰のための真剣勝負なのか」(東亜日報)と危惧(きぐ)する。

The Constitutional Court is now charged with the task of handling the dispute between the president and the national assembly. The court proceedings will probably lay bare the balance of power among the three branches of government more clearly than ever before.

An important by-product is expected: What South Korea's democracy and independence stand for in practical terms under the Constitution ``won'' by the people may become clear.

 大統領と国会との対立を憲法裁判所が裁くことになる。三権分立のあり方が、これほど鮮明に問われるのもまれだろう。国民が勝ち取った憲法の下、「民主と自主」の中身も問われる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 13(IHT/Asahi: March 16,2004) (03/16)
 
 
 
Wishing age when people, animals live in peace


Copses typical of the western Tokyo region of Musashino are still intact in Inokashira Park. One of the attractions of this particular area is Inokashira Park Zoo, where Hanako the elephant arrived 50 years ago this month from Ueno Zoological Gardens in eastern Tokyo.

03月12日付
■《天声人語》

 武蔵野の雑木林の名残をとどめる東京・井の頭公園の中に、都の「自然文化園」はある。象の「はな子」が、上野動物園からここに移ってきて、今月で50年になった。

Born in Thailand, Hanako came to Tokyo in September 1949. The first elephant to be brought to post-World War II Japan, she was 2 years old at the time. She was put in a cage that was designed for an older and bigger elephant named Indira, who was due to arrive any time from India.

Because Hanako was small enough to squeeze through an opening in the cage, she escaped on her first night and ended up at the door of the night watchman's shed.

 生まれはタイだ。戦後初めての象として東京にやって来たのは、1949年、昭和24年の9月だった。その夜、2歳の子象は、間もなくインドから来る大きなインディラに合わせて作られた象舎のさくの間をすり抜けて、宿直室の雨戸をたたいたという。

Relocated to Inokashira Park Zoo, she became a star. Although she caused tragic accidents in 1956 and 1960, she has survived half a century in a foreign land.

 自然文化園に移され人気者になった。しかし、56年と60年には人身事故があった。そうした悲惨な出来事も経ながら、半世紀余り、異国で生きてきたのである。

Her name recalls a wartime tragedy. According to ``Ueno Dobutsuen Hyakunen-shi'' (100-year history of Ueno zoo), the government in 1943 ordered the facility to destroy all ``ferocious animals'' in anticipation of air raids. The zoo had three elephants at the time, one of whom was also named Hanako and a gift from Thailand.

The elephants were given poisoned food, which they would not touch. But before they eventually starved themselves to death, they begged for food whenever they saw their keeper. They would fall on their forelegs and raise their trunks-tricks they had been taught-as if hoping they would be rewarded with food.

 はな子という名前には、戦争がかぶさっている。『上野動物園百年史』によると、43年に、空襲を想定した猛獣の処分命令が出た。象は3頭で、タイから贈られたメスの象が花子だった。毒入りの餌を口にしようとしない花子たちは、絶食死させられた。腹をすかせた象が、職員を見ると前脚を折り、鼻をあげるしぐさをする。芸をすれば餌がもらえると思っているように見えたという。

A ceremony was held recently at Inokashira Park Zoo to commemorate the current Hanako's ``golden jubilee.'' Many congratulatory messages from zoo visitors were on display.

One message said, ``Happy 100th birthday.'' This is a bit too early, I chuckled, since Hanako could not be older than about 57. But as I watched her reach out for presents of bread and bananas with her trunk, I changed my mind.

 先日、来園50年記念の会があった。入園者からの多くのお祝いのメモが張り出してある。「100才 おめでとう」。はな子は57歳ぐらいだから、やや気が早い。そう思ったが、贈られたパンやバナナに鼻を伸ばす姿を見ていて、気持ちが変わった。

When an animal such as Hanako is allowed to live long in peace, people, too, should be able to live long, peaceful lives. This may well have been the thinking of the person who wished her to survive to 100.

 はな子のような動物たちが長く穏やかに生きられる時は、人もまた、長く穏やかでいられるのではないか。「100才」には、そんな願いが込められているように見えてきた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 12(IHT/Asahi: March 13,2004) (03/13)
 
 
 
Letter from prison shows there is no escape


The ``Letters to the Editor'' section of a newspaper offers glimpses of what goes on in the world. A letter in the International Herald Tribune on March 4 left me with complex feelings.

Titled ``A letter from prison'' and only 10 lines long, it pointed out an error in a story run earlier by the same paper.

03月07日付
■《天声人語》

 ときどきの世を映すのが新聞の投書欄だが、4日の米紙に掲載された投書には、複雑な感慨を禁じえなかった。「刑務所からの手紙」と題して、米紙の記事の誤りを指摘する10行の短文だ。

Here is the entire text of the letter: ``The report `Stabilizing now, Algeria reaches out abroad,' (Feb. 18) mistakenly states that the 11 OPEC ministers were `kidnapped from a luxury hotel in Vienna' in 1975.

``In fact, we captured the ministers in conference at the extraterritorial OPEC headquarters and not at the Hilton Hotel, where they were expected for a cocktail party.''

 「記事には、豪華ホテルから誘拐とありますが、私たちが閣僚を誘拐したのは、OPEC本部からです。その夜、カクテルパーティーが予定されていたホテルからではありません」

In the attack in question, six armed men and women stormed into the OPEC headquarters, killed police and security personnel, and took Saudi Arabia's oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani and others hostage. The hostages were taken to Algeria, where they were eventually released.

The letter was signed by ``Carlos'' (Ilich Ramirez Sanchez), the notorious international terrorist who is presumed to have masterminded and led the assault in Vienna.

 ウィーンで75年に起きた石油輸出国機構(OPEC)襲撃事件についてだった。産油国閣僚が会議をしているところへ男女6人組が乱入、警官や護衛を射殺してサウジアラビアのヤマニ石油相らを人質にした。犯人は人質とともにアルジェリアへ行き、人質を解放した。投書の主は、事件の主犯とされる国際的テロリスト、カルロスだった。

A legend in his own lifetime, Carlos-also known as Carlos the Jackal-reportedly claimed responsibility for a spate of international terrorist acts in the 1970s and '80s. As a self-proclaimed revolutionary, he advocated Palestinian liberation. Rumors abounded throughout the years he evaded capture-that he was lying low in Syria or he was being harbored by the former Hungarian regime. He was presumed dead at one time, but he was finally captured in Sudan in 1994 and extradited to France, where he is now behind bars.

 70年代から80年代にかけて、数々の国際テロを実行したとされる「伝説のテロリスト」だ。革命家を名乗り、パレスチナ解放を唱えた。シリアでの潜伏説、ハンガリーの旧政権がかくまっていたなど諸説流れる中、巧みに逃亡を続けた。死亡説が流れたこともあったが、94年にスーダンがフランスに引き渡した。いまはフランスで獄中生活を送る。

His capture was not unrelated to changes taking place globally at the time. Specifically, the end of the Cold War and the progress of Mideast peace talks diminished his place in the world. By then, there were fewer nations and individuals willing to provide refuge to the terrorist who needed confrontation and conflict for his own survival.

When will terrorists realize there is really no escape? They may find their answer when they look at what has befallen the world's ``most wanted outlaw.''

 彼が捕まった背景には、世界の変化があった。冷戦の終わりと、当時進んでいた中東和平への動きだ。彼の居場所はどんどん狭くなった。対立と紛争とを糧として生き延びたテロリストをかくまう国も人も減っていった。 テロリストたちは、いつ逃げ場を失うのか。「地上最大のお尋ね者」とも称された彼の末路が一つの答えだろう。

_The Asahi Shimbun, March 7

(IHT/Asahi: March 12,2004) (03/12)
 
 
 
Quixotic presidential bid by scion of samurai?


Irina Hakamada, a candidate in next Sunday's Russian presidential election, likes to wear black. She calls herself ``a scion of samurai,'' and the media has labeled her the ``Samurai Lady.''

The Japanese-Russian, a reformist in Russian politics, has been running an isolated campaign amid general expectations that President Vladimir Putin will win re-election by a landslide.

03月10日付
■《天声人語》

 黒ずくめの衣装を着るのが好きな彼女は「サムライの子孫」を自称し、メディアも「サムライ・レディー」と紹介する。14日のロシア大統領選に立候補しているイリーナ・ハカマダさんだ。プーチン大統領圧勝の予想の中、孤軍奮闘する改革派の日系ロシア人である。

Russia seems to be enveloped in an atmosphere where citizens dare not speak ill of Putin openly. But Hakamada stands out. She is a vocal critic of the government, charging that Russia has become a society that keeps itself together by falsehood and terror. She says Putin's mood determines everything the government does or fails to do.

 いまのロシアで公然とプーチン批判をするのは、はばかられる雰囲気があるようだ。しかし彼女は「うそと恐怖で成り立っている社会だ」「すべてがプーチン大統領の気分しだいで動く」と厳しく政権批判をする。

Cynics say Hakamada is running against Putin just to give the appearance of democracy to the presidential vote. Rejecting that view, she contends her mission is to liberate ``the soul of Russia'' from the oppression of the present authoritarian rule.

In her campaign speeches, she says, ``Don't keep silent. Let us raise our voices.'' Failing to do so, she warns, could bring a return to the Soviet era.

 選挙に民主主義の装いを与えるためだけの対立候補だ、といった陰口もささやかれている。もちろん彼女は否定する。いまの権威主義的体制が抑え込んでいる「ロシアの魂」を解放するのが使命といい「沈黙していてはいけない。声をあげよう」と呼びかける。そうしないとソ連に後戻りしてしまう、と危機感に訴える。

Her father was Mutsuo Hakamada, a deceased former member of the Japanese Communist Party, who sought asylum in the Soviet Union in the days when being a member of the party was enough to earn the death penalty in Japan. She is the result of a marriage between him and a Russian woman.

An economist by origin, Hakamada became a very successful entrepreneur, and this prepared her to enter politics. She seems to venerate former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, known universally as the ``Iron Lady,'' as her role model.

 ソ連に亡命した元日本共産党員の故袴田陸奥男氏とロシア女性との間に生まれた。経済学者から企業家に転身して成功、そして政治の舞台に上った。尊敬する人物は「鉄の女」といわれたサッチャー元英首相らしい。

Head winds seem to be blowing against reformists in Russia now. Many voters feel that reformists are to blame for the widening gap between rich and poor and deteriorating law and order. They feel Putin is the one person trying to fix these problems. They are throwing their support behind the incumbent government, feeling that now is the time to maintain strong, if somewhat repressive, leadership.

 ロシアではいま、改革派に逆風が吹いているようだ。貧富の差の拡大や治安の悪化は、改革派がもたらしたもので、それを立て直そうとしているのがプーチン大統領だ。そんな見方をする人も少なくない。多少は抑圧的でも、強い指導者が必要なときだ、として現政権支持へ傾いている。

The focus now is on how many voters see things differently and whether they will cast ballots for the challenger of Japanese origin, who has been urging the electorate ``not to quench the torch of the reformist camp.''

 「改革派の火を消すな」と唱えるサムライ・レディーに、はたしてどれだけ支持が集まるか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 10(IHT/Asahi: March 11,2004) (03/11)
 
 
 
Advice to stroke patients: Don't push yourself


Seeing a staircase ahead at a subway station, Kikuko Yamada froze. She had no idea if she was going up or down. Looking at the face of a clock, she could not tell the right side from the left and mistook 4 o'clock for 8 o'clock. And she had trouble distinguishing between the toe and heel of a shoe.

03月09日付
■《天声人語》

 たとえば地下鉄の階段の前で立ちすくむ。上りなのか、下りなのかがわからない。時計の針を見ても左右の違いがわからず4時と8時とを取り違えてしまう。靴の前と後ろとの区別がつかない。

Yamada, a medical doctor, has suffered cerebral apoplexy a number of times. Drawing upon her own experiences in ``Kowareta No-Seizon Suru Chi'' (Damaged brain, intact intelligence) published by Kodansha, she observes various after-effects of this illness with clinical accuracy. The book reveals ``a world known only to people with damaged brains,'' she notes. ``I also wanted to turn my affliction into a fascinating object of scientific curiosity.''

 脳卒中をたびたび経験した医師の山田規畝子(きくこ)さんが自らの体験をつづった『壊れた脳 生存する知』(講談社)は、後遺症の症状を実に冷静に観察している。「脳が壊れた者にしかわからない世界」の記録である。「病気になったことを『科学する楽しさ』にすりかえた」ともいう。

Cerebral apoplexy is caused by the clogging or rupture of blood vessels in the brain. By no means a rare affliction, there were as many as 1.37 million stroke patients as of October, 2002. The number, in fact, makes it the fourth most common affliction in Japan, after hypertension with 6.99 million sufferers, tooth-related diseases (4.87 million) and diabetes (2.28 million).

 脳の血管がつまったり破れたりする脳卒中の患者は多い。一昨年10月時点で137万人にのぼる。高血圧の699万人、歯の病気487万人、糖尿病の228万人に次いで4番目だ。

What renders apoplexy a tough illness to treat is that one episode can trigger all sorts of after-effects. And because the brain is an extremely complex organ, the after-effects vary greatly from individual to individual, and doctors are hardly in a position to come up with an accurate prognosis for each patient.

In Yamada's case, it was her visual nerves that were affected. This caused her to repeat elementary mistakes, for which she was often humiliated-all the more so because she was a doctor herself.

 この病気が厄介なのは、いろいろな後遺症が現れることだ。極めて複雑な器官の脳だけに、現れ方も千差万別らしい。医師にも個々の把握は容易ではない。視覚に狂いが出た山田さんも、何でもないような失敗を重ねて「医者のくせに」と、冷たい目で見られたこともあった。

Rehabilitation is really important. Yamada worked out her own regimen by trial and error. When she had to go up or down a staircase, for instance, she told herself, ``I panic because my vision is shot. But I don't have to panic if I stop looking at the steps and just trust my legs.''

She was right. Her legs remembered how to climb and descend a staircase.

She has also stopped pushing herself altogether. Being a mother, her days are busy, and people try to be supportive with encouraging words such as, ``Cheer up, just do what you can.'' But she would reply, ``I don't need to cheer up. I don't have to do anything.''

 リハビリが大事である。山田さんは生活の中で試行錯誤を続けた。階段の上り下りにしても「目で見て混乱するなら見なければいい」と足に任せた。足は覚えていた、と。とにかく無理は禁物だという。育児をしながらの毎日、しばしば「元気出して。がんばって」と励まされる。しかし「元気出さない。がんばらない」と答えるようにしている。

Baseball legend Shigeo Nagashima is in hospital for a stroke. He is reportedly starting his rehab program. All he needs to do is get well without pushing himself.

 脳梗塞(こうそく)で先日入院した長嶋茂雄さんも、リハビリを始めるらしい。無理をしないで快復をめざしてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 9(IHT/Asahi: March 10,2004) (03/10)
 
 
 
Martian find may point to extraterrestrial life


Extraterrestrial life has long existed in the world of fantasy while remaining scientifically unproven.

03月06日付
■《天声人語》

 その存在は、科学的には証明されていない。しかし、想像の世界では、ずっと以前から存在していた。地球外生命体である。

Thus, it is heartening to learn that the Martian rover Opportunity has found evidence the planet once had water-apparently large quantities of it. The news gives me a premature sense that extraterrestrial life has moved a step closer to Earth.

I am impressed afresh by the soaring imagination of people who told stories about canals and floods on Mars, and I want to indulge my own fantasy in the world they created.

 その生命体が、地球に一歩近づいてきたような、やや早まった気分に誘われたのが、火星での水の確認だ。しかも、水は大量にあったはずだという。火星での運河や洪水を物語っていた人たちの、たくましい想像力を思い起こしながら、その翼に乗ってみたくなった。

Hideo Oguma, a poet who died in 1940, left behind ``Kasei Tanken'' (Martian exploration), as a script for a comic book. Tentaro, a child from Earth, is shown around the capital of Mars, Miltis Major (a name phonetically transcribed from the Japanese original). ``Look at the splendid Martian canals.'' ``For what purpose do you use them?'' ``We have several big floods every year. We use the canals to water the cropland at such a time.'' (Quoted from the complete works of Oguma Hideo, published by Sojusha Co.)

 1940年に没した詩人、小熊秀雄は、漫画の台本「火星探険」を残した。地球の子ども、テン太郎が、火星の首都ミルチス・マヂョル市で、町を案内される。「ごらんなさい この素晴らしい火星の運河を」「この運河はなんに使ふんですか」「火星では一年に数回大洪水があるのです、その時に畑に水をやるんですよ」(『小熊秀雄全集』創樹社)

Somehow, the Martians of the capital live only on tomatoes. The Martian astronomical observatory has a telescope 1,000 times as powerful as the terrestrial one. Taking a look through it, Tentaro sees Dr. Hoshino, his father and an astronomer, busily doing calculations. Moved by the sight, he calls out to Earth.

 ここの火星人は、なぜかトマトしか食べない。火星天文台には、地球のより千倍も大きな望遠鏡がある。のぞいてみると、父親である天文学者、星野博士がしきりに計算しているところまでくっきりと見えて、思わずテン太郎は、大声で地球に呼びかける。

Masaoka Shiki, a major literary figure of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), composed a poem about a star winking at him: ``Among the countless stars in the night sky/ I saw one twinkling at me.'' Taking the form of light, Tentaro's voice may have reached Earth.

 正岡子規には、星にまたたきかけられた、という歌があった。〈真砂なす数なき星の其中に吾に向ひて光る星あり〉。テン太郎の声が、光となって届いたのかも知れない。

The Martian rover Opportunity's probe has yielded signs that extraterrestrial life could exist. I wonder if the time will come when that translates into reality. The red planet, which is the natural station linking Earth and the cosmos, is becoming more interesting to both scientists and the fanciful.

火星探査車オポチュニティーがつかんだのは、宇宙生命存在の気配だ。その気配が、いつかは実感になるのだろうか。地球と宇宙とを結ぶ天然のステーションである赤い星は、科学と夢想のあわいにも浮かんでいる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 6(IHT/Asahi: March 9,2004) (03/09)
 
 
 
Cities in Japan have deprived us of darkness


With so many colors assailing our eyes today, sometimes the most stunning pictures happen to be in black and white. They mesmerize with their rich spectrum of shadows and shades, and power to speak directly to the heart.

03月02日付
■《天声人語》

 色彩があふれる現代、白黒写真の力にはっとさせられるときがある。陰影の豊かさに、あるいはまっすぐに訴えかける力強さに引き込まれる。

Black-and-white pictures often lead you down memory lane, overpowering you with nostalgia. This was certainly how I felt when I went to a photo exhibition recently.

Titled ``Kindai Shashin-no Umi-no Oya'' (The fathers of contemporary photography) and featuring works by Ihei Kimura and Ken Domon, the exhibition was held at Tokyo's Yurakucho Asahi Gallery.

 白黒による表現は、過去や記憶にかかわることも多い。懐かしさに誘い込まれることも、しばしばだ。「近代写真の生みの親」と題した「木村伊兵衛と土門拳」展(東京・有楽町朝日ギャラリーで3日まで)を見て、改めてその思いを強くした。

I was particularly impressed by pictures of children against now-forgotten backgrounds. A work by Domon, titled ``A child twirling an umbrella,'' depicted a small child playing with a traditional bamboo-and-paper umbrella-an image that made me smile and filled me with nostalgia.

Kimura's ``Koto Ward, Tokyo'' captured the atmosphere of a classic working-class neighborhood, where children hung out at the local friendly dagashiya that sold cheap sweets and toys.

The two photographers could not be more dissimilar in style, but their eyes obviously saw the same things when children were their subjects.

 子どもの風景が印象的だ。たとえば土門の「傘を回す子供」。唐傘ならではの「遊び」の光景は微笑と郷愁を誘う。木村の「東京・江東」も下町の駄菓子屋の雰囲気をあざやかに切り取っている。対照的といわれる二人の作風だが、子どもへのまなざしは通い合う。

``Shin Kenchiku-no Mokushiroku'' (New architectural revelations), a book published by Heibonsha, contains edited works by photographer Ryuji Miyamoto, who has consistently depicted urban ruins and was awarded the Kimura Ihei Photography Prize in 1988.

``Shooting photos is about working in darkness to wed light and a photosensitizer,'' says Miyamoto, who continues to work in his darkroom to develop black-and-white pictures even in this age of highly digitalized photography. ``Light cannot exist without darkness,'' he says in stressing the importance of darkness.

 都市の廃墟(はいきょ)を撮り続けた写真家、宮本隆司さんの『新・建築の黙示録』(平凡社)は、88年の木村伊兵衛写真賞の受賞作を再編集した本だ。「撮影とは闇の中で光と感光材を出会わせることである」という宮本さんは、デジタル写真全盛のいまも白黒写真の暗室作業を続ける。「光は闇があるからその存在がある」と闇の意義を説く。

Cultural anthropologist Tamotsu Aoki once echoed the same thought from the standpoint of cultural anthropology. Light symbolizes life and goodness, he pointed out, and light has always figured prominently in various festivals. But, he noted, it is darkness-the symbol of death and evil-that gives light its brilliance.

He went on to lament that cities in Japan have driven shadows away and deprived us of darkness. ``We need more darkness,'' he insisted.

 以前、青木保さんも文化人類学の立場から闇の重要さを呼びかけたことがある。光は生命や善の象徴であり、祭りでも主役として光彩を放ってきた。その光の輝きを際だたせるのが、死や悪の象徴である闇だった。しかし日本の都市は陰影をなくし、闇を奪ってきた。「もっと闇を」という趣旨だった。

In the seemingly monotonous flitting back and forth between light and darkness and black and white, we sometimes see something of infinite beauty.

 光と闇、白と黒との間を行き来する。一見単調な運動の中に、無限の味わいが生まれることもある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 2(IHT/Asahi: March 8,2004) (03/08)

shade 1[uncount] a slightly dark area where the light from the sun does not reach because it is blocked by something:
shadow 1[count or uncount often plural] an area of darkness that is created when something blocks light: Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2002


Treatment of animals reflects human society


Commenting on the escalating avian flu scare in Kyoto Prefecture, the prefectural governor blurted out, ``We may be in for the worst consequence.'' I imagine he was only speaking his mind, but I don't think ``worst consequence'' was an appropriate comment under the circumstances. With the bird flu problem still unfolding, surely the governor should be doing everything in his power to prevent the situation from spinning out of control.

03月05日付
■《天声人語》

 京都の府知事が「最悪の結果を迎えているのかもしれない」と述べた。府内での鳥インフルエンザ拡大についての発言だ。率直な気持ちなのだろうと思う。ただ、「最悪の結果」という言い方は、少し気になった。事態はまだ動いている。今よりも悪い結果に陥らないように、手だてを尽くしてもらいたい。

For several years, familiar animals-cattle, carp and chickens-have been contracting grave diseases or dying in great numbers. The unexpectedly high toll is also a reminder of the sheer number of animals we consume each day for food.

 それにしても、ここ数年、牛、コイ、鶏と、身近な動物たちが重い病気になったり、大量に死んだりしている。この、想像もできなかったほど多くの命の喪失は、日々どれだけの数の動物たちが人間の糧となっているかをも示している。

At a library, I went to the shelves labeled ``Domestic Animals.'' The titles of several hundred books there bore testimony to the closeness of human-animal relations.

Here are some of the titles I came across: ``Tabemono to shiteno Dobutsu tachi'' (Animals as food); ``Ushi to Nihonjin'' (Cattle and Japanese); ``Nihon Meigyu Hyakusen'' (100 best cattle breeds in Japan); ``Niwatori no Fukken'' (Reinstatement of chickens); ``Niwatori to Hito'' (Chickens and humans); ``Hokkaido Yokei Hyakunen-shi'' (100-year history of chicken farming in Hokkaido); ``Buta: Kono Yuyo na Dobutsu'' (Pig, the useful animal); and ``Ton-ko'' (Discourse on hogs).

I felt like joining my hands in prayer to thank those creatures for their services to the human race.

 図書館で「家畜」の棚を見た。並んだ数百冊の本の背中には、人との深いかかわりが浮かんでいる。「食べ物としての動物たち」「牛と日本人」「日本名牛百選」「鶏の復権」「鶏と人」「北海道養鶏百年史」「豚・この有用な動物」「トン考」。人への貢献に、改めて手を合わせたい気持ちにさせられた。

Chikara Sakaguchi, minister of health, labor and welfare, was quoted as telling a recent news conference, ``Ushi yara tori yara, mo kekko'' (I've had enough of cow and chicken problems).

``Mo kekko'' means ``I've had enough.'' But ``mo'' and ``kekko'' are also cow and chiken noises, respectively, in Japanese.

I could not quite tell whether this terse remark revealed Sakaguchi's honest irritation, or was his attempt at a joke. But if someone is really fed up with everything, I should think it's the cows and chickens, not the health minister.

 先日、坂口厚労相は記者会見で「牛やら鶏やら、モウ、ケッコウ」と言ったそうだ。正直な気分からふと出た一言かもしれないし、あくまで冗談のつもりだったのかもしれない。ただ、このセリフを言いたいのは、むしろ牛や鶏の方ではないだろうか。

Until recently, cattle were fed cattle meat and bone meal. Amid the avian flu outbreak in Japan and abroad, one poultry farmer kept the mass deaths of his livestock secret, and did not even bother to consult a veterinarian. Elsewhere in Japan, where bird flu contamination is not a problem, pet birds are being abandoned by their irresponsible owners.

 最近まで、牛たちは牛の肉骨粉を食べさせられていた。国内外で鳥インフルエンザの流行が広がる中、鶏が大量に死んでも届けず、獣医師にもみせない。感染とは関係の無い遠い所で、飼われていた鳥が相次いで捨てられた。

The way people treat animals is a sad reflection of our human society.

 生き物の扱い方にも、人の世が映っているようにみえる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 5(IHT/Asahi: March 6,2004) (03/06)
 
 
 
Man of peace sits tight worrying about Iraq


A young man in Baghdad began keeping a diary on an Internet Web site before the Iraq war started. He is still writing. His diary has attracted countless readers around the world, making him something of a Net celebrity.

03月04日付
■《天声人語》

 バグダッドの青年がパソコンに向かって日記をつづり始めた。イラク戦争の前から、現在に至るまでキーをたたき続けた。世界中に流れた日記は、多くの人を引きつけ、彼はインターネット上の有名人になった。

He goes by the pseudonym of Salam Pax-which mean ``peace'' in Arabic and Latin, respectively. In Japan, an abridged edition of his diary was published by Sony Magazines late last year. Titled ``Salam Pax,'' it contains entries up to June 2003.

 ネット上の名前をサラーム・パックスという。アラビア語とラテン語で「平和」を意味する言葉を重ねた。日本では、03年6月までの日記の抄訳が『サラーム・パックス』(ソニー・マガジンズ)として昨年末に出版された。

Allow me to quote from some of his more recent entries.

On Feb. 12, he wrote: ``The rift between Shia and Sunnis wasn't as big (before the war) as it is now. Iraq has become a sort of an open playground for many political and religious factions who are using Iraq as a fighting ground.''

Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the Shiite holy city of Karbala were exactly what he was dreading.

 それ以後の彼の日記から、いくつか拾ってみる。戦前よりシーア派とスンニ派との亀裂が深まっていることを憂い「イラクは開放された運動場になってしまった。多くの政治、宗教勢力がイラクを争いの場として利用している」(04年2月12日)。シーア派の聖地カルバラなどで一昨日起きた大規模なテロは、まさに彼が恐れていた事態だ。

He is a close follower of the U.S. presidential election campaign. Wondering whether John Kerry ``might be able to be the superhero who will save the universe,'' he noted on Feb. 10: ``I do think Iraqis should worry about the presidential election in the United States. It is scary how much influence someone sitting so far away has over the destiny of a nation.''

 米大統領選も気にしている。「ケリー候補は世界を救うスーパーヒーローになりうるか」といいつつ「あんなにも遠くにいる人物によって一国の運命が左右されるかと思うと空恐ろしい」(2月10日)

Salam Pax is definitely not your run-of-the-mill peacenik. By his own admission, he is a skeptic and sometimes a shameless escapist who loves jokes and irony. He claims his world view changed when he read George Orwell's ``1984'' in middle school.

 サラームさんはしかし、素朴な平和主義者ではない。中学時代、全体主義国家を描いたオーウェルの小説『一九八四年』を読んで、世界を見る目が変わったという。冗談と皮肉が好きで、懐疑主義者、ときに罪深き現実逃避型人間と自称する。

``This is my homeland and I love the people who live here,'' he wrote, adding that no argument could ever convince him of the legitimacy of this war.

Cynical and escapist as he may be, he still sits tight in his homeland.

 「ここはぼくの祖国で、ここに住む人々を愛している。どう説得されたって、戦争が正しいなんて思えない」。疑ったり、逃げたりしながらも祖国に踏みとどまる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 4(IHT/Asahi: March 5,2004) (03/05)
 
 
 
McNamara cheered now for anti-war stand


Colorful as always, this year's Academy Awards ceremony was uneventful. If there was something of a stir, it was caused by the nomination of Errol Morris's ``The Fog of War'' for Best Documentary.

Morris made the film on the basis of interviews over 23 hours with Robert S. McNamara, who directed the U.S. war effort in Vietnam as secretary of defense.

03月03日付
■《天声人語》

 華やかで穏やかな今年の米アカデミー賞授賞式に多少の波紋を投げかけたとすれば、長編ドキュメンタリー賞の「フォッグ・オブ・ウォー」(E・モリス監督)だろう。ベトナム戦争を指揮したR・マクナマラ元国防長官への23時間に及ぶインタビューを基につくられた作品である。

In his speech, Morris compared the war in Iraq to the Vietnam War and said, ``Forty years ago, this country went down a rabbit hole, and millions died. And I fear we're going down a rabbit hole once again.''

 受賞あいさつでモリス氏は、イラク戦争をベトナム戦争に対比し「40年前、この国はウサギの巣穴に落っこちて多数の人間が死んだ。いままたウサギの巣穴に落ちていくのではないかと心配だ」と述べた。

The release of the documentary film has made the 87-year-old McNamara someone to watch again. His participation in a discussion meeting last month at his alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, was viewed with particular interest. This was because Berkeley had been the center of operations for the 1968 ``student revolt.'' It was where one of the fiercest demonstrations against the Vietnam War was staged.

 映画公開を機に、87歳の元国防長官に改めて注目が集まっている。母校のカリフォルニア大バークリー校で先月催された討論会への参加は、とりわけ興味深いものだった。というのも、バークリー校は68年の「学生の反乱」の拠点であり、ベトナム反戦運動の最も激しい大学の一つだったからだ。

``We human beings killed 160 million other human beings in the 20th century,'' McNamara told his audience at Berkeley. ``Is that what we want in this century? I don't think so.''

The anti-war rhetoric was coming from a former defense chief who ran the Vietnam War, a man with a reputation of being interested only in following the commands of cold rational thinking. Hearing him talk this way, his former opponents cheered him loudly.

 マクナマラ氏は語った。「人類は20世紀に1億6千万人もの同胞を殺した。21世紀にも同じことが起きていいのか。そうは思わない」。冷徹な合理主義者と評されたかつての戦争指導者が「反戦」を語り、「旧敵」は大きな拍手を送った。

In the audience was McNamara's son, Craig, who had joined protests at Berkeley against the Vietnam War. To an American newspaper, he described his father as a man with a mission of confronting his ghosts. ``I think he is haunted by the war,'' he said.

 討論会に出席した息子のクレイグ氏も、反戦運動に加わった「旧敵」のひとりだった。「父は戦争の亡霊につきまとわれていると思う。いまは、その亡霊と対決する使命を果たしている」と米紙に語っていた。

In his memoirs published in 1995, NcNamara revealed that he was searching his soul about the Vietnam War. Also, during the interviews for Morris's documentary film, he reportedly discussed human fallibility, saying that human beings were made to err.

 95年の回顧録でベトナム戦争の反省を公にしていたマクナマラ氏は、映画のインタビューでも「誤りを犯すのが人間だ」と、改めて人間の弱さを語ったそうだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 3(IHT/Asahi: March 4,2004) (03/04)
 
 
 
March 1, 1954: The day the sun rose in the West


Exactly 50 years ago, a Japanese tuna fishing boat named the No. 5 Fukuryu Maru had the misfortune of being exposed to deadly fallout from an American hydrogen bomb test conducted on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. The anniversary fell on March 1.

02月29日付
■《天声人語》

 マグロ漁船の第五福竜丸が、ビキニ環礁での米国の水爆実験で被曝(ひばく)して、明日で50年になる。水爆による初めての犠牲者となった無線長、久保山愛吉さんが、その瞬間を記している。

Aikichi Kuboyama, the boat's radio operator, who was the first to die of the aftereffects of the H-bomb testing, recorded in his journal what happened at the moment of detonation: ``After having breakfast, we were talking in the room for engineers. About 3:50 a.m., the round porthole shone brightly as if at sunrise. Engineer Kaneshige Takagi said, `The sun is up.' But the brilliant light came from the West.''

Kuboyama died six months after being exposed to the fallout. The account was made public as part of an article printed in the monthly magazine Chuo Koron soon after his death. The article was titled ``Zeppitsu-Shi-no Tokonite'' (A final appeal from my deathbed).

 「朝食をとり、それから機関部員室で雑談中、推定三時五十分ごろ、丸窓が日の出のように明るく輝いた。高木君は、『日が出たよ』と話しかけた。しかし輝きは西方だつた」。久保山さんは、被災から半年後に亡くなる。この文は、死後間もなく『中央公論』に「絶筆 死の床にて」と題して発表された。

About the same time, an article by the radio operator's wife, Suzu, appeared in Fujin Koron, a monthly magazine for women. In the article titled ``Please don't let my husband's death go to waste,'' she wrote: ``When I look ahead, I am utterly at a loss how to organize my life. But I can say one thing for sure: Under no circumstances should any more hydrogen bomb testing be conducted.''

 同じ頃『婦人公論』には、妻すずさんの「夫の死をむだにしないで下さい」が載った。「私は、これからさきのことを考えると、何から何をどうしてよいのやらサッパリわかりません。けれども水爆の実験を、金輪際やめて頂きたいということだけは、ハッキリと申上げることが出来ます」

In his article, the radio operator wrote: ``Let me be the last atomic or hydrogen bomb victim.'' Keeping these words in mind, Suzu devoted herself to the movement against atomic and hydrogen bombs that began to gain momentum after the Fukuryu Maru's exposure. Eventually, she earned the nickname of heiwa-no kataribe (reciter of lore for peace).

 「原水爆の被害者はわたしを最後にしてほしい」。愛吉さんの言葉を胸に、すずさんは、被曝を機に広がり始めた原水爆禁止運動に力を尽くし、「平和の語り部」とも言われた。

Two days before the 50th anniversary, I visited the exhibition hall for the Fukuryu Maru at the Yumenoshima waterfront complex in Tokyo. A few roses were planted in a corner. Between voyages, Aikichi avidly grew roses and other flowers at his home. When he died, it became Suzu's job to care for them.

After her death in 1993, to propagate the plants, they were divided at the roots. Offshoots of ``the rose of Aikichi and Suzu'' have found their way beyond the walls of the exhibition hall.

 昨日、東京の夢の島にある福竜丸の展示館に行った。一角に数本のバラが植えてある。愛吉さんは航海の合間に、自宅で熱心にバラなどの草花を育てていた。その世話をすずさんが引き継ぐ。そして93年のすずさんの死後、株分けされた。「愛吉・すずのバラ」として展示館以外にも広がっている。

The roses at the hall seemed to be huddling in the cold, as the sea wind gently blew over them.

Crouching, I found a number of sprouting buds, signaling that spring is near.

 うずくまるかのようなバラの上を、潮風がゆるやかに渡ってゆく。しゃがみこんで見ると、幾つもの芽がふくらみ、伸びようとしていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 29(IHT/Asahi: March 3,2004) (03/03)
 
 
 
Guru's silence leaves Aum puzzle unsolved


``For what purpose does Deus-sama cause us to go through suffering like this?''

This is a question asked by a Christian in Shusaku Endo's novel ``Chinmoku'' (Silence), depicting the ruthless crackdown on Japanese Christians during the Edo Period (1603-1867). God (Deus in Portuguese) does not answer.

02月28日付
■《天声人語》

 「なんのため、こげん責苦ばデウスさまは与えられるとか」。遠藤周作が江戸時代の苛烈(かれつ)なキリシタン弾圧を描いた小説『沈黙』に出てくるせりふだ。信徒は問うが、神は答えない。

In a court appearance in 1999, a former member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult grilled defendant Chizuo Matsumoto, who as cult leader was known as Shoko Asahara, asking: ``If you are a person who embodies the ultimate Buddhistic ideal of deliverance from karma, you should be able to understand the agony that people feel better than anyone else. Why can't you understand the agony of those who fell victim to the actions of your group?''

The guru looked sullen and did not answer his former disciple. From that time, he did not speak in court.

 「最終解脱者ならだれよりも人の苦しみがわかるはずだ。なのになぜあなたは、被害者の苦しみがわからないんですか」。かつての弟子は99年、法廷でオウム真理教の「教祖」松本智津夫(麻原彰晃)被告を問いつめた。彼は不機嫌そうに黙り込んだ。以来、沈黙を続けた。

God's silence is weighty and profound. On the other hand, this guru's silence is simply superficial. To all appearances, Matsumoto, unable to find words of refutation, took refuge in silence.

 神の沈黙は、重くて深い。しかし「教祖」の沈黙は何と皮相であることか。反論の言葉も見つからず沈黙に逃げ込んだ、としか見えない。

In Friday's court session where he was sentenced to death, Matsumoto mumbled. But he did not utter a coherent word. The judge condemned him for acts he called ``too despicable and foolish,'' but there was no indication that these words of accusation registered in Matsumoto's head even for a moment.

 死刑を言い渡された昨日の法廷でも、松本被告はもぐもぐと口を動かしはしたが、意味ある言葉を発することはなかった。「あまりにもあさましく愚かしい限り」と被告を断罪する裁判長の言葉が、一瞬でも彼の頭にとどまる気配さえなかった。

After decades of a blind pursuit of affluence by postwar Japan, there was a sense of hollowness in the 1980s. The Aum Shinrikyo cult tried to give young people a phony sense of fulfillment by creating a surreal world with which to fill the void of affluent society. Matsumoto is the man responsible for leading this religious group down the path of terrorism.

 豊かさをめざして疾走した戦後日本がたどりついた80年代は、どこか空虚感も漂っていた。「豊かな社会」のかかえる空洞に、オウム真理教は「超現実」の別世界をつくり、若者らに「にせの充実感」を与えようとした。この宗教組織をテロへと向かわせた責任者は松本被告である。

In Endo's novel, the protagonist, after much anguished deliberation, steps on a copper tablet engraved with a crucifix in a test to show he is not a Christian. The priest does so not because he cannot bear the torture administered to him, but as ``an act of love'' to rescue his congregation from further torture.

Matsumoto has never shown a sense of guilt. Given this, is it futile to expect that in his appellate trials, he will break his silence and offer an apology or words of contrition?

 小説『沈黙』の主人公の司祭は、煩悶(はんもん)の末、踏み絵を踏む。自分が拷問に耐えられないからではなく、信徒を拷問から救おうとする「愛の行為」だった。煩悶のかけらも見えない松本被告には、沈黙を破って謝罪や悔悟の言葉を期待することさえむなしいのか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 28(IHT/Asahi: March 2,2004) (03/02)
 
 
 

GDP growth may not show economic reality


Poverty is a visible condition. You can see it and feel it. And it is easy to quantify. All this is particularly true of this country where most people experienced hunger after the end of World War II.

02月23日付
■《天声人語》

 貧しさというのはわかりやすい。実感としてもそうだし、数字でも表しやすい。戦後、ほとんどの国民が飢えを経験したような国では、なおさらである。

A tool used to measure poverty is Engels' coefficient, a term we do not hear often these days. It stands for the proportion of food expenses to total household spending. The higher the rate spent on food, the poorer you are. The national rate commonly exceeded 60 percent in the immediate postwar years. Since then, figures have continued falling and now stand at an average of slightly over 20 percent.

 最近ではあまり聞かれなくなったが、エンゲル係数という言葉がある。家計の支出のなかで食事代が占める割合だ。高ければ高いほど貧しいとされる。戦後まもないころは60%を超えていた。以来、下がり続け、現在は平均して20%ちょっとになった。

What about affluence? When we say Japan is the second-largest economy in the world, the view is primarily based on our gross domestic product (GDP), which is the world's second largest after that of the United States. In per capita terms, we slump to about the fifth among the industrially advanced countries, depending on whether the yen is strong or weak at any given time.

When the purchasing power of our currency is taken into consideration, we fall further to 10th place. This may be closer to where we really are, if we consider our gut feeling.

 豊かさはどうだろうか。世界第2の経済大国と日本がいわれるとき引かれるのが国内総生産(GDP)だ。米国についで2番目に大きい。1人あたりにすると、円の強弱にも左右されるが、先進国中5番目前後に落ちる。さらに商品を買う力を計算に入れた購買力平価に換算すると、10位以下になる。こちらの方が実感に近いかもしれない。

That the nation is a major economic power does not necessarily mean that the individuals who make it up are equally rich. Moreover, income gaps between rich and poor are seen to be widening. The number of people on welfare is nearly 1.5 times higher than it was over 10 years ago. High jobless rates have become the order of the day, and wage differentials have grown. These and other details are provided by Toshiaki Tachibanaki in ``Kakei kara miru Nihon keizai'' (The Japanese economy as viewed from household finances), a paperback published by Iwanami Shoten.

 国の経済力と個々の国民の経済力とは必ずしも一致しない。そのうえ、貧富の格差が大きくなっているといわれる。生活保護を受けている人は10年前の1・5倍近くになった。失業率が高まった。賃金格差が広がった。それらを例に橘木俊詔著『家計からみる日本経済』(岩波新書)が詳述している。

In a letter sent to the Osaka edition of The Asahi Shimbun some years ago, a 62-year-old unemployed person said, ``The Engels' coefficient for my family of three is at more than 50 percent.'' The letter dwelt on what the family was doing to trim food expenses and made an appeal to the government to call off its reported plan to lower pension benefits across the board.

 以前、本紙(大阪)に、62歳の無職の人からこんな投書が寄せられた。「3人家族のわが家のエンゲル係数は50%を超えて」いる、といって食費を切りつめる生活を紹介し、年金の一律引き下げをやめてほしいと訴えていた。

Recently, the media reported that Japan had posted amazing growth in GDP growth. That may be good news, but I also think it is time to rethink the convention of measuring affluence by GDP alone.

 先週、GDPの高い伸び率が報じられた。朗報かもしれないが、同時に、豊かさの中身を考え直していく時代だろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 23(IHT/Asahi: March 1,2004) (03/01)
 
 
 
Moments of insight, points of departure


Some memorable quotes from the month of February:

Actress Keiko Kishi, recalling the day she ``stopped being a child'' during World War II: ``Our home was hit directly by a bomb and burst into flames. I trembled as I watched the house writhe from my perch in a pine tree. But it wasn't because I felt sorry for myself. Not at all. Rather, I understood with perfect clarity that I had stopped being a child that day. Grown-ups told us kids to run to the makeshift community air-raid shelter. But none of the kids who did as they were told survived the landslide caused by the bomb blast.''

02月27日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。女優の岸惠子さんが戦時下に「子供を止(や)めた日」を思い出す。「直撃弾を受けて燃えあがり、身もだえする我が家を、松の木に登って見ていた私は、顫(ふる)えてはいたが悲壮感など微塵(みじん)もなく、『今日で子供を止めた』と思った。大人の言うことを聞いて急拵(きゅうごしら)えの防空壕(ごう)に避難した子供達(たち)は、爆風による土砂崩れでみんな死んだ」と。

Poet Shuntaro Tanikawa: ``Do I hate anyone? Do I discriminate against anyone? Do I try to impose my will on anyone? Each one of us should ask ourselves these questions, because these feelings lead to war. So long as we think our feelings have nothing to do with war, there will always be war.''

 「ひとをにくんだり、さべつしたり、むりに言うことをきかせようとしたり、じぶんのこころに戦争につながるそういう気もちがないかどうか。じぶんの気もちと戦争はかんけいないと考えるかもしれないが、それでは戦争はなくならない」とは詩人の谷川俊太郎さん。

Commenting on the challenges of helping abused children, Yuko Saeki, a counselor at a family and child support center in the western Tokyo city of Mitaka: ``Field-workers are the first to suspect abuse. But even when they detect eight out of 10 warning signs, the case loses its urgency in the process of being reported up the administrative ladder. The key to saving abused children actually hinges on how well field-workers and other professionals can directly deal with the parties involved.''

 相次ぐ児童虐待について東京都三鷹市の子ども家庭支援センター相談員佐伯裕子さん。「最初に気付くのは現場の相談員。実際の危険性が10あって、相談員が8を感じ取っても、上に報告されるごとに危険性の認識が薄まっていきがち。いかに現場レベルで連携できるかがかぎ」

Addressing the nation's overfed young people, Nissin Food Products President Koki Ando advises them to ``start a fire.''

``I want them to know firsthand what it was like for our primitive ancestors to start a fire by rubbing pieces of dry wood together. It took me three hours to get a fire going. My hands were covered with blisters.''

 「火をおこせ」が口癖の日清食品社長安藤宏基さんは飽食の若者に「原始人さながら木をこすり、実際に火をおこしてみなさい、ということです。私は手を豆だらけにして3時間かかりました」

Nanako Oba, an organizer of ``natural birth'' classes for pregnant women, had this to say of the human body: ``When the body changes, the heart and the mind also change. And when your consciousness changes, your cells are transformed, too.''

 バースコーディネーターの大葉ナナコさんは「体が変わると心が変わる。意識が変わると細胞が変わるんです」

Kumiko Sakamoto runs a minshuku guesthouse in Iwate Prefecture. She has no phone, so reservations must be made by mail. ``I've never been bored, not even for a day. Our guests travel long distances to come to my place, probably because we offer them something valuable-something they can't find in big cities anymore.''

 電話がなく手紙で予約を受ける民宿を岩手県で経営する坂本久美子さんは「一日も退屈したことはないわ。都会にはない貴重なものがあるから、わざわざ遠くから来てもらえるのかな」と。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 27(IHT/Asahi: February 28,2004) (02/28)
 
 
 
Dancing to unpleasant tunes in this online age


The train I was riding one afternoon was not crowded. Nobody in the car was standing, and there must have been about 30 passengers. I looked around for a familiar face, but there was none.

It struck me that all these strangers may somehow be connected. I conjured an image: If cables of different colors were used by the various computer online services to link all their customers, that train would have been filled with their colorful, intertwining lines.

02月26日付
■《天声人語》

 ある日の午後、すいた電車に乗り合わせた。全員が座れるくらいだから車両に30人ほどだろう。見回したが知り合いはいないようだ。しかし、もしコンピューターのネットワークでつながっている人同士を同じ色の線で結んだとしたら、色とりどりの線が車内でもつれあったことだろう。

We've heard that personal information on about 4.6 million subscribers to Yahoo BB, a high-speed broadband Internet service provider, has been leaked. If all those customer details were ``the real thing''-and not faked-this is likely the biggest-ever such leak.

Let's compare that figure with census statistics: 4.6 million falls somewhere between the populations of Shizuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka Prefecture. Or look at it this way: In every train car across Japan, there is probably riding one victim whose name is in the leaked data.

 インターネット接続サービスの「ヤフーBB」から流出した契約者情報は約460万人分という。全部が本物とすれば、これまでにない数だ。県の人口でみると、静岡と福岡の間ぐらいになる。全国の同じようにすいた電車の車両にも、被害者が1人は乗っている勘定だ。

The arrested suspects were reportedly in possession of an incriminating DVD-a 12-centimeter digital disc, the same size as a CD. The V stands for ``versatile.'' Someone certainly knew how to take advantage of the gadget's versatility.

 容疑者らが持っていたというDVD(デジタル多用途ディスク)はCD(コンパクトディスク)と同じ直径12センチの円盤だ。Vはversatile。多用途のほか、多目的な、何にでも使えるという意味もあるが、こんな「用途」まであったとは。

The suspects used the classic extortion technique of threatening to release the company's internal data publicly. However, their crime could not be more modern. The ``weapon'' was that little disc with masses of personal information, easy to spread instantaneously through the Internet. People in this digitally connected era are always afraid of something like this happening, and the suspects thus used the anxiety to extort the company.

Great must be the anger and fear of the victims, whose personal details were stolen without their knowledge.

 内部情報で脅すという手口は古典的だ。しかし小さな円盤の中の膨大な情報が瞬時にネットに流れるという不安を人質にしているのが今風だ。個人情報を勝手に持ち出された人たちの憤りや、ネットに流れたのではないかとの不安は大きいに違いない。

It is still not clear how and where the information was lifted. I assume the service provider was not completely unprotected from outside hackers. But while the outer walls may have been high, thick and impenetrable, the question is what went on inside.

 情報が、どこからどう漏れたのかは、はっきりしない。外からの侵入に対しては一定の防護はしていたのだろう。外向けの壁は高く厚く築いていたとしても、その内側がどうなっていたのかも気になる。

Now that total strangers are linked by their invisible connections, they can be made to dance the cancan without their knowledge. Ours is a convenient era, but the dance could also turn quite unpleasant.

 知らない者同士が見えない線で結ばれ、時には知らない所で踊らされる。便利ながら、苦みも強い「ラインダンス」の時代である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 26(IHT/Asahi: February 27,2004) (02/27)
 
 
 
How does Kofi Annan define multilateralism?


``Japan is at something of a crossroads,'' United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a speech at the U.N. University in Tokyo in November 1999. ``The choices made in the next few years by the Japanese people-about their global and regional profile, security policy and presence in the United Nations-will affect other people throughout the world.''

02月25日付
■《天声人語》

 「日本はいま十字路に差しかかっている」とアナン国連事務総長が指摘したのは99年11月、東京の国連大学での講演だった。「数年のうちに日本国民が行う選択は世界の人々に影響を与えるだろう」と語った。

On Tuesday, about five years since then, Annan addressed the Diet, becoming the first U.N. secretary-general to do so.

``You are well aware that I come before you at a decisive moment,'' he said. After warning his audience in this way, he made his points by alternating between frank and circumlocutory rhetoric.

 あれから約5年、来日したアナン氏は昨日、国連事務総長として初めて国会で演説をした。本人も言うように「決定的な時期」の演説で、ときに率直に、ときに婉曲(えんきょく)に語りかけた。

The U.N. chief addressed the Diet members as ``steadfast believers in multilateralism.''

More than a few lawmakers must have looked at each other and wondered, ``Does he mean us?''

How did that description sound to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi? I am curious because he has been fending off opposition questions by juggling two stands-cooperating with the United Nations and acting like a U.S. ally.

 氏は「多極主義を確固として信じておられる皆様」と呼びかけた。「皆様とは私たちのこと?」と顔を見合わせた議員もいたかもしれない。国会論戦で、国連との協調と日米同盟重視とを使い分けて防戦につとめた小泉首相はどうだったろうか。

Annan's 1999 speech was also mainly about multilateralism, the principle of getting along with many countries. ``Japan is strongly committed to multilateralism and has made the United Nations a central pillar of its foreign policy,'' he said then. By reiterating the point later in the speech, he emphasized how much he valued Japan's approach.

References to multilateralism in the Diet speech should not be taken as sarcasm or as a compliment. Annan is probably convinced that Japan's commitment to multilateralism is for real.

 99年の講演も、多数の国とのつきあいを重んじる多極主義が主要なテーマだった。「日本は強力に多極主義を進めている。そして国連を外交の基軸にしている」とたびたび言及、高く評価した。国会での言及も、嫌みやお世辞でなく、期待も込めた確信なのだろう。

In 1999, the U.N. chief said, ``When we start talking of military action, it is in many respects a sign of the failure of diplomacy.'' In contrast, he asked Tuesday: ``When is the use of force permissible-and who should authorize it? Does it have to be each state for itself, or will we be safer working together?''

These questions seemed to imply Annan's criticism of and self-examination over the failure of diplomatic efforts that resulted in the U.S-led attack on Iraq.

 「軍事行動を語り始めるときは、外交の失敗のサインだ」。当時そう語ったアナン氏が、今回は「いつ武力の行使が認められるのか、そして誰が承認するのか? 各国が独自に行うのか、それとも共に行う方が安全か?」と問いかけた。イラク戦争に至った「外交の失敗」への批判と反省とがうかがえた。

In welcoming Japan's willingness to play a role in Iraq, he said, ``You have pledged to contribute generously to reconstruction. And after a difficult debate, you have dispatched the Self-Defense Forces to Samawah to help with reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.''

Annan ended his Diet address without directly commenting on the path taken by Japan after reaching ``something of a crossroads'' five years ago.

 日本のイラク復興支援の「表明」には敬意を表し、「困難な議論を経」た自衛隊派遣にも言及した。5年前の「十字路」から、その後、日本がたどった道を直截(ちょくせつ)に論評することはなかった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 25(IHT/Asahi: February 26,2004) (02/26)
 
 
 
Marathon man's quest for gold in Athens


Paul Tergat was born in an arid region of Kenya in 1969. He had 16 siblings. His childhood memories have almost entirely to do with hunger. Every night, his mother tried to make her children forget hunger by singing them to sleep.

02月24日付
■《天声人語》

 69年、ケニアの乾燥地帯の貧しい村で生まれた。16人の兄弟姉妹がいたそうだ。幼い頃の記憶はひもじさばかりで、母が歌で子どもたちのひもじさを紛らし、寝かしつける毎日だった。

In 1977, the World Food Program of the United Nations began serving free lunches at the elementary school Tergat was attending.

``We were really excited to get a free hot meal,'' he recalled. ``We were served with maize and beans. At the time, we could not find this kind of food at home.

``The food game me a lot of strength and willpower,'' he continued. ``Without the school lunch, I don't know if I would have achieved what I have achieved.''

 77年、国連の食糧援助機関、世界食糧計画(WFP)が彼の通う小学校で無料の給食を始めた。「トウモロコシと豆の温かい食事だった。家では食べられないものだった。皆興奮した」。あの食事が彼に「力と意志」を与えてくれたという。「あのときの学校給食がなかったら、いまの私はなかったでしょう」

In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Tergat won the silver medal in the men's 10,000-meter race. He went on to win the Berlin Marathon last year, breaking the 2 hours and 5 minutes barrier to rewrite the world record. He has already earned a berth in the Kenyan squad for the Athens Games.

 シドニー五輪の男子1万メートルで銀メダル、昨年のベルリン・マラソンで2時間5分を切る世界最高記録で優勝したポール・テルガトさんである。早々にアテネ五輪マラソンのケニア代表に選ばれた。

Last month, the WFP named Tergat ``ambassador against hunger.'' The appointment enables him to give something back to the community. ``This program has helped many children develop a focus in their lives,'' he noted. ``A meal a day really helps them to keep that focus. In Kenya, a child will get a hot and nutritious meal at a cost of only 9 U.S. cents.''

 WFPは先月、テルガトさんを「飢餓撲滅大使」に任命した。彼にとっては、恩返しの機会を与えられたことになる。彼は語る。「1日1食の給食が飢えた子どもの人生を変えることができるのです。ドルでいえば1食たった9セントです」

In collaboration with the Kenyan government, the WFP has maintained the free school lunch program for four decades. Despite funding shortages, the program continues to feed about 16 million children each year. But even this number is a mere 5 percent of the estimated 300 million starving children around the world.

 WFPは40年以上にわたって現地政府と協力しながら、学校給食プログラムを進めてきた。資金難に悩みながらも、年間約1600万人の子どもを援助している。それでも世界で3億人にのぼるといわれる飢えている子どもの5%にすぎない。

In fulfilling his duties as ambassador against hunger, Tergat can inspire everyone by simply recounting his life story. And as a marathoner, he is scheduled to compete in the London Marathon in April and then go on to aim for an Olympic gold in Athens this summer.

 「飢餓撲滅大使」として活動を始めるテルガトさんは、自分の半生を語ることがそのまま啓発になることだろう。マラソン選手としては、4月のロンドン・マラソンを経て、アテネ五輪で金メダルを目指す。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 24(IHT/Asahi: February 25,2004) (02/25)
 
 
 
Utter lack of equity in Austrian inferno verdict


At 155, the death toll from the November 2000 alpine cable-car inferno in Austria was the country's worst peacetime disaster. Even so, all 16 defendants were acquitted. For the victims, it was their grievous misfortune to take a cable car that was quickly engulfed by fire in a tunnel soon after its departure.

02月21日付■《天声人語》

 いっときに、155人もの人々の命が奪われたのである。オーストリア・アルプスで、出発して間もなく火に包まれることになるケーブルカーに、たまたま乗り合わせて。その裁判の結果が「全員無罪」だった。

I feel there is a vast gap between the gravity of the accident and last Thursday's verdict. I find it difficult to understand how the judge reached his conclusions. I am also at a loss to reconcile the gulf of darkness separating the ruling from my own sense of justice.

 事故のすさまじさと判決との間に大きな落差を感じる。事故と判決とを結ぶ線が容易に引けない。隔てている深い闇を、どう考えればいいのか。

It is said that when the accident occurred, the safety of cable cars in Austria was covered by legal provisions requiring danger-prevention measures, but they were of a general nature, and no legal provisions requiring specific safety measures in case of fire were in place.

The judge said the fire resulted from a series of unfortunate coincidences. Coincidence! The elusiveness of the word makes me feel impatient at my inability to clear the hurdle in my thinking.

 オーストリアでは事故当時、ケーブルカーの安全について、一般的な危険防止規定はあったが、火災に関する具体的な安全義務の規定はなかったという。判決は「火災は不幸な偶然が重なって起きた」とした。偶然という「答え」の、とらえどころのなさがもどかしい。

To quote from a British newspaper, the judge said, ``I'm sure that this verdict will not be agreed by all and will be heavily criticized.'' He added, ``We did everything to find the truth, and it isn't a defeat for the relatives but it's a complete acquittal of the accused.''

There is no denying that I suffer from a sense of defeat, not knowing where to vent my anger at the verdict. For the moment, I plan to watch the proceedings at the appellate court.

 英紙によれば、裁判官は「判決は必ずしも全員に受け入れられるものではないでしょうし、激しい批判にさらされることはわかっています」と述べた。そして続けた。「しかし、我々は真実を発見するためにすべてのことをした。これは、ご遺族にとって敗北ではありません。しかし被告人は無罪です」。行き場のない憤りから来る敗北感は否めないが、控訴審を見守りたい。

Hearing of the accident, the families of the Japanese victims hurriedly left for Austria. I remember that a picture postcard was delivered to one of the vacated homes. The card from Nao Deguchi, a junior high school second-grader, read: ``Are you all right, mother and brother? Aren't you lonely? Everyday here is very fulfilling. I make many new discoveries, so I am enjoying the trip very much. I am writing a travel journal. Look forward to reading it when I return home.''

 事故の直後、急報を受けて現地へ向かう家族と入れ替わりに留守宅に届いた絵はがきを思い出した。「おかーさん おにーさん 元気? 二人でさみしくない? 奈央は毎日とてーも充実した日々を送ってるざんす/新しい発見が多くてすごく楽しいです。今、旅日記つけてるので楽しみにしてて下さい」

The girl died in the inferno with her father. The picture postcard was postmarked two days before the disaster.

 中学2年の奈央さんは、父とともに事故に巻き込まれた。消印は惨事の2日前だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 21(IHT/Asahi: February 24,2004) (02/24)
 
 
 
Cold War agent who didn't call himself a spy


In a eulogy of former Polish Army officer Ryszard Kuklinski, the United States' director of central intelligence called him a passionate, brave man whose efforts ``helped keep the Cold War from becoming hot.'' In his speech, George Tenet called Kuklinski ``a true hero of the Cold War to whom we all owe an everlasting debt of gratitude.''

Kuklinski, who was reputedly America's most important Cold War spy, died on Feb. 10 at age 73. In his native country, opinions were divided over whether he was a traitor or a patriot.

02月16日付■《天声人語》

 「冷戦が熱戦になるのを防いだ情熱的で勇敢な男だった」。先週、73歳で亡くなったポーランド出身の男のことを米中央情報局(CIA)長官はそう悼んだ。「裏切り者か、愛国者か」。祖国ではたびたび論争の的にもなった人物だ。

From 1972 to 1981, in his position as a Polish Army officer, he supplied confidential information to the Central Intelligence Agency.

 冷戦期の最も重要なスパイといわれたR・ククリンスキ氏である。ポーランド軍将校だった72年から81年にかけて、機密情報をCIAに流し続けた。

As the Soviet Army prepared to invade Poland and crack down on the Solidarity movement's democracy campaign, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, reportedly acting on tips from Kuklinski, issued a warning to Moscow and foiled the intervention. There were other cases in which intelligence supplied by Kuklinski altered the international situation.

 民主化を求めた「連帯」の運動を弾圧しようとソ連軍などがポーランド介入を準備したことがあった。彼の情報をもとにカーター大統領がソ連に警告、介入を免れたこともあったそうだ。国際情勢を動かすことしばしばだった。

Kuklinski followed classic spycraft, according to ``Polish News,'' a U.S. magazine aimed at Polish Americans, and other publications. He went about with a small camera, with which he stealthily photographed classified documents. He handed the films over to CIA agents. He did not tell his family what he was doing until he defected with them to the United States in 1981.

 米国のポーランド系雑誌「ポリッシュ・ニュース」などによると、方法は古典的だ。小型カメラを持ち歩いてこっそり文書を撮影、CIAの代理人に渡していた。81年、米国に亡命するまで家族にも知らせなかった。ソ連崩壊までは米国でも経歴を隠し、偽名を使って暮らした。その間、2人の息子が事故で死んだ。その死が彼の過去に関係あるかどうかはわからない。

While living in America, he kept his past under wraps and used a false name up until the Soviet Union fell. In the meantime, his two sons both died in accidents. Whether their deaths had something to do with his past spy activities remains a mystery.

Kuklinski did not consider himself a spy. His work for the CIA was voluntary, and he did it for free. He was motivated only by a desire to see a free Poland. After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, he became convinced that espionage against the Soviet Union was the right thing for him to do.

 彼は自分のことをスパイだとは思っていない。情報提供は自発的で、無報酬だった。ひたすら祖国の解放を願っての行動だった。68年のソ連軍のチェコ侵攻を契機に信念を固めた、と。

John le Carre, the British author of spy novels, discussed his views of spies in a recent American newspaper interview. He defined Cold War spies as people who tried to assert their individuality as the monumental wheels of history turned.

I think Kuklinski would not object to being called a spy under that definition.

 スパイを描き続ける作家ジョン・ル・カレ氏が先日、米紙にスパイ論を語っていた。「歴史の巨大な重圧下で個人を表現しようとした人々」と。ル・カレ氏のいう意味でスパイと称されることにククリンスキ氏も異論はないだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 16(IHT/Asahi: February 23,2004) (02/23)
 
 
 
Marriage, the greatest expedition in life?


Though rare, ``posthumous marriages'' do occur in France. The Reuters news agency reported on one such case last week.

02月20日付■《天声人語》

 フランスでは「死者との結婚」が、まれにあるという。先週、ロイター電は、こう伝えた。

A 35-year-old woman in Nice married a man who died in a car accident 18 months ago. Dressed in black, Christel Demichel told reporters, ``Even though (Eric) is dead, I respect the values I shared with him.'' She and Eric Demichel were betrothed at the time of his death. Their ``wedding'' day took place on what would have been his 30th birthday.

 ニースで、35歳の女性が、18カ月前に自動車事故死した男性と結婚した。黒い服のクリステルさんは「彼が死んでも、私は彼と分かち合った価値観を大切に思っている」と述べた。事故当時ふたりは婚約しており、式の日は男性の30歳の誕生日だった。

According to the Reuters report, posthumous marriage is recognized in France under a law introduced by former President Charles de Gaulle. Marriage, to be sure, comes in all forms around the world.

Speaking of marriage, I am reminded of an observation by 19th-century French literary giant Honore de Balzac. Translated from Japanese as it appears in ``Baruzakku Zenshu'' (Complete works of Balzac) published by Tokyo Sogensha, he said something to the effect, ``Of all human knowledge, marriage falls under the least understood category.''

 死後の結婚は、ドゴール大統領の時代に導入された法律で認められているという。世界は様々だが、昔、この国の文豪が「あらゆる人間の知識のうちで結婚の知識がもっとも進んでいない」と書いていたのを思い起こす(『バルザック全集』東京創元社)。

In the United States, San Francisco legalized same-sex marriage last week, and many couples were wed at the city hall. A week before, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld its ruling of last year that denying marriage between same-sex couples violated the state's constitution.

President George W. Bush said he found the ruling ``deeply troubling.'' Obviously, he has the November presidential election to consider.

 米国では、先週、サンフランシスコ市が同性同士の結婚を認め、市庁舎で数十組の結婚式をした。マサチューセッツ州の最高裁は昨年「同性婚を禁じるのは州憲法違反」としたが、ブッシュ氏は判決を批判した。大統領選の絡みもあるようだ。

In ``Kierukegoru Senshu'' (Selected works of Soren Kierkegaard) published by Jimbun Shoin, the 19th-century Danish philosopher is quoted as noting to the effect, ``Marriage is, and will forever remain, the most momentous expedition embarked upon by anyone.'' Were Kierkegaard alive today, I wonder what he would say.

 「結婚こそは人間がなし得る最大の探検旅行であり、いつまでもさうなのだから」と記したデンマークの思想家は、今も、そう言うだろうか(『キェルケゴオル選集』人文書院)。

In Japan, a book written by a self-proclaimed ``loser'' is creating some sensation. Titled ``Make-inu no Toboe'' (Loser's whining) and published by Kodansha, the author labels herself a loser for being ``unwed, childless and past 30.'' This is apparently a sensitive issue for Japanese women, but the author pulls no punches and minces no words. Readers' reactions range from enthusiastic applause to downright disdain.

Let me quote a Japanese literary great from ``Mushanokoji Saneatsu Zenshu'' (Complete works of Saneatsu Mushanokoji) published by Shogakukan: ``If you marry, I should be delighted. If you don't marry, I should be just as delighted.''

 日本では、著者自ら「30代以上、未婚、子なしの自分は女の負け犬」と書く『負け犬の遠吠(とおぼ)え』(講談社)が話題になっている。微妙なテーマを、バサバサと切り分けていく独特の語り口に、同意や反発が起きているのだろう。日本の古い文人の言葉を引く。「お前が結婚すればそれが嬉しい。お前が結婚しなければそれもうれしい」(『武者小路実篤全集』小学館)。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 20(IHT/Asahi: February 21,2004) (02/21)
 
 
 
Keep asking yourself if Japan is on right track


``If troops are being shipped overseas on a mission that could put their lives at risk, it is essential that the person who orders the dispatch be fully prepared to put his own life on the line.''

02月19日付
■《天声人語》

 「事と次第では生命の危険にさらされる海外派兵を行うのであれば、その責任者自らも生命を投げ出すほどの覚悟がなければならないであろう」

This is a passage from ``Yoshida Shigeru-no Jimon'' (Shigeru Yoshida asks himself), a book published by Fujiwara Shoten. Authored by Kazuo Ogura, a former ambassador to France, the book deals with recently-declassified Foreign Ministry documents in which then-Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida ordered junior diplomats to examine Japanese foreign policy from the time Japan invaded China in 1931 to the start of the war in the Pacific 10 years later.

Naoto Kan, leader of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), waved a copy of this book as he dared Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to debate during ``Question Time'' in the Diet on Wednesday.

 きのうの党首討論で、民主党の菅代表が手にして小泉首相に迫った本『吉田茂の自問』(藤原書店)の一節だ。日中戦争から太平洋戦争までの外交を吉田元首相が若手外交官らに検証させた機密報告書を小倉和夫・前仏大使が読み解いた。

The book also says, ``Once the troops are overseas, it is not possible to stop them from using arms in `self-defense' in the face of some provocation from the enemy or sudden deterioration in the situation.''

Obviously, the circumstances today are different from those discussed in the book. Still, it is just as important today, as was in Yoshida's time, to keep asking oneself whether Japan is on the right track.

 いったん兵が海外に派遣されると「事態の急変や相手の挑発によって、『自衛のために』戦闘行為に走ることはとめられない」との記述もある。もちろん当時といまとを同列に論じることはできない。しかし、いまたどっている道が果たしてこれでいいのかとたびたび「自問」することの大切さに変わりはないだろう。

I should imagine Koizumi has also done so in deciding to support the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq and sending Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. But his rebuttals to Kan were nothing more than an idle rehash of what we have already heard over and over.

 米英のイラク開戦を支持し、自衛隊派遣を決めた小泉首相も、きっと自問を繰り返したに違いない。しかし、菅代表の追及への答えは、これまで何度も聞かされたことの繰り返しがほとんどだった。

According to ``Seiji'' (Politics), also a book from Fujiwara Shoten, French thinker and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu notes the ``principle of political struggle'' is to ``define and differentiate issues of intellectual contention.'' In other words, politics is a ``struggle'' to present a new perception as a replacement for traditional perceptions.

In this sense, Minshuto's failure to out-argue Koizumi's repetitive ramblings is perhaps an indication that the party is still incapable of presenting a new perception.

 「政治闘争は知的な争点、見方・分け方の原理を持っている」というのは、フランスの社会学者P・ブルデュー氏だ(『政治』藤原書店)。政治は、これまでとは別の新しい見方を示して、従来の見方に取って代わろうとする闘争だ、と。小泉首相の「繰り返し答弁」を突破できない民主党は、強力な「別の見方」を示すことができないでいるということか。

Ogura's book, which is essentially about failed Japanese diplomacy, contains the line: ``The foundation is what matters the most.'' In other words, the foundation must not be flawed.

 日本外交の失敗を反省する先の著書に戻れば「すべて根本が大切であるということである」という。「根本に誤りがないこと」だ、と。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 19(IHT/Asahi: February 20,2004) (02/20)
 
 
 
Greed taking its toll on elephant populations


Myths and legends abound about elephants. The reputed ``elephants' graveyard'' is probably one such example.

It is widely believed that an elephant leaves its herd for the graveyard when it realizes it is dying. Death comes quietly as the animal lies down amid countless bones and tusks.

02月18日付
■《天声人語》

 象をめぐる神話や伝説は多いが、「象の墓場」もその一つだろう。死期を悟った象が群れを離れ、墓場に向かう。無数の骨や牙が散らばる墓場に身を横たえ、静かに死を迎える。

The solemn dignity displayed by elephants matches their evident self-pride. But the established academic view is that elephant graveyards do not exist and are just a product of the imagination.

Even so, we often hear dramatic tales about the death of an elephant. This is probably because of the extraordinary sorrow shown by elephants when a fellow member dies.

 誇り高き彼らの最期にふさわしい荘重な光景だ。だが、そのような墓場はないというのが定説で、想像の産物とされる。とはいえ、象の死は劇的に語られることが多い。仲間の死を悲しむ姿が尋常ではないからだろう。

When an elephant is dying, other members of the herd make a desperate attempt to save its life, using their tusks to help it rise from the ground. With all hope lost, they set about burying the dead. They dig up earth with their forelegs and tusks and pour it over the carcass. They cover the carcass with tree branches broken off with their noses.

Even when the burial is completed, they do not leave the spot. A three-day vigil kept by fellow elephants is reported in a behavioral study of African elephants in ``Among the Elephants'' by Oria and Douglas Hamilton. (A Japanese translation, titled ``Yasei-no Kyozo,'' meaning giant elephants in the wild, has been published by The Asahi Shimbun.)

 瀕死(ひんし)の象を仲間は何とか助けようとする。倒れると、牙で引き起こそうとする。だめだとあきらめたら、埋葬に取りかかる。足や牙でまわりの土をふりかける。鼻で枝を集めて死骸(しがい)にかぶせていく。埋葬が終わってもその場を立ち去らない。アフリカ象の生態を調べた『野性の巨象』(ハミルトン夫妻著・朝日新聞社)には、3日間も死骸を見守った例が出ている。

Elephants take the trouble of burying the dead not just for members of the herd. In one case cited in a book ``Dobutsu Tachi-no Shizen Kenkoho'' (How animals stay fit in nature), an elephant killed an attacking lion by dashing it to the ground, and covered the carcass with tree branches broken off in the bush. (The book has been published by Kinokuniya Co.)

Blessed with good memory, elephants do not forget to stop when they come later to the spot where a member of the herd has died.

 埋葬は仲間の象だけではない。自分を襲ったライオンを地面にたたきつけて殺した後、やぶから枝を折り取ってライオンの死骸を覆った例もある(『動物たちの自然健康法』紀伊国屋書店)。記憶力が良く、仲間が死んだ場所にさしかかると、後々まで立ち止まるそうだ。

Scientists have learned that elephants living on Borneo appear to be a new subspecies that evolved independently. But their extinction is already feared because only about 2,000 Bornean elephants exist.

The total population of Asian elephants is estimated to range from 35,000 to about 50,000. It is only natural that Asian elephants have been designated as an endangered species.

 ボルネオ島に生息するボルネオ象が、独自の進化をとげた「新亜種」らしいことがわかった。2千頭ほどしか残っておらず、絶滅が心配される。アジア象全体でも生息数は3万5千から5万頭程度といわれ、「絶滅危惧(きぐ)種」に指定されている。

Development and poaching are the agents of destruction for elephants. The sinfulness of humans is mirrored in the way elephants sorrowfully lament their dead.

 象を墓場に追い込んでいるのは、開発や密猟である。仲間の死を嘆き悲しむ象の姿は、人間の罪深さを映してもいる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 18(IHT/Asahi: February 19,2004) (02/19)
 
 
 

TV industry drifting into dangerous territory


It's not much fun to watch a taped sports game when you already know the outcome. Even if you don't know the result, nothing comes close to the excitement of a live, real-time broadcast.

However, precedents are now being set to intentionally set a time lag between the actual game or event and its telecast.

02月17日付
■《天声人語》

 結果のわかったスポーツを録画で見るのは味気ないものだ。結果がわかっていなくても、録画では生放送の臨場感は弱まる。ところが、意図的に放送の時間をずらす動きが出てきた。

In the United States, there was a 5-minute time lag between the presentation ceremony at the 46th Grammy Awards and its telecast version. This was to prevent a repeat of the recent Superbowl incident, when singer Janet Jackson's breast was exposed during the halftime show, outraging many Americans who were watching this ``game of all games'' live.

 先日の米国グラミー賞の贈呈式は5分遅れで放送された。全米が注目するスーパーボウルの生放送がそもそもの発端だ。ハーフタイムの余興で歌手の乳房が見えてしまい、非難が集中した。そんな「不測の事態」を避けるために時間差放送をした。

``The Sting,'' a 1973 movie classic, is about a group of con artists who set up a fake betting parlor, where horse races that are already over are broadcast as if on real time. The brilliantly executed scam leads to an exhilarating ending.

 このアイデアを競馬中継に持ち込んだのが、映画「スティング」だった。結果のわかっているレースを、あたかも生放送であるかのように見せかけた。あざやかなだましの手口が、爽快(そうかい)な結末へとつながる。

In real life, I suppose no TV or radio station will be able to do this with horse races. But it worries me to see more instances of deliberate insertion of time lag in sports and other broadcasts. The act is tantamount to checking the program in advance to ensure it contains no ``poison.''

Were I to discover that what I thought I was watching real-time had actually happened five minutes earlier, I would feel cheated, though I probably wouldn't go so far as to complain I had been conned.

 競馬は無理だろうが、スポーツ番組も含めて時間差放送が広がることには危惧(きぐ)を覚える。毒味をして無害であることを確認してから放送する。いま起きていると思っていることが実は5分前のできごとだった。詐欺とはいえないが、だまされているような後味の悪さがつきまといそうだ。

Nippon Television Network Corp. has come under fire for flashing images of Yukichi Fukuzawa, whose imprint is on 10,000 yen notes, during a money-oriented show. Whether people are really susceptible to so-called subliminal effects is open to question. Still, it is only natural that NTV's intentions should be severely scrutinized since TV stations wield tremendous power-especially if they manipulate what viewers see on the screen.

 日本テレビのサブリミナル疑惑が報じられた。1万円札の福沢諭吉の顔のカットをごく短い時間挿入したという。潜在意識に働きかけようとするサブリミナル効果は疑問視されている。とはいえ、画面の小さな操作で大きな影響を与えることがあるテレビが注視の的になるのは、やむをえない。

With the blurring of the boundary between the real world and the virtual world, I feel compelled to say the TV industry is drifting across the line. I just hope the industry will at least keep one of its feet firmly planted in the real world.

 現実と非現実との境界が薄れていく現代、テレビは境界線上をさまよっている感がしなくもない。少なくとも一方の足は、しっかりと現実の方に踏みとどまっていてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 17(IHT/Asahi: February 18,2004) (02/18)
 
 
 
Iraq mission different from Golan Heights role


The shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is known as the setting of the biblical Sermon on the Mount. Beyond the lake lie the Golan Heights, Israeli-annexed territory that is a matter of much dispute. A bus trip I made there from Jerusalem in March 1996 took five or six hours.

02月15日付
■《天声人語》

 イスラエルの北部にあるガリラヤ湖畔は、キリストの「山上の垂訓」の舞台として知られている。湖の更に先のゴラン高原へ、エルサレムからバスで5、6時間かけて行ったことがある。

The previous month, members of the Self-Defense Forces had arrived to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations. They were joining UNDOF, the U.N. observation force monitoring disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces.

 96年の3月で、たまたまその前月から、日本の自衛隊員が、国連の平和維持活動に加わるため高原に入っていた。イスラエルとシリアに対する国連兵力引き離し監視軍(UNDOF)への参加である。

I was with other journalists, and the limited time we had on the heights ruled out an interview with any SDF members. We just passed them on the road. Still, the most unusual scenes we witnessed on the way made me pray for the safety of the SDF members and their colleagues in the observation force.

 この時は時間の限られた集団行動だったので、隊員たちとはすれちがっただけだった。しかし、その地に着くまでに通ってきた高原の異様さを思い、隊員や監視軍の人たちの無事を祈った。

Wild flowers grew on both sides of the road. The beautiful scenery was marred by innumerable red and yellow signs indicating the presence of land mines. In some places, the warning signs seemed to outnumber the flowers in bloom. Many were erected so close to the road that I thought I could touch them if I reached out from the bus window. The line stretched endlessly. I took it as an indication of the long and bitter struggle between Israel and Syria.

 道の両側に広がる野の花の群落の中に、おびただしい数の赤と黄色の表示板が立っていた。地雷のありかを示している。場所によっては花の数より多いくらいで、しかも、それが、車の窓から手を伸ばせば届きそうな所に延々と続いている。争いの長さと深さとを思い知らされた。

Last Friday, newspapers carried a government publicity release on the dispatch of SDF units to Iraq. Rather than explaining the decision to send troops, the release sketched hopes for the future of Iraq. It mentioned the SDF mission to the Golan Heights. But no explanation was offered about the difference between SDF participation in a U.N. peacekeeping operation being carried out in the Golan Heights with the consensus of the international community and the dispatch of troops to Iraq after a war waged primarily by the United States and Britain.

 昨日、自衛隊のイラク派遣についての政府広報が載った。そこには、派遣についての説明というよりは、「こうなればいい」という、いわば希望のような姿が描かれていた。ゴラン高原に派遣してきたことにも触れていた。しかし、国際社会の合意によるゴラン高原での国連活動への派遣と、今回の米英によるイラク戦争の後の派遣との違いについての説明はなかった。

On the same day, not to be left behind by other services, a Maritime Self-Defense Force transport ship left its Kure Base in Hiroshima Prefecture. Samawah, the Iraqi town where members of the Ground SDF are to build their base, recently came under mortar attack.

Whether this signals a change in the local security situation as a result of their presence is worrying.

 この日、海上自衛隊も、広島・呉基地を出発した。サマワでは最近、迫撃弾の攻撃が起きた。自衛隊の駐留による治安の変化が起きていないのかどうか、気にかかる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 15(IHT/Asahi: February 17,2004) (02/17)
 
 
 
Be proud of townhouses, not military might


With the first month of 2004 behind us, it is time to offer a monthly collection of quotable quotes:

Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto said, ``It is important to think about whether our money collected in the form of taxes is used to make bombs that kill children or to improve our natural environment.''

01月31日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「税金として徴収される自分のお金が、子供たちを殺す爆弾のために使われるのか、自然環境を良くするために使われるのか、ということを考えることは重要です」と音楽家の坂本龍一さん。

Speaking of his father, dress designer Yohji Yamamoto said, ``He was drafted into military service just before the end of World War II. He died aboard a ship without a trace. In this respect alone, it was a terrible war. But the specter of war seems to be looming now.... Something wrong is going on. I have no intention of letting this fear pass. Instead, I would like to share it with many people.''

 服飾デザイナーの山本耀司(ようじ)さんは「僕の父親は終戦直前に召集されて、船上で何の痕跡もなく死んだ。日本はそんな戦争をした国で、今また、という気がしている。……そんな違和感を大切にして、多くの人と共有していきたい」

``When I was young,'' said artist Shusaku Arakawa, ``my dream was to change common sense and ethics through my artistic pursuit.

``I have realized that these perceptions have to do with the human body,'' he went on. ``The human body, which causes a war, is still evolving. So we have to change it first.''

 「若い頃は、常識や倫理を変えたいというのが、芸術を通しての夢だったね。それは概念なんですが、今思うとやっぱりからだと関係していて、戦争を起こすような『ひと』のからだは、まだまだ進化の途中なのですね。だから、それを変えなければ……」と美術家の荒川修作さん。

``So many people died in the earthquake, and those of us, who are living, have an obligation to make their deaths something meaningful,'' said singer Eri Hiramatsu, who holds a live show annually to help the quake victims on Jan. 17, the anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

``We must keep telling ourselves that being alive is not something to be taken for granted. We must treasure our everyday existence,'' she added. ``To convey this message, I will continue holding my live show unless I come down with cancer again.''

 「あれだけたくさんの人の死を、今生きている私たちが意味のあるものに変えていかなければいけない。生きていることが当たり前じゃないことを意識し、毎日を大切に過ごさなければいけない。それを伝えるため、私はがんが再発しない限りライブを続けます」。毎年1月17日に神戸市で被災者支援ライブを開いて歌う平松愛理(えり)さん。

Action cartoonist Takao Saito said: ``Japan is a country with no natural resources. Brains are all that we have. So we have to think harder about the ways to assure a secure future for this nation.''

 「日本は何の資源もない国なんだから、脳みそしかないんだから、未来のためにもっと考えないとね」とは劇画家のさいとう・たかをさん。

``The townhouses in Kyoto have walls of a nuanced red,'' said literary critic Shuichi Kato. ``I think those walls are among the most beautiful in the world. If we have to have something to be proud of, we should be proud of those walls, instead of a great military we may have.''

 「京都の町家の壁の赤のニュアンス。あれは世界で一番きれいな壁の一つだと思う。それを威張ることにして、軍隊を威張らない。どっかで威張るなら」と語る評論家の加藤周一さん。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 31(IHT/Asahi: February 16,2004) (02/16)
 
 
 
What will Kiyomi Tsujimoto do from now on?


One man was decked out in a gold necklace and bracelet, sporting a designer-brand wristwatch and expensive Nike sneakers. Another wrote poetry. Yet another studied quantum physics.

02月13日付
■《天声人語》

 金の首飾りに腕輪、デザイナーズブランドの時計をし、ナイキのシューズを履いている人がいるかと思えば、小説や詩を書いている人や量子力学を勉強している人もいる。

These people were fellow inmates of Jeffrey Archer, whom he describes in ``A Prison Diary'' (Japanese translation published by Artist House). A best seller novelist and member of the House of Lords, Archer was convicted of perjury and perverting the course of justice in July 2001.

The book provides a vivid account of life in a British prison. Name tags of different colors were hung on cell doors to identify the religious and dietary needs of inmates. Quite a few prison workers were women.

 英国の刑務所の囚人たちである。偽証などの罪で実刑判決を受けた人気作家で、上院議員のジェフリー・アーチャー氏が『獄中記』(アーティストハウス)で描いた。宗教によって礼拝や食事制限が違うため、獄房には色分けの名札が掲げられていることや女性職員がかなりいることなどの描写も印象深い。

While Archer spices his narrative with wit and levity, a comparable book by Joji Yamamoto is somber in tone and replete with depressing scenes. The former Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) member of the Lower House was sentenced to 18 months in jail for siphoning public funds through a ``name-only'' secretary.

 アーチャー氏の軽妙な叙述に比べ、山本譲司著『獄窓記』(ポプラ社)の方は重苦しい場面が多い。秘書給与をめぐって詐欺罪などで実刑になった元民主党衆院議員の山本氏が、出所するまでの体験をつづった記録である。

Titled ``Gokuso-ki'' (My life behind bars) and published by Poplar Publishing, the book documents the author's experiences until his release in 2002.

Yamamoto's assignment was to look after inmates with various disabilities. His duties included assisting them at mealtimes and cleaning up whenever they soiled themselves. The prison life Yamamoto depicts is far more regimented than Archer's. But even then, Yamamoto also recounts touching moments amid the prison population.

 彼はさまざまな障害がある囚人たちの世話係として、食事の世話から汚物の処理まできつい仕事に従事した。英国に比べて所内の規制は一段と厳しそうだ。そんな中で、心に響く人々とのやりとりも描かれる。

Archer was released last year. He has reportedly found his new cause in reforming penal institutions.

Whether he will be able to return to politics is anyone's guess, but there is no question he will continue to pursue his writing career.

Yamamoto hopes to work in social welfare, according to his book. He says he has kept reminding himself of his months behind bars as the turning point in his life.

 昨年出所したアーチャー氏は、刑務所制度の改善などを訴えていくらしい。政治家として復権できるかどうかはわからないが、作家活動を続けていくことに変わりないだろう。一昨年出所の山本氏は、福祉関係の仕事をしたい、と著書に記した。獄中生活を、自分を変える場として考え続けたという。

Kiyomi Tsujimoto, a former Social Democratic Party legislator, was found guilty of fraud in a case quite similar to Yamamoto's Thursday. But unlike Yamamoto, Tsujimoto was given a suspended sentence. Still, this does not lighten her guilt in any way. I wonder what plans she has in mind for re-starting her life.

 元社民党衆院議員の辻元清美被告に有罪判決が出た。山本氏と違って執行猶予がついた。実刑を免れたとしても有罪の荷は軽くない。どんな「再出発」を彼女は考えるのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 13(IHT/Asahi: February 14,2004) (02/14)
 
 
 
Japanese ballet dancers find their feet


Ballet is governed by many rules. It is said to have evolved from a code of courtly conduct for formal greetings. Perhaps this explains why every ballet movement-walking, running, leaping, twirling and doing a pirouette-is so structured.

Having no words to utter and relying purely on body movements to the accompaniment of music, each performer uses his or her body as the sole vehicle of self-expression.

02月12日付
■《天声人語》

 バレエというのは規則の多い舞踊だ。宮廷でのあいさつの仕方が起源ともいわれるから作法にうるさいのか。歩く、走る、跳ぶ、回る。どの動作にも決まりがある。せりふはなく、音楽にあわせて体だけで表現する。

For all the rigid rules that dictate the movements, ballet dancers move with incredible lightness and grace, raising themselves skyward in defiance of the restraints. Female dancers stand on tiptoe, as if to levitate themselves from the ground. Male dancers leap as high as they can.

 拘束だらけのなかで、驚くほどの軽やかさや優美さを見せる。拘束されながら目指すのは、天空である。動作は上へ上へと向かう。女はつま先立ちで地表から浮き上がろうとする。男は地上高く跳躍する。

``For a ballet dancer, his body is like his soul,'' said Tetsuya Kumakawa, who mesmerized the audience with his fantastic leaps while he was a principal in the Britain's Royal Ballet Company. The body must be strong and supple. ``While I am completely engrossed in dancing, I feel myself as a taut wire,'' Kumakawa noted.

 「身体はダンサーにとって自分の魂のようなものだ」とは熊川哲也さんの言だ。英国ロイヤル・バレエ団で主役として活躍した彼も、すばらしい跳躍で観客を魅了した。強くてしなやかな肉体が必要とされる。無我夢中で踊り続けるとき「自分をピンと張られたワイヤのように感じる」

It was once said that upward-oriented ballet is a dance for nomadic hunters and gatherers, while traditional Japanese dances with their low, ground-hugging center of gravity are for settled farmers and cultivators. By extension, some people used to claim Japanese were not suited for ballet.

But this argument has been rendered false by the excellence of Japanese ballet dancers at home and abroad. Or have the Japanese people already ``leaped'' beyond their farming culture?

 高く、高く、を目指すバレエが遊牧民族型なら、重心低く、地表から離れない日本の舞踊は農耕民族型といわれることがある。日本人はバレエに不向きという説もあった。いま国内外で活躍する日本人ダンサーたちを見ると、とても通用しない説だ。あるいは、日本が農耕文化から「飛躍」してしまった結果なのか。

I recently saw a performance of ``Pink Floyd Ballet'' by the Asami Maki Ballet Company in Tokyo. It was directed and choreographed by Roland Petit, a creative genius for more than half a century. The music was all rock, but the movements blended beautifully with it, enhancing, rather than destroying, the rules of ballet.

 半世紀以上にわたって斬新な舞台をつくり続けてきたローラン・プティさんが演出・振り付けをした「ピンク・フロイド・バレエ」(牧阿佐美バレヱ団)東京公演を見た。ロック音楽にあわせての踊りだ。バレエの規則を壊すことなく、ロックとの鮮やかな「融合」を果たしていた。

The audience swayed and clapped in delight, obviously enjoying the blending of the traditional and the contemporary.

 手拍子で舞台を盛り上げた観客も、伝統と現代との「融合」に溶け込んでいた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 12(IHT/Asahi: February 13,2004) (02/13)
 
 
 
25 years on, dialogue still key to Iran's future


Living in Tehran, a Japanese scholar of Islam kept a close watch on developments that culminated in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In his mind, apprehension mingled with hope about Iran's future.

Unfortunately, Hitoshi Igarashi, an assistant professor at Tsukuba University, was fatally stabbed on the school campus in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1991.

02月11日付
■《天声人語》

 79年のイラン革命に至る道をテヘランでじっと見ていたイスラム学者がいた。前途を心配しつつ、一方で期待も抱きながら。91年、大学構内で何者かに刺殺された筑波大助教授の五十嵐一さんである。

Igarashi returned to Japan just after the revolution. In a book published soon afterward, he noted that Iranians had too often experienced the sorrow of watching the fruit of their efforts dashed just as their dreams were about to become reality. If only to avoid tasting such sorrow further, he asserted, Iran should return to its traditional ways and reform them. ``Such reforms are what is mandated by Islam,'' he wrote. (The book, published by Toyo Keizai, was titled ``Iran Taiken,'' or Iranian experience.)

 五十嵐さんは革命直後に帰国、まもなく出版した本にこう記した。イランの人たちは、せっかく実りかけた果実が突風で落ちてしまう悲しみを多く味わってきた。その悲しみを繰り返さないためにも「伝統に立ち帰り、それを革新することこそイスラームの途」だ、と(『イラン体験』東洋経済新報社)。

Later, Igarashi translated Salman Rushdie's ``The Satanic Verses'' into Japanese. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, post-revolution Iran's supreme leader, condemned the book as blasphemous to Islam and sentenced the author to death. There was speculation that Igarashi's murder was connected to the role he played for Rushdie. The attacker was never caught.

 その後、五十嵐さんは、サルマン・ラシュディ著『悪魔の詩』を邦訳した。革命後の最高指導者ホメイニ師がイスラムを冒涜(ぼうとく)したとして、著者に死刑宣告をした本だった。訳本と訳者の死の関連をめぐり憶測が飛び交ったこともあったが、犯人は捕まっていない。

Just as Igarashi thought, the history of post-revolution Iran has been checkered. The struggle between reformers and conservatives continues. President Mohammad Khatami, who called for dialogue between civilizations, instead of leaving them to clash, has come under criticism from reformers as compromising with the conservatives.

 五十嵐さんが心配した革命後のイランは順風満帆とはいかなかった。いまも改革派と保守派とのせめぎ合いが続く。「文明の衝突ではなく、文明の対話を」と説いたハタミ大統領も保守派に妥協したとして、改革派から批判を浴びている。

Lawyer Shirin Ebbadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, is one of the standard bearers of the reformist camp. Critical of Khatami's recent moves, she contends that Islam is not at variance with human rights and democracy and that no attempt should be made to force Iranians to choose between the two.

The question is whether gears can be shifted to achieve a change from domestic clashes to dialogue.

 改革派の旗手の一人、ノーベル平和賞の法律家エバディさんも最近のハタミ大統領には批判的だ。彼女は「イスラムと人権・民主主義とは対立するものではない」「二者択一を迫ってはいけない」と主張を続ける。国内の「衝突」をはたして「対話」に転換できるかどうか。

Igarashi pinned his hopes for a ``new Iran'' on the young generation and the middle class. Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

 五十嵐さんは「新生イラン」の希望を若い世代と中間層に託していた。きょう革命25周年のイランである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 11(IHT/Asahi: February 12,2004) (02/12)
 
 
 
History will judge what Bush and Koizumi said


Saying he wanted to ``share'' his ``sentiment'' at the moment of his decision to invade Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush told NBC on Sunday he definitely thought Saddam Hussein was a ``threat to America.''

02月10日付
■《天声人語》

 「そのときの私の気持ちを共有してほしい。サダム・フセインがアメリカへの脅威だと思ったのは間違いない」。イラク戦争開戦についてブッシュ大統領は8日、米NBCテレビでそう語った。

His avowal was in response to a question by NBC's ``Meet the Press'' talk show host Tim Russert that perhaps Bush's decision to attack Iraq was wrong. Russert reminded Bush that when he announced his decision to go to war, he told the nation there was clear evidence that Iraq had secretly stockpiled weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The existence of WMD was later refuted due to a lack of conclusive evidence by top weapons inspector David Kay.

 大統領は「イラクが危険な兵器を隠し持っているのは間違いない」と国民に語りかけて戦争を始めた。しかし「大量破壊兵器の存在を示す証拠はなかった」と調査責任者のケイ氏が証言した。大統領は誤った判断をしたのではないか、と問われての答えだった。

During the interview, Bush repeatedly denounced the deposed Iraqi dictator as a ``dangerous madman,'' and insisted he had ``no choice'' but to deal with the threat before the situation spun out of control.

Meantime, the death toll continues to rise in Iraq. I wonder whether U.S. troops share Bush's sentiment.

 大統領は、フセイン元大統領のことを何度も「危険な男」「狂った男」と非難し、危険が切迫する前に処置する必要があったとも語った。いまなお犠牲者が絶えない戦場に派遣された兵士たちは、大統領の「気持ち」をはたして共有できるのだろうか。

In the NBC interview, Bush came across as being heavy on emotion and short on reason. This reminded me of what Bob Woodward of The Washington Post notes in his book ``Bush at War''-that the president has described himself as a ``gut player'' rather than a ``textbook player,'' and that he follows his gut instincts as if they were dogma.

The talk show itself demonstrated the danger of underestimating the power of reason. This is dangerous.

 論理よりは感情でもって訴えようとする姿勢を感じた。ワシントン・ポスト紙のウッドワード記者が著書で、大統領を「直感の人」といい、その直感はほとんど第2の宗教だ、と述べたのを思い浮かべる。「没論理」傾向の危うさが表れた番組だった。

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also on the defensive. As if to corroborate Bush's rebuttal to the testimony by Kay, Blair recently argued before Parliament that the Saddam regime had the capability to produce WMD.

Back in Japan, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says, ``So long as the person who has been hiding the weapons refuses to talk, it may be hard to find the weapons.''

 英国のブレア首相も防戦に懸命だ。ケイ証言をめぐっては議会で「フセイン政権は大量破壊兵器をつくる能力はあった」と米大統領と口裏を合わせるような反論をした。小泉首相は「隠そうとした人が言わないかぎり、見つけるのは難しいかもしれない」と。

What made the invasion of Iraq ``a war of necessity''? The answers given by the U.S., British and Japanese leaders have changed bit by bit over the past 11 months.

History will eventually judge these men, but it is still necessary to keep asking the question. (02/11)

 なぜ戦争をする必要があったのか? 米英日首脳の発言は開戦当初から少しずつ変化してきた。いずれ歴史の審判を受けるとしても、問いを発しつづけることに意味はある。
 
 
 
Tolstoy penned a brave anti-war message


To confront Czarist Russia militarily, Japanese forces landed on the Korean Peninsula on Feb. 8, 1904. Two days later, Japan declared the opening of hostilities, which formally began the Russo-Japanese War.

02月08日付
■《天声人語》

 1904年の2月8日、日本軍は朝鮮半島に上陸した。2日後に宣戦布告した。日露戦争の始まりだ。

The tide of public opinion generally had been supportive of military action. Writing in the Iwate Nippo newspaper, poet Ishikawa Takuboku, a native of Iwate Prefecture, who was 18 then, said: ``Now, the whole nation is unanimously calling for war, with millions of people pointing to the north. We are not going to war for war's sake. We are going to fight for the sake of justice, civilization, peace, and mankind's ultimate ideals.''

The Asahi Shimbun also urged the government to take a tough line with Russia.

 国論は開戦に傾いていた。18歳の石川啄木は岩手日報にこう書く。「今や挙国翕然(きふぜん)として、民(たみ)百万、北天を指さして等しく戦呼を上げて居る。戦の為めの戦ではない。正義の為、文明の為、平和の為、終局の理想の為めに戦ふのである」。朝日新聞も対露強硬論を主張した。

On the other hand, Heimin Shimbun, a weekly paper published by Kotoku Shusui and other socialists, adopted an anti-war stand. Kotoku wrote: ``Call us disloyal, fine. Call us traitors to the country, fine. If we are disloyal just because we don't sing war's praises and we don't fawn on military officers, we will gladly accept the disgrace of being called disloyal to the country.'' (Quoted from ``Kotoku Shusui,'' a book published by Ronsosha.)

 非戦を掲げる幸徳秋水らの平民新聞にはこうある。「不忠と呼ぶ可也(かなり)、国賊と呼ぶ可也、若(も)し戦争に謳歌(おうか)せず、軍人に阿諛(あゆ)せざるを以(もつ)て、不忠と名(なづ)くべくんば、我等(われら)は甘んじて不忠たらん」(『幸徳秋水』論創社)

Midway through the war, Russian novelist Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy contributed a lengthy article criticizing the Russo-Japanese War to The Times of London. The Asahi Shimbun and Kotoku's weekly carried a Japanese translation, which reads: ``War has broken out again. The military conflict, of no benefit to anyone, is merely causing widespread suffering again. The greatly foolish and brutal nature of mankind is on display again.''

 戦争のさなか、トルストイが英タイムズ紙に長文の日露戦争批判を寄稿した。朝日新聞と平民新聞に翻訳が載る。「戦争は又もや起れり、何人(なんぴと)にも無用無益なる疾苦此(ここ)に再びし(略)人類一般の愚妄残忍亦茲(またここ)に再びす」

Seven years later, Takuboku transcribed the translation in his notebook with a pen. While engaged in this work, he wrote: ``Belatedly, I have realized I was among the sort of Japanese who casually approved war from their warlike nature. Now, the Japanese navy is preparing to go to war with the United States.'' (Quoted from the complete works of Ishikawa Takuboku, published by Chikuma Shobo.)

 7年後、啄木は訳文をペンで筆写し、記す。「予も亦無雑作に戦争を是認し、且つ好む『日本人』の一人であつた」「今や日本の海軍は更に日米戦争の為に準備せられてゐる」(『石川啄木全集』筑摩書房)

A ``war and art'' exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, in Takasaki features a collection of wooden statues of soldiers who fought in the Russo-Japanese War. The 162 statues of uniformed men, standing to make a line, are about 50 centimeters tall. (The show runs through Feb. 15.)

The statues were carved in memory of the men who were conscripted from the environs of Takasaki and fell in the war against Russia. Photographic and other information was used to guide the artisans, whose works were taken to temples for storage.

 群馬県立近代美術館(高崎市)の「戦争と美術」展で「日露戦争軍人木像」を見た(15日まで)。背丈50センチほどの軍服姿の像162体が、並んで立っている。近郷出身の死者の慰霊として、写真などを参考に作られ、寺に収蔵された。

As I walked around the statues, their glass eyes sometimes flashed, reflecting the lights in the room. The tiny blinks seemed like an unspoken appeal from a century ago. (02/10)

 周りを巡る。照明の具合で、ガラスの入った目が、時に光る。その小さな明滅は、1世紀のかなたから届いた無言の訴えのようだった。
 
 
 
Low food self-sufficiency not such bad thing
The Asahi Shimbun


A steady diet of rice, grilled fish, nori seaweed and miso soup puts Japan's rate of self-sufficiency in food at an estimated 85 percent, according to a study by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. But if your diet is hamburgers, fries and cola, the figure dips to 20 percent. Thus, the ministry suggests people should eat more rice to raise self-sufficiency in food.

02月06日付
■《天声人語》

 ご飯に焼き魚、のり、みそ汁の食事だと自給率は85%、ハンバーガー、フライドポテト、コーラでは自給率が20%になる。農林水産省が試算した。自給率を高めるために、もっとご飯を食べましょう、というわけだ。

On a calorie-intake basis, Japan produces only 40 percent of the food it needs to be self-sufficient. Forty years ago, it exceeded 70 percent. Among factors contributing to this decline is the trend for more Western-style meals rather than the traditional rice-based fare, and a tendency to eat out more. Some Japanese go as far as to claim the United States changed this nation's eating habits just to sell U.S. produce as part of its occupation policy.

 カロリーに換算すると、日本の食料自給率は40%である。40年前には70%を超えていた。ご飯中心から欧米型の食事に変わってきたこと、外食が増えたことなどが原因にあげられる。占領政策を進めた米国が、自国の農産物を売りつけるために日本人の食生活を変えた。そんな説もあるほどだ。

``Food mileage'' stands for the volume of food multiplied by the distance required for transportation. It serves as an index of how much energy is used to procure food. For imported food, the food mileage is estimated at 900 billion ton-kilometers, which is three times higher than in the United States, where food self-sufficiency exceeds 100 percent.

As for the value of farm produce imports, Japan accounts for 10 percent of the global total. The nation effectively brings in food from every corner of Earth.

 フード・マイレージという言葉がある。食品の量と輸送距離とを掛け合わせた数字だ。食料調達にどれだけエネルギーを使っているかの指標になる。輸入食料についての試算では9千億トン・キロメートルで、自給率100%を超える米国の3倍にのぼった。農産物輸入額でみると、日本は世界全体の1割を占める。世界中から食材をかき集めているのが現状だ。

Fast food chains are being compelled to remove the popular gyudon dish of rice topped with beef from their menus, and the restaurant industry is working overtime to secure supplies of chicken.

Naturally, the public is concerned about food safety. In fact, a farm ministry survey found 90 percent of Japanese are worried about the food supply situation.

 街から牛丼が消え、外食産業では鶏肉の仕入れに苦心する。そんな風景が広がると、不安の方も広がる。最近の農水省調査では、国民の9割が食料供給に不安を感じている。

Ranking low on the scale of food self-sufficiency is not necessarily a bad thing, though. For one, people invariably pay closer attention to global affairs that affect the food they eat. It also makes them understand the importance of being on good terms with other nations. Everyone acutely realizes how their survival depends on the absence of war and conflict.

 自給率が低いことにも利点がないわけではない。食卓を直撃する国際情勢に敏感にならざるをえない。他国と仲良くしようとの意識も強まる。何より戦乱や紛争のない平和が、食べていくためにも大事であることを実感できる。

However, when I hear that Japan's self-sufficiency in soybeans is a mere 25 percent, I cannot help wishing for better domestic production. After all, what are uniquely Japanese foods like tofu and natto fermented beans made of? (02/07)

 ただ、とうふや納豆の原料になる食用大豆の自給率が25%と聞くと、もう少し国内産が増えてほしいとの思いも禁じえない。
 
 
 
Understanding those we aid won't be easy


More than 200 people were killed during this year's annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1990, the toll was as high as 1,426. Accidents and deaths seem inevitable every year in the confusion created by some 2 million pilgrims from around the world converging on the holy Muslim city.

02月05日付
■《天声人語》

 今年も200人以上が死亡した。毎年のように繰り返されるイスラム教の聖地メッカでの事故である。90年には1426人の死者が出た。世界中から200万人もの巡礼者が集まるだけに混乱がつきまとう。

The hajj takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar. And on the 10th day of that month, the four-day Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) begins. This is one of Islam's most important celebrations. Even the Taliban-who destroyed the historic Buddha statues of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan in March 2001-interrupted their blasting operations during the holiday period.

This year, suicide bombings in the Kurdish-dominated northern Iraqi city of Erbil killed and injured hundreds of Kurds who were celebrating the first day of Eid.

 メッカ巡礼とあわせて催される犠牲祭はイスラム世界で最も重要な祭りの一つだ。アフガニスタン・バーミヤンの大仏を破壊したタリバーンもこの期間は爆破作業を中断した。今年は犠牲祭に集まった人々をねらったテロが発生、イラクのクルド人自治区で多数の犠牲者が出た。

Islamic law regulates every aspect of people's daily lives. However, Muslims are capable of looking at life with pragmatic, even calculating eyes.

In ``Arabu-no Kakugen'' (Arabic maxims) published by Shinchosha, novelist Ayako Sono describes aspects of the Arabic world that may be hard for Japanese people to comprehend.

 生活の隅々まで宗教が支配している。一方、神を「棚上げ」にして極めて打算的、さめた目で物事を見ることもできる。作家の曽野綾子さんが『アラブの格言』(新潮新書)で日本人には理解しにくいアラブ世界の一面を浮き彫りにしている。

For instance, Sono cites the saying, ``Fast and pray, and then you can be sure something bad will happen.'' Arabs see right through to the reality of life: It has no connection to one's piety.

Another saying goes, ``A man lacking in cunning is like an empty matchbox.'' Arabs are anything but naive. They believe ``a well-told lie is better than an unbelievable truth.''

 例えば「断食して祈れ。そうすればきっとよくないことが起こる」。信仰に忠実であることと現実に起きることとの乖離(かいり)から目をそらさない。「狡(ずる)さのない男は、空のマッチ箱のようなものだ」「きちんとした嘘の方が、水っぽい真実よりましだ」。一筋縄ではいかない人たちである。

Their war-and-conflict filled history has shaped their thinking on governance: ``Centuries of oppressive rule are preferable to one night of anarchy.'' This is a cultural climate that seems hardly receptive to any American or European brand of democracy. They warn outsiders, ``Stay well away from us. If you do, we will try to like you. If you get too close, however, our curse shall be on your head.''

 「一夜の無政府主義より数百年にわたる圧政の方がましだ」。争乱の歴史経験から支配についての考えが培われた。欧米的な民主主義が簡単に根付く風土とは思えない。そして「俺たちから遠く離れていろよ。そうすれば好意を持ってやる。しかし、近づけば、呪ってやるからな」

The government says we are aiding Iraq's reconstruction. But it is no easy matter to understand the true feelings of the people we are trying to assist.

 イラクの復興支援という。しかし人々の心の中まで入って支援することは容易なことではない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 5(IHT/Asahi: February 6,2004) (02/06)
 
 
 
There's more to a name than simple identity


Giving a name to something invariably is a fairly solemn occasion. It is especially so with newborn babies.

02月04日付
■《天声人語》

 名前を付けるという行いは、子どもなどの命名に限らず、なにがしかの厳粛さを伴うものである。

But I chuckled to myself when I learned that some of the rocks in the area being probed by the Martian rovers are named sushi and sashimi (sliced raw fish) after their shapes. ``Collect a pinch of what looks like rice grains on the side of sushi.'' I wonder instructions like this are being radioed through space to the unmanned vehicles.

 しかし、火星に行っている探査機の近くの岩に、その形によって「スシ」や「サシミ」というニックネームがつけられていると知り、笑いを誘われた。「スシの側面の粒々のシャリのようなところを一つまみ採取せよ」。こんな指令が、宇宙を飛んでいるのだろうか。

Not so delightful is the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes' plan to put up the professional baseball team's name for sale. Apparently, the idea is to trade its name for billions of yen. My concern is that besides its name, the Buffaloes could end up losing what money cannot buy.

 単純には笑えなかったのが、大阪近鉄バファローズが打ち出した球団名の売却構想だ。名を売って実を得ようとの企てらしいが、何十億円ともいう対価と引き換えに実質をも失ってしまわないかと、少々気になる。

Trading ``naming rights'' is said to have taken hold as a business in the United States. Only Americans could have conceived the business of linking brands in the form of names to money.

In this country, however, names-namae or just na in Japanese-have traditionally been perceived as weightier than just trademarks or forms of identification.

 このネーミングライツ(命名権)ビジネスというやり方は、米国で定着したものだそうだ。名前というブランドが、直ちにお金につながるところが、あの国らしい。だが、こちらの国では、「名前」や「名」というものは、商標や目印を超えた重みを持たされてきた。

This is evident in expressions like na ni shiou (live up to fame, or just famous), na ni somuku (betray one's good name), na wa taiwo arawasu (one is what one's name stands for), na wo oshimu (honor one's good name), na wo kegasu (sully one's good name), na wo susugu (clear one's name), and na wo ageru (make one's name).

One way to look at these phrases is that they demonstrate the traditional tendency of Japanese to say what is expected of them, rather than uttering what they feel in their heart. In a country where people live by these phrases, it is difficult to claim that a name can be changed without affecting what it represents.

 「名にし負う」「名に背く」「名は体を表す」「名を惜しむ」「名を汚す」「名を雪(すす)ぐ」「名をあげる」。本音を抑えた建前大事の精神が表れた言い回しとも言える。そして、名前の変更はあくまで名前だけのことで中身はまた別の物、というような割り切り方をしにくい風土が、成句にからんで見える。

Reaction to the Buffaloes' plan to sell its name has been mixed. While the idea has come under strong criticism from the professional baseball world, it has been hailed by some people.

Members of the team, who may have to play in uniforms bearing a new name, should join the debate by raising their voices. A widened debate may prove beneficial to the public as a whole by illuminating how people's behavior is affected by the balance between names and the reality they represent and between sentiment felt at heart and action taken on principle.

 売却構想には、球界からの強い批判があり、賛同の声もある。新しい「名前」を着せられるかもしれない選手たちも声をあげて、論じ合ったら良い。今のこの国の、名と実、本音と建前のありようも、浮かんでくるかも知れない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 4(IHT/Asahi: February 5,2004) (02/05)
 
 
 
Confrontation between BBC and Whitehall


According to the Japanese edition of ``Margaret Thatcher: The Downing Street Years'' published by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the former British prime minister lauded a BBC reporter during the Falkland Islands war of 1982. She said to the effect that she was vastly relieved by the truthfulness of reports filed by the broadcaster's Brian Hanrahan.

02月03日付
■《天声人語》

 英国のサッチャー元首相がBBC記者をほめたことがある。82年のフォークランド戦争のときで「BBCのすぐれた記者ブライアン・ハンラハンがあの有名な放送のなかで、真実を伝えた」「大きな救いであった」(『サッチャー回顧録』日本経済新聞社)。

In the report in question, Hanrahan disproved Argentinian claims that Royal Air Force aircraft had been attacked and damaged.

In the same memoirs, however, Thatcher voiced a litany of complaints against the BBC and the broadcast media in general. Her main grievance was that whatever objection she raised with media coverage would be immediately construed as censorship and a violation of media neutrality.

 アルゼンチン側の発表と違って英軍機に被害がなかったことを報じる放送だった。同じ回顧録で彼女は、BBCをはじめ放送界への苦情も多々言い立てている。何か注文をつけると、検閲だ、独立性の侵害だと騒ぎ立てられる、と。

In a recent issue, The Guardian newspaper recalled the history of confrontation between the BBC and the British government.

In 1940, writes Mark Oliver, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted to ``establish more effective control'' of the BBC. Churchill expressed this view in a memo to Duff Cooper, who headed the Ministry of Information. ``In the 1950s, (Churchill) claimed the BBC was full of Communists,'' Oliver continues.

Politicians tend to become testy when they don't get their way.

 ガーディアン紙がBBCと政府との対立を振り返っていた。例えばチャーチル首相である。戦中の40年、情報相に「BBCをもう少し効果的に統制できないものか」とメモを送ったり、戦後も共産主義者の巣窟(そうくつ)だと非難したりした。自分の意のままにならないといらだつ政治家たちである。

And now, the BBC is said to be facing the worst crisis in its history. The cause was the much-publicized report concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the assumed presence of which became the British government's justification for joining the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Following the conclusion recently drawn by an investigating committee-the BBC's charge that the government had exaggerated the threat of the weapons was groundless-the corporation's top executives resigned.

Had the investigating committee drawn a reverse conclusion, it could have forced Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign.

 BBCが創立以来の危機にあるという。イラク戦争の開戦理由になった大量破壊兵器についての放送がきっかけだ。政府が誇張をしたと報じたことに根拠がなかったとの調査報告が出た。最高幹部らが辞任した。逆の結論だとブレア首相の辞任を招いたかもしれない。

Yet, the British public does not fully trust the government. An opinion poll found 31 percent of Britons side with the BBC, 10 percent with the government, and 49 percent trusting neither.

 これで政府への不信が解消したわけではない。BBCを信用する31%、政府10%、どちらも信用しない49%、という世論調査もあった。

BBC world affairs correspondent John Simpson told The Guardian: ``It would be the worst thing possible if the corporation suddenly became more timid in its reporting. This is no time for editors, producers and reporters to go soft. Of course we must only report what we know is demonstrably true-but that's what we've always done anyway.''

 以前この欄でも紹介したBBC記者のシンプソン氏はこう語る。「最悪の事態は報道に臆病(おくびょう)になることだ。ひるんではいけない。確かに、知っていることだけを報じるべきだ。私たちがいつもしてきたことだ」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 3(IHT/Asahi: February 4,2004) (02/04)
 
 
 
Inventor turned adversity his advantage


By his own account, Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the blue light-emitting diode (LED), had nothing working for him-no money and no manpower.

The engineer made the revelation in a speech he gave when he was presented with the Asahi Award three years ago.

For him, the blue LED research was a sink or swim gamble. He blindly pursued the project with the devotion of a man who had nothing to lose.

02月01日付
■《天声人語》

 金も無い、人も無い、何も無い。そんなところで、いちかばちかのトライをした。青色発光ダイオードの製法を発明した中村修二さんは、3年前の朝日賞受賞のあいさつでそう語っていた。ほとんどやけくそになって深くのめり込んだ結果だった、と。

After finishing Tokushima University's graduate school, Nakamura took a job at Nichia Corp., a chemical company also located in Tokushima Prefecture. The choice was partly due to family circumstances. The research environment Nichia offered him was bare bones compared with the abundance of equipment available to researchers at major corporations. But the paucity of available resources worked as a lever for his great invention.

 中村さんは徳島大学の大学院を出た後、家族の都合もあって地元の日亜化学工業に就職した。大企業の恵まれた研究施設とは比べものにならない環境だった。しかし、そのことが大きな発明につながった。

Unable to test all avenues, Nakamura had to choose a single path of development and pursue it blindly. Initially, the path he chose was one with little likelihood of succeeding. Along the way, when a knotty problem cropped up, he used his own hands to make the necessary mechanical improvement. In this way, he turned the weakness of being a solo researcher into an advantage.

 あれもこれもと手を伸ばすことはできない。開発の方向を一つにしぼって邁進(まいしん)した。それも、当時は成功の可能性が薄そうな方向だったそうだ。途中、難題にぶつかると、自分の手作業で装置を改良しながら前へ進んだ。独力の弱みを強みに変えた。

Nichia did not provide sufficient support for Nakamura. Instead of being helpful, he says the company once instructed him to call off his blue LED research. His superiors may have regarded him as a troublesome employee, a man who refused to give up on a project they did not believe in because there was no telling whether it would be commercially successful.

 会社からの支援も強力とはいえなかった。それどころか本人の話によると、研究中止の指示が出たこともあったそうだ。会社から見れば、成果が出るかどうかわからない研究に勝手に没頭している扱いにくい社員だったのかもしれない。

The engineer's success in developing the blue LED manufacturing method brought him increased opportunity to meet foreign researchers. They were curious to learn how Nakamura's salary had risen for an invention worthy of a Nobel Prize and how else he had been rewarded. When the engineer told them, they regularly responded by saying, ``You are as good as a slave.''

製法の開発に成功して、海外の研究者らと交流する機会が増えた。彼らはノーベル賞級の発明をした中村さんの給与や待遇を聞いて驚いたそうだ。「まるでスレイブ(奴隷)ではないか」とからかわれたという。

The Tokyo District Court awarded Nakamura 20 billion yen, the full amount he had sought from Nichia, based on a calculation that his invention was worth 60.4 billion yen. It was a ruling that shook up relations between companies and their employees, giving dreams to engineers and researchers working in corporate laboratories and dealing a hard blow to employers in general, prodding them to engage in self-examination on their present practice.

 東京地裁は、中村さんの発明の対価を604億円と算定し、請求していた200億円の支払いを会社に命じた。会社と社員との関係を揺さぶる判決だった。会社勤めの技術者・研究者には夢を与え、企業社会には、反省を促す痛撃になった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 1(IHT/Asahi: February 3,2004) (02/03)
 
 
 
A formula that spices up physics classes


Writing to The Asahi Shimbun the other day, a university student said that back in his senior high school days, he had been disappointed at the classroom work on physics, feeling fed up with having to dedicate time and energy to minute calculations and simply memorizing formulas. But an encounter with a certain book taught him the joy of learning.

01月25日付
■《天声人語》

 高校の物理学の授業に失望したという投書が先日、本紙に寄せられた。細かい計算や公式をひたすら暗記させるやり方に嫌気がさした。しかし、ある本に出合って学ぶことの喜びを知った、と。

The book he cited is ``Butsuri Nyumon'' (An introduction to physics), written by Yoshitaka Yamamoto, a lecturer at a preparatory school. He went through its pages so many times that the book fell into tatters. He was especially moved by the chapter on electromagnetics.

Yamamoto was recently given the Osaragi Jiro Award, an Asahi Shimbun-funded prize, for ``Jiryoku-to Juryoku-no Hakken'' (The discovery of magnetic force and gravity), a three-volume book published by Misuzu Shobo. I assume this book represents an elaboration of the thought that formed the background of the primer.

 ある本とは予備校講師の山本義隆さんの『物理入門』だった。投書した大学生はぼろぼろになるほどに読み込んだそうだ。とくに電磁気学の章に感動したという。こんど大佛次郎賞に決まった山本さんの『磁力と重力の発見』全3巻(みすず書房)は『入門』の背景にある思想を発展、深化させた書なのだろう。

A high number of students were found to be poor in science and mathematics in a nationwide scholastic test of third-year senior high school students, conducted by the education and science ministry. In science, for example, students with no understanding of the basic concepts, such as elements and gravity, stand out.

 文部科学省が全国の高校3年生を対象に実施した学力テストでは、理科と数学が苦手な生徒が際だって多かった。理科では、たとえば元素や重力という基本的な概念を理解していない生徒が目立つ。

Those who read Yamamoto's prize-winning work learn what an amazingly circuitous road human beings had to trudge until they reached the concept of gravity. The search for a force that affects things from a distance was long viewed as belonging to the domain of magic, rather than that of learning. Not just Plato and Aristotle, but even Galileo, a genius who came along much later, failed to give thought to the possibility that there could be such a thing as gravity.

 山本さんの受賞作を読むと、人間が重力というものにたどりつくまでに、いかに曲がりくねった道をたどったかがわかる。離れた物体に力を及ぼすことの探求は、学問ではなくどちらかといえば魔術の領域だった。古代の 哲学者プラトンやアリストテレスはもちろん、近代の天才ガリレオさえも重力には思い至らなかった。

In modern pursuits of learning, we take up, most of the time, only the results of deliberation by these and other thinkers of the past. Their conclusions now typically take the form of formulas and principles that are taught in senior high school. It is only natural that if cramming formulas into heads is the only thing students are supposed to do in the classroom, the work will tend to become dull and uninteresting.

現代の私たちは、先人たちが考え抜いた末の成果だけをつまみ食いすることが多い。高校で学ぶ公式や原理原則がその典型だ。それだけを頭に詰め込む作業は無味乾燥に陥りやすいだろう。

For some years, the education and science ministry's policy has been to educate students at a leisurely pace. Now, critics often point out that there is a basic incompatibility between this approach and the ministry's efforts not to let scholarship levels slip.

If so, why not let teachers tell students about the human suffering lying behind the formulas and principles? If teachers take such a leisurely approach themselves, I think it could help raise scholarship levels.

 「ゆとり」と「学力低下」との背反がよく語られる。たとえば、公式の背景にあった人間の苦闘を教える。そんなゆとりが教育現場にあれば、学力向上にもつながるのではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 25(IHT/Asahi: February 2,2004) (02/02)
 
 
 
Fascinating experiences of `travelers in time'


During an awards presentation ceremony Wednesday, the recipients of the annual Asahi, Jiro Osaragi and Jiro Osaragi Rondan prizes for outstanding cultural contributions offered their respective insights on the concept of time. I have since ruminated on their illuminating observations.

01月30日付
■《天声人語》

 時間について考えさせられた。一昨日の朝日賞・大佛賞・大佛論壇賞の贈呈式でのことだ。受賞者たちは様々な時間について語った。

Eiji Oguma discussed ideas of ``postwar.'' When Japan surrendered at the end of World War II in 1945, Oguma noted, only 40 years had passed since the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Invariably, he contended, people still thought in terms of that ``old'' postwar period when they contemplated its ``new'' counterpart in 1945.

Come to think of it, many people today remember the signing of the 1960 Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as recent history. But, Oguma noted, this is not the case with younger Japanese who have no first-hand experience of the postwar economic miracle. Collective memory probably lasts no more than 20 to 30 years, he concluded.

 小熊英二さんは戦後を語る。敗戦の年の1945年は、日露戦争から40年しかたっていない。当時、二つの戦後が重ね合わせて考えられたのは必然だろう。現在から60年安保を振り返るほどの近い過去だった。一方、いまの若い世代は高度経済成長さえも実感として知らない。「集合的記憶」は20〜30年ほどしかもたないのではないか、と。

Hideaki Shinoda, who watches current developments around the world, reported that about 20,000 Sudanese refugees have left their country in the last 10 days. This is a crisis, he stressed. But there are people all over the world devoting their lives to peacemaking and humanitarian aid work, and Shinoda spoke of his solidarity with such efforts.

 世界でいま起こりつつあることに目を向けるのは篠田英朗さん。スーダンでは、ここ10日間で約2万人の難民が国外に出た。事態は切迫している。そんな中、世界各地で人道支援や平和構築のために日々献身的に活動している人々がいる。彼らとの連帯を語った。

Saiichi Maruya talked of the stratiform nature of time. He noted Lake Biwako will keep moving north until it becomes part of the Sea of Japan about one million years from now. Maruya then juxtaposed this sort of geological time span to the 1,000-year history of Japanese literature since ``The Tale of Genji'' was written, as well as to our contemporary era.

 丸谷才一さんは重層する時間について。琵琶湖は北上を続け100万年後には日本海に消えるだろう。そんな地球の時間と、源氏物語が世に出てから千年の文学史、そして私たちが生きる同時代のことを。

Hideki Kanbara and Yasushi Miyashita discoursed on the ``intensity'' of time in the fast-moving world of science. While Kanbara explained he does his research in 10-year spans, Miyashita described the rapid advances made in the last few years in the study of the human brain.

Yoshitaka Yamamoto has written on the history of human intellectual development over two millennia.

And there is Ikuo Hirayama, who continues his crusade to protect cultural assets from destruction while tracing the roots of civilization along the Silk Road.

 めまぐるしく動く科学の世界の濃密な時間については神原秀記さんと宮下保司さんだ。10年を目標に研究を進めた神原さん、ここ数年の進展が著しい脳科学については宮下さん。一方、2千年以上にわたる人類の知の歴史をまとめた山本義隆さんや、悠然たる文明の足跡をシルクロードにたどりつつ、破壊が進む文化財の保護を訴える平山郁夫さんがいる。

The world reveals its many faces according to the time span or aspects of time being looked at. The talks enabled me to share the fascinating experiences of those ``travelers in time.''

 どの時間軸をとるかで世界は違った顔を見せる。「時間の旅人」たちの多彩な経験談だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 30(IHT/Asahi: January 31,2004) (01/31)
 
 
 
Be prepared for the worst in an epidemic


In an 18th-century Venetian painting, the colossal dome of the Santa Maria della Salute church dominates the center. In the foreground is the Grand Canal, crowded with boats as throngs of people cross a floating bridge that extends from the San Marco district to the church.

The painting is popularly known by the longish title of ``The Doge of Venice Goes to the Salute on 21 November to Commemorate the End of the Plague of 1630.'' It was created by Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), a native of Venice.

01月29日付
■《天声人語》

 真ん中に、大きなドームを持つ教会がある。その前の運河に船が並び、渡された仮の橋から大勢の人々が教会へと向かっている。「サンタ・マリア・デラ・サルーテ聖堂への行進」という絵である。18世紀に、イタリアのベネチアの画家、フランチェスコ・グアルディが描いた。

This scenic city used to be dubbed the ``Queen of the Adriatic.'' But Guardi's picture tells the story of how Venice dealt with repeated outbreaks of plague that swept Europe centuries ago.

In the 17th century, more than 10,000 Venetians were dying every month. The citizens prayed for deliverance, promising God a new church if He would stop the plague.

God did answer their prayer, so the story goes. The grateful people of Venice made good their promise with the construction of Santa Maria della Salute, and they began celebrating the ``Festa della Salute'' on Nov. 21 every year by laying a pontoon bridge across the Grand Canal and walking over it to the church.

 「アドリア海の女王」といわれた街の風光を伝えるこの絵は、欧州で大流行を繰り返したペストとのかかわりが深いという。17世紀、ベネチアでは、ひと月に1万人以上が死亡した。疫病の終息を祈って、人々は新しい聖堂の建設を神に誓う。約束は守られ、そのサルーテ聖堂への「架橋祭」が営まれるようになった。

I was reminded of Guardi's painting while reading about how quickly epidemics spread in various historic times in the book, ``Kansensho to Tatakau'' (Battling infectious diseases), just released in the Iwanami Shinsho paperback series.

In the Middle Ages, according to this book, 70 million people died of plague worldwide in just a few years. This pandemic decimated two-thirds of the population of Europe.

 この絵を思い出したのは、新刊の『感染症とたたかう』(岩波新書)に、疫病の流行の速さと時代との関係に触れたところがあったからだ。中世のペストでは、数年間に世界で7千万人が死亡し、欧州の人口が3分の1になったという。

The Spanish influenza of 1918, which is believed to have killed about 40 million people, took more than seven months to spread around the world.

The book warns that given today's high-speed mass transportation systems and overpopulation in congested areas, an outbreak of any ``new-type flu'' could spread worldwide within four to seven days, and people everywhere would be showing symptoms of contagion within a month.

 4千万人が死亡したともいわれる1918年のスペインかぜは、世界全体に広がるのに7カ月以上を要した。将来「新型インフルエンザ」が出現した場合は、交通の大量高速化や人口の過密によって、わずか4日から7日で世界中に広まり、1カ月以内には各地で患者が出始める可能性を指摘している。

This prediction leaves me feeling helpless. In this day and age, however, there are other things we can do besides just pray.

The first step in preventing any epidemic is to be fully cognizant of the worst-case scenario, ensuring information is disclosed and shared with the public the moment it becomes available.

 天を仰ぐ思いがする。しかし、祈るしかない時代でもない。最悪のシナリオをしっかりと描きながら、情報の速やかな公開と共有に努めることが防疫の第一歩だ。

In Thailand, an emergency meeting has been held to address the avian flu epidemic. How is Japan going to deal with this international quandary? This is a real test.

 タイで、鳥インフルエンザの緊急会議が開かれた。国際的な難問への、日本の尽力が問われる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 29(IHT/Asahi: January 30,2004) (01/30)
 
 
 
Earthquakes always offer a valuable lesson


Sugae Masumi lived during the second half of the Edo Period (1603-1867) and spent his life traveling around Japan. He was still a young man when he left his native province of Mikawa (now Aichi Prefecture) for his first trip. He never returned.

Besides being a great traveler, Sugae was a folklorist. He experienced a disastrous earthquake while passing through the Oga Peninsula in what is now Akita Prefecture.

01月17日付
■《天声人語》

 江戸時代の後期に、菅江真澄という人がいた。若い頃、今の愛知県にあたる三河の生地を出て諸国を旅し、帰郷することはなかった。たぐいまれな旅行家であり、民俗学者でもあった真澄は、秋田の男鹿半島で遭遇した大地震の体験を記している。

``The eaves of houses tilted badly, and people fled outside,'' Sugae wrote in an account. ``Crying and shouting, people madly ran about, not knowing where to go for safety. They were leading the sick and the elderly by their hands,'' he went on. ``I saw a woman running about, holding an ichigo straw baby basket upside down. The house where I was staying was built close to a hill. But the part of the hill adjoining the eaves of the house was crumbling. Sensing that my life was in danger, I clung to trees and eventually sought safety in a bamboo grove.'' (Sugae Masumi's travel journals are published by Toyo Bunko.)

 「軒・庇(ひさし)がかたむき、人びとは戸外に逃げまどい、泣き叫びながら病人や老人の手をとり、市籠(いちこ)(乳児をいれておく藁(わら)製の籠(かご))の乳児をさかさにかかえて走りまわるものもある……軒端の山も崩れ落ちるありさまで、生命の危険を感じて、樹にすがり、竹の林にのがれた」(『菅江真澄遊覧記』東洋文庫)。

Toshikazu Yasumizu, a poet living in Kobe, has been following Sugae's footsteps for nearly 40 years. ``Sugae's travel journals are records of his observation in each of the villages he visited. Every time I read them, I always find something new,'' he says. ``I can imagine that the moment he sat down, old women and children started talking to him. He was that sort of person.''

 神戸市在住の詩人、安水稔和さんは、真澄の歩いた道を40年近くたどり続けてきた。「村々で見たことを記録していて、読み返すたびに新しい。真澄がすっと座ると、おばあちゃんや子どもがすっと話し出す」と語っている。

Yasumizu's house in Kobe's Nagata Ward was badly damaged in the Great Hanshin Earthquake on Jan. 17, 1995. Since then, he has been writing poems about life in the quake-stricken areas and the people who inhabit them.

 95年の1月17日、安水さんは、あの震災に遭う。長田区の自宅は半壊した。以来、被災地と人々の姿を詠み続けている。

A collection of these poems has been published under the title of ``Ikiteiru-to Iu Koto'' (The meaning of being alive). A particularly appealing poem from the collection, published by Henshu Kobo Noah, goes: ``Someone laid a bouquet of flowers/ On a mound of broken rubble/ I can sense the mortification of the flowers.''

The Great Hanshin Earthquake made rubble of every thing that until the moment it hit had protected and enveloped the people living there. The contrast between the rubble and the flowers still pulsating with life is almost terrifying.

 詩集『生きているということ』(編集工房ノア)を開く。「砕けた瓦礫に/そっと置かれた/花の/くやしさ」。その瞬間までは人々と共にあり、人々を守り、包んでいたものたちが「瓦礫」となる。それと、命をもつ造形である花との鮮烈な出合いに、立ちすくむ思いがする。

Nine years have passed since the earthquake. To mark this year's anniversary, Yasumizu composed this poem: ``This is what happened once/ This is what will happen sometime/ That makes it something to remember well/ We must remember it repeatedly/ So that we will be able to live on.''

 9年という月日がたち、今日10年目に入る。「これはいつかあったこと。/これはいつかあること。/だからよく記憶すること。/だから繰り返し記憶すること。/このさき/わたしたちが生きのびるために。」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 17(IHT/Asahi: January 29,2004) (01/29)
 
 
 
War advocates: Don't forget the body count


A truck carrying supplies ordered by the Defense Agency was attacked outside Baghdad, resulting in the death of the Jordanian driver. This occurred in an area known for repeated assaults on occupation forces by Saddam Hussein loyalists. This particular attack may not have been directed at the Self-Defense Forces, but it certainly made me feel Japan had moved a step closer to the battleground.

01月27日付
■《天声人語》

 イラクで、防衛庁発注の品を輸送中の車が襲われ、運転手が死亡した。旧フセイン勢力による占領軍への襲撃が続く地域という。自衛隊を狙ったのではないかもしれないが、日本が「戦場」に一歩近づいたかのような思いがした。

The government has officially ordered the dispatch of the main Ground Self-Defense Force unit and a Maritime SDF contingent. Some members of the advance GSDF unit returned to Japan after a 36-hour stay in Samawah. Was that enough time to assess the situation thoroughly? Or was this just for show and the dispatch of the main GSDF unit already a foregone conclusion?

The government says troops are being sent to assist in Iraq's reconstruction. But given safety concerns, as well as the fact the dispatch will crucially affect Japan's course, I must say the decision appears to have been made far too frivolously.

 陸上自衛隊の本隊と海上自衛隊に、イラクへの派遣命令が出された。1日半のサマワ滞在で、先遣隊の一部は帰国した。調べは、十分なされたのだろうか。それとも、本隊派遣は既定のことで、形だけの先遣調査だったのか。復興支援のための派遣とはいうが、隊員の安全と、日本の針路にかかわる重い選択にしては、判断の仕方が軽い。

At this critical juncture, I cannot but wonder how many lives have been lost since U.S. and British forces staged their pre-emptive assault on Iraq. U.S. troop fatalities are said to have exceeded 500, of whom about 70 percent occurred since the United States declared an end to major combat operations.

And according to a recent report, suicide was the cause of at least 21 deaths out of 153 noncombat American deaths. The report also pointed out about 400 U.S. soldiers have left Iraq for ``war-related stress.''

 この大きな節目を迎えて、米英の先制攻撃以来、どれだけの人が失われたかと思う。米兵は、500人を超えたという。大規模戦闘終結宣言以降の死者が、約7割を占める。先日は、非戦闘中の死者153人のうち少なくとも21人が自殺との報道があった。「戦争のストレス」が原因で、ストレスなどでイラクを離れた兵士は約400人に上る。

Iraqi deaths are more difficult to count. As of November last year, the estimates ranged from 4,895 to 6,370 for combatants and 7,840 to 9,668 for noncombatants. The total must exceed 10,000.

 イラク人の死者は、把握しにくい。昨年11月、戦闘員が4895〜6370人、非戦闘員が7840〜9668人との記事があった。合わせて1万人を超えるのだろうか。

The head of a special U.S. investigative team has resigned after months of searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He concluded it was unlikely Iraq had such weapons when the war started.

This is an extremely grave statement. I want to ask those who justified the war on the grounds of Iraq's possession of those weapons, ``Does the body count mean anything to you?''

 大量破壊兵器を捜し続けてきた米調査団の団長が辞任し、開戦時にイラクにそうした兵器が「あったとは思わない」と述べた。重大な発言だ。先制攻撃の根拠にした人たちは、死者の問いかけを聞いただろうか。

The same question is directed not only at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who supported the attack, but also at the Diet and the Japanese people.

 その無言の問いは、攻撃を支持した小泉首相だけではなく、国会や国民にも向けられている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 27(IHT/Asahi: January 28,2004) (01/28)
 
 
 
Japan crossing Rubicon with Iraqi mission


A nation's fortune can significantly change, depending on what decisions are made when it reaches a crossroads. Historians agree that Japan erred badly when it sent troops to Siberia in 1918, thereby getting involved in the Bolshevik Revolution that was still sweeping through Russia. This is evident from the series of later missteps that can be traced to that decision.

Japan later got bogged down in war in China, the prelude to this country's entry into World War II. This happened precisely because the nation had failed to learn lessons from the Siberian misadventure.

01月24日付
■《天声人語》

 いろいろな岐路があるが、あのときから日本は変になった。歴史家らがそう指摘する岐路の一つが1918年からのシベリア出兵だった。ロシア革命後のソ連への干渉戦争である。あの失敗を教訓として生かせなかったために、その後泥沼のような戦争に突き進むことになった、と。

From Siberia, a young officer wrote to political scientist Sakuzo Yoshino. The man wrote that even though it was essential for a military force overseas to have the support of citizens back home, the majority of ``our fellow countrymen'' did not understand the significance of the mission, nor did troops understand why they had been sent. (The letter can be found in Volume 6 of a history book covering Japan's past century, published by Chikuma Shobo.)

 戦地から政治学者の吉野作造にあてた青年将校の手紙がある。軍隊にとって最も大切なのは国民の後援があることだが「多数同胞はむしろ出征の無意義を唱えているありさまである」。兵士も何のために出征したかを理解していないと訴えた(『日本の百年 6』筑摩書房)。

The government and political parties were in sharp disagreement on the wisdom of sending Japanese Imperial Army troops to Siberia. Takashi Hara, president of the largest party, Seiyukai, advised the government not to dispatch troops overseas unless the need for self-defense called for such action. But the military and young bureaucrats continued full tilt with behind-the-scenes preparations for the Siberian mission.

 派兵については、政府・政党間でも足並みがそろっていなかった。第一党の政友会総裁原敬は「自衛の必要以外ではみだりに兵を動かすべきではない」と政府に進言していた。しかし、裏では軍や若手官僚が着々と出兵準備を進めていた。

The decision to send troops effectively resulted from the government's acceptance of a U.S. proposal for joint military intervention. But it turned out to be a disastrous war with a heavy casualty toll. A book on diplomatic history published shortly afterward noted: ``In the end, Japan made the folly of finding itself to be the only country that incurred the resentment of Russian people, even though we sent troops together with other powers.''

 米国の共同出兵提案に乗るかたちで派兵に踏み切ったが、犠牲者の多い悲惨な負け戦だった。「列強と共々に兵をシベリアに出しながら、結局は我が国独り露国民の反感を深く買ふの愚に陥つた」。ほぼ同時代に出た外交史の書もそう記した。

The government was drawn into intervention by hard-liners. The rationale was unclear. The aims of the Siberian mission were expanded midway, and the troops were unable to cope with guerrilla warfare. The government missed several opportunities to bring them home quickly. The mission left many lessons to be learned.

 強硬派に引きずられた。大義が不明確だった。途中から目的が拡大していった。ゲリラ戦に対応できなかった。撤兵の機会を逃した。様々な教訓を残した派兵である。

Now, teams of the Self-Defense Forces are leaving for Iraq, seen off by people waving small Hinomaru Rising Sun flags. These scenes fill us with a sense that we are crossing the Rubicon again.

Japan is at a major crossroads, even though the present era is incomparable with the days of Siberian intervention.

 日の丸の小旗に送られて自衛隊員たちがイラクに向けて出発していく。「ルビコン川を渡っていく」との感が深い。シベリア出兵時とは時代状況がまるで違うとはいえ、大きな岐路にある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 24(IHT/Asahi: January 27,2004) (01/27)
 
 
 
Bush opts for utility with new space program


U.S. President John F. Kennedy's 1961 speech unveiling the Apollo space program to put man on the moon was so moving that planetary scientist Carl Sagan ``felt dizzy,'' as he recalled that eventful day.

01月18日付
■《天声人語》

 「私は目がくらむ思いだった」。61年、ケネディ米大統領が月に人を送り込むアポロ計画を発表したときの感動を、惑星科学者のカール・セーガンはそう言って回想している。

As he spoke, Kennedy was full of confidence, Sagan said. The speech was delivered just after the Soviet Union succeeded with its first manned space flight. The United States was under pressure to regain its lead in space development. While putting the American public on notice that the Apollo program would take years and vast amounts of money to execute, the young president declared, ``We should go to the moon.''

 「自信に満ちた演説」だったと彼がいうケネディ演説は、ソ連が初の有人宇宙飛行を成功させた直後のことだった。米国は宇宙開発での主導権を取り戻すことを迫られていた。長い年月と巨大な費用がかかるが「私たちは月を目指すべきだ」と若き大統領は強く呼びかけた。

During his space flight, Yuri Gagarin, the first Soviet cosmonaut, famously remarked, ``The Earth is blue.'' But it became clear after the fall of the Soviet Union that Gagarin had been extremely lucky. Officials on the ground knew that he had embarked on a very risky mission. In fact, he faced life-and-death situations throughout the mission.

 「地球は青かった」で知られる初の宇宙飛行士ガガーリンの成功が、薄氷を踏むような危なっかしいものだったことは、ソ連崩壊とともに明るみに出てきた。当時の関係者も危険の大きさを認識していた。実際、危機一髪の事態も起きた。

Unlike Kennedy's address, there was no sense of urgency about the new U.S. space strategy announced by President George W. Bush the other day. Many observers coolly dismissed it as a ploy to help facilitate Bush's re-election.

It would be better to describe Bush's plan as ``practical,'' rather than ``grand.'' Stressing utility, the president said in his speech, ``We may discover resources on the moon or Mars that will boggle the imagination, that will test our limits to dream.''

 先日ブッシュ大統領が打ち上げた宇宙戦略には、ケネディ演説のころのような切迫感はない。「大統領選向け」という冷ややかな見方も少なくない。内容は壮大というよりは、堅実といった方がいいだろう。「月や火星でびっくりするような資源が見つかるかもしれない」と実利を強調したりもしていた。

When Bush's father announced a program to reach Mars in 1989, he often referred to it as ``America's dream'' and used other uplifting expressions. Congressional objections foiled it. It remains to be seen whether his son can carry on the dream that failed to materialize under Bush senior.

 父のブッシュ大統領が89年、火星を目指す計画を発表したときには、たびたび「アメリカの夢」という言葉をつかい、高揚した口ぶりだった。議会の反対で挫折した。実現しなかった父の夢を、はたして息子が引き継ぐことができるか。

Space programs should not be a tool to divert people's attention from conflicts on Earth. Still, to fire rockets for space exploration is far better than to fire guns at humans.

 地球上の争乱から人々の目をそらそうという夢であってはなるまい。が、人間に向けて銃を撃つよりは、宇宙に向けてロケットを打ち上げる方がはるかにいい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 18(IHT/Asahi: January 26,2004) (01/26)
 
 
 
A land of poets blessed with `soul' of words


When I'm overseas, I am sometimes asked, ``Is it true that Japanese newspapers have a poetry section you can send your works to?'' Many people are impressed when I reply, ``Yes, most newspapers invite readers to send in their short poems known as haiku and tanka.''

01月23日付
■《天声人語》

 「日本の新聞には詩の投稿欄があるそうですね」。海外で尋ねられることがある。「たいていの新聞は俳句や短歌という短い詩を募集し、掲載しています」と答えると、感心した表情を見せる人が多い。

Skilled or unskilled, I imagine every Japanese has written haiku or tanka at least once in their lives. Japan could be dubbed a nation of 100 million poets. A nationwide contest of 17-syllable haiku and 31-syllable tanka, sponsored recently by Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), had more than 120,000 entries.

There were 37,000 haiku entries for the junior division for junior high school children and younger.

 巧拙は別にして、誰でも一度は俳句や短歌をつくったことがあるのではないか。1億総詩人といえるかもしれない。先日催されたNHK全国俳句・短歌大会には12万を超える作品が寄せられた。中学生以下のジュニアの部の俳句は約3万7千句にのぼる。

Among the Grand Prize winners was an elementary school first grader, who wrote: ``Waking up in the morning/ I sneeze/ It's autumn.'' Another gem by a third-year junior high school student went: ``I love books/ Wish I could live in a library.''

You feel the power of words in these simple, direct utterances.

 〈あさおきてくしゃみをひとつあきになる〉。大賞受賞作の一つ、小学1年の作だ。〈図書館に住みたいぐらい本が好き〉は中3の作。技巧をこらさず言葉を投げ出しただけのようだが、まっすぐな勢いを感じる。

A tanka meeting for elderly people requiring special nursing care and support is scheduled for Jan. 31 in the city of Miyazaki in Kyushu. It is sponsored by Jupia Foundation, a local organization that promotes health and welfare programs for the elderly. Nearly 7,000 poems were submitted from around the nation.

Chiyo Takahashi, who will be honored with the Grand Prize at the meeting, is 103 years old. She wrote: ``All day long/ There isn't a word to hear/ Do understand my sadness/ I am human, too.''

 要介護・支援の高齢者らを対象にした短歌大会が31日、宮崎市で催される(みやざき長寿社会推進機構主催)。全国から7千首近い応募があった。当日表彰される最優秀賞には、103歳の高橋チヨさんの作品が選ばれた。〈一日中言葉なき身の淋しさよ君知り給え我も人の子〉。

Having lost her hearing, Takahashi has been living in a special nursing home for the elderly, reduced to communicating only in writing. Her days are tranquil and she has no particular complaints, but her tanka is a cry of yearning for human voices, be it reminiscences or stories told in local dialects.

The contestants included 15 people aged 100 or over and 502 in their 90s.

Here is an entry by Chiyo Imai, 104: ``I ask with gratitude/ For your continued kind help/ Chiyo is happy/ At the hospital.'' Their works are published in ``Oite Utao'' (Let's sing in old age) from Koumyakusya Corp.

 聴力を失って筆談に頼る生活を特別養護老人ホームで送っている。平穏な生活だが、生の声を、皆の話を、お国なまりを、じかに受けとめたい。そんな思いを込めた一首だ。100歳以上の応募が15人、90歳代が502人あった。104歳の今井千代さんは〈これからもお助けをよろしく願いまするありがたき病院でチヨの幸せ〉と詠んだ。『老いて歌おう』(鉱脈社)に収められている。

Japan is sometimes described as kotodama no sakiwau kuni-the land where the soul of language flourishes. It is such a land indeed for its people, from elementary school children to centenarians.

 小学生から100歳まで「言霊(ことだま)の幸(さきは)ふ」国である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 23(IHT/Asahi: January 24,2004) (01/24)
 
 
 
Choosing the one to set the world's course


``Red or blue? Which do you think?'' U.S. President George W. Bush is known to sometimes joke with the press about which color of necktie to wear when he addresses the nation.

The president often favors blue, a color that is said to represent sincerity. Many members of his entourage are apparently influenced by this and show up in blue ties. The Bush administration is a ``blue tie'' administration.

For the State of the Union address Tuesday evening, however, Bush wore a flaming red tie. This being a presidential election year, perhaps Bush wanted to let everyone know he means business. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also sported vivid red ties. The two are the Bush administration's top hawks. The fact that both wore red ties seemed to signify something. Or is this just my imagination?

The address itself did not reveal any provocative phrase like the ``axis of evil'' of two years ago.

The address came right on the heels of the Democratic caucuses in Iowa, one of the many phases in the Democratic race for presidential nomination. On that caucus day, the candidates' standings are compiled and sorted out through area meetings across the state. And this is done through a good old-fashioned ``low-tech'' simple head count. Assembled Democratic supporters are told something like, ``Kerry supporters, please gather here. Dean supporters, over there.''

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, a vocal opponent of the Iraq war, has lost steam. Instead, Iowa saw a dramatic come-back-from-behind victory by John Kerry.

The senator from Massachusetts is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who was wounded in the conflict. Kerry became known for his antiwar activities upon his return home. Although he did not vote against the war in Iraq, he has consistently criticized the Bush administration's unilateralism, and he is an advocate of international cooperation and believer in the United Nations' leadership.

Would the Iraq War have happened under a Democratic administration? This ``what if'' question is often asked. But the point is, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election this year will set the course for the entire world. Even non-Americans cannot afford to be indifferent about whom the Americans will elect as president.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 22(IHT/Asahi: January 23,2004) (01/23)
 
 
 
Balance windmill's power with scenic beauty


Someone had placed a little glove atop a roadside railing behind an elementary school. It seems a school child lost it. When I saw it, the fingers of the yellow woolen glove were fluttering in the gusty wind.

It seems as though we have had more chilly and windy days than usual in Tokyo this winter. Perhaps because of this natural phenomenon, a newspaper article on wind power generation caught my attention. The article reported that a request to work out guidelines that would ease restrictions on wind power generation facilities in national and quasi-national parks had been submitted to the central government from local governments promoting wind power and an association of power generating companies.

In the past few years, I have noticed windmill propellers turning in places where I've traveled and elsewhere. And I have heard that the number of installed windmills and the amount of electricity they produce have increased substantially. Still, it was a surprise to know that wind power generating firms wanted to install windmills even in national parks.

The article says that the firms want permission to erect windmills on mountain ridges where they can expect to keep them operating on a steady basis. But the Environment Ministry panel that is considering their request is reportedly worried about such windmills damaging the scenery and will likely impose strict controls on their construction.

The word kaze (wind) belongs to a range of terms relating to natural phenomena that often appear in the 8th century ``Manyoshu,'' the nation's oldest anthology of poetry. In order of frequency, kaze is followed by yuki (snow), kumo (cloud) and ame (rain).

It also heads the list in the 10th century's ``Kokin Wakashu,'' the first imperially commissioned poetry anthology. In this collection, kaze is followed by yuki, tsuyu (dew) and kasumi (mist). (These details are taken from ``Sawayaka Enerugii Fusha Nyumon,'' a primer on windmill-derived energy published by Sanseido.)

There are more than 300 kaze-related idioms, and as many as 50 magazines published in the country have kaze in their titles, the book says.

Wind is one of the natural elements that have shaped our landscape and climate into what they are today. The close relationship between the two is indicated by the fact that the kanji for kaze is one of two Chinese characters in the word fukei, or landscape.

Should the government act to sever this relationship, the wind would deplore it. This new dilemma has arisen precisely because the use of natural energy has made great progress.

Efforts to make use of sunlight, water and wind as energy sources are vital, and they should be further increased. The government should capitalize on this opportunity. It should think through the issue and come up with a solution that will strike a balance between wind power generation and the need to conserve our natural scenery. After all, the wind will neither stop blowing nor lose its force.

A haiku by Kusatao Nakamura has relevance: ``The sky was blue/ And the wind was chilly/ I felt as if I were fluttering.''

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 21(IHT/Asahi: January 22,2004) (01/22)
 
 
 
Journalists must question leaders' policies


An advance unit of the Ground Self-Defense Force is now in Iraq. Never before has any SDF mission or activity attracted so much public attention.

With public opinion practically split in half, the nation must be kept accurately and promptly informed on the movements of the troops and the encounter with the local Iraqi people.

Obviously, the mass media should see to that. However, recent government moves have clearly undermined the media's ability to do what is in the public's best interest.

Right after the Defense Agency chief demanded that the media practice ``self-restraint'' in reporting SDF activities in Iraq, the agency announced there would be fewer regular press briefings by senior officials.

Some of those press briefings may appear trivial at best. But there are also cases where a significant overall picture of the agency's intentions emerges-something that cannot be pinned down by on-site reporting alone.

On the other hand, there are details that no Tokyo briefing will ever reveal, but can only be learned from news conferences given in Iraq.

Independent news gathering and reporting should always form the core of journalistic endeavors. Still, news conferences do help inform the public. Why, then, is the government limiting that opportunity?

In the 5th century B.C. ``Discourses of Confucius,'' there is listed the precept of Yorashimu-beshi, shirashimu-bekarazu, that is, ``The best approach to leadership is to keep the masses in the dark and simply force them to obey.'' I suspect this is what the government is thinking.

However, this interpretation of the phrase is actually mistranslation, according to ``Kotowaza-no Chie'' (Wisdom of aphorisms) published by Iwanami Shoten.

The book explains the correct translation: ``You probably cannot expect the uninformed masses to understand the significance or purpose of your policy, but you can make them accept the policy if it is correct and sound.''

I would not challenge this interpretation. But even so, I still do not want the government and the Diet to be preaching this Confucian maxim.

Having ordered SDF troops to a mission that could get them killed, the government's responsibility should be to keep asking itself ``Is it possible that our policy may be wrong?''

And journalists are just as responsible to question government policies.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 20(IHT/Asahi: January 21,2004) (01/21)
 
 
 
Dazai inspired prizewinners but never won


In a famous episode, novelist Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) wrote to novelist Yasunari Kawabata, who was sitting on a screening panel for the First Akutagawa Prize (in 1935), pleading, ``Please give me the prize.''

Dazai also wrote a similar plea to poet and novelist Haruo Sato (1892-1964), another member of the panel. ``I am counting on help from you alone, Mr. Sato,'' he wrote. ``I am a person who knows how to return favors. I have written an excellent work, and I am confident that I will be able to write even better novels in the days ahead.

01月19日付
■《天声人語》

 芥川賞選考委員だった川端康成に「何卒(なにとぞ) 私に与へて下さい」と太宰治が懇願した手紙はよく知られる。同じ選考委員だった佐藤春夫への手紙も切々たる内容だ。

``If I receive the Akutagawa Prize, I will weep tears of gratitude for your kind assistance.'' (Quoted in ``Nihon Bungaku Arubamu,'' or Japanese literature album, published by Shinchosha.)

One of Dazai's novels was nominated for the First Akutagawa Prize. But the nation's top literary prize eluded him that time around, and indeed for the rest of his life.

 「佐藤さん一人がたのみでございます。私は恩を知って居ります。私はすぐれたる作品を書きました。これからもっともっとすぐれたる小説を書くことができます……芥川賞をもらへば、私は人の情に泣くでせう」(新潮日本文学アルバム)。第1回の芥川賞候補になりながら受賞を逃した太宰は、ついにこの賞には縁がなかった。

The irony is that recipients of the prize have often cited Dazai as their favorite writer. Risa Wataya, one of the two latest recipients, is among those who have said as much. This may account for why the 19-year-old novelist's works are marked both by an old-fashioned sedateness and a fresh style. She is the youngest recipient in the prize's history.

Hitomi Kanehara, the 20-year-old writer who shared the prize with Wataya, cited Ryu Murakami as her favorite author.

 芥川賞受賞者が愛読書にしばしば太宰治をあげるのは皮肉といえば皮肉だ。今回史上最年少の19歳で受賞した綿矢りささんもその一人だ。みずみずしさとともに古風な落ち着きを感じさせるゆえんか。20歳の金原ひとみさんは好きな作家に村上龍さんをあげた。

Murakami won the Akutagawa Prize for his lauded novel: ``Kagiri-naku Tomei-ni Chikai Buruu'' (``Almost Transparent Blue''). Novelist Junnosuke Yoshiyuki, on that year's screening panel, commented: ``I find the novel boring, but I decided that I should close my eyes to that and vote for the work based on the author's outstanding talent.''

Another member, literary critic Mitsuo Nakamura, said: ``I see an abundance of talent in this novel. Even the author seems unable to keep it under control.'' (These comments appear in a collection of writings on the Akutagawa Prize, published by Bungeishunju.)

 彼の受賞作「限りなく透明に近いブルー」も話題作だった。選考委員はこう評した(『芥川賞全集』文芸春秋)。「作品の退屈さには、目をつむって、抜群の資質に票を投じた」(吉行淳之介)「本人にも手に負えぬ才能の汎濫」(中村光夫)

When Murakami made his debut, it was speculated that he was influenced by the works of Kenzaburo Oe. A new literary work, no matter how distinctive it may look, is always written under the influence of the preceding generation. So, blazing a new trail is all up to the debuting writer.

 村上さんが登場したときには大江健三郎さんの影響がいわれたものだ。どんなに新しいと見える作品でも前の世代の作品が影を落としている。新人作家が独自の道を切り開くかどうかは本人しだいだ。

In his comment on Oe's novel (``The Catch,'' 1958), which received the Akugatawa Prize, Kawabata termed it as ``vulnerable and fragile-a product of an artificial experiment by a young author.''

Although he might have expected his own Nobel Prize in Literature, Kawabata could not have entertained the faintest idea that Oe would grow into a novelist who would join him (in 1994) as a Nobel laureate.

 川端康成は芥川賞受賞時の大江作品を「傷つきやすい、こわれやすい、人工的実験の若さだ」と評した。自分はともかく、彼が後にノーベル文学賞作家になるとは思いもしなかっただろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 19(IHT/Asahi: January 20,2004) (01/20)
 
 
 
Hippocrates, Newton take root in the mind


A plane tree stands in the garden of the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center in Tokyo's Hiroo district. A plaque describes it as a ``Hippocrates' Tree,'' a gift from the Greek Red Cross Society, presented in 1977 to commemorate the Japanese Red Cross Society's centennial.

01月12日付
■《天声人語》

 東京・広尾の日赤医療センターの庭に、1本のプラタナス(スズカケノキ)がある。脇の表示板には「ヒポクラテスの木」とある。77年の日本赤十字社創立百周年を祝って、ギリシャ赤十字社が寄贈した。

``A giant plane tree still stands in the central square of Cos, the hometown of Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine,'' the inscription continues. ``In time, it came to be called Hippocrates' Tree because Hippocrates, in his later years, is said to have taught medicine to his disciples in its shade.''

 由来を読む。「世界医学の祖ヒポクラテスの故郷コスの町の中心広場に、今も大きい『すずかけの木』が一本あって、ヒポクラテスは晩年、その木陰で弟子たちに医を説いたと言われ、いつの頃からか『ヒポクラテスの木』と呼ばれています」

The sapling given by the Greek society is said to have been cut from the very tree named after the Greek physician; a tree estimated to have lived on Cos Island in the Aegean Sea for more than 3,000 years.

This is simply amazing. And it is delightful to fancy privately that the root of the plane tree standing proudly in the middle of Tokyo stretches all the way back to ancient Greece.

 エーゲ海に浮かぶコス島の原木から挿し木して育てたという。「樹齢推定三〇〇〇年以上」には驚かされるが、古代ギリシャの営みが、今ここにまでつながっていると勝手に想像するのは楽しい。

It had been a long time since I had last paid a visit to the tree. I went again recently after learning that ``Newton's Tree,'' the apple tree said to have inspired Newton's discovery of universal gravitation, was proliferating in Japan.

Britain presented a sapling grown from the original Newton's Tree to the president of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 1964. Planted in the botanical garden of the University of Tokyo, the sapling's offshoots were donated to other institutions for educational or research purposes. And while the recipient institutions are banned from passing on their offshoots, they nevertheless seem to be changing hands without authorization.

 久しぶりにこの木を見に行ったのは、「ニュートンの木」が日本国内で増殖中と知ったからだ。万有引力発見のきっかけになったというリンゴの木である。原木ゆかりの木が、64年に英国から日本学士院長に贈られて東大付属植物園に植えられ、分身が教育や研究用に譲渡された。再譲渡は原則禁止なのに無断で広まっているらしい。

Some institutions obtain the trees with authorization. According to one university, it lets the fruits of its Newton's Tree fall to the ground every year, taking the view that because the tree has become a symbol of the school, the apples are not to be collected.

On the other hand, an elementary school says it mobilizes its pupils to collect the fruits of the Newton's Tree each year to make apple jam.

 正規に譲り受けた所での様子は、こんなふうだった。学園のシンボルだから実は取らないので毎年大地に落ちてゆくという大学があり、摘み取った実を皆でリンゴジャムにした小学校もあった。

In our minds, we can imagine what it was like to step into the shade of the Hippocrates' Tree on Cos Island and watch Newton's legendary apples fall. We can imagine how they tasted. The trick is to give wings to the imagination to travel through time, mindful of the ages that have passed since the days of Hippocrates and Sir Isaac Newton.

This is an exercise that should further spread, but if the imagination's wings are stretched in the dark, they will cry in unhappiness.

 ヒポクラテスの木陰に入り、ニュートンの伝説のリンゴが落ちるのを見、味わう。木という生命体の連なりを翼にして時を駆けることは、もっと広がっていい。だが闇で広げられたのでは、その翼も泣くだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 12(IHT/Asahi: January 19,2004) (01/19)
 
 
 
Vow not to become a merchant of death


``Would you please state explicitly that Japan does not intend to export weapons at all?'' Komeito legislator Yoshiaki Masaki demanded this of then-Prime Minister Takeo Miki during a Lower House Budget Committee session in 1976.

01月16日付
■《天声人語》

 「一切武器輸出はしないということを明確におっしゃることはできませんか」。76年の衆院予算委員会で、そう言って当時の三木首相に迫ったのは公明党の正木良明議員だった。

The Miki Cabinet had just issued a government statement that reinterpreted the so-called three principles of non-export of arms-especially to belligerent nations-announced nine years previously by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato. Along with the three-point no-nuke policy, these principles form the heart and soul of Japan's pacifist pledge to the world.

 紛争当事国などに武器を輸出しないという武器輸出三原則を佐藤内閣が示してから9年後、三木内閣がさらに一歩進める政府見解を出したときの質疑である。非核三原則とともに、日本の平和主義を世界に公言する原則である。

According to a table of value-based arms exports by nations of the world, released recently by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States tops the list, followed by Russia, France, Germany and Britain. Of the G-8 nations, Canada ranks No. 13, but Japan places 62nd out of 65, with the export value close to zero.

 ストックホルム国際平和研究所がまとめた世界の武器輸出額を示す一覧表がある。1位は米国で、ロシア、フランス、ドイツ、英国と続く。「サミット」に参加する主要国ではカナダが13位、日本は下から4番目の62位で、金額はゼロに近い。

The table gives me some peace of mind. The nation has not deviated in any conspicuous way from the three principles of non-export of arms. And this makes Japan an exceptional nation in the developed world.

But some Japanese apparently do not like this. Perhaps they are desperate to catch up with the rest of the world. Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba has publicly called for a review of the three principles.

 この一覧表を見て一応安心する。武器輸出三原則はほぼ守られている。先進国では例外といっていい立場だ。しかし、これではまずいと思う人もいるようだ。世界から取り残されるというあせりからだろうか。石破防衛庁長官が三原則の見直しを促す発言をした。

``Watashi-wa Sekai-ni Buki-wo Uru'' (I sell weapons to the world), a book published by Takeuchi Shoten Shinsha, is about arms dealers-or merchants of death.

According to estimates cited in this book, the mortality rate of combatants in actual battle has declined from 15 percent in the 18th century to 10 percent in the 19th century and 6 percent in the 20th century.

On the other hand, the percentage of wartime fatalities in the total population has crept up gradually from 0.1 percent in the first half of the 19th century to 2.1 percent in the first half of the 20th century, with further growth in the latter half of the century.

These figures indicate that ordinary citizens form a majority of victims of weapons circulating around the world.

 「死の商人」といわれる武器商人を描いた『私は世界に武器を売る』(竹内書店新社)にこんな試算があった。交戦での戦闘員の死亡率は18世紀は15%、19世紀は10%、20世紀は6%と下がった。一方、全人口でみると戦争による死亡率は、19世紀前半の0・1%からしだいに増え、20世紀前半は2・1%、後半はさらに増える、と。世界中に武器が出回ることで増える犠牲者の多くは、一般の人々であることを示す。

Japan must vow not to join the ranks of merchants of death.

 「死の商人」の仲間に入らないという決意は大事にしたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 16(IHT/Asahi: January 17,2004) (01/17)
 
 
 
Aware of things that go unnoticed by others


You can shut your eyes whenever you want. But your ears? ``The ears are so made that you can't shut them at will. Why is that?''

01月10日付
■《天声人語》

 目はいつでも思ったときに閉じることができる。しかし「耳の方は、自分では自分を閉じることが出来ないように出来て居る。何故(なぜ)だろう」

This famous question was posed by physicist, essayist and haiku poet Torahiko Terada (1878-1935) in ``Haiku to Chikyu-butsuri'' (Haiku and earth physics), published as one volume of the Rentier Collection.

One could perhaps offer a ready answer such as, ``Your ears stay open so you can sense danger while you sleep.''

The point, however, is that having the ability to question things that others take for granted or don't notice is a talent necessary for scientists.

 物理学者で随筆家、俳人でもある寺田寅彦の有名な問いかけである(『俳句と地球物理』ランティエ叢書)。眠っていても危険を察知できるから、など思いつきの答えはできるかもしれない。しかし何となく見過ごしたり、気がつかなかったりしていることに疑問を抱く。科学者に必要な才能だろう。

``Gendai Nihon Bungaku Zenshu 22'' (Complete works of contemporary Japanese literature, Vol. 22) published by Chikuma Shobo contains an essay by Terada titled ``Kagakusha to Atama'' (Scientist and mind).

In this piece, Terada encourages ``weak-mindedness,'' which he defines as being unable to help puzzling over matters that should be obvious to anyone. ``Scientists ought to be slow thinkers and blockheads,'' he notes.

 「科学者とあたま」という随筆で、頭の悪さを推奨しているのも同じ趣旨だ。分かり切ったと思えることでも、立ち止まって考えてしまう。科学者はそうした「呑込みの悪い朴念仁(ぼくねんじん)」でなければならない、と(『現代日本文学全集22』筑摩書房)。

Terada rarely talked about politics. However, his family once recounted the following episode.

Terada believed Japan was being utterly foolish to compete in an arms race with the world's great powers. Rather than commit such folly, he reasoned, it was better to think up some outlandish idea. And he actually suggested one.

 ふだん政治の話はあまりしなかったという彼だが、家族がこんな思い出を語っている。列強と競って軍備拡張をするのは愚かなことだ。それより、意表をつくことを考えた方がいい、といって奇抜なアイデアを披露した。

To paraphrase from ``Kaiso no Terada Torahiko'' (Torahiko Terada as remembered) published by Iwanami Shoten: A city of flimsy buildings such as Tokyo would not survive air raids. When an air raid alert siren goes off, all citizens of Tokyo should run out of their homes and release red balloons into the air. The skies of Tokyo will turn all red, which is sure to surprise enemy bomber pilots. Unfortunately, this ploy will work only once.

Terada must have made this observation in the early Showa Period (1926-1989), when the military was beginning to run amok. Tokyo at that time had yet to experience an air raid.

 東京のようなバラック建築の都市は空から攻撃されたら壊滅するだろう。そこで、敵機来襲と聞いたら、全都民が外に出て赤い風船を放す。「東京の空一面が真赤になる。敵の飛行機は必ず驚くに違ひない」。ただし一度しか効き目がないよ、と付け加えた(『回想の寺田寅彦』岩波書店)。東京がまだ空襲を経験していない頃、軍部が増長していく昭和初期のことだろう。

It may be an exaggeration to call Terada's idea a strategy of nonviolent resistance. Still, in this day and age, it does help to exercise our brains, which can easily become stiff and unwieldy.

 非暴力抵抗というと大げさかもしれないが、凝り固まりがちな現代の私たちの頭をほぐしてくれる発想だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 10(IHT/Asahi: January 16,2004) (01/16)
 
 
 
Clucking over risks of eggs and avian flu


About 140 million chickens are being raised in Japan for their eggs, and we eat more than 30 billion of them, or about 300 eggs per person, every year. Indeed,
Japan is one of top egg-consuming nations in the world.

01月14日付
■《天声人語》

 1億4千万羽ほどの採卵用ニワトリが国内で飼育されている。1年でたぶん300億個以上の卵が日本人の食卓に上っている。1人平均にすると年間300個ほどだ。世界でも有数の卵好き国民である。

While the prices of all commodities kept rising after the end of World War II, eggs were practically the sole exception. They ranged from 10 to 20 yen apiece for scores of years and earned the reputation of being the ``champion inflation fighter.'' Producers held down costs by switching to a mass production system in which chickens are kept in automated factory-like enclosures.

 戦後、あらゆるものの価格が上がる中で卵はほぼ横ばいを続けた。何十年もの間、1個10〜20円程度を前後する「物価の優等生」だった。農場というよりは、工場といった方がいいような自動化された大量生産方式への切り替えが原価を抑えてきたからだろう。

These days, one also finds more expensive eggs in stores, eggs produced by free-range chickens. The wider choice for consumers is only for the good.

Still, generally low egg prices are a problem for many poultry farmers. Moreover, eggs are a commodity that sometimes crashes. And there are seasonal fluctuations-prices drop in summer but climb toward the end of the year when demand increases to make Christmas cakes and New Year's dishes.

 このごろ、放し飼いなどをうたい文句にする高価な卵も増えている。多様化は結構なことだ。一方で低価格に泣く養鶏家も少なくない。ときに暴落する。季節によっても変動する。夏にかけて安くなり、クリスマスケーキやおせち料理用に需要の増える年末にかけて高くなる。

A poultry farmers' association in Kyoto Prefecture recently was found to have sold eggs that were six months old to take advantage of the seasonal price fluctuations. A large shipment made in December comprised eggs that had been kept in cold storage after being laid in June.

This case could destroy the public trust in its ``champion inflation fighter.'' Since eggs are a familiar food, consumers have a strong interest in its safety. Destroying such trust is as easy as cracking an egg.

 6月にとれた卵を冷蔵しておいて12月に売り出す。価格変動を「悪用」してさばいた京都の事件は「優等生」の卵への信頼を失いかねない。最も身近な食品の一つだけに、消費者の安全への関心は高い。信頼を壊すのは卵を割るように容易だ。

Also of serious concern is the outbreak of avian flu in Yamaguchi Prefecture. What it tells us is that the massive outbreak of the flu in South Korea was not a ``fire on the other side of the river,'' that is easily ignored, as the saying goes. One theory has it that the virus was brought here by migratory birds.

The worry is whether the virus can be transmitted from birds to humans.

For the moment, however, there is some comfort in official assurances that to date, no one has ever been infected with avian flu from eating eggs or chicken meat. So, we should not cluck too much over that.

 山口県で発生した鳥インフルエンザも油断できない。韓国での大量発生は「対岸の火事」ではなかった。渡り鳥という越境者がウイルスを運んだという説がある。そのウイルスが鳥から人へと越境するかどうかが心配だ。卵や肉を食べることで人に伝染した例はないというから、騒ぎすぎは禁物だが。

There was a time when eggs were expensive and precious, as a poem by Kuniyo Takayasu (1912-1984) indicates: ``I was sick when my father came/ He gave me some money and eggs before leaving/ Despite his having no income.''

 〈収入なき父が病む我に金を置き卵を置きて帰り行きたり〉(高安国世)。卵が高価で貴重な時代もあった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 14(IHT/Asahi: January 15,2004) (01/15)
 
 
 
There's just something catching about a yawn


You see a lot of people yawning the morning after a long weekend, which makes you want to yawn, too. That's because yawning is catching. This seems to be a universal truth.

01月13日付
■《天声人語》

 連休明けの朝には、あくびをする人が目立つ。あくびをする人を見ると、つい自分もしたくなる。あくびの伝染である。どこの世界にもあるようだ。

A British newspaper ran a story about a yawning experiment. About half the test subjects did likewise when shown a videotape of someone yawning.

Psychologists theorize that people subconsciously identify with the state of mind of those who yawn. That is to say that people who are disinclined to feel empathy for others tend to be more immune to ``contagion.''

 あくびのビデオを見せると約半分の人が誘われてあくびをする。そんな研究を英紙が紹介していた。あくびをする人の心理に無意識のうちに同調するのではないか、というのが心理学者たちの推論だ。感情移入が苦手の人は伝染されにくいという。

Another explanation is based on the theory of evolution. A yawn, it is said, was a signal of sorts for rest or action when our ancestors lived in groups. This explains why yawning is catching among animals, too. However, much still remains unknown about the mechanism of yawning.

 進化論的解釈もある。私たちの祖先の集団生活の名残である。一斉に休息をしたり、行動を起こしたりするときの合図のようなものだった、という説だ。動物の間でのあくびの伝染も同じような意味があるという。ただし、あくびのメカニズムについてはまだ不明な点が多い。

In some cases, yawning could be a symptom of some physiological disorder. But since yawning is generally a sign of boredom, it is considered rude to rub it in the other person's face, and you just have to stifle it. It is no easy feat to yawn graciously.

 どこかに障害があるときに出るあくびもある。しかし、退屈したときに出ることが多いから、人前でするのはたいていは失礼とみなされる。やむをえずかみ殺したりする。優雅なあくびというのはなかなか難しい。

In ``Akubi Shinan'' (Instructions on how to yawn), a classic rakugo comic story, yawning is elevated to an art to be pursued and perfected. The master instructor tells his disciples, ``All your yawns are coarse yawns. They aren't worth even a penny.''

He goes on to cite an example of an ``artistically accomplished'' yawn.

A playboy in the Edo Period (1603-1867), it seems, was pondering a visit to his favorite ryotei - a restaurant and place of entertainment for men. As he mentally runs through his usual routine at the ryotei-take a nice, refreshing bath first, and then amuse himself in style-he yawns inadvertently.

Such is indeed a yawn of refined ennui.

 あくびをお稽古(けいこ)事にしたのは、古典落語の「あくび指南」だ。師匠は「あなた方がなさるあくびは、駄あくびと申します。一文の値打ちもない」といって芸事としてのあくびを教える。たとえば、なじみの料亭へ行って一風呂浴び、粋な遊びに繰り出そうかという江戸の遊び人が思わずもらすあくびである。確かにぜいたくな無聊(ぶりょう)の図だ。

Let me backtrack to the contagious nature of yawning. Can it leap between animals and humans? Haiku poet Kobayashi Issa, who was known for his love of animals, left this cute gem: ``Soft spring rain/ A dog at the gate/ Catches my yawn.''

 伝染に話を戻せば、人と動物との間で生じるかどうか。さすが動物好きの小林一茶、こんな句がある。〈春雨や欠(あくび)をうつる門(かど)の犬〉。自分のあくびを犬にうつした、と。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 13(IHT/Asahi: January 14,2004)(IHT/Asahi: January 14,2004) (01/14)
 
 
 
Is 20 old enough to pay for old-age needs?


It probably won't be long before people turning 20 will be obliged to start paying nursing care insurance premiums.

At present, the legal obligation to pay these premiums starts at age 40. However, the government reportedly is set to consider lowering the starting age. The idea amounts to asking young people to shoulder the burden now as well as in the future.

01月11日付
■《天声人語》

 20歳になったら、介護保険料を払い始める。そんな時代が来るのだろうか。40歳からの徴収対象年齢を引き下げる検討がなされるという。明日を担ってもらう人たちに、今も担ってと言うようなものだ。

Monday was Coming-of-Age Day. For many years, celebrations were held on a fixed date. But the current system allows the date to be freely changed to create consecutive holidays.

In contrast, officially sponsored Coming-of-Age ceremonies have been slow to change. The phenomenon fundamentally springs from a tendency among public offices to imitate each other.

 12日は「成人の日」である。連休にするため、日付を動かすように変わったが、なかなか変わらないのは、「官製」の成人式のようだ。根っこのところには、役所の伝統的な横並びの精神がある。

Allow me to offer a suggestion. A municipal government that adopts my proposal will begin to announce its plans for the next Coming-of-Age ceremony several months in advance, releasing the information on the date and agenda in its publicity paper and Web site. Make it clear whether the mayor and invited guests will give congratulatory addresses.

If a lecture or lectures are to be given, identify who will speak. Send admission tickets only to those who find the agenda satisfactory and express their intention to attend.

If the number of willing participants is small, a smaller site should be chosen next time. And if no one comes forward to signal a desire to attend, the annual ceremony should be scrapped.

 こんな応募制は、どうだろう。数カ月前から、その自治体が考えている成人式の日程と内容を広報紙やホームページに載せる。首長や来賓の祝辞があるか、講演や公演があるなら誰なのかを知らせる。これなら行ってみたいと手を挙げた人に入場券を送る。人数が少なかったら次の年からは会場を小さくする。そして、だれも来なくなったら、やめる。

This drastic scenario could help to diminish the cases of violence and other trouble that have come to mark Coming-of-Age ceremonies in recent years. It would also be a good idea to set aside seats for middle-aged and elderly people, wishing to attend them to hear lectures or to give encouragement to ``new adults.''

 この成り行きは極端だが、最近目立つ成人式での騒動は減るかもしれない。中年や老年の人たちも、講演を聴きたいとか、新成人を励ましたいと言うのなら「旧成人席」を少し設ける。

There are various ways to celebrate Coming-of-Age Day. While some may wish to be left alone, I would like to present all 20-year-olds with some lines of poetry to celebrate their once-in-a-lifetime day: ``A great crash in the air/ It was my hands shouting in the sky/ Who knows my mind was crying silently?'' (Quoted from the complete works of Shinpei Kusano, published by Chikuma Shobo.)

 明日は、様々な祝い方があるのだろう。あるいは、独りの人もいるかも知れないが、一度だけのこの日を前に、詩人の一言を贈りたい。「がらがらつと/手が空の中でさけんだとき/しのびなきしてゐた俺の心を/だれがしるか」(『草野心平全集』筑摩書房)

Originally, these lines made up a passage from Shinpei Kusano's first collection of poems, which was published in mimeograph when he returned home from a Chinese university in Guangzhou for a draft-age physical checkup. He was 20 then.

The shining quality that draws me to the poem is the rough edge of youth that makes the poet throw up into the air his mind unable to comprehend.

 心平20歳。中国・広州の大学から徴兵検査で帰国した折に、ガリ版刷りで出した最初の詩集の一節である。おそらくは、自分ですら知り得ないわが心を、放り上げるような荒っぽさが、まぶしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 11(IHT/Asahi: January 13,2004) (01/13)
 
 
 
Omnibus movie with an overall theme of time


How long is 10 minutes?

It certainly is not a space of time that passes in the blink of an eye, but it is by no means an extended period, either. You would need this much time to drink a cup of coffee in a hurry. You can cook instant food in 10 minutes, but it is not long enough for a more complicated dish. An urban train passes through two or three stations in as much time.

01月05日付
■《天声人語》

 10分とは、どれだけの時間だろう。あっという間とは言えないが、決して長くもない。コーヒー1杯を急いで飲む。即席の料理ならできるとしても、手の込んだものは難しい。都会の電車は、二つか三つの駅を過ぎる。

The omnibus movie ``Ten Minutes Older'' brings together the works of 15 renowned directors who were each given 10 minutes' shooting time. Because most directors actually took longer than 10 minutes, the film was split into two parts-``The Trumpet'' and ``The Cello.''

 映画『10ミニッツ・オールダー』は、世界の有名な監督15人が、10分ずつの枠で撮ったオムニバスの作品だ。短編も、積もって長くなったため、「人生のメビウス」「イデアの森」の2本に分けられた。

The film's overall theme is ``time.'' There is a scene in which the words of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius are run as a symbol of the theme: ``In a manner of speaking, time is a river in which all things that come into being flow-a torrent to be precise.'' (The quote is taken from Aurelius' ``Meditations of Writings to Himself,'' a book contained in the Iwanami paperback library.)

The images and tales that make up the omnibus movie represent the 15 directors' replies to the question: ``How long is 10 minutes?'' Among them are Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Aki Kaurasmaki, Spike Lee, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Jean-Luc Godard.

 「時間」というテーマが、全体を貫いている。それを象徴して、古代ローマの皇帝マルクス・アウレーリウスの言葉が流れるシーンがある。「時というものはいわばすべて生起するものより成る河であり奔流である」(『自省録』岩波文庫)。ベンダース、ジャームッシュ、カウリスマキ、スパイク・リー、ベルトルッチ、ゴダールらが、「回答」としての映像と物語を紡ぐ。

With their likes and dislikes, people will make all sorts of comment on the movie. Personally, what I found interesting was the variety of styles followed by the directors and their divergent outlooks on life. The film's significance also stems from the fact it is an omnibus of what was shot and recorded by world-famous directors at the same time. I would like to stress this point because life is, so to speak, an omnibus of an infinite variety of parallel developments that happen simultaneously.

 好みその他、評は様々だろうが、それぞれの手法や人生観の違いが面白い。時を同じくして名うての監督たちが撮り、記録した意味もある。人生とは、いわば、数限りない同時並行のオムニバスなのだから。

In the movie's ``official reader,'' Wenders laments that the more time-saving devices we have, the less time we have to spend freely. ``My mornings,'' he writes, ``are occupied by a large number of received e-mails. This morning, it took me two to three hours to deal with 60 e-mails.''

 「おかしなことに、時間を節約するための手段を手に入れるほど、時間はどんどん少なくなってしまう」。この映画の「公式読本」に、ベンダースの嘆きが載っていた。「私の朝は大量のEメールに占領されています。今朝は60通ものメールに2、3時間取られてしまいました」

For many salary earners, the time to enjoy the leisurely hours of the New Year holidays was over Monday morning, replaced by a return to the normal pace of working life. What this means is that 10 minutes becomes a crucial space of time again.

 ゆるやかな時の流れが去って、今朝から、日常の時間に戻る職場も多い。10分間が、また重くなる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 5(IHT/Asahi: January 12,2004) (01/12)
 
 
 
`Organized violence' and the impotence of law


Not infrequently, innocent bystanders fall victim to gangland war. The victims just happen to be on a busy street corner when a shootout erupts in broad daylight, or in a store when a gangster starts blasting away.

01月09日付
■《天声人語》

 白昼の町中で突然、銃撃戦が起きたり、店に踏み込んでいきなり乱射したりする。暴力団の対立抗争は、たまたま居合わせた人々を巻き込むことも少なくない。

Can such brutal warfare be considered to constitute ``business'' in the world of organized crime? This has been a frequently asked question in lawsuits instituted by the bereaved families of such victims.

The very idea of defining murderous acts of turf war as ``business'' is utterly preposterous to many people, and some courts have actually ruled so.

 この物騒な抗争を、果たして暴力団の「事業」といえるかどうか。巻き添えになった犠牲者の遺族らが起こした裁判でしばしば争われてきたところだ。まさか殺し合いを事業とはいえないのではないか、と思う人が多いかもしれない。実際、そう判断した判決もある。

However, if the civil code concept of ``business'' is applied to gangland warfare, then there is legal ground for holding the ``employer'' accountable for the actions of subordinates. In other words, this enables the court to order monied yakuza bosses to pay hefty damages for what their hard-up subordinates have done.

This is a matter of tricky legal interpretation.

 しかし、民法でいう「事業」と認めれば使用者の責任を問うことができる。貧しい組員が引き起こした事件でも、資力豊かな組長に賠償を命じることができる。法律解釈の難しいところだ。

In a suit by the bereaved family of a police officer shot to death in a yakuza turf war, the Osaka High Court ruled last autumn that the feud constituted ``business'' for expansion and maintenance of Yamaguchi-gumi's sphere of influence. And even though the feud itself was between a lesser affiliated group and its foe, the presiding judge set a historic precedent by ordering the top Yamaguchi-gumi boss to pay damages.

 抗争の巻き添えになって射殺された警察官の遺族が起こした訴訟では、大阪高裁が昨秋、抗争を暴力団の勢力の維持・拡大のための「事業」と認める判決を出した。傘下の組の抗争事件だったが、頂点にいる山口組組長にも賠償を命じる画期的判決だった。

``Business'' can mean a lot of things. If a yakuza feud is business, then one could say war is business of the state.

What remedies are there for innocent civilian victims of war? Are Iraqi victims of assault on their land entitled to sue the United States and hold it responsible for starting that war? Are they in a position to demand payment of damages from the president of the United States?

 事業という言葉の幅は広い。抗争を暴力団の事業というなら、戦争は国家の事業といえよう。戦争の巻き添えで犠牲になった人たちは、どんな救済を受けられるのか。攻撃の犠牲になったイラクの人々は、戦争を仕掛けた米国に使用者責任を問うことができるか。米大統領に損害賠償を請求できるか。

A draft amendment of the anti-gang law is to be proposed during the upcoming Diet session. The revision will render it easier to hold yakuza bosses accountable for their subordinates' crimes.

Gangland war and war between nations are similar in the sense that both have to do with ``organized violence.'' But where wars between nations are concerned, how often must we keep witnessing the powerlessness of law?

 暴力団の組長の責任を問うことが容易になる暴力団対策法の改正案が、今度の国会に提出される。「組織的暴力」という点では似ているにしても、国家間の抗争をめぐっては、法の無力を感じることがいかに多いことか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 9(IHT/Asahi: January 10,2004) (01/10)
 
 
 
Burial rite prompts us to ponder civilization


I can still recall my shocked reaction to ``Choso-no Kuni'' (Land of sky burial), a book published by Kobunsha more than 40 years ago.

On expedition in Tibet, author Jiro Kawakita, a cultural anthropologist, delved into the heart of a very alien civilization. As such, the book is better described as a pioneering work in the genre.

01月08日付
■《天声人語》

 40年以上前に出た『鳥葬の国』(光文社)という本に衝撃を受けた記憶がある。文化人類学の川喜田二郎さんのチベット探検記である。探検といっても、異文化の奥深くに入り込む学術探検で、いわゆるフィールドワークの草分けのような記録だった。

Particularly jolting was Kawakita's depiction of choso, or sky burial-a unique funeral ritual in which the body of the deceased is literally butchered on a large slab of stone to be fed to vultures and other birds of prey.

Great care is taken to cut up the body in such a way that ``the birds will not leave a morsel uneaten,'' writes Kawakita. The bones are pounded into tiny fragments with stone. The moment the funeral party leaves, vultures come swooping down.

 描かれる鳥葬がなまなましかった。大石の上で遺体を解体して、ハゲタカなどに食わせる独特の葬送である。「死体のすべての肉を鳥に食べてもらうように苦心」しながら解体する。骨も石で打ち砕く。人々が去るのを見届けてハゲタカの群れが舞い降りる。

Ekai Kawaguchi is believed to have been the first Japanese to enter Tibet, between the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. In his ``Chibetto Ryokoki'' (Tibetan travelogue) published by Hakusuisa, Kawaguchi notes: ``I witnessed an amazing funeral, probably unknown anywhere else in the world.''

 「世界にほとんど例がないと思われる不思議な葬式を見た」。19世紀末から20世紀にかけて、日本人として初めてチベットに入ったとされる河口慧海(えかい)はそう記した(『チベット旅行記』白水社)。

Kawaguchi's depiction of a sky burial is almost identical to Kawakita's, which suggests the unchanged permanence of this rite.

The rite itself appears gruesome, but I think it actually makes perfect sense if you believe in transmigration of the soul and reincarnation.

 彼が描写する鳥葬は『鳥葬の国』とほぼ同じだ。連綿と続いてきたことがわかる。一見残酷なようだが、輪廻(りんね)転生の考えからすれば自然な発想なのかもしれない。

Sky burial could be considered a kind of aerial burial in the broad sense of the term.

In fact, it feels gloriously liberating to imagine the dead becoming parts of the birds and soaring into the sky.

Kawaguchi observes, ``Feeding the dead to the birds means releasing the soul to the winds.''

 鳥葬は広い意味の風葬の一種といえるだろう。英語でスカイ・ベリアルという。天葬と訳すべきか、空葬というべきか。確かに死者が鳥の一部になって大空を舞うと考えれば、晴れやかささえ感じる。慧海も「鳥に食わすのがすなわち風に帰るのである」と書き留めた。

Government authorities in China's Tibet Autonomous Region have reportedly begun a drive to replace sky burial with cremation, claiming the former to be ``unhygienic'' and ``barbarous.''

In related reports, vultures are now said to be spurning human remains, which some experts suspect has something to do with accumulations of chemical substances in the human body.

What is civilization? One has to wonder.

 中国の自治区政府が「不衛生」「非文明」だとして火葬に切り替える改革に乗り出したそうだ。ハゲタカの方が遺体を敬遠する現象も起きている。人体に蓄積する化学物質が影響しているとの見方もある。「文明」とは何か、について考えさせられる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 8(IHT/Asahi: January 9,2004) (01/09)
 
 
 
For a slower pace, follow the lunar calendar


Some people are only getting around to writing their nengajo New Year's cards now. ``Why?'' you might ask. The answer is simple: They live by the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year for 2004 falls on Jan. 22, so these people effectively are still living in the month of December and must wait another two weeks for the turn of the year.

01月07日付
■《天声人語》

 そろそろ年賀状の準備をしようか。このごろそんな人もいるらしい。暮らしに旧暦を取り入れている人たちだ。今年は1月22日が旧正月にあたるから、いまはまだ歳末に向かうところだ。

A friend, who follows the lunar calendar along with the modern calendar, says: ``The lunar calendar enhances your interest in the waxing and waning of the moon. It also makes you sensitive to nature's seasonal changes.''

When you live by the lunar calendar, each month begins with a new moon and with each passing day the moon changes shape. The waxing and waning of the moon perfectly fits the passage of time on the calendar. Not surprisingly, this enhances one's sense of being at one with nature.

 旧暦のカレンダーを併用している友人は「月の満ち欠けへの関心が強まる」「自然の推移にも敏感になる」と話していた。新月から1カ月が始まり、月の形の変化とともに日々が移りゆく。天空の月と暦の月とがぴったり呼応する。自然との一体感は強まるだろう。

The lunar calendar offers another merit. Followers of this system generally feel that traditional annual events are not observed well ahead of time. This point perhaps can be illustrated by nanakusa gayu, the ancient custom of eating rice gruel mixed with seven specific kinds of wild grass on the seventh day of the new year.

These days, most people probably observe the custom by buying a set of cultivated nanakusa, or seven different kinds of grass. The lunar calendar delays the day until the season of wakana tsumi, or picking young herbs, another ancient custom that takes advantage of young wild grass that pokes through from under the snow in many areas by this time.

In olden times, people ate the gruel because they attributed the vitality of the wild grass to good health.

 歳事と季節感とのずれをあまり感じさせないのも利点だ。きょうの七草がゆも、いまは栽培された七草のセットを買う人が多いだろう。旧暦だと、雪の下から野草が萌(も)え始め、若菜摘みの季節にさしかかる。そんな地域も少なくない。七草がゆで無病息災を願うことには、野草の生命力への敬意も込められていたのではないか。

Japan switched from the lunar calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which is based on a solar year and is now used by most countries, in 1873. Before that, during the Edo Period (1603-1867), some people celebrated New Year's Day according to the modern calendar. They were students of Dutch learning.

 日本が旧暦を西洋流の太陽暦に改めたのは1873年からだった。それ以前、江戸時代に太陽暦で正月を祝った人たちがいた。オランダの学問を学んでいた人たちである。

Otsuki Gentaku, known as the author of such books as ``Rangaku Kaitei'' (An introduction to Dutch studies), held New Year celebrations with fellow scholars at his private school in the capital of Edo. The first such celebration took place on Jan. 1, 1795. By the lunar calendar, the day corresponded to ``bissextile'' Nov. 11 of the sixth year of the Kansei Era (1789-1801). Thereafter, it was carried on for nearly half a century.

The banquets were called Oranda Shogatsu or Dutch-style New Year celebrations. Attending them were scholars who pursued their studies with a strong sense of mission not to let Japan fall behind the tide of the world, even though they were definitely a minority.

 『蘭学階梯』などで知られる大槻玄沢が、江戸の私塾に同学の人々らを招いて宴を催した。西暦1795年1月1日にあたる寛政6年閏(うるう)11月11日が最初で、半世紀近く続けられた。オランダ正月という。少数派とはいえ、世界の流れに取り残されまいとする使命感にあふれた人たちの集いだった。

Those who adopted the Western-style calendar in the age of seclusion are certainly commendable as ``trail-blazers.'' By contrast, there are people now who indulge themselves in the slow pace of life by bringing back the lunar calendar into a bustling world.

 鎖国の時代に西洋の暦を取り入れた「先端人」もいれば、あわただしい現代に古い暦を復活させ、ゆるやかな時間の流れにひたる人もいる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 7(IHT/Asahi: January 8,2004) (01/08)
 
 
 
Pearls of wisdom from Natsume Soseki


Just 100 years ago, Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) was teaching Shakespeare's Macbeth at Tokyo Imperial University, predecessor of the University of Tokyo. Soseki had started the course the year before, and it proved so popular that the lecture hall was always packed to capacity.

Soseki, however, continued to suffer from a nervous breakdown-a condition that had afflicted him since his government-sponsored student days in Britain.

01月06日付
■《天声人語》

 今から100年前の明治37年、夏目漱石は東京帝大で「マクベス」を教えていた。前年の開講以来評判が高く、教室は満杯だった。しかし英国留学以来の「神経衰弱」には悩まされ続けていた。

At the advice of poet-novelist Takahama Kyoshi, Soseki turned to creative writing in 1904. This resulted in ``Wagahai-wa Neko-de Aru'' (I Am a Cat), which was completed in December of that year and critically acclaimed by Kyoshi, Kawahigashi Hekigoto and other disciples of Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902).

The work was published in the January 1905 issue of Hototogisu, a literary periodical begun by Shiki. This would catapult Soseki to fame.

 この年、高浜虚子に勧められて創作の筆を執った。それが『吾輩は猫である』の誕生となる。正岡子規の門下の虚子や河東碧梧桐たちの会で披露され、翌年の「ホトトギス」に載って、後の名声へとつながった。

Soseki, whose birth name was Kinnosuke, was born on Jan. 5 (on the lunar calendar) in the Ushigome district of Edo (present-day Tokyo). It was the year before the Meiji Restoration started. He would live through, and write about, the process by which an ``opened'' Japan interacted for real with the rest of the world for the first time after centuries of isolation.

 漱石・夏目金之助は、慶応3年(1867年)の旧暦1月5日に、江戸の牛込で生まれた。明治改元の前年で、長い鎖国の後の「開化の日本」が、初めて本格的に世界と擦(こす)れあってゆく様を身をもって体験し書き記してゆくことになる。

In a lecture he gave on the theme of the dawn of modern Japan in the final days of the Meiji Era, Soseki noted: ``We feel superior when we badmouth people who are ignorant of Western table manners-how to hold the knife and fork, that sort of thing. The only reason we feel superior is that Westerners are more powerful than ourselves.''

He pointed out that ``Westernization'' was only a superficial phenomenon, a mimic, and not something that grew and matured naturally from within.

I think there is much wisdom in his observation even today, when we look back on the path Japan has walked since.

 「我々があの人は肉刺(フォーク)の持ち様も知らないとか、小刀(ナイフ)の持ち様も心得ないとか何とか云つて、他を批評して得意なのは、つまりは何でもない、たゞ西洋人が我々より強いからである」。それは、自然と内に発酵して醸されたものとは違い、物まねであり、皮相、上滑りの開化だと、明治末期の「現代日本の開化」という講演で指摘した。その後の日本がたどった道を重ねてみれば汲(く)み取るべきものは今日でも大きい。

Incidentally, it was on Jan. 5 exactly 100 years ago that the Vox Populi, Vox Dei column first appeared in the Osaka edition of The Asahi Shimbun. The column did not go national until after World War II in September 1945, but I am reminded anew of how this column has received the support of generations of readers.

 ついでのことながら、「天声人語」が大阪発行の朝日新聞に登場したのは、100年前の1月5日だった。全国の紙面に載るようになったのは終戦直後の45年9月からだが、幾世代もの読者に支えられてきたことを改めて思う。

Soseki resigned from teaching and joined The Asahi Shimbun three years after the column was begun in Osaka. His first contribution to the newspaper was the serial novel ``Gubijinso'' (The Poppy).

 漱石が教職を辞して朝日新聞に入社したのは、小欄が始まって3年後、第一作は『虞美人草』だった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 6(IHT/Asahi: January 7,2004) (01/07)
 
 
 
Koizumi signals a tough year lies ahead


``This is your father munching on herring roe, which I have taken the trouble of ordering from Japan,'' wrote Capt. Tadamichi Kuribayashi in a pictorial letter he sent to his young son from the United States. ``I found the roe very delicious.'' (Herring roe is traditionally prized in Japan as a symbol of fertility.)

01月03日付
■《天声人語》

 「これはお父さんが数の子をわざわざ取り寄せて、それだけむしゃむしゃやらかしているところです。とてもとてもうまいな」

In 1928, Kuribayashi was dispatched to study in America by the Imperial Japanese Army. During his stay over there, he made it a habit to draw pictures showing how he lived and mailed them to Japan with simple verbal explanations. With a nonchalant touch, he sketched the dietary life of Americans, the lives of boys and girls, and the heavy vehicular traffic in town.

 米国留学中の栗林忠道大尉が幼い長男に送った絵手紙の一節だ。1928年、陸軍から派遣された彼は、異国での生活を絵に描き、簡単な文章をつけた手紙を送り続けた。食べ物の話、少年少女の様子、車の多い街のことなどが、とぼけた味のスケッチとともにつづられる。

Years later, as the commander of the garrison on Iwo Jima, Kuribayashi put up ferocious resistance against invading U.S. forces and was killed in action along with many of his men. The life he led in the United States was so idyllic that there was no hint of what the future would hold for him.

Even so, he apparently felt that going to war with America would be suicidal for Japan. His life in the United States taught him that country had a vast industrial edge over Japan.

 後に彼は指揮官として硫黄島で米軍に激しく抵抗、多数の兵士とともに戦死した。そんな未来をまるで感じさせない牧歌的な留学生活だった。ただ米国の「物量の力」を実感していただけに、対米戦は無謀だ、との思いはあったようだ。

In letters sent from Iwo Jima, Kuribayashi wrote of the miserable life of his troops and local civilians. He instructed his family to take good care of their lives, and asked them to accept that his impending death was his destiny. He told them never to show his letters to anyone. Probably, he feared that his ``frank'' letters would offend the authorities. (Kuribayashi's letters make up part of the Shogakukan library under the title of ``Gyokusai Soshikikan-no Etegami,'' or pictorial letters sent by the commanding officer on an island where everyone died an honorable death.)

 硫黄島から家族にあてた手紙には、現地での悲惨な生活を書き、命を大事にするようにいい、自分の死を運命として受け入れるよう説いた。手紙を絶対他人に見せないように、とも書き添えた。内容が率直すぎるとの懸念ゆえだろう(『「玉砕総指揮官」の絵手紙』小学館文庫)

Portraits of the war dead are on display in immense numbers at Yushukan, a war museum at Yasukuni Shrine, located in Tokyo's Kudan-Kita area. Kuribayashi's portrait is among them. He sacrificed his life to save his country. When you stand in front of it, knowing what kind of person he had been before he made up his mind to fight, one is overcome with complex feelings.

 東京・九段北の靖国神社の資料館「遊就館」には数多くの戦死者の遺影が飾られている。栗林もその一人である。「国難に殉じる」までの彼の軌跡を知る者は、遺影を前に、複雑な感慨を抱かざるをえない。

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid homage at Yasukuni Shrine on New Year's Day. He explained he just followed the Japanese custom of hatsumode, or making the year's first visit to shrines and temples. But his trip to Yasukuni cannot be seen in the same light as New Year's pilgrimages made by ordinary people hoping to have their small wishes granted.

It probably signified a New Year message by Koizumi following his decision to send Self-Defense Forces personnel to Iraq. I took it as a sign that a tough year lies ahead.

 小泉首相が元日、靖国神社に参拝した。初詣でという「日本の伝統」を語っていた。しかし、ささやかな願いを込める多くの人々の初詣でと一緒にはできない。自衛隊派遣を決断した首相の新年のメッセージであろう。容易な年ではあるまい、との思いを深くした。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 3(IHT/Asahi: January 6,2004) (01/06)
 
 
 
Tears relax your heart and make it resilient


Here are some quotes for December.

Painter Tatsuo Takayama says: ``In a movie I saw years ago, there was a scene in which the Buddha was fidgety and visibly flustered. I loved that scene. It was beautiful. I think humans are most genuine when they are confused and don't know what to think or do. That's what makes them beautiful.''

12月30日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「昔見た映画に、お釈迦様がうろうろしているシーンがあって、それが美しかった。人間って迷っている姿が本当の姿で、美しいのかなって思う」と画家の高山辰雄さん。

Masamori Inoue, a diplomat who was slain in Iraq in November, was a fifth grader in elementary school when he wrote a composition about Africans abandoning their barren fields. Inoue wrote: ``I was pained beyond words by the sight of those Africans. ... I dearly wished I could do something about making idle farmland in Japan available to them.''

 イラクで犠牲になった外交官井ノ上正盛さんは小学5年のとき、作文に書いた。不作の土地を捨てていくアフリカの人の姿に「言葉で言い表せないほどつらい気持ち」を抱き、日本の「休耕田をアフリカの人たちに少しでも生かせないものかと思った」

Yukiko Takada, the mother of assistant police inspector Haruyuki Takada, who was shot dead in Cambodia 10 years ago, recalled: ``I had no choice but to get over my pain and keep going. ... About six months after my son's death, I saw a friend of mine. Without a word, she just put her hand on my shoulder, her face filled with sorrow. I appreciated her gesture more than any words of condolences, and I have never forgotten it since.''

 10年前、カンボジアで殉職した警察官高田晴行さんの母幸子さんは「自分で悲しみを乗り越えて生きていくよりしょうがない」「死んで半年ぐらいして友達に会った。何も言わずに肩に手を置いて悲しそうな顔をしてくれた。そんな態度が、お悔やみを言ってくださるよりも忘れられない」と。

U.S. photographer Eddie Adams covered the Vietnam War.

``I oppose war, through and through,'' he said. Adams now specializes in portraits of famous people around the world because he can no longer stand to weep on his job and scream in his heart, ``Enough! I can't take a picture like this.''

 ベトナム戦争を取材した米国写真家エディ・アダムズさんは「戦争には徹頭徹尾反対する」と語る。いま、世界の有名人を撮っている。「もう、たくさんだ。こんなのは撮れない」と泣きながら仕事をするのは嫌だから。

Taiwanese film director Ho Hsiao Hsien quoted the words of an Italian novelist to illustrate the beauty of director Yasujiro Ozu's works: ``The depth of all things is hidden. Where? It is hidden on the surface.''

 「物事の深みは隠されている。どこに? それは表面上に隠されている」とのイタリア作家の言葉を引きながら小津映画の魅力を語るのは台湾の侯孝賢(ホウシャオシェン)監督。

Novelist Ira Ishida: ``How many times did you cry this past year? What brought those tears? Or were there tears that came for no reason? Like your body, your heart also stiffens up quickly if you stop using it. Tears have the power to relax your heart and make it resilient.''

 「みなさんは、今年一年で何回泣きましたか。その涙にはどんな理由があったり、なかったりしましたか。心は身体と同じで、いつも動かしていないと、すぐにかちかちに硬くなってしまう。涙には人の心をストレッチするやわらかな力があるのです」と作家の石田衣良(いら)さん。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 30(IHT/Asahi: January 5,2004) (01/05)
 
 
 
Sand art teaches the power of continuity


Sand is seen as a symbol of transience. You draw something in sand and the winds and the waves will wipe it away. You do not seek permanence through this act.

01月01日付
■《天声人語》

 砂といえば、はかないものの象徴のように見られる。砂の上にものを描く。風や波で消えていく束(つか)の間の営みでしかないだろう。

My curiosity was piqued when I learned of an island where a highly developed technique of sand drawing has been handed down over the generations.

This is the South Pacific island of Vanuatu, an independent republic since 1980 and home to 200,000 people.

Using the index finger, the people draw beautiful, single-stroke geometric patterns in sand. The patterns tell all sorts of tales.

 砂に描く高度の技術を伝承してきた島があることを知って興味をそそられた。南太平洋の島国バヌアツである。80年に独立した人口20万人ほどの共和国だ。そこには砂の上にものを描く専門家がいる。人さし指一本で、一筆書きのように美しい幾何学模様を描く。模様には、さまざまな意味が込められる。

For instance, there are stories about the beginning of the universe and mythical folklore about animals. Some drawings explain community secrets and rules, others pertain to magic, and yet others elucidate scientific knowledge.

The drawings, in short, are a storehouse of collective memories of the people.

The creators are artists, religious scholars and scientists who also serve to provide a common ``language'' to this region that is fragmented by nearly 100 dialects.

 たとえば宇宙の始まりが物語られる。動物たちをめぐる神話もあれば、共同体をめぐる秘密やおきてもある。魔術が描かれることもあれば、科学的知識も入り込む。人々が蓄積してきた記憶の倉庫なのだ。砂上絵師は、芸術家であり、宗教家であり、科学者でもある。100近くの言語に分かれている地域だけに、共通言語をつかさどる役目もあった。

Their culture, as represented by sand drawing, is not one that values solid continuity and permanence. It is certainly different from what is called the ``culture of stone'' of Western Europe and astonishing even to us Japanese with our ``culture of wood.''

Vanuatu's ``culture of sand'' was designated last year as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

I was reminded of the poem ``Sunano Toride'' (Fortress of sand) by Tatsuji Miyoshi (1900-1964).

``My song is a fortress of sand/ The sea rises to destroy it/ In a gentle sweep of a wave,'' goes the refrain. ``But this does not stop me/ I keep building .../ Mine is a fortress of sand/ Quick to crumble/ Quick to build.''

 強固で永続するものを尊重する文化とは少々違う。「石の文化」といわれる西欧から見れば、いや「木の文化」の私たちから見ても驚きだ。この「砂の文化」が去年、ユネスコの「無形遺産の傑作」の一つに選ばれた。 三好達治の詩「砂の砦」を思い浮かべる。「私のうたは砂の砦(とりで)だ/海が来て/やさしい波の一打ちでくづしてしまふ」の一節を繰り返す。だが「こりずまにそれでもまた私は築く(中略)この砦は砂の砦だ/崩れるにはやく/築くにはやい」

No matter how rock-solid, there are things that, once lost, can never be restored. The ``culture of sand'' teaches us not to fear outward impermanence and to appreciate the strength inherent in continuity.

 いかに強固でも一度消えたら元に戻らないものもある。消え去ることを恐れず、持続することの強さがあることを「砂の文化」は教える。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 1(IHT/Asahi: January 3,2004) (01/03)
 
 
 
A year of renaissance for those born in 1903


According to movie director Kiju Yoshida, one of the good things about the movies of famed director Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) was that he kept soldiers in uniform out of his films.

Yoshida made his point at a recent symposium marking the centennial of Ozu's birth. He noted that Ozu did not depict a single serviceman in his movies that were shot at at time when, in real life, soldiers in uniform were seen everywhere in town.

12月31日付
■《天声人語》

 「映画の中に軍服姿を全く登場させなかった」と小津安二郎作品について語ったのは吉田喜重監督だった。生誕100年記念のシンポジウムでのことだ。軍服が街にあふれていた時代にも、画面ではひとりの軍人も歩かせていない、と。

As I recalled events of 2003, my thoughts often went further back, pondering the lives of people in the past century.

Seventy years ago, Takiji Kobayashi, who described factory crab ships as ``all run-down affairs'' in his novel about people working on board these vessels, was tortured to death by police after being arrested and accused of being a Communist. How did Ozu, who was the same age as Kobayashi, view this incident?

Novelist Fumiko Hayashi, noted author of ``Horoki'' (Journals of a wandering life), was also born in 1903. (A stage production of the novel continues to be performed.) She is famous for writing the line, ``Frailty, thy name is poverty.'' But as a person, she was tough. She lived on despite her poverty and her habit of wandering.

 1年を振り返りながら過去100年のことを思う機会が多かった。「蟹工船はどれもボロ船だった」と働く人々を描いた小林多喜二は70年前、拷問死した。同い年の作家の死を小津はどう受けとめただろうか。「放浪記」の林芙美子も1903年生まれだ。彼女は「弱き者よ汝(なんじ)の名は貧乏なり」といいつつ、貧困と放浪のなかでたくましく生き抜いた。

Celebrities who share Ozu's centennial of birth include Misuzu Kaneko, a poet who wrote children's songs and died in her 20s, poets Shinpei Kusano and Tosaburo Ono, avant-garde artist Shuzo Takiguchi, woodblock artist Shiko Munakata and novelist Kyuya Fukada. (Fukada's reputation is for being the author of ``Nihon Hyaku Meizan,'' or One hundred great mountains in Japan).

 夭折(ようせつ)した童謡詩人の金子みすゞ、詩人の草野心平と小野十三郎、前衛芸術の滝口修造、版画家の棟方志功、作家の深田久弥らが今年生誕100年を迎えた。

Two unforgettable names come to mind in this connection-Ainu translator Yukie Chiri and Okinawan-born poet Baku Yamanokuchi.

Chiri died at age 19, but before that, she translated oral Ainu poems into fine Japanese. (Her work, ``Ainu Shinyo Shu,'' or a collection of Ainu epics in praise of gods, is available as an Iwanami Bunko paperback.) We can find her lamentation in that book: ``O the doomed ones/ That is the name we have now/ What a sad name do we have?''

 アイヌの知里(ちり)幸恵と沖縄出身の詩人山之口貘(ばく)とを忘れるわけにはいかない。19歳で亡くなった知里は、アイヌの伝承詩を美しい日本語に訳し、遺作とした。「おお亡びゆくもの……それは今の私たちの名、なんという悲しい名前を私たちは持っているのでしょう」と詠嘆しつつ(『アイヌ神謡集』岩波文庫)

Yamanokuchi continued to write poetry even as he lived in utter poverty. To him, Okinawa was, as one of his poems goes: ``An island of jabisen three-string music/ An island of awamori rice brandy/ An island of poetry/ An island of dances/ An island of karate.''

``Whither the island now?'' was the question he asked in the summer of 1951. (The poem is from a collection of Baku Yamanokuchi's verse and prose, published as part of the Kodansha library of literary arts.)

 山之口は極貧の生活のなかで詩を書き続けた。「蛇皮線の島/泡盛の島/詩の島/踊りの島/唐手の島」の沖縄に「こんどはどこへ行くというのだ」と呼びかけたのが51年夏のことだった(『山之口貘詩文集』講談社文芸文庫)

The year 2003 was one in which the voices of these people, all born in the same year and who expressed themselves in ways as diverse as the lives they lived, reverberated throughout the archipelago.

 同じ年に生まれ、さまざまな人生を送り、多彩な表現をしてきた彼らの声が、2003年の日本列島に響いた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 31(IHT/Asahi: January 1,2004) (01/01)
 
 
 
World needs an international rescue center


Ibn Battuta, the great 14th-century Arab traveler, found Isfahan to be ``one of the best among the numerous Persian towns in terms of its scale and splendor. ... But conflicts have left most of it in ruins,'' he wrote in his journals. (A Japanese translation titled ``Dai Ryokoki'' is available from Toyo Bunko.)

12月28日付
■《天声人語》

 14世紀のアラブ人旅行家、イブン・バットゥータは、ペルシャの町イスファハンに行った時のことを、こう記している。「町の規模と華麗さにおいて、数ある町々の中でも最高の町の一つであるが、(略)紛争のために、その大部分が荒廃に帰している」(『大旅行記』東洋文庫)

Isfahan is far northwest of Bam, where a killer earthquake did its worst damage in Iran last week. By the time Battuta visited Isfahan, the old Persian town of Bam already had a history of several hundred years. Because Iran is crisscrossed by ancient roads that used to serve as the conveyor of East and West civilizations, the country has also been the stage of repeated wars. The giant old fort of Bam, the witness of Iran's tumultuous history, is said to have been almost totally destroyed in the latest natural disaster.

 イランの大地震で被害が集中したバムの町は、既にこの当時、イスファハンのはるか南東の地で、数百年以上の歴史を刻んでいたのである。東西文明の行き交う道が国土を横切るイランは、度重なる戦争の舞台ともなった。そうした歴史の証人でもあった巨大なバムの城塞(じょうさい)跡も、ほぼ全壊したという。

The residents of Bam mostly lived in houses made of bricks, as was the case with the old fort. As a result, many were trapped under the rubble when Friday's killer temblor struck.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami appealed to the international community to send personnel and equipment to rescue buried victims, stressing that action in the first 48 hours was of critical importance. Japan should respond to the appeal by providing maximum assistance as quickly as possible.

 城塞と同じく、多くの住民の家々もれんが造りで、被災者は、がれきの下敷きになった。「最初の48時間が非常に重要だ」。ハタミ大統領は、人材と機材について国際社会に支援を訴えた。日本も、緊急かつ最大限に応えるべきだ。

Every time a major disaster strikes, it comes as a reminder that it is essential to strengthen the international system for rescue operations. Reports from various countries indicate that they are sending rescue teams to Iran, all of which vary in the number of personnel and the kinds of equipment they are taking. But the rescue effort, a race against time, is not proceeding very efficiently.

 このような大きな災害の度に思うのは、国際的な救援の仕組みの強化の必要性だ。各国の報道をみていると、人員や機材には濃淡をみせながらも、それぞれが救助隊を送り出そうとしている。しかし、時間との競争なのに効率は良くない。

Clearly, there is a need to establish a world operation center-a ``rescue corps without frontiers,'' so to speak-which would be charged with such tasks as sending rescue teams quickly to where their service is sorely needed and making sure that the rescue capacities of respective countries always meet certain standards.

The United Nations should make such coordination a matter of top priority.

 少しでも早く必要な所に必要な支援隊を送ったり、平時から各国の救助能力を標準化したりするための世界の司令塔、いわば「国境なき救助隊」を育ててゆきたい。今後の国連の仕事としても重要だ。

Japan happens to be particularly familiar with natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions. As a nation with a long history of battling them, it should be able to put its expertise to good use in creating a global rescue organization.

 地震、津波、噴火。自然災害との闘いの歴史では世界でも有数の日本は、そうした仕組みづくりでこそ、力を発揮できるはずだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 28(IHT/Asahi: December 31,2003) (12/31)
 
 
 
Lots of hustle and bustle ahead of New Year


As December winds down, most people are in a rush to finish all sorts of tasks before the turn of the year.

Even now, a sense of bustle hangs in the air at this time. For the late essayist Aya Koda (1904-1990), it was a time when she often served gotta jiru, or jumble stew, for supper in her home.

12月29日付
■《天声人語》

 暮れも押し詰まってきた。年末で気忙(きぜわ)しくなると、夕食をよくゴッタ汁の鍋にしてしまうと書いたのは幸田文だった。

Sukiyaki and yose nabe (a mixed stew of chicken, seafood and vegetables) take time to get just right, Koda wrote in an essay. The thought of spending too much time to get hold of the right ingredients irritated her. The good thing about gotta jiru was that it could be consumed by many people at once because all the ingredients could be boiled in a pot together, with almost no wait required before digging in.

The essay appeared in the December 1964 issue of Bungei Asahi, a literary magazine published by The Asahi Shimbun. ``It may be said, therefore,'' Koda continued, ``that gotta jiru was very much a reflection of my feelings in the last days of a year. To give some examples: I was conscious of a year-end sense of harmony among people, even as they busily went about their tasks, and I shared their sense of being busy as I braced myself for the cold season, and I felt sorrow when I had to pay for something, rejoicing over sums (of money) coming into my pocket.''

 すき焼きや寄せ鍋は具を補う世話がいる。それがじれったい。ゴッタ汁だと一度に煮立って、大勢で一斉にたべられるのがいい。「だから、年末の和合、活気、心忙しさ、寒さへの抵抗、出銭のかなしさ入り銭のうれしさなど、歳末の私の感情はかなり細かにここに映っている勘定で」と続く(『文芸朝日』64年12月号)。

Kadomatsu New Year pine decorations were on sale at street stalls. Speculating about why putting up these gate decorations became a long-standing tradition, novelist Haruo Sato (1892-1964) wrote in an essay, ``It seems to me that the custom has served as a kind of social policy.''

 通り道で、松飾りを売っていた。日本で、この風習が長く続けられてきたのには「一種の社会政策的な意義があったように思われる」と記したのは、佐藤春夫である。

The urban consumption of young pine trees and pine branches from mountain villages, Sato said, brought some profit to their suppliers to help meet their year-end and New Year financial needs. ``It seems to me,'' he went on, ``that while New Year pine decorations and shimenawa decorations of sacred straw festoons may not be necessary, they are serving a positive purpose as a way to cycle some money from the cities to mountain and farming villages.'' (The essay is contained in the complete works of Sato Haruo, published by Rinsen Book Co.)

 この時期、山村から切り出した小松や松の枝などを都会で使うことになれば、山村の年末年始もいくらか利潤が生まれる。「都市の金銭を山村や農村にも融通するための一方法として、松飾りやしめ飾りは、無用の用ともいうべき用を果たしているようにわたくしには思える」(『定本 佐藤春夫全集』臨川書店)

As clear skies prevailed over Tokyo on Sunday, large crowds of people thronged the Ameyoko discount shopping area at Ueno. Some places were crowded like a jam-packed train. A young girl caught in the congestion had tears in her eyes. Calling to an aged man, a young vendor said, ``Take care not to get lost.''

``Take this home,'' I heard vendors saying everywhere. ``It's just 1,000 yen. We're offering this for just 1,000 yen.''

The air was filled with the din of ``sen,'' or 1,000 yen. But shoppers were not buying with corresponding fervor.

 昨日、東京は好天で、上野のアメ横は買い出しの客でにぎわっていた。満員電車並みの一角もある。押されて泣き顔の少女があり、「おじいさん、迷子になるよ」と叫ぶ青年がいた。「千円でいいよ」「持ってってよ」「千円だよ」。勢いよく千の字が飛び交うが、お札の方が勢いをつけるのは、まだこれからのようだった。

Back home, a sense of urgency takes hold as the hours pass with little progress evident in the tasks I set out to finish. But I know the problem will melt away on New Year's Day, when the pace of life slows to a crawl.

 せわしさが募る。片をつけようと思うことも、なかなかはかどらない。しかしそれもやがては、元日のゆるやかな時の中へ溶けてゆくのだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 29(IHT/Asahi: December 30,2003) (12/30)
 
 
 
'Tis the season for playing Beethoven's Ninth


Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was first performed in Japan, it is thought, in June 1918. The players were German prisoners of war being held in a concentration camp in Tokushima Prefecture. Germany was losing World War I at that time.

12月21日付
■《天声人語》

 ベートーベンの交響曲第9番の日本初演は1918年6月だったとされる。捕虜として徳島県の収容所に入れられていたドイツ兵が演奏した。第一次世界大戦の末期、ドイツが敗色濃厚なころである。

Inside the camp, the atmosphere was relatively free, and the POWs actively engaged in cultural pursuits. Even so, they must have had a hard time getting hold of the necessary instruments. Presumably, some instruments had to be made by hand. The internees also reportedly resorted to improvising, bringing in an organ for an unobtainable bassoon, just to give an example. For the first performance, a 45-member orchestra and a 90-member chorus were assembled.

 収容所は比較的自由な雰囲気で文化活動も盛んだった。それにしても楽器をそろえるだけでも大変だったろう。手製の楽器もあったろうし、ファゴットをオルガンで代用させるなどの工夫もしたらしい。初演は、45人のオーケストラに90人の合唱団という堂々たる編成だったという。

On one occasion at least, Beethoven's Ninth was performed even during World War II. The memorable occasion was a public gathering held in the summer of 1944 to send off University of Tokyo students who had been called up for military service. It was becoming increasingly clear that Japan was losing the war. The Ninth would not have graced the gathering but for an ardent effort by the conscripted students.

 第二次世界大戦中にも第9は流れた。日本の敗色が深まっていく44年夏のことだ。東大の出陣学徒壮行会で演奏された。出陣学徒が奔走した結果だった。

The nation was starving then. The orchestra that was requested to play the Ninth was reluctant to comply, saying, ``The undernourished members don't have the stamina to take on the Ninth.'' The students proposed a plan that would limit the orchestra's service to the third and fourth movements. Played in such a tense atmosphere, the symphony must have been especially moving.

 食糧難著しいころである。頼まれたオーケストラは「体力不足で第9は無理だ」と渋ったが、第3、4楽章だけでも、ということで実現した。切迫した空気のなかで流れた第9は格別の感動をもたらしたことだろう。

The symphony is now embroiled in constitutional debate in Europe. This is because those who prepared a draft Constitution for the European Union adopted the ``Ode to Joy'' that makes up the symphony's fourth movement as the symbol of European integration.

The member countries' initial response was mixed. While Germany and France came out for the idea, Britain and the Scandinavian countries were unsupportive. The proposal ended up being written into the draft Constitution. But the draft Constitution itself is bogged down in controversy, and there is no telling when it will be enacted and put into effect.

 ヨーロッパでいま第9は、憲法論議に巻き込まれている。欧州連合(EU)憲法草案に、第4楽章の「歓喜の歌」が統合のシンボルとして採用されているからだ。当初、賛成する独仏に対し、英国、北欧などが渋ったという。結局、草案には盛り込まれることになった。しかし憲法自体は論議が難航し、成立のめどが立っていない。

With the end of the year in sight, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is being performed around the country. Buffeted by the waves of history, it has continued to move people profoundly over the years. This composition, which evolves dramatically from ``anxiety to joy,'' will continue to cross the boundaries of eras and nations.

 年末にかけて日本各地で演奏される第9は、歴史の波にもまれながら、様々な人々に感動を与えてきた。「苦悩から歓喜へ」。劇的な展開をするこの曲は、時代や国境を超えてなお引き継がれていくだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 21(IHT/Asahi: December 29,2003) (12/29)
 
 
 
A single cow scares the world, but is it alone?


I hear the price of beef in the United States has been rising in recent years due to increased consumption. It seems the popularity of a ``how-to'' book on dieting played a role.

12月26日付
■《天声人語》

 米国では、ここ3、4年、牛肉の消費量が増え、価格が高騰していたという。ダイエットをめぐる1冊の本がベストセラーになったことと無縁ではない。

The book recommended a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. It urged readers to refrain from starchy foodstuff like grain and to eat plenty of meat and other protein-rich foods. Americans love beef. They could not have asked for a more welcome weight-loss program. They no longer had to feel guilty about eating steaks to their hearts' content. The program became a national phenomenon. Its originator, Dr. Robert C. Atkins, had been advocating this diet since the 1970s. But at the peak of this phenomenon, he died last April from a fall on a sidewalk near his New York home.

 このダイエットは、穀類などの炭水化物を控えて、肉などの高たんぱく食品を食べることを勧める。肉好きの米国人には、ありがたい「ご託宣」だったろう。安心してステーキをむさぼることができる。ブームを呼んだ。70年代から提唱してきたアトキンス氏は、ブームのさなかの今年4月、事故死した。

It took a single book to generate a trend. Now a single animal may reverse the situation. A cow, which was raised in the northwestern state of Washington, was found to be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.

 1冊の本で変わった流れが、1頭の牛によってまた変わるかもしれない。米国北西部のワシントン州で飼育された牛が牛海綿状脳症(BSE)に感染している疑いのあることがわかった。

Nearly 100 million head of cattle are raised in the United States, and about 35 million end up on the butcher's slab each year. About 90 percent of the beef is for domestic consumption and 10 percent for export, of which 30 percent is bound for Japan-the world's top importer of U.S. beef.

The Japanese government wasted no time in halting imports. At least on this issue, thank heavens, the government did not show any ``special consideration'' to ``Japan's only ally.''

 米国では1億頭近くの牛が飼育されている。そのうち毎年3500万頭ほどが食肉用にまわる。9割が国内で消費され、1割が輸出用だ。日本への輸出が最も多くその3割を占める。日本政府はいち早く輸入停止を決めた。「唯一の同盟国だから」などという配慮を見せなかったのはよかった。

The American standards for BSE inspection are more lenient than those in Japan and Europe. One wonders what measures the United States will take now.

High-level officials in Washington said they were having beef for their main Christmas meal, but that was obviously no comfort to a scared world. No nation takes such severe safety measures against terrorism as the United States. How seriously will this same nation deal with food safety?

 日本や欧州に比べてBSEの検査が緩やかな米国がどんな対策を講じるか。政府高官らは「クリスマスにビーフを食べます」と語っていたが、もちろんそれで世界を安心させることはできない。テロからの安全にはあれほどの厳しさを見せる国が、食品の安全にどれほどの労力をそそぐか。

In this day and age, a single cow can become the center of global attention and affect governments, markets and even what people put on their tables. Our gravest concern, of course, is whether the cow in question is really and truly the only diseased animal.

 たった1頭の牛が世界注視の的になり、政府や市場、人々の食卓にまで影響を与える時代である。そして本当にたった1頭なのか、が最も気になるところだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 26(IHT/Asahi: December 27,2003) (12/27)
 
 
 
Vitality of `Aman-yu' spirit still undiminished


Kakeroma-jima island is a small landmass of about 77 square kilometers just south of Amami Oshima island. The late novelist Toshio Shimao, who was on Kakeroma-jima when Japan lost World War II in August 1945, once wrote that local residents did not even know their island was called by this name.

For Shimao, Kakeroma-jima shaped his destiny.

12月25日付
■《天声人語》

 加計呂麻(かけろま)島は奄美大島のすぐ南にある面積77平方キロほどの小さな島だ。住民は自分たちの島が加計呂麻といわれていることを知らないようであった、と書いたのは、この島で45年8月の敗戦を迎えた作家の故島尾敏雄である。彼にとっては運命の島だった。

He was dispatched to Kakeroma-jima as the leader of a suicide squad, whose mission was to ram enemy ships with motorboats loaded with explosives-a mission from which nobody was supposed to return alive.

``I will never forget the shudder that coursed my body when I received that order,'' Shimao recalled in ``Shinpen: Ryukyuko-no Shiten kara'' (Revised edition: Perspective from the Ryukyu arc), an Asahi Shimbun paperback.

But the war ended while he awaited final orders on Kakeroma-jima. Shimao later moved to Amami Oshima island, from where he would spend years writing, his heart and soul forever anchored to Kakeroma-jima.

 派遣先がその島と決まったとき「身内を走りすぎた戦慄を忘れることはできない」。モーターボートに爆薬を積んで体当たりをする特攻部隊の隊長だったから、死地への旅だった。しかし、出撃指令が出て待機中に敗戦、死を逃れた(『新編・琉球弧の視点から』朝日文庫)。後に奄美大島に移り住んで南島からの発信を続けた島尾の原点である。

The year after Japan's defeat, the islands of Amami-of which Kakeroma-jima is one-and Okinawa were placed under U.S. military administration. But Shimao sensed that the hardships brought by military rule caused the regional culture to thrive, rather than wilt. He surmised that the islanders, freed from their years of oppressive subordination to the central government on Honshu, were suddenly brimming with energy as they resolved to confront the military government on their own.

 加計呂麻島も含めた奄美群島が沖縄とともに米軍政府下に置かれたのは、敗戦の翌年だった。軍政下の苦しい時代、奄美の文化はむしろ活況を呈したのではないか、と島尾は見ていた。本土への従属感から解放されて、独自に軍政に対抗しようとする気概があふれていたのではないか、と。

After about eight years of U.S. administration, the islands of Amami reverted to Japanese sovereignty, on Christmas Day exactly 50 years ago. Newspapers from that time show rejoicing islanders parading in the streets with festive banners and lanterns.

 約8年間の軍政の後、奄美群島が本土復帰を果たしたのが50年前のきょう25日だった。当時の新聞は、旗行列やちょうちん行列で喜ぶ島の人々の表情を伝えている。

The abrupt changes that followed the reversion pained Shimao. He watched with sorrow as ``the old `Aman-yu' (the Amami world) of a people who were wholly untainted by civilization'' gradually gave way to the encroaching ``fashions of the mainland'' that eroded the island's distinct cultural personality.

 復帰後の荒々しい変化で、「文化の行きとどかぬ人間まるごとの古いアマンユ(奄美の世)」が消えつつあり、本土の流行が風俗を平板にしていく。島尾は悲しげに見ていた。

Popular interest is surging of late in shima-uta (island songs) and Amami culture in general. While I share Shimao's lament, I might also suggest that this is perhaps proof of the sustained vitality of the ``Aman-yu'' spirit.

 近年、島唄(しまうた)をはじめ奄美の文化への関心が高まっている。島尾の憂慮はさりながら「アマンユ」はなお力強さを失っていない証しと見ることはできないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 25(IHT/Asahi: December 26,2003) (12/26)
 
 
 
Santa Claus long ago perceived as gift bearer


A popular comic during the Taisho Era (1912-1926) was titled ``Shochan-no Boken'' (The adventures of Shochan). It is about a boy journeying through a fairyland with a follower, a squirrel.

12月24日付
■《天声人語》

 大正の時代に「正チヤンの冒険」という漫画があった。少年が、リスをお供にしておとぎの世界を巡る。

The Schochan comic strip was serialized in Asahi Graph pictorial magazine, which made its debut in 1923, the year of the Great Kanto Earthquake, and later in The Asahi Shimbun.

Shochan, the protagonist, wore a cap with a small ball on the crown. The cap, named ``Shochan bo'' after the boy, became a fashion item.

 関東大震災の起きる1923年に創刊されたアサヒグラフや、朝日新聞にも連載された。正チャンのかぶる、てっぺんに球のついた「正チャン帽」が人気を呼んだ。

The December 1923 issue of Asahi Graph carried a cartoon for political satire, drawn by Katsuichi Kabashima, the cartoonist responsible for the Schochan drawings. Depicted in the two-frame cartoon was a politician in the guise of Santa Claus, hauling a big bag from his shoulder. The big bag was in reference to the politician's hyperbole about his ability to raise funds for post-earthquake reconstruction. The cartoon satirized him for failing badly to honor his promise.

 正チャンの絵を担当した樺島勝一が描いた政治風刺漫画が、創刊の年の12月のアサヒグラフに載っている。政治家が大震災の復興資金の調達で大風呂敷を広げたのに実際は少なかったという、二コマものだ。今でもよく見かけるようなサンタクロースの格好をした政治家が、大きな袋をかついでいる。

The cartoon shows citizens looking the other way from the Santa Claus figure. It is interesting to note that in those days Santa Claus was already perceived as the bearer of gifts. (This view is offered in an Iwanami paperback ``Santa Kurosu-no Dairyoko,'' which translates as ``The great journey of Santa Claus.'')

 漫画の中では、人々はサンタクロースにそっぽを向いているが、この当時から「プレゼントを運んでくるのはサンタクロース」という図式が定着していたことが分かる(『サンタクロースの大旅行』岩波新書)

Christmas Eve came on Wednesday night this year. To go back through history on this occasion, the first Christmas celebration in Japan was held in 1552 at a church in Yamaguchi, where Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier had been given permission to preach Christianity from Ouchi Yoshitaka, whose domain as a military governor of the Muromachi Period (1333-1573), included what is now Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The first Christmas tree in this country was set up at the residence of the head of the German diplomatic mission in Edo (the present Tokyo) in 1860, eight years before the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. But it was utterly different from what we imagine now. Instead of setting up a single evergreen tree, the Germans wound sugi Japanese cedar leaves around all the pillars in the residence and hung a number of paper lanterns and candies from them.

 今夜はクリスマスイブだが、さかのぼれば、日本での最初のクリスマス祭は、室町時代の守護大名大内義隆がザビエルにキリスト教の布教を許した山口の教会で、1552年に行われたという。最初のクリスマスツリーは、幕末の1860年に江戸のドイツ公使の宿舎に出現した。とは言っても、宿舎の柱すべてに杉の葉を巻きつけ、これにいくつもの提灯(ちょうちん)や砂糖菓子をぶら下げていたそうだ。

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Shochan comic debut, an exhibition of original pictures has been held this year. Also, a reprinted edition has been published by Shogakukan. ``This comic presents a fantasy world like `Alice in Wonderland,''' says novelist and movie critic Shohei Chujo in an explanatory note attached to the reprinted edition.

 正チャンの登場から80年になったのを記念して、今年は原画などの展示会があり、復刻版(小学館)も出た。その解説で、中条省平さんは「『不思議の国のアリス』に似たファンタジー」と書いていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 24(IHT/Asahi: December 25,2003) (12/25)
 
 
 
Year-end parties offer a chance to ruminate


Attending a perfectly commonplace bonenkai year-end party the other evening, a thought struck me as I stared at the foamy head of beer in my glass: ``Some things are incomplete by themselves, and yet you'd be missing something good if they weren't there.''

12月23日付
■《天声人語》

 「それだけがあっても十分とは言えないが、もしそれが無かったら、味わいというものが足りなくなる……」。先夜、ごくありふれた忘年会の一つに連なり、目の前のビールの泡を見ていて、ふとそんなことを思った。

The froth of beer serves a certain scientific purpose, I was once told. The foam helps to keep beer fresh by ``sealing'' the liquid and preventing direct contact with air. But then, the significance I saw in those fluffy little bubbles must lie elsewhere.

 ビールの泡の持つ科学的な効用というのは、聞いたことがある。空気とビール本体の間に入って両者を遮り、新鮮さを保つ働きがあると。しかし、軽い泡の重みというものは、もう少し別のところにありそうに見えた。

When pouring beer into a glass, I'd get upset if I got nothing but foam. On the other hand, I can't imagine going to the trouble of chilling a bottle of beer on a cold winter day in Japan, knowing that all I'll get is amber liquid.

The white bubbles begin fizzing out as soon as the beer is poured. Beer wouldn't be beer if it weren't for the ephemeral nature of these suds. And if you put your ear to your glass, you can hear the tiniest hint of the popping sound of effervescence.

 ビールをつがれて、泡ばかりだとすれば、不満が出る。しかし、泡がまったく無かったとしたら、茶一色の液体を、寒い日本の冬に、冷やしてまで飲もうとするだろうか。つがれた途端に消え始める白い泡の、はかなく頼りない姿も、ビールをビールとして成り立たせている。グラスに耳を寄せれば、プチプチと、泡のはじけるような小さな音も聞こえる。

The head of beer must be one of those things that are incomplete by themselves; one would also feel short-changed if a beer was served without head.

I was beginning to put this in the context of our lives, when my imagination fizzled out and the party broke up.

 いわば、「それだけでは満足できないが、それ無しでも満たされない」存在なのだろう。たかが泡のことなのに、どこか人の世にも通じそうだと思ったところで想像ははじけ、散会となった。

The term ``bonenkai'' appears in Soseki Natsume's ``Wagahai-wa Neko-de Aru'' (I Am a Cat) and ``Kure-no Niju-hachinichi'' (December 28) by Roan Uchida. The year-end party is also referred to as toshi wasure (forgetting the year), and this expression is said to date back from the Muromachi Period (1333-1568).

Traditionally, year-end parties were for families and friends, who got together to put the past year's worries and problems behind and wish one another a safe, healthy new year. Today, most of these parties are company- or group-oriented.

 「忘年会」という言い方は、漱石の『吾輩は猫である』や、内田魯庵の『くれの廿八日』に出てくる。しかし、「年忘れ」の語は、古く室町時代から見られるという。もとは年の暮れに、一年の労苦を忘れ、無病息災を祝うために親類や友人が集まって催していた。今では、職場、グループが中心になった。

Attending a year-end party may be an occasion for each reveler to pop open a bottle filled with memories of the past year. But the presence or absence of effervescence is anyone's guess.

 忘年会とは、それぞれの1年が詰まったビンの栓を抜くことかもしれない。泡が出るとは限らないが。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 23(IHT/Asahi: December 24,2003) (12/24)
 
 
 
Diehard customs mark the winter solstice


The afternoon hours seem to pass really quickly these days. It's almost as if a day's progress toward evening begins from the morning, with the midday bypassed. Dusk falls before you know it.

12月22日付
■《天声人語》

 午後の短さを実感するこのごろだ。真昼を省略して、朝からなだらかに夕暮れに向かうように感じられる。気がつくと、いつのまにか薄暗くなっている。

Our ancestors interpreted the phenomenon as the sun falling into slow decline. Monday was toji, or the winter solstice. To people in olden times, it marked the day when the sun was at its weakest before making a full recovery.

They knew from experience that daytime would begin to lengthen again the next day. But would the pattern hold? Was there any chance of the sun's debilitation continuing? The thought might have haunted them.

 昔の人は、だんだん太陽が衰えていく、と感じたらしい。最も衰えるのが、きょう冬至である。「一陽来復」。翌日からまた日が長くなるのは経験上わかっている。しかし、ひょっとしてこのまま太陽が衰弱してしまいはしないか。そんな恐れもつきまとったのではないか。

In ancient India, the winter solstice was observed by holding what was known as the ``swing ceremony.'' Seated on a swing, a priest first touched the ground and then swung himself high in the direction of the sun. The idea was to energize the sun at its weakest through intercourse with the goddess of the earth. (This account appears in a volume on performers and the audience in ``Nihon Minzoku Bunka Taikei,'' an encyclopedia on Japanese folklore and culture, published by Shogakukan.)

Similar events are held around the world to pray for and celebrate the sun's ``resuscitation from debility.''

 インドでは冬至にブランコの儀式が催されたそうだ。祭官がブランコに乗ってまず地面に触れ、太陽に向かって高く舞う。衰弱の極にある太陽が、大地の女神と交わって活力を与えられる、という考えからだ(『日本民俗文化大系 演者と観客』小学館)。世界各地に、同じような「衰弱からの再生」を祈り、祝う行事がある。

In Japan, the winter solstice is marked by customs designed to energize bodies of individuals rather than a debilitated sun.

``Sankichi decided that his family should celebrate the winter solstice by feasting on pumpkin dishes and miso-dressed fuki (butterbur),'' wrote Shimazaki Toson (1872-1943) in ``Ie'' (Household), a novel set in his home province of Nagano.

 日本では、衰弱した太陽にではなく、各人の体に活力を与えようという風習が定着してきた。「冬至には、三吉の家でも南瓜(かぼちや)と蕗味噌(ふきみそ)を祝ふことにした」。故郷の長野県を舞台にした島崎藤村の小説「家」にもこんな一節が出てくる。

The kinds of food people eat this day vary from one region to another. Pumpkin and rice gruel mixed with adzuki beans are more common. Putting yuzu (citron) into a bathtub is probably the most widely observed custom.

These forms of celebration, whose origin has yet to be established, seem to have been already widespread during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Obviously, the idea is to ride out the cold winter months by taking something that supplies nutrition and warms the body.

 この日に食べるものは地方によっていろいろだが、カボチャや小豆粥(あずきがゆ)を食べる風習は各地に残る。最も広く行き渡っているのは、柚湯(ゆずゆ)だろう。由来ははっきりしないが、江戸時代にはもう広がっていたようだ。栄養を補給し、体を暖めて寒さを乗り切ろうとの願いが込められる。

Some people view the winter solstice as the beginning of a new year. Indeed, it would not be a bad idea to celebrate the day of resuscitation for the sun as its annually recurring birthday.

 この日を新しい年の始まりとする考え方もある。太陽が再生する日を、毎年訪れる太陽の誕生日として祝うのも、またいいか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 22(IHT/Asahi: December 23,2003) (12/23)
 
 
 
Fans cheer for perpetually losing horse


Fortune has never smiled on Haru Urara, a 7-year-old female racehorse. The animal has run 99 races without ever winning one. How it would fare in its 100th race set for Dec. 14 is anybody's guess. Kochi Prefecture is its arena of competition.

12月14日付
■《天声人語》

 負け続ける競走馬がいる。99回走って一度も勝ったことがない。きょう100戦目を迎える。高知競馬のハルウララ、7歳の牝馬(ひんば)である。

Horse racing enjoyed booming popularity 30 years ago. What comes to mind is Hai Seiko, a thoroughbred that won a succession of classic races despite its origin as a locally competing racer.

Nicknamed ``Monster,'' it was hailed as a hero embodying a success story. But it failed to win that year's Japan Derby, contrary to everybody's expectations. The poet-playwright Shuji Terayama (1935-1983) interpreted the horse's Derby defeat as signaling the advent of ``an era of confusion without heroes.''

 競馬が異常なまでのブームになった30年前を思い出す。地方競馬出身のハイセイコーが中央競馬に移り、連勝を重ねたときだった。怪物と称され、出世物語を体現したヒーローに祭り上げられた。しかし、その年のダービーで予想を裏切って敗北する。故寺山修司は、その敗北に「ヒーローなき時代の混迷」を読みとった。

The 1970s produced another notable racehorse. Just like Haru Urara, this horse named Yamanin Bari Mera prodded on and managed to extend its racing life to 99 races.

The occasional wins scored by the horse are overshadowed by an impression that it always ended up as a loser. It always did its utmost and never slackened its pace. This brought it many fans. An injury forced the horse to retire without running its 100th race.

 また70年代、黙々と走り続け、99戦にたどりついた馬をハルウララに重ねあわせたくなる。ヤマニンバリメラといった。時々勝つことはあったが、負けを重ねた印象ばかりが強い。力を抜かない懸命の走りに、少なからずファンはいた。故障のため、100戦を前に引退した。

Haru Urara has finished second in four races. The money it has earned in prizes totals slightly more than 1 million yen. The amount is incomparably smaller than figures for the strong horses qualified to vie in classic races, whose prizes run into the 100 millions.

Even so, the racer is so popular that tours are organized to cheer for it. Betting tickets listing it as the winner are paradoxically prized as charms against being hit in a traffic accident because the dreams of such bettors are given no chance of coming true.

 ハルウララは、2着に入ったことが4回ある。これまで稼いだ賞金は100万円を少し超える程度だ。億単位の賞金を稼ぐ中央の強い馬とは比べものにならない。それでも応援ツアーが組まれるほど人気を集めている。1着を当てる単勝馬券は「当たらない」ということで、交通安全のお守りにされるほどだ。

Novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu plans to write a book on the story of Haru Urara for the benefit of today's children who quickly get demoralized when they suffer a setback. ``I don't want to see children giving up when they are losing a game or something,'' he said.

 作家の重松清さんは、負けるとすぐくじけてしまういまの子どもたちに向けて、ハルウララの物語を本にする予定だ。「負けることに負けてほしくない」との願いが込められる。

The mother of Haru Urara was named Heroine. Is Haru Urara's losing streak going to stretch to its 100th race? Or is it going to score an unexpected win? Either way, Haru Urara is a relief for fans. The racehorse has emerged as a contemporary heroine.

 ハルウララの母の名はヒロインといった。100連敗に達するのか、予想外の勝利を収めるのか。どちらにしても、ほっとさせられる、そんな現代のヒロインである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 14

* * *

Haru Urara came in ninth in a 10-horse race on Dec. 14, marking 100 consecutive defeats.(IHT/Asahi: December 22,2003) (12/22)
 
 
 
Taxpayers must watch where the money goes


One way to look at taxation is that it is something of a social equalizer. The rich are taxed heavily to share their benefits with low-income people.

Japan is regarded as one of the most egalitarian societies in the world. But when it comes to the redistribution of income through taxation, Japan performs in a rather mediocre way: or so observes Naohiko Jinno, professor of economics at the University of Tokyo, on the basis of the Gini Index, an indicator of the degree of income inequality in society.

12月19日付
■《天声人語》

 豊かな人からたくさん取って貧しい人々にまわす。税金にはそうして平等を促進する役割もある。日本は世界で最も平等な社会なのに、税金を集めて再分配すると中程度の平等社会に落ち込んでしまう。

Discussing taxation in a special issue on taxation of ``Kan,'' a quarterly journal published by Fujiwara-Shoten, Jinno points out the nation's fiscal system is hardly sound, which means Japanese taxpayers are getting a raw deal for the amount they pay. By comparison, he notes, taxpayers' money is used more effectively in Sweden and France.

 ジニ係数という指標をもとに東大教授の神野直彦さんが指摘をしていた(『別冊「環」税とは何か』藤原書店)。財政がきちんと機能していない。それなのに税の負担感ばかりが強い。比べてスウェーデンやフランスが財政の効果をよくあげている、と。

On the other hand, Japanese taxpayers themselves are often said to be apathetic about the way their money is spent. Perhaps you could say they are ``generous,'' or simply resigned to their fate when required to pay their dues. And certainly, the government has always taken advantage of this collective mentality.

 一方、納税者意識が薄いとは、日本人についてよくいわれることだ。気前がよいといってもいいし、「年貢の納めどき」といったあきらめが強すぎるという面もある。政府は政府で納税者を甘く見てきたのではないか。

The Bush administration in the United States recently came in for a lot of criticism at home and abroad by coming down hard on nations that did not ``risk lives'' in Iraq by excluding them from multibillion-dollar contracts for postwar reconstruction.

President George W. Bush sounded almost defensive as he tried to justify this policy in the name of U.S. taxpayers-that they ``understand why it makes sense for countries that risk lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq,'' and that awarding the contracts only to such countries is ``what the U.S. taxpayers expect.''

This reminded me anew of how important it is for American politicians to meet taxpayers' approval.

 イラクの復興事業をめぐり先日、米国が「危険を冒さなかった国には参加させない」という強引な方針を示した。内外の反発を招いたが、ブッシュ大統領の苦しまぎれとも見える弁明が印象的だった。「納税者は理解してくれる」「わが国の納税者の期待するところだ」。納税者の意に沿うことが、あの国ではいかに重要なことか。

In his tax discourse, Jinno quotes from a 1928 general election poster made by Seiyukai, a major political party founded in 1900 and dissolved in 1940.

``Transfer tax revenue sources to local governments, and full regional development will naturally occur,'' says the poster. ``Start decentralization, and the process will evolve and develop staunchly all on its own.''

How should tax money be distributed between the central and local governments? Japan today is still muddling over this question 75 years later.

 神野教授は1928年総選挙の政友会のポスターを引用していた。「地方に財源を与ふれば 完全な発達は自然に来る/地方分権丈夫なものよ ひとりあるきで発てんす」。中央と地方とで税金をどう分配するか。75年前と同じ課題の前で悩んでいるいまの日本である。

The ruling parties have announced their tax reform policy outline, and draft budget plans for fiscal 2004 are to be finalized shortly. In coming days of important decisions, taxpayers must be vigilant.

 与党の税制改正大綱決定から、来年度予算案の決定へ。納税者として警戒を怠ることができない重要日程が続く。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 19(IHT/Asahi: December 20,2003) (12/20)
 
 
 
Did Saddam learn much from Dostoyevsky?


In ``Takeda Taijun Zenshu'' (Complete works of Taijun Takeda) published by Chikuma Shobo, the novelist says, ``In any country, no dictator ever believes he himself will go to jail. He alone has the right to be free of the terror shared by all his people.''

It appears deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been stripped of this right.

12月18日付
■《天声人語》

 「どこの国の独裁者でも、自分だけは囚人になりたがらないもんだ。自分だけは人民すべての共有する恐怖を、分担しない権利を保有しているものだ」(『武田泰淳全集』筑摩書房)。フセイン元大統領の、この「権利」は、既に失われたようだ。

A copy of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's ``Crime and Punishment'' in Arabic was discovered in the hole in the ground where Saddam was captured on Saturday.

Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, an impoverished student and the novel's protagonist, murders an old woman-a pawnbroker-and steals her money. He reasons that the elite and strong, such as himself, have the right to commit such crimes.

Having exercised that right, however, Raskolnikov unexpectedly becomes consumed with intense guilt.

If Saddam owned the Arabic copy of ``Crime and Punishment,'' that's an interesting combination to say the least, given the title of the book.

 最後の隠れ家には、アラビア語版のドストエフスキーの『罪と罰』が残されていた。「選ばれた強者には罪を犯す権利がある」と考えた貧しい学生ラスコーリニコフは、金貸しの老女を殺して金を奪う。しかし、この「権利」の行使は、予期に反して激しい罪の意識をもたらした。この本が元大統領のものだとすれば、意外な取り合わせのようでもあり、その題名が妙に生々しくも思われる。

According to The Washington Post, 10 or so books were stacked atop a bedside storage box. In the pile were books of Arabic poetry, bearing such titles as ``Discipline'' and ``Sin,'' and also a book on oneiromancy.

 ワシントン・ポスト紙によると、ベッドの脇の収納箱の上には、本が10冊ほど積んであった。「戒め」や「罪」という題の、アラビア語の詩集や、夢判断の本があった。

Atop a small refrigerator, the newspaper continues, sat American-made soap and shampoo and a gold-framed mirror that was reminiscent of Saddam's lavish lifestyle in the past.

The hideout was also fairly well stocked with food-eggs, cucumbers, carrots, apples, kiwi fruit, tinned meat, honey and tea. In addition, there was an Arabic inscription bearing the words ``God the Merciful.''

 小さな冷蔵庫の上には米国のせっけんとシャンプーがあり、かつての暮らしをしのばせるかのような金色の鏡もあった。食料は、卵、きゅうり、にんじん、りんご、キウイ、肉の缶詰、蜂蜜、紅茶と、豊かそうだった。「慈悲深い神よ」というような、アラビア文字も見られた。

Dostoyevsky was 18 years old when he wrote in his letter to his elder brother, ``Man is a mystery. I must solve the puzzle at all costs...even if it takes my entire lifetime.'' This is mentioned by Fumihiko Konuma in ``Chikuma Sekai Bungaku Taikei'' (Chikuma compendium of world literature).

 ドストエフスキーは、18歳の時に、兄あてに、こう書いている。「人間は神秘です。どうしてもその謎を解かなければなりません。(略)たとえ一生をついやしても」(『筑摩世界文学大系』小沼文彦解説)

In ``Crime and Punishment,'' Dostoyevsky delved into the mystery of man. I wonder what this book has taught the deposed dictator in captivity.

 人間の謎に迫ったあの一冊は、囚(とら)われた「独裁者」に、何を思わせているのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 18(IHT/Asahi: December 19,2003) (12/19)
 
 
 
Aircraft bittersweet gift from the Wright bros


It probably would be wrong to state the aircraft flew. Rather, floating in the air might be a better description of that historic flight. It stayed airborne for 12 minutes, covering a distance of 36 meters.

12月17日付
■《天声人語》

 それは、飛んだというより、浮かんだのかも知れない。離陸から12秒、距離は36メートルだった。

The motorized aircraft built by the Wright brothers entered the history books at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. A full century has passed since then. But to my way of thinking that isn't a very long period of time at all. I suppose I feel this way because of the truly phenomenal innovations in the aircraft industry since then.

 1903年の今日、米国の東海岸で、ライト兄弟が初の動力による飛行に成功した。100年もたったというよりも、まだ100年しかたっていないのかという思いが強い。

Initially, planes didn't go faster than automobiles. Later, innovations took speeds to supersonic levels. Similarly, planes grew in size from one-seat affairs to jumbo jets capable of carrying 500 passengers.

Thanks to constant innovations, aircraft became the fastest means of transportation, making them indispensable vehicles for moving people and goods. War was the chief incentive behind these innovations.

 それほどの、激しい変容があった。車並みの速度から超音速へ、1人乗りから500人乗りへ。人や物を行き来させるための最速、必須の装置となった。その変化を促したのが戦争だった。

Like the aircraft enthusiast he was, the late novelist Taruho Inagaki (1900-1977) wrote an essay titled ``Raito kyodai-ni hajimaru'' (It all began with the Wright brothers). In it, Inagaki refers to a ceremony held in Washington on Dec. 17, 1943, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first successful powered flight. The event took place under the auspices of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although it was in the middle of World War II.

According to Inagaki, Orville Wright, the younger of the Wright brothers, told aviation officials that night that airplanes were being used by ``bad people'' to create the most lethal weapons in history. (The essay is contained in the complete works of Taruho Inagaki, published by Chikuma Shobo.)

On the other hand, the Wright brothers wrote to the Imperial Japanese Army not long after the first flight in an effort to sell the technology.

 飛行機への思い入れが深かった作家、稲垣足穂の『ライト兄弟に始まる』に、こんな記述がある。第二次大戦のさなかの43年12月17日、初飛行から40周年を祝う大統領主催の式典がワシントンであった。招かれていたライト兄弟の弟オービルは、その夜、航空関係者にこう語ったという。「悪い奴が飛行機を歴史上最も致命的な武器に使用している」(『稲垣足穂全集』筑摩書房)。一方で兄弟は、初飛行から間もないころには、日本の陸軍に売り込みの手紙を出していた。

The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum has opened an annex to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' success. The restored Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, is also on display. But there is nothing to indicate the terrible destruction caused by the bombing.

Airstrikes offer a means of striking the enemy from afar. The advantage of being removed from the enemy has emboldened attackers to cause indiscriminate and devastating damage on the ground. It may also have served to reduce their sense of guilt.

 100周年を記念して米国立スミソニアン航空宇宙博物館の新館が開館した。復元されたエノラ・ゲイの展示には原爆被害の実態は記されていない。空襲、空爆という、相手との隔たりを保つ戦争の手口は、地上の被害を無差別的、甚大にする一方で、攻撃する側の罪悪感を小さくしたのかも知れない。

People usually look up when a plane passes overhead. The thoughts they have at such a time vary from one person to another. A poem by Yumi Arai goes: ``The airplane climbs up/ Apparently afraid of nothing/ The sky is where the boy wants to be/ He dreams of cruising in the sky/ He wants to be one with an aircraft vapor trail.''

 「何もおそれない そして舞い上がる 空に憧れて 空をかけてゆく あの子の命はひこうき雲……」(荒井由実)。機影を追う人々の思いも願いも様々だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 17(IHT/Asahi: December 18,2003) (12/18)
 
 
 
Saddam Hussein cornered like a rat in the end


A bronze statue in Baghdad of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that was toppled about eight months ago graphically symbolized the collapse of his regime.

As for Saddam in the flesh, the end came not with a big bang. He was disheveled, almost rat-like, when he was captured.

12月16日付
■《天声人語》

 バグダッドでフセイン元大統領の銅像が引き倒されたのは約8カ月前だった。フセイン体制の崩壊を象徴する場面だった。現実のフセイン元大統領はといえば、銅像のように仰々しく崩れ落ちはしなかった。やつれた様子で「ネズミのように」捕まった。

In neighboring Jordan, The Jordan Times reported, ``This is a tragic comedy: Tragic in terms that Saddam was captured without any resistance, and a comedy in terms of the fact that the man who ruled Iraq for 35 years was seized like this.''

 隣国ヨルダンの新聞は「アラブ人にとっては悲喜劇」との見方を掲載していた。悲劇は彼が米軍に何の抵抗もせずに捕らえられたことで、喜劇は35年もの間イラクを支配した男があんなふうに捕まったことだ、と。

This observation suggests reaction in the Arab world to this development was anything but simple, even though many people felt relief as well as elation over his capture.

The Jordanian newspaper also quoted an Al Arabiya Satellite Channel correspondent as saying that Saddam's eldest daughter, who had sought refuge in Jordan, wept as she heard of her father's capture. She reportedly said that she could not believe that ``this has happened to my father. The strong man of Iraq.''

 独裁者の拘束に安堵(あんど)と喜びが走る一方、アラブ世界の受けとめ方は、そう単純ではないことをうかがわせる。ヨルダンに亡命していた娘の一人も泣きながら「強いイラクの男がこんなことになるなんて信じられない」と語ったそうだ。

In Shakespeare's ``King Lear,'' the elderly king, betrayed and insane, laments: ``No rescue? What a prisoner? I am even the natural fool of fortune'' (Act IV, Scene VI).

Saddam, reportedly, has yet to give up acting tough and is still calling himself ``the legitimate leader of Iraq.''

 「助けるものはおらぬか? 捕虜になるのか? わしは生まれながら運命にもてあそばれる道化だった」。シェークスピアの「リア王」は裏切られて狂い、うめいた。フセイン元大統領は「自分は、いまでもイラクの正統な統治者だ」と強腰も見せているらしい。

Unlike his two sons who were slain by U.S. troops, it was perhaps fortunate that he was captured alive. I say fortunate because it will be possible for the people of Iraq to watch the process by which Saddam's many alleged ``crimes'' will be investigated. And in that process, the legitimacy of the war in Iraq should also come under examination.

 米軍によって殺害された2人の息子と違って、フセイン元大統領が生きたまま拘束されたのは幸運だったというべきだろう。彼が犯したとされる数々の「犯罪」をイラク人注視のうちに検証することができる。その過程で、イラク戦争の「正当性」自体も俎上(そじょう)に上ることになろう。

``You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave,'' protested King Lear (Act IV, Scene VII). But the investigation must proceed to do full justice to the dead, whose cries should not go unheeded.

 「ひどいではないか、わしを墓から連れ出すとは」とはリア王のせりふだが、検証は、死者たちの無念の言葉に耳を澄ましながら進めねばなるまい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 16(IHT/Asahi: December 17,2003) (12/17)
 
 
 
A belief in nothingness drove director Ozu


The Engakuji temple, one of the five highest ranking temples in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, is conveniently located for those visiting it by rail. When I got off the train at Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line, I found it just in front of the station. Natsume Soseki, the great novelist of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), practiced Zen at this temple, which was built by Hojo Tokimune, the nation's political leader credited with repulsing the Mongolian forces that twice attempted to invade Japan in the 13th century. Engakuji is said to be the temple that appears in Soseki's novel ``Mon'' (Gate).

12月13日付
■《天声人語》

 JR横須賀線の北鎌倉駅で降りる。すぐ前に円覚寺がある。北条時宗の創建で、鎌倉五山の一つだ。夏目漱石が参禅し、後に小説『門』の中で描いたとされる。

Last Friday marked the centennial of the birth of Yasujiro Ozu, the great movie director. It was also the 40th anniversary of his death. I visited Engakuji because he is buried there.

Passing through the gates, I went up a flight of stone steps. There was a graveyard near the top of the stairs. A black granite tombstone in one corner marked Ozu's grave. A single Chinese character, mu (nothingness), was inscribed on the tombstone.

 昨日が誕生から満100年で、没後40年でもあった映画監督、小津安二郎は、ここに眠っている。山門をくぐり、石の階段をほぼ上り詰めた墓地の一角に、四角で黒い御影石の墓がある。そこには「無」の一文字が刻まれている。

Ozu was conscripted during the Japan-China War that broke out in July 1937. He had battlefield experience. While being stationed in Nanjing, he asked the priest of an old temple to write some calligraphy for him. The priest wrote the character mu. Ozu asked the priest to write the character on some more pieces of paper and sent most of them to his friends, according to his book ``Kokoro nimo naki uta-o yomite'' (Composing poems against my will), published by Asahi Sonorama.

 小津は日中戦争で召集され、戦場を体験した。南京に駐留していた時、古寺の住職に書を頼んだ。それが「無」の一字だった。何枚も書いてもらい、友人たちにも送った(『ココロニモナキ ウタヲヨミテ』朝日ソノラマ)。

Combined with other characters, mu forms a long string of words, such as mujo (impermanence), kyomu (nihility), zetsumu (utter nonexistence), mukyu (infinitude), muge (no obstacle) and mujin (unlimited). As these words suggest, it is a character that provokes the imagination. It may be said that mu permits an infinite (mugen) variety of interpretations.

As I prayed in front of the Ozu grave, I was struck by a seeming oddity: the existence of the character mu on the tombstone.

 無常、虚無、絶無、無窮、無碍(むげ)、無尽……。人を想像へといざなう一字である。解釈は、それこそ無限にあるのかも知れない。墓前で手を合わせながら、ふと思ったのは、「無い」という文字がここに「在る」ということだった。

Ozu's movies are full of descriptions of how things that exist at a given time get lost or disappear as people live on. And they were given titles sounding as if they were taken out of a haiku reference book-titles like season words, such as ``Banshun'' (Late spring), ``Bakushu'' (Wheat harvest time), ``Soshun'' (Early spring) and ``Sanma no aji'' (The taste of saury).

 小津監督は、人生で、そこに「在る」ものが失われたり消えたりする過程を、繰り返し描いた。「晩春」「麦秋」「早春」「秋刀魚の味」。歳時記のような題の付いた落ち着いた画面の底には、避けられない別離や、いずれもたらされる不在への予兆などが、せつなく流れていた。

While watching scenes shot in subdued tones, one cannot help noticing an pathetic undercurrent-sorrow over inevitable separation and a foreboding that some things are going to become nonexistent.

A longing for things that once existed may have been an element in Ozu's love of the character mu. The audience shares that sentiment when the scenes captured on film as the present are shown as what existed in the past on the screen.

 「無」には、かつて在ったものに対する哀惜が含まれているのかもしれない。作品を見る側では、監督が写しとどめた「現在」が、かつて在った「あの時」となって哀惜の念を募らせる。

An offering was placed by the nothingness inscription-a bottle of sake from Tateshina, Nagano Prefecture. It was Ozu's favorite brand.

 「無」の脇には、生前愛飲した長野・蓼科の地酒が手向けられていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 13 (12/16)
 
 
 
Iraqi boys wanted soccer balls, not troops


To kick real soccer balls, even for once, was a dream shared by the Iraqi boys who had to be content with playing with balls made of rubber. Thanks to the efforts of Japanese high school students, their dream recently came true.

12月11日付
■《天声人語》

 「一度でいいから本物のサッカーボールをけってみたい」。ゴム製ボールしか知らなかったイラクの少年の夢が、日本の高校生の活躍で実現した。

This came about after a group of boys approached Koichi Kimura, a Christian priest from Fukuoka Prefecture, in Baghdad this spring.

At the time, Kimura was in Iraq serving as a ``human shield'' at a utilities plant. The boys asked him in English: ``Do you know Nakata?'' They were talking about Japanese soccer star Hidetoshi Nakata, who now plays in Italy.

 今春、イラク戦争中のバグダッドの変電所に「人間の盾」としてとどまっていた福岡県の牧師木村公一さんに、少年らが英語で話しかけてきたのがきっかけだった。「ナカタを知ってる?」。イタリアで活躍する中田英寿選手の話から始まった。

Fourteen-year-old Hussen, who lives in staff housing at the transformer substation, and his friends told Kimura how they dreamed of one day owning a real soccer ball, an item that costs more than their fathers earn each month. Kimura promised them: ``I will do my best to have some sent over here.''

 変電所の職員住宅に住む14歳のフセン君らは、父親の月給でも買えないほど高価なボールへのあこがれを語った。木村さんは「届くように努力する」と約束した。

On his return home in April, Kimura gave a lecture about his Iraq visit.

Shuya Kogure, a teacher at Meijigakuin Senior High School in Tokyo, heard Kimura's report and discussed it with students of a volunteer circle of which he is an adviser. ``We could also have been born in Iraq,'' one student said. ``It doesn't seem to be someone else's problem,'' another said.

 その話を4月の帰国報告会で聞いた明治学院高校の小暮修也先生が高校生たちと話し合った。「私たちもイラクに生まれていたかもしれない」「ひとごととは思えない」。小暮先生が顧問をするボランティアサークルの高校生たちは動き始めた。

They began a fund-raising campaign. On two occasions, they stood in front of Tokyo's Shinagawa Station to ask passersby to sign balls intended for Iraq and give donations. About 500 people contributed a total of about 160,000 yen. According to the students, mothers with children were particularly responsive. The students sent 30 balls through Kimura, who visited Baghdad again in October. Upon seeing them, Hussen hugged Kimura, saying, ``I can't believe it's true.''

 先に購入しておいたボールに寄せ書きをしてもらいながら、寄付を募った。東京・品川駅頭での2回の呼びかけで、約500人が募金をしてくれた。16万円ほど集まった。子ども連れのお母さんたちの反応が大きかったそうだ。10月にバグダッドを再訪した木村さんにボール30個を託した。フセン君は「信じられない」と言って木村さんに抱きついたという。

Hussen and his friends wrote a few words of thanks and asked Kimura to hand the messages to the students with a photo of them carrying the balls. One boy went a step further, to write about what is going on in his country: ``Thank you for the balls. But no thank you for the troops.''

This week, the students published a newsletter which they posted on a wall at the school to report on the development.

 フセン君らはボールを抱えた写真とともに感謝の寄せ書きを木村さんに託した。少年なりに自国の現状を憂える言葉も交じっていた。「ボールを贈ってくれてありがとう。でも軍隊はいりません」。高校では今週、壁新聞で経過を報告した。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 11(IHT/Asahi: December 13,2003) (12/13)
 
 
 
In the end, everything in life is on a journey


At the bottom of a strip mine in Brazil, swarms of workers are digging gold. In Cambodia, a doctor gets ready to operate on a landmine victim. There are also shots of an Ethiopian refugee camp, Kabul in ruins, and a Shanghai skyline of towering high-rises.

12月06日付
■《天声人語》

 ブラジルの巨大な露天掘りの金鉱の底で、おびただしい数の人々がうごめいている。カンボジアで、地雷被害者の手術にとりかかろうとする医師の姿がある。エチオピアの難民キャンプ、カブールの廃虚、上海の高層街のシルエット……。

These represent the work of Brazilian-born photographer Sebastian Salgado. The pictures are on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography until Jan. 12. Salgado continues to portray the varied lives of people around the globe.

 東京・恵比寿で開かれているセバスチャン・サルガドの写真展「エッセイ」を見た(来年1月12日まで、都写真美術館)。ブラジル出身のサルガドは、世界各地で、人間の営みの諸相を撮り続けている。

His subjects include ordinary people working for a living and those performing their professional duties. There are also shots of people struggling for survival amid war and famine. His black-and-white photographs capture the stark reality of these people's lives, and yet manage to create a uniquely ``transparent'' effect that may well be described as poetic.

 生活や任務のためにひたむきに働く人々や、戦乱、飢餓などを背負わされた人々の姿が並ぶ。モノクロームの画面は、現実の厳しさを伝えながら、独特の透明感によって詩情をもたたえている。

Viewing Salgado's works, I was reminded of ``The Odyssey''-the ancient Greek epic poem ascribed to Homer, in which Odysseus, the mythical hero of Trojan Horse fame, survives a shipwreck and life's vicissitudes through his long, arduous journey back home.

The story has nothing to do with the world portrayed by Salgado. Nevertheless, I sensed a parallel between Odysseus' wanderings after the fall of Troy and the endless travails of the people the photographer saw through his viewfinder.

 古代ギリシャの長編叙事詩「オデュッセイア」が思い浮かんだ。トロイア戦争の木馬作戦で知られる伝説の英雄オデュッセウスが、難破など様々の苦難を経て故国にたどりつくまでの長い漂泊を描く。物語とサルガドが写した世界とは異なる。しかし、困難を伴うはるかな遍歴をする人間の姿がオデュッセウスの漂泊とどこか重なった。

A bust of Homer is on display until Sunday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno as a part of an exhibition titled ``Treasures From the World's Cultures: The British Museum After 250 Years.'' The exhibition will tour Kobe, Fukuoka and Niigata next year.

The marble bust is that of an old man. It is believed to be a second-century creation, which postdates the epic by about 1,000 years. Nearly two millennia have since elapsed, and now the bust has come all the way to Japan.

 この詩の作者と伝承されるホメロスの像が、上野の都美術館の「大英博物館の至宝展」で展示されている(14日まで。来年神戸、福岡、新潟を巡回)。大理石の老人の胸像で2世紀の作という。詩の約千年後に作られた像が、さらに2千年近い日々を経て、はるばる日本まで来た。

A thought occurred to me: Not only the people in Salgado's photographs, but also all the museum exhibits, as well as visitors to those two museums, are on their respective Odysseys.

 サルガドの写真の人々だけではなく、博物館の文物も、それを見ている人々もまた、それぞれのオデュッセイアの途上にあるのかと思われた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 6(IHT/Asahi: December 12,2003) (12/12)
 
 
 
Troop dispatch breaks constitutional vow


In his student days, the late novelist Ryotaro Shiba wanted a career in the diplomatic service. He longed for an assignment to a distant consulate. He had planned to spend about 10 years in the diplomatic corps and then switch careers to become a novelist. But Shiba's plans did not work out because he was drafted into military service, when he was a student.

12月10日付
■《天声人語》

 作家の故司馬遼太郎さんは学生時代、外交官になろうと思っていた。どこか遠いところの領事館にでも勤務して、10年ほどして小説を書きたいと考えていたそうだ。学徒出陣でその夢はかなわなかった。

Shiba was conscripted in 1943. ``I asked myself, `Who gave the state the authority to shatter my career planning and when?' It seemed so strange, and I turned the question over in my mind,'' he later recalled. He hit on an idea: The Constitution of Imperial Japan. The people gleefully embraced the constitution which provided for conscription.

``I thought that even though it was an imperially ordained Constitution, we had made a promise (to answer the draft call) at that time. I thought I had found a convincing answer to my question,'' Shiba said. (These remarks appear in a Bungei Shunju-published collection of Shiba's recorded observations in dialogues.)

 兵隊にとられたのは1943年である。「ひとの人生の設計を台無しにして、そんな権能をいつ誰が国家に与えたか、とふしぎに思いました」と語っている。司馬さんはそのとき、大日本帝国憲法のことを考えたそうだ。国民が喜んで受け入れた憲法には徴兵の義務も含まれる。

He enrolled for military service, telling himself he was fulfilling his constitutional obligation.

 「たとえ欽定憲法でも、あのとき約束してしまったんだなあと思うと、年貢が納まったように得心したものです」(『司馬遼太郎対話選集』文芸春秋)。そうやって自分に言い聞かせながら応召した。

Article 9 of the present Constitution prohibits Japan from waging war and having land, sea and air forces. Even though some people complain the Constitution was forced on Japan, it can be said that ``we committed ourselves to the renunciation of war at that time,'' to borrow Shiba's phrase.

Members of the Self-Defense Forces picked to serve in Iraq may ponder the question of constitutional constraint. But any private deliberations they may have will probably only cause them to waver, instead of convincing them.

 いまの憲法は9条で、国家として戦争をしないこと、陸海空軍などの戦力をもたないことを定めている。たとえ「押しつけ憲法」と批判されようと、司馬さん流にいえば「あのとき約束してしまった」。イラクへ派遣される自衛隊員が憲法のことを考えるとしたら、得心ではなく迷いを招くのではないか。

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dwelt on the ideals of the Constitution when he met media representatives Tuesday to announce Cabinet approval of the basic plan to send Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. He read part of the Preamble aloud after cautioning that the exercise would not cover the entire foreword. He did not, however, touch on the parts with a particular bearing on the central pacifism enshrined in the war-renouncing Constitution.

 小泉首相は昨日、イラク派遣の基本計画をめぐって「憲法の理念」を説いた。ただし「全文ではなく前文ですよ」とことわりながら前文の一部を読み上げた。「憲法の理念」に深くかかわる他の部分にふれることはなかった。

To quote Shiba again, the novelist said in 1972, ``If the government says it will send troops abroad or institute a conscription system, we will respond by starting a civil war.'' The people had such a strong sense of distrust about the nation's armed forces. Even now, the majority of the public is against the dispatch of troops to Iraq.

 「海外派兵や徴兵などといえば内乱はやりますよ、私どもは」。72年の司馬さんの言葉である。それほど軍隊というものへの不信感は強かった。いま世論も派遣反対が多数を占めている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 10(IHT/Asahi: December 11,2003) (12/11)
 
 
 
Anniversary of war's start, Lennon's death


Commenting on reports around the world last month that Japan had given up its planned dispatch of Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said: ``Japan was never a country that we counted on providing very much. Japan has still a very tentative attitude toward anything that has to do with the military.''

12月08日付■《天声人語》

 日本がイラクへの自衛隊派遣を断念した。先月、そんなニュースが世界に流れた。そのことについて尋ねられたウォルフォウィッツ米国防副長官は答えた。「日本という国には多くを期待していなかった。軍にかかわることでは、常にためらう国だから」

Later that month, during his visit to Japan, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld expressed appreciation for Japan's contributions in Afghanistan and Iraq and made reference to its remarkable advancements in the military arena in recent years as a country with ``the second largest defense budget of any free nation.''

 しばらくして日本を訪れたラムズフェルド米国防長官は「日本は自由主義諸国のなかで2番目に大きい防衛予算をもっている」「近年は、軍事面で重要な進展を見せた」と語り、軍事分野での日本の貢献をたたえた。

Basically, Rumsfeld disavowed his deputy's remarks based on wrong information. If Rumsfeld's statement represents the U.S. government's official view, then perhaps Wolfowitz's words can be interpreted as Washington's real sentiment. It shows that even within the Pentagon, there is a wide gap in ``expectations'' toward Japan.

 誤った情報をもとに副長官がもらした感想を長官が打ち消したかたちだ。長官の言明を公式見解とすれば、副長官の言葉は本音といえるかもしれない。日本への「期待」については国防総省のなかにもかなりの幅がある。

Whenever Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi speaks about ``attaching importance to Japan-U.S. relations and security alliance,'' I cannot help but wonder what he means by the United States. Does he mean U.S. President George W. Bush or the Republican administration? Is he speaking about the United States as a nation or
the American people?

 小泉首相が「日米関係や日米同盟の重視」をいうとき、いつも気になるのは、米国とは何か、である。ブッシュ大統領を思い浮かべているのか。共和党政権のことなのか。米国なのか、米国民なのか。

In December 1969, in the midst of the Vietnam War, a massive sign with the words ``War is over!'' appeared in New York. Below, in small letters, was the message ``If you want it.'' It was a joint work by Yoko Ono and John Lennon aimed at encouraging the antiwar movement.

 ベトナム戦争さなかの69年12月、ニューヨークに「戦争は終わった」と書かれた大きな看板が出現した。下に小さく書き添えられていた。「きみがそう望むなら」。オノ・ヨーコさんとジョン・レノンの共作で、反戦運動を励ますねらいだった。

The sign is now on display at the ``Yes Yoko Ono Exhibition'' at Art Tower Mito in Mito. (The exhibition closes on Jan. 12, after which it will tour Hiroshima, Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan.) Looking at the sign, I thought that it was anti-Vietnam War and war-weary public opinion that moved the government in the end. Dec. 8 marks the outbreak of war between Japan and the United States. It is
also the anniversary of Lennon's death.

 水戸市の水戸芸術館で開催中の「YESオノ・ヨーコ」展(1月12日まで。広島、東京などへ巡回)に展示されている看板を見ながら思った。あの戦争でも反戦や厭戦(えんせん)の世論が政府を動かした、と。8日は日米開戦の日、そしてレノンの命日でもある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 8(IHT/Asahi: December 10,2003) (12/10)
 
 
 
Leaves fall, but which way is wind blowing?


I walked along a sloping street by the Aoyama cemetery in Tokyo, treading on leaves fallen from the ginkgo, zelkova and cherry trees there. In time, I came to a road almost empty of dead leaves. I was standing in front of the Aoyama Funeral Hall.

12月07日付
■《天声人語》

 いちょう、けやき、さくら。いちょう、さくら、さくら。散り敷いた枯れ葉を踏みながら、東京の青山墓地脇の坂道を歩く。やがて、枯れ葉のほとんど見当たらない道に出た。青山葬儀所の前である。

A thought struck me: The bodies of the two slain diplomats and their families were in there at that moment. The thought broke my heart afresh. Inside their coffins, the bodies had been borne from distant Iraq to Narita airport, then on to Tokyo. The nearer they came to Tokyo, the stronger my sympathy grew.

More than 5,000 names are said to have been entered in the condolence books kept at the building that temporarily houses the Foreign Ministry. The fate of the two diplomats must have drawn sympathy from many people who read or watched post-attack media reports describing how dutifully they had carried out their jobs.

 今、この中に、殺害されたふたりの外交官と家族がいる。そう考えると、痛切な思いが、新たにこみあげてきた。遠いイラクから、成田、そして東京へとふたりが運ばれ、近づいてくるにつれて、哀悼の思いは強まった。 外務省の仮庁舎での記帳は、5千件を超えたという。事件後、ふたりの誠実な仕事ぶりを見聞きして、多くの人々が、哀悼の意を募らせているのだろう。

Confident, then, that the men have many mourners, I would like to consider the matter of ``carrying on the wishes of the slain diplomats.'' Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi mentioned it just after they were struck down. In his funeral oration, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed to ``inherit your wishes and carry on.''

Perhaps it was natural for the superiors of the slain diplomats to make such promises. And there is no doubt that their aspirations were to ``make contributions to the reconstruction of Iraq.''

 その思いを共にしたうえで、「遺志を継ぐ」ということを考えておきたい。事件の直後から、川口外相が口にしていた。小泉首相も、葬儀で「あなたがたの遺志を受け継ぎ」と述べた。上司にあたる人たちが「遺志を継ぐ」と語るのは当然かもしれない。奥さんたちの志が「イラク復興への貢献」だったことも確かだろう。

But the question, in my opinion, is how to carry on their wishes and how to try to attain the goals they envisaged. At issue is whether the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq, over which domestic public opinion is split, will really make contributions to that country and is also the right thing for Japan to do.

While the loss of the two diplomats is truly grievous, the judgment on the propriety of the action to carry on their wishes should be made apart from their aspirations.

 しかし問題は、どのようなやり方でその志を継ぎ、目標に近づけるのかということではないか。国論が大きく分かれている「自衛隊のイラク派遣」が、本当にイラクへの貢献となり、日本にとっても正しい選択となるのかどうか。ふたりの死はまことに重く痛切だけれども、是非の判断は、別の厳粛さをもってなされるべきだろう。

Some of the remaining leaves on the trees in front of the funeral hall occasionally wafted down. They seemed like a silent greeting to the diplomats who returned home after falling in the gusts of international politics.

 葬儀所の前の街路樹から、時折、残り少なくなった葉が舞い降りてゆく。国際政治の修羅の中で倒れ、故国に戻った命への、無言のあいさつのようにも見えた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 7(IHT/Asahi: December 9,2003) (12/09)
 
 
 
Was Bush's trip a Thanksgiving to the Iraqis?


Thanksgiving Day to Americans is like what the rolling together of two important holidays in this country, the midsummer Bon Festival and New Year's, would be to Japanese.

When the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Americans working far away from each other head for home to celebrate reunions over turkey and other delicacies. The holiday seems to have originated as a celebration of good harvests held by the Pilgrims who had come to the North American continent on the Mayflower.

For Thanksgiving, President George W. Bush was supposed to be relaxing with his parents at his ranch in Texas. What they would have to celebrate that day had been announced in advance, down to their dinner menu.

Few would have noticed when a man and a woman stole out of the ranch on the night of Nov. 26. With baseball caps pulled down over their eyes, they got into a nondescript car and headed for a waiting presidential plane.

The man was President Bush and the woman was his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice. As reported by The Associated Press and other media organizations, this was how the stage was set for Bush's covert trip to Baghdad. The president later said he and Rice were probably taken to be an ordinary couple.

On the way to Baghdad, the secret flight came close to being exposed. The presidential plane received a radio inquiry from the pilot of a British Airways airliner, who asked if it was wrong to assume that he had just seen Air Force One. The pilot of Air Force One fended off the question by naming a different aircraft.

The blitzkrieg trip took the whole world by surprise. Many U.S. soldiers seem to have been moved as well as surprised. But it can also be said that the fact that the supposedly most powerful man in the world had to make a surreptitious trip to a country under occupation illustrates the tough going he faces in Iraq.

Events are said to be held by Native Americans to ``mourn'' Thanksgiving Day and redefine it as a day commemorating the persecution of their ancestors at the hands of immigrants. I am worried about how Bush's blitzkrieg trip struck the people of Iraq.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 29

Note: The White House has since acknowledged that it was not a British Airways pilot that spotted Air Force One.(IHT/Asahi: December 8,2003) (12/08)
 
 
 


Shun extremes to adapt to this digital age


Compact discs began to replace vinyl records about 20 years ago and from around that time, ``digital'' became a household word. Today, we are surrounded by all sorts of digital gadgets.

12月05日付
■《天声人語》

 レコードに替わるCDが普及し始めて20年ほどになる。そのころから普段の生活にデジタルという言葉が入り始めた。いまや身のまわりに「デジタル」があふれる。

From the start of the digital era, people argued the virtues of digital CDs versus analog records. CD supporters liked them for their handy compactness and sharp, noise-free sound. Record fans preferred the inherent ``warmth'' and ``dimension''-even those created by the noise that inevitably got into analog records.

 デジタル方式のCDか、アナログのレコードか。当初から論争があった。「小型で便利、音がシャープで雑音がない」とCD派がいえば、レコード派は「音に温かみ、ふくらみがある。多少の雑音もふくらみのうち」と。

An analog sound system captures sound as a continuous wave. Its digital counterpart breaks all data into binary signals, which are easier to convert into electric signals because they are a simple combination of 1 and 0, on and off. The preciseness of these signals makes for a ``seamless'' effect. Digital technology is thus indispensable to our highly computerized society.

 連続した波として音をとらえるアナログに対して、デジタルは、すべての情報をいったん0と1という信号に分解する。無と有、オフとオンとの単純な組み合わせだから、電気信号にしやすい。精密だから切れ目が気になることはない。情報化社会に不可欠の存在だ。

Because digital and analog represent two entirely different principles, these words are often used to describe two opposite types of people. An ``analog person'' is said to be uncomfortable with anything too precise and tends to grasp the overall picture of things, minus the little details.

A ``digital person,'' on the other hand, is analytical and wants to explain everything in black and white terms. They are sticklers for preciseness; they don't do half measures.

In this day and age, analog people are about to be branded anachronistic.

 この原理の違いもあって、人間をアナログ派とデジタル派として対比させることがある。緻密(ちみつ)なことが苦手で、物事を大雑把にとらえがちなアナログ派に対して、デジタル派は物事を分解して考え、何事にも白黒つけようとする。あいまいさを好まない。アナログ派はアナクロ(時代錯誤)といわれかねない時勢だ。

Psychiatrist and writer Inada Nada preaches iikagen-moderation or being noncommital. In any religious or ideological organization, Nada points out, there is usually a core group of fanatics who are totally and uncompromisingly committed to the cause. The farther removed you are from that inner sanctum, the more iikagen you are.

It is also iikagen not to take sides, says Nada. This iikagen-refusal to shun extremes-is so necessary in a touchy period like today when a ``holy war'' could erupt at any time, Nada argues.

 精神科医で作家のなだいなださんが「好(い)い加減のすすめ」をしたことがある。宗教でもイデオロギーでも中心には純粋で過激な信者がいる。中心から外れるほど「好い加減」だ。どちらの派にもつかない「好い加減」というのもある。この「好い加減」こそ宗教戦争の危険が潜む現代に必要だ、と。

I think we should stop being so simplistic as to categorize people and things into analog and digital. To adapt to our digital era, I suppose the best approach is to practice iikagen and take things easy.

 アナログかデジタルかという発想自体も改めた方がいいのだろう。デジタル時代に「好い加減」に適応するしかないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 5(IHT/Asahi: December 6,2003) (12/06)
 
 
 
Takefuji's Takei must have felt like King Midas


Employees at Takefuji Corp. reportedly referred in whispers to ``that ear business'' whenever conversation turned to phone bugging, for which the company's chairman has been arrested.

12月04日付
■《天声人語》

 盗聴にかかわることを、関係者は暗号のように「耳の件」とささやきあっていたそうだ。捜査がついに企業トップにまで及んだ武富士盗聴事件である。

The Takefuji workers who were involved in the eavesdropping must have felt like the tormented barber in the ancient folk tale about King Midas and his donkey ears. The barber becomes privy to the king's terrible secret and the king forbids him to tell anyone. But unable to keep it to himself anymore, the barber one day digs a hole in the ground and keeps saying into the hole, ``The king has donkey ears.''

The bigger the secret, the more difficult it is to keep and the greater the temptation to spill it.

 「耳の件」にかかわった人たちは、「王様の耳はロバの耳」の床屋の悩みを味わったのではないか。秘密の口外を厳禁された床屋は我慢しきれず穴を掘って「王様の耳はロバの耳」と秘密を吐き出してしまう。口にせずにはいられなかった。大事な秘密ほど秘めておくのは難しく、口外への誘惑は大きい。

A dictator with the metaphorical ass's ears tends to become consumed with endless suspicion-that someone must be whispering the ugly truth behind his back. And stories are now coming out that Yasuo Takei, the arrested Takefuji chairman, was quite a tyrant. Such a man's obsession with total control goes hand in hand with a sense of gnawing anxiety that something could be happening somewhere without his knowledge. For someone in that state of mind, the temptation to eavesdrop becomes almost impossible.

 「誰かが『ロバの耳』をうわさしているのではないか」。独裁者の方は際限のない猜疑心(さいぎしん)におそわれるものだ。逮捕された武井保雄会長の独裁者ぶりも話題になっている。すべてを掌握しておきたいという独裁者の衝動は、自分の知らないところで何かが起きているのではないか、という不安と表裏一体だ。盗聴への誘惑は大きい。

But what was it that Takei wanted so desperately to protect, or perhaps to find out, by going so far as to wiretap on the phone line of journalists and company executives?

 しかし、ジャーナリスト宅などの盗聴までして守りたいのは何だったのか。あるいは、知りたいことは何だったのか。

Midas is better known as the king who turned everything he touched into gold. When Takei presided over his company's rapid rise to the No. 1 spot in the consumer financing industry, any money he touched generated more money. He must have felt like Midas himself. And in that process, he perhaps amassed secrets he did not want anyone to know, just like Midas with his donkey ears.

 「ロバの耳の王様」ミダスは、触るものすべてが黄金になってしまう伝説でも知られる。会社を業界1位にまで急成長させたころは、まさにお金がお金を呼ぶミダス王のような心境だったろう。その過程で「ロバの耳」のような見られたくない部分をいろいろ抱え込んでしまったのではないか。

As investigators dig further, they may well turn up new sordid details that will make the parties involved cringe. I sense a vast darkness beyond, a darkness which will not go away just because Takei has been arrested.

 捜査の進展によって関係者には耳をふさぎたくなるような事実や耳が痛くなる話も出てくるかもしれない。逮捕容疑の「耳の件」だけではすまされない闇が背後にひかえているのではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 4(IHT/Asahi: December 5,2003) (12/05)
 
 
 
A lesson on explorer's courage to retreat


Lt. Nobu Shirase, the first Japanese to set foot on the Antarctic Continent, recounted his wondrous experiences of the previous year in ``Nankyoku Tanken'' (Antarctic exploration), published by Hakubunkan in 1913.

12月03日付
■《天声人語》

 1913年に出版された『南極探検』(博文館)という本が手元にある。前年、日本人として初めて南極大陸に足跡を記した白瀬矗(のぶ)中尉が、興奮さめやらぬ筆致で体験をつづっている。

Shirase was astonished when he saw penguins for the first time. ``The penguin looks like a bird, but it is not a bird. It seems like a beast, but it is not a beast, either. ... It is a very funny creature,'' he wrote.

After landing, Shirase's team aimed for the South Pole, but it got stuck at latitude 80 degrees five minutes south. The lieutenant opted for survival and turned his team around, saying, ``It is more important to accomplish our mission another day than to die now.''

 初めて見たペンギンに驚く。「是(こ)の片吟鳥(ぺんぎんてう)は其(その)姿鳥に似て鳥と異なり。獣に似て獣と異なり。……頗(すこぶ)る滑稽(こつけい)な者である」。上陸後、極点をめざしたが、南緯80度5分で前進不能に追い込まれた。「使命は死よりも重し」。そういって「生還」の道を選び、引き返した。

About that time, a British party led by Robert F. Scott was struggling to reach safety on its way back. It had arrived at the South Pole only to find that Norwegian Roald Amundsen's expedition got there before.

Expressions like ``extreme disappointment'' and ``an awful day'' can be found in Scott's journal. His bitterly disappointed party had no choice but to turn back. In time, all the members died of exhaustion.

 そのころ、英国のスコット隊は厳しい帰還の途上にあった。極点に達したもののノルウェーのアムンゼン隊に先を越されていた。「失望のきわみだ」「恐ろしい一日だった」と失意のうちに帰途に就き、やがて力尽きて壮絶な最期を迎える。

Before the tragedy, Amundsen left his footprints on a part of the planet where no other human has previously trodden. He called it an experience like no other. Leafing through Shirase's book and accounts by Scott and Amundsen (Japanese translations published by Oceania Press) vividly brings back to mind the dramatic three-way race to the South Pole from the final days of 1911 to the next year.

 それより先、アムンゼンは人類未踏の地に踏み込んで「これほど感動した瞬間はほかになかった」と記した。白瀬体験記に加えて、スコットの『南極探検日誌』とアムンゼンの『南極点』(ともにオセアニア出版社)をあわせ読むと、11年暮れから12年にかけて3者が南極で劇的に交錯したことがまざまざとよみがえる。

With this in mind, I wish to point out that the 45th Japanese Antarctic observation team departed Fremantle in the state of Western Australia on Wednesday. The research ship is called Shirase, after the Japanese Antarctic pioneer. Team members will conduct a great variety of surveys on changes in the global environment and the history of Earth.

 第45次南極観測隊が3日、オーストラリアのフリーマントルから南極に向けて出港する予定だ。乗り込む調査船は、白瀬中尉の名を借りた「しらせ」である。地球環境の変化や地球の歴史を探る多くの調査を行う。

The surveys will be different from the expedition there about a century ago. While the era is long gone, Antarctica will greet the latest Japanese observation team with the same wonderful aspect that Shirase admired all those years ago, saying, ``What a magnificent and awe-inspiring spectacle I am looking at!''

 約1世紀前の「探検」とは違う。しかし迎える南極は、白瀬が「あゝ何と云(い)ふ壮大な眺めであらう。勇渾(ゆうこん)な光景であらう」と感嘆した同じ姿を見せてくれるだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 3(IHT/Asahi: December 4,2003) (12/04)
 
 
 
Recalling the life and times of Higuchi Ichiyo


The rice came from up north, where the unusually cool summer resulted in a poor harvest and delayed shipments. Chewing the new grain, which is no different from years past, I thought momentarily of all the worries and hard work the farmers faced.

11月24日付
■《天声人語》

 新米の飯を、一箸(ひとはし)つまむ。見たところは、いつものと、そう違いはない。冷夏に見舞われた北の方の産で、出荷はかなり遅れたらしい。その地での心労と勤労とを一瞬思い浮かべながら、かむ。

I nibbled on a morsel of pickled Chinese cabbage. Its pleasing sourness enhanced the sweetness of the rice. After another small mouthful of rice, I took a sip from my bowl of miso soup.

There is probably not much nutritional value in this simple, yet quintessential, Japanese meal. But I could not have asked for anything more satisfying on a late autumn day.

 白菜漬けを、少しつまむ。ご飯のほのかな甘みを、ほどよい酸味が引き立てる。飯をもうひとつまみし、みそ汁をすする。栄養のことはともかくとして、晩秋の「日本の基本食」だけで、ほぼ満ち足りた。

Nov. 23 was the 107th anniversary of the death of novelist Higuchi Ichiyo. Higuchi had to support her family from a young age and never had enough to eat. She died at the tender age of 24.

``Meiji Bungaku Yugaku Annai'' (A dilettante's guidebook on Meiji Era literature), published by Chikuma Shobo, contains a reprint of a roundtable talk that ran in Shincho magazine in 1932. Below is an excerpt:

Masao Kume: What was Ichiyo's daily life like?

Kocho Baba: She was practically penniless. From the diary she kept, you can see she was often flat broke. She borrowed money from her relatives, her excuse being she needed the money to start some new business.

 昨日は、若くして一家を背負い、食べてゆくことにも苦労した作家、樋口一葉の命日でもあった。『明治文学遊学案内』(筑摩書房)に、昭和7年の『新潮』に載った古い座談会が収録されている。「久米正雄 一葉女史なんか、結局どんな暮らしをしてゐたんですか。/馬場孤蝶 これは、金がないんだ。日記を見ると、よく、一文なしになつた、それだから親類から商売を始めるといつては借りて来たりなんかしてゐた」

She actually did operate a small store selling sundry items and cheap sweets in the Ryusen district of Tokyo's Taito Ward. On the site now stands the Ichiyo Memorial Hall, which I visited on the anniversary of her death.

It was teeming with visitors, mostly the middle-aged and the elderly, although young people also turned out. Especially crowded was the room housing her manuscript of ``Takekurabe'' (Comparison of heights)-arguably her most famous work. There were so many people it was difficult to pass each other. On display in one corner was a sample of the new 5,000-yen bill bearing Ichiyo's image. The bill will go into circulation in July.

 一葉が雑貨、菓子などの小さな店を出していた東京都台東区竜泉にある「区立一葉記念館」に行ってみた。忌日とあって、にぎわっている。中年以上が大半だが、若い人もいた。「たけくらべ」の草稿などのある展示室は、すれ違うのも難しい。一角には、一葉の肖像が入った新5千円札の見本もあった。

From the memorial hall, I journeyed to the Nishikata district in Bunkyo Ward, where a monument stands on the main street to mark the place of her death. Bouquets of yellow and white chrysanthemums were laid at the foot of the monument.

Ichiyo died of tuberculosis in 1896. Only about a dozen people are said to have come to her funeral.

 ついでに、文京区西片の「終焉(しゅうえん)の地」も訪ねた。大通りに面した碑には、黄色や白の菊の花などが手向けてあった。明治29年、1896年のその日、肺結核のため24歳で他界。会葬者は十余名だったという。

Haiku by Dakotsu Iida goes:

``One's soul is reflected/ In the serenity of flowering chrysanthemums/ As one admires them.''

 たましひのしづかにうつる菊見かな(飯田蛇笏)

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 24(IHT/Asahi: December 3,2003) (12/03)
 
 
 
Deaths illustrate need for safety-first rule


Katsuhiko Oku, one of the two Japanese diplomats killed in Iraq, wrote a regular column titled ``Iraq dayori'' (Letters from Iraq) carried on the Foreign Ministry's Web site. Those who read his reports now cannot but be impressed with a strong sense of mission with which he went about his daily duties as a diplomat.

12月01日付
■《天声人語》

 イラクで殺害された奥克彦さんが、外務省のホームページに連載していた「イラク便り」を読む。強い使命感を帯びて日々励んでいたことが、痛いほど伝わってくる。

``Sad news just came in today,'' Oku wrote as he began his report on a trip to Nasiriya after a truck bomb exploded at an Italian police base. ``The terrorists also took the lives of four girls on their way home from a junior high school,'' he noted. ``I believe the lesson to be learned from the loss of precious lives is that we should be firm in our resolve not to bow in the fight against terrorism,'' he said.

 「今日は、悲しいニュースが飛び込んできました」。イタリアの警察軍が攻撃されたナーシリヤの現場へ行った時の書き出しだ。「学校帰りの女子中学生4名も尊い命をテロリストによって奪われてしまいました」「犠牲になった尊い命から私たちが汲み取るべきは、テロとの闘いに屈しないと言う強い決意ではないでしょうか」

After the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad was blown up, Oku combed the rubble where Chris Klein-Beekman, a close acquaintance who worked with the UNICEF, was presumed to have died. While looking around, he found a name card. It turned out to be Beekman's meishi.

Referring to the card, the diplomat wrote: ``It seemed as if Chris was saying, `My Japanese friend, keep on going straight ahead!' I could not help pledging to myself that I would carry on Chris' work and should do more to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq.''

 バグダッドの、国連現地本部の爆破現場でのこと。この辺でユニセフ(国連児童基金)のクリス・ビークマンさんが亡くなったのかと思っていた時、1枚の名刺を見つける。彼のだった。「我が日本の友人よ、まっすぐ前に向かって行け!と、語りかけてくるようです」「必ずやクリスの遺志を継いで、今まで以上にイラクの復興に貢献できるように、心から誓わずにはいられませんでした」

Instilled with a strong sense of duty, Oku diligently went about his dangerous assignment. I think this sense of duty is shared by many of those working at the front line of diplomacy, regardless of their specific assignments.

 危険と隣り合わせでも、任務を成し遂げようという意志は尊い。任務や責務は違っても、前線に居る多くの人たちはそのように思い、行動しているのだろう。

Their dedication mandates certain obligations for the government in directing them from afar: to give maximum consideration to assure their safety and to apply the brakes on efforts on the ground, depending on circumstances.

 そして、だからこそ、後方から命ずる政府には、その人たちの安全に最大の配慮をし、状況によっては現場にブレーキをかけることも求められる。

The government should first dwell on the grievousness of the deaths that have occurred. Then, once again, it should engage in a deliberate study to determine what is the most appropriate thing for Japan to do to help rebuild Iraq.

 政府はまず、ふたりの犠牲の重さ、痛切さをかみしめなければならない。そして、日本がイラク支援を進めるうえで最も適切な「命令」とは何なのかを、もう一度腰を据えて考えてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 1(IHT/Asahi: December 2,2003) (12/02)
 
 
 
Some of Kennedy's views worth recalling


The myth of a hero inevitably breeds rumors. Rumors about John F. Kennedy suggest the former American president, who was ``supposedly'' assassinated 40 years ago, is still alive. According to one theory, he is living in a home for senior citizens in Texas.

If I interviewed Kennedy there now, he would probably make the following remarks:

11月22日付
■《天声人語》

 40年前のきょう暗殺されたはずのケネディ元米大統領はまだ生きている。英雄神話につきものの「うわさ」が彼についても流れる。一説では、テキサス州の老人施設で暮らしているらしい。彼にインタビューをすると、こんな具合だろうか。

First, I'd ask him to comment on the war in Iraq: ``Our arms will never be used to strike the first blow in army attack. This is not a confession of weakness but a statement of strength. It is our national tradition.''

I imagine that, as he repeats this line in response to my question, he appears disappointed that his latest successor broke with America's traditional policy of prohibiting a first or pre-emptive strike.

 まずイラク戦争について。「わが国の軍事力は、決して最初に手を出すためには使われないだろう。これは、弱さの告白ではなく、力の表明であり、われわれの国家的伝統である」。先制攻撃や予防的攻撃はしないという伝統を破った、と落胆しているかのようだ。

In comments on the arduous postwar occupation, Kennedy said, ``We cannot expect that all nations will adopt like systems, for conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.''

In saying this, he thus stressed that while the United States attached importance to freedom and democracy, it could not force these notions on other countries. He also said diversity was at the center of America's view of how world order should be.

 難航する占領統治については「われわれは、すべての国が同じような制度を採用することを期待することはできない。画一性は自由の獄吏である」。自由や民主主義を重んじるが、他国に押しつけることはできない、と。「多様性」は米国の世界秩序観の神髄であるとも語った。

I told the former president his views seemed too optimistic. He replied that the United States was always prepared to meet force in kind. While emphasizing this point, he also said, ``Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.''

 あまりに楽観的ではないかとの問いには、力には力で対抗する用意は常にあると強調しつつ「人類は戦争に終止符を打たなければならない。そうでなければ戦争が人類に終止符を打つことになろう」

These direct quotes are taken from a collection of Kennedy's observations. (A Japanese translation is published by Shinano Shuppan.) As president, he had to deal with the Cuban missile crisis and other high points of the East-West Cold War. In other words, he made these remarks against a background different from the present age, in which the war on terror has emerged as the world's main concern.

Coming from an American president who had successfully ridden out the Cuban missile crisis and other difficulties, Kennedy's statements had an aspect that sounded ``too fine.'' Even so, the world view underlying them may be worth recalling.

 彼の言葉は『ケネディ語録』(しなの出版)から引用した。キューバ危機など東西冷戦の頂点をくぐり抜けていく時代である。対テロ戦争がいわれる現代とは背景が違う。危機を克服したケネディの言葉には美しすぎる面があるにせよ、底に流れる世界観は顧みる価値があるだろう。

Especially worth recalling is Kennedy's statement that problems should be solved not by the power of armed force, but by the power of conception. I believe the power of image formulation is precisely what the world needs to deal with its current crises.

 彼は「軍隊の力でなく構想の力で」とも語った。いま直面する危機に必要とされるのも、まさに「構想の力」ではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 22(IHT/Asahi: December 1,2003) (12/01)
 
 
 
Elementary education still a luxury for many


Today I wish to write about a 13-year-old Chinese girl named Ma Yan who lives in a small village far northwest of Xian.

Ordinarily, she attends elementary school in the nearest town. She has to stay in a dormitory and goes to school without taking breakfast. A single bowl of rice suffices for lunch. She cannot afford to buy a side dish of vegetables. A small steamed bun is all she has for supper.

11月28日付
■《天声人語》

 中国・西安のはるか北西の小さな村に住む13歳の少女の話である。名前を馬燕(マーイェン)という。ふだんは町の小学校に寄宿舎から通っている。朝食は抜き、お昼は茶わん1杯のご飯ですます。おかずの野菜を買う余裕はない。夜は小さな蒸しパン1個である。

One day, Ma made a fuss over a missing ball-point pen. She had saved her pocket money for a whole year to buy it. ``No matter how hungry I was, I persisted in saving,'' she recalled in a diary. ``I endured an unimaginable amount of anguish to buy it.''

 あるとき、ボールペンがなくなって彼女は大騒ぎをした。「どんなにお腹がすこうが、倹約し」1年間の小遣いをつぎこんで買ったのだった。それには「どれほどつらい思いに耐えたことか!」と日記に記した。

The girl's mother was worn out from long work hours she had to put in for years. Referring to her, Ma wrote in her diary, ``I have to study hard, so that I will not have to live like my mother.''

But it was not long before her mother, citing dire family finances, told Ma to stop going to school. The girl wrote a letter to plead with her mother to let her continue to study.

 働き通しで疲れ果てている母を見て「だからこそ、一生懸命勉強しなければならないのだ。母さんと同じような人生を送らないために」と彼女は思う。しかしあるとき、母から「もう学校へ行かなくてもいい」と言われた。貧困は切実だった。彼女は「母さん、私は勉強したい」と手紙で訴えた。

The letter came to the attention of a French journalist who was staying in China. Eventually, it was printed in a French newspaper last year together with Ma's diary. The immense repercussions evolved into a campaign to aid Ma and other poor Chinese pupils. Ma's diary and an account of how her story found its way into a French paper can be found in ``Le Journal de Ma Yan'' (by Ma Yan and Pierre Haski), which is translated into Japanese as ``Watashi wa benkyo shitai'' (I want to study), published by Gentosha.

 これが現地にいたフランス人ジャーナリストの目にとまり、仏紙に彼女の日記とともに掲載されたのが昨年のことだ。反響は大きく、馬燕さんらを支援する活動が始まった。『私は勉強したい』(幻冬舎)にはその日記や経過が収められている。

Ma's letter and diary raise questions about how much industrialized nations have done to improve levels of elementary school education in developing nations.

Contributions by rich nations were published the other day in the form of grade sheets to the leaders of these countries by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a nongovernmental organization. With a score of 32 points against a possible 100, Japan was graded 15th among the 22 surveyed countries. The report card addressed to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said: ``Junichiro has performed poorly in all subjects.''

 先進諸国は、途上国の基礎教育援助にどれだけ実績を上げているか。先日、非政府組織「教育のためのグローバルキャンペーン(GCE)」が各国首脳にあてた成績表の形で発表した。日本は100点満点の32点で、22カ国中15位だった。小泉首相あての通知表には「純一郎くんは、全科目通じて成績不振でした」

According to GCE, the number of children who are denied even elementary school education exceeds 100 million around the world.

 GCEによると、小学校にも行けない子どもが世界に1億人以上いるという。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 28(IHT/Asahi: November 29,2003) (11/29)
 
 
 
Gravity of problems taking root in Colombia


I once heard that Colombia was among the first Latin American countries to adopt party politics. I was also surprised by the nation's high voter turnout in elections. Even so, Colombia may well be a typical example of a country that is a democracy in name only.

11月27日付
■《天声人語》

 早くから政党政治が定着した国だと聞かされたことがある。選挙の投票率が極めて高いのに驚かされたこともある。外見上は民主主義の制度が整っていても、中身が伴わない例として、南米のコロンビアという国を挙げることができるかもしれない。

There was a time when two major parties competed closely there. But the contest was replete with bitter mutual hatred and violence. The enmity is said to have caused the deaths of about 200,000 party members from the latter half of the 1940s through the end of the 1950s.

Voters apparently often cast their ballots at gunpoint.

 二大政党がしのぎを削っていたことがあった。その中身は憎悪と暴力との応酬だった。40年代後半から50年代末にかけて党員同士の争いで20万人が犠牲になったともいわれる。選挙ではしばしば銃の威嚇を受けながらの投票だった。

There were some relatively peaceful years, too, but the nation was thrown into a state of virtual civil war after dissident organizations began to grow in strength.

In ``Shirarezaru Koronbia'' (Unknown Colombia), published by Simul Press, author Yoshio Fujimoto, a former Japanese ambassador to the country, quotes an American scholar of Colombia as noting that, like rivers and lakes, Colombian guerrillas form a part of the scenery in the nation's mountain villages.

 比較的平穏な時期もあったが、反政府組織が勢力を伸ばしてからは内戦状態が続く。「コロンビアのゲリラは、川とか湖のように山村の風景の一部分を構成する」。米国のコロンビア研究者がそう形容したそうだ(藤本芳男『知られざるコロンビア』サイマル出版会)。

Plan International, an aid organization for developing nations that sponsors the Foster Parents Plan, continues its work in Colombia through five local offices. ``The atmosphere there is different from that in any other developing country,'' notes Aya Yamagata, a grant-funding officer of Plan International's Japan office who visited Colombia last spring.

According to Yamagata, government troops were stationed every 10 meters along roads and port areas to protect these infrastructures from being blown up by guerrillas. Since a colossal portion of the national budget is being eaten up by this fight against guerrillas, hardly any money remains to spend on the poor.

 途上国支援を進めるフォスター・プランは五つの事務所を残して活動を続けている。今春現地を訪れた日本事務局の山形文さんは「どこの途上国とも違う雰囲気だった」と語っていた。道路や港湾には約10メートルおきに政府軍が配置され、爆破を図るゲリラに備えている。莫大(ばくだい)な政府予算がゲリラとの戦いに割かれるから、とても貧困層にまでまわらない。

The Japanese vice president of the local affiliate of a Japanese company was kidnapped and killed in Colombia.

News of the discovery of his body reminded me anew of the gravity of Colombia's problems. The victim had been held prisoner for more than two and a half years. It breaks my heart to imagine what those months must have been like for him.

 コロンビアで誘拐された日本企業現地法人の副社長が遺体で見つかったとの報に、改めてあの国の病根の深さを思い知らされた。2年半以上にのぼる拘束生活を想像すると、痛ましさが募る。

Once violence has taken root in society, it is not easy to snap out of it. This is a chilling realization.

 暴力がいったん社会に根をおろしてしまうと、抜け出すのは容易ではない。そんな怖さも感じた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 27(IHT/Asahi: November 28,2003) (11/28)
 
 
 
Today's conmen lack an artist's finesse


Before playing the role of con genius Frank Abagnale, Jr. in ``Catch Me If You Can,'' American actor Leonardo DiCaprio spent time talking to the movie's protagonist. DiCaprio later told an Asahi Shimbun reporter what he thought of Abagnale.

DiCaprio said the meeting enabled him to understand why Abagnale could commit so many crimes. Looking the man in the eye, DiCaprio said he felt captivated and urgently wanted to hear what Abagnale had to say.

11月26日付
■《天声人語》

 俳優のレオナルド・ディカプリオが映画で実在の「天才詐欺師」の役を演じるにあたって、当人からじっくり話を聞いたそうだ。その印象を本紙記者にこう語っている。「会ってみて、なぜあんな犯罪を実行できたのか、理解できた。目を合わせて心をとらえ、話を聞かずにいられない雰囲気をつくってしまうんだ」

Abagnale was a con genius. He defrauded companies of millions of dollars in the second half of the 1960s by posing as an airline pilot, a physician and a lawyer. ``Catch Me If You Can'' was shot by director Steven Spielberg on the basis of Abagnale's autobiography.

 天才詐欺師と称された男は60年代後半、パイロットや医者、弁護士になりすまし、企業などから数百万ドルをだまし取った。その自伝を基にスピルバーグ監督が制作したのが「キャッチ・ミー・イフ・ユー・キャン」である。

These days, police in Japan are busy trying to catch a different type of conmen, known as ``Ore, ore'' (It's me, it's me) conmen. Elderly women are their main victims. By repeating ``Ore'' when an elderly sounding woman answers the phone, the caller tricks her into thinking her son or grandson is calling. Next, the caller pleads with her to pay a certain amount of money into a bank account, often pretending there has been a traffic accident as the reason for needing money urgently.

Nearly 4,000 cases of the new con were reported to the police by the end of October. The victims were swindled out of more than 2.2 billion yen in total.

 いわゆる「オレオレ詐欺」が横行している。手当たり次第に電話をし、お年寄りらしい人に「おれだよ」などと言って息子や孫を装う。交通事故などを口実に、至急お金が必要だと泣きついて銀行口座に振り込ませる。そんな事件が今年に入って10月までに4千件近くあり、被害総額は22億円を超えるそうだ。

There is a sense of crudeness about the way the new con game is played, such is its contemporary feel. Unlike DiCaprio's con genius, who captured people's hearts through eye contact, those who practice the game try to deceive by their voice alone. They maneuver would-be victims to do their bidding by making them panic. It is a game that takes advantage of the common weakness of elderly women. The deeds of such men who dare to exploit it are simply sickening.

 手口に当世風の粗雑さを感じる。「目を合わせて心をとらえる」天才詐欺師とは違って、声だけでごまかそうとする。相手をパニック状態に追い込んでだまそうとする。ちょっとした心のすき間に割り込む「オレオレ」の図々(ずうずう)しさには心寒くなる。

The designs of Ore, ore conmen have been foiled in some cases. In one case, a bank teller asked a customer behaving oddly why she was withdrawing such a large amount of money from her bank account and talked her out of it. In another, a taxi driver advised an uneasy-looking fare to get in touch with her family while he was taking her to a bank.

 未然に防いだ例もあるようだ。銀行などの窓口で、不審に思った係員が事情を聴いて送金を思いとどまらせる。銀行に向かうお年寄りの様子を変に思ったタクシー運転手が家族と連絡を取るよう勧める。そんな例である。

Being on the lookout to take notice of women like these may be the best way to protect innocent people.

 心やさしい被害者を救うのは、ささやかな「不審」の気持ちかもしれない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 26(IHT/Asahi: November 27,2003) (11/27)
 
 
 
Lemming `suicide' has its own place in fiction


The lemming, a small rodent something like a rat, is often associated with mass suicide. Readers may recall a scene from the 1958 Walt Disney nature documentary ``True-Life Adventures: White Wilderness,'' in which lemmings are depicted heading for a cliff and seemingly jumping into the sea. Still others may have seen photos and pictures of similar lemming behavior in magazines.

11月25日付
■《天声人語》

 ネズミに似た小動物レミングといえば、多くの方は集団自殺を思い浮かべるのではないか。がけから海に飛び込んで死んでいくレミングの群れを撮ったディズニーの記録映画「白い荒野」(58年)を思い出す人もいるだろうし、雑誌などで見かけた写真や絵を思い浮かべる人もいるだろう。

In the short novel ``Panic,'' the literary debut of Takeshi Kaiko, rats that had multiplied geometrically jump into a lake and drown. Comparing the behavior of rats with that of lemmings, Kaiko wrote: ``Could it be that hunger made them insane and so impulsive that they lost their ability to distinguish between earth and water?'' ``Panic'' was published in 1957, a year before the Disney film.

 開高健のデビュー作にあたる短編小説「パニック」では、大量発生したネズミが最後に湖に飛び込んで死んでいく。レミングを例に引きながら、「飢えの狂気の衝動のために彼らは土と水の感触が判別できなくなったのだろうか」と「集団自殺」を描いた。ディズニー映画より早い57年の作品である。

Since early times, it has been known that populations of lemmings in northern Europe and elsewhere go through a cycle of explosive population growth and decline. The dramatic swings in lemming populations was attributed changes in climate and availability of food. But the actual causes have long remained a mystery, and that encouraged the emergence of various myths and guesses.

 北欧などに生息するレミングが周期的に大量発生と激減を繰り返すことは古くから知られていた。天候や食料の変動など原因はいろいろいわれてきたが、詳しくはわからなかった。謎がさまざまな伝説や憶測を生んだ。

In its Oct. 31 issue, the journal Science published an article presenting a new theory. Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland and Science magazine spent 15 years studying the habits of lemmings in Greenland and found that when their numbers grow too large, they are killed off by natural predators that eat them. When the lemming population increases sharply, so do the populations of foxes, stoats, owls and skuas that feed on them. In short, lemmings do not commit suicide en masse but are killed by predators, according to the report.

 最近のサイエンス誌に、新説が発表された。フィンランドの研究者らがグリーンランドで15年かけて観察し、大量発生したレミングは天敵に食べられてしまうことを明らかにした。レミングが急増すると、キツネやイタチ類などの天敵も急増する。つまり大量死は自殺でなく他殺だった、と。

As for the documentary ``White Wilderness,'' the principal photographer was later accused of shipping in lemmings to create the faked footage. When a U.S. newspaper raised the question with Disney studios, a spokesman said it could not determine exactly what techniques were used to obtain the original footage.

 記録映画「白い荒野」についてはその後、買い取ったレミングを使っての演出だったとの告発もあったようだ。米紙が改めてディズニー社に問い合わせたところ「当時の撮影方法についてはよくわからない」との返事だった。

But it seems ``mass suicide'' was nothing more than human fabrication.

 「集団自殺」は、どうやら人間がつくりあげた物語だったようだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 25(IHT/Asahi: November 26,2003) (11/26)
 
 
 
More damage than meets the eye in Istanbul


Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, has become the scene of repeated terrorist attacks. Because it occupies both sides of the Bosporus, it has long been known as a meeting point of Asia and Europe. It is easy to imagine how much its citizens, proud of their ancient city's fame, have been shocked and saddened by the strikes.

``O Istanbul! Among the various names that enchant me, none sounds more magical than this one,'' wrote French novelist Pierre Loti in an essay titled ``Constantinople 1890.''

``When I hear this name, it at once calls up a vision in my eyes,'' he went on.

11月23日付
■《天声人語》

 トルコ最大の都市イスタンブールが、度重なるテロ攻撃にさらされている。ボスポラス海峡を挟んで広がり、「アジアとヨーロッパの架け橋」とも言われてきた古都の受けた傷の大きさ、深さを思う▼「おお! イスタンブルよ! わたしを魅惑する様々の名のなかで、これほどの魔力をもつ名はほかにない。この名が唱えられるとたちまち、目の前にひとつの幻(ヴイジヨン)が浮上する」

Loti wrote the novel ``Aziyade'' based on his time in Istanbul as a naval officer. The passage from his essay is quoted by Yoko Kudo in an explanatory note she wrote for her Japanese translation of the novel, published by Shinshokan Co.

 フランスの作家ピエール・ロティは『コンスタンティノープル 一八九〇』というエッセーに、こう書いた。海軍士官として、この街に滞在した体験をもとに、小説『アジヤデ』を著す。その新書館版の解説に、訳者・工藤庸子さんが引用している。

It sometimes occurs to one that an ancient city conveys the sense of being an entity that can memorize things, just as a human being can. In the case of Istanbul, I feel the city is suffering because the repeated terrorist attacks have shaken up its layers of memory.

 歴史の古い街へ行ったような時、人間と同じように、都市もまた、記憶のようなものを抱いてたたずんでいると思うことがある。イスタンブールが攻撃されれば、あの街の記憶もまた、底の方から揺さぶられ、さいなまれているような気がする。

I feel the same way about the impact of the escalating terrorist strikes in Iraq, adjacent to Turkey. In one case, rockets were fired from a donkey cart in Baghdad. In other words, a creature really familiar to man was used as part of a weapon. A photograph of a cart used this way is painful to look at. It just worsens my concern that the war in Iraq is likely to take a new, even more odious direction soon.

 トルコに隣り合うイラクでのテロにも、同じ思いがする。バグダッドでは、ロバの引く荷車からロケット弾が発射されたという。ロバという、実に人とのなじみの深い生き物が「兵器」の一部にされた。その痛々しい写真を見るにつけても、この戦争が新しい段階、それも、さらに忌まわしい方に向かうのではないかとの懸念を覚える。

Of course, acts of terrorism are absolutely unforgivable and the war on terror must continue. But obviously it is no longer the time to pursue an approach aimed at eliminating all terrorists. The advisability of such a strategy seems to have reached its limit.

 もちろん、テロは断じて許されない。テロとの戦いも、続けなければならない。しかし、ひたすら相手をたたきつぶそうというようなやり方は、もう限界に来ているのではないだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 23(IHT/Asahi: November 25,2003) (11/25)
 
 
 
Mimic Rumsfeld the CEO to resolve problems


U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who visited Japan earlier this month, served as a brilliant CEO for a private corporation in the second half of the 1970s. He transformed a failing pharmaceutical firm into a blue-ribbon enterprise whose stock prices recorded a fivefold increase in several years.

11月16日付
■《天声人語》

 来日したラムズフェルド米国防長官が民間企業の最高責任者として辣腕(らつわん)をふるったことがある。70年代後半、傾きかけた製薬会社を優良企業に変身させ、数年で株価を5倍にまでした。

Rumsfeld knew politics; he had been a member of the House of Representatives. Much more importantly, he had served as White House chief of staff and secretary of defense under President Gerald Ford. But he was almost an amateur in the business world. Those who knew him naturally feared he might fail as a CEO.

But Rumsfeld was undaunted. In his new post, he worked aggressively to trim costs, end in-house bureaucratic practices and promote the employment of competent people from the outside. As these steps proved hugely successful, Fortune magazine put him on its ``10 Toughest Bosses in America'' list in 1980.

 下院議員、フォード政権下での首席補佐官や国防長官の経験はあったが、ビジネスの世界では素人に近かった。危ぶむ声も強かった。かまわず彼はコストの削減や官僚主義の排除、外部からの人材登用などを強力に進めた。80年のフォーチュン誌に「米国で最も厳しいボス10人」の一人に選ばれたほどだった。

In his CEO days, Rumsfeld was known as a ruthless man, but his motto was to ``listen to what people have to say,'' according to Jeffrey A. Krames' book ``The Rumsfeld Way: Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick.'' (A Japanese translation is published by KK Bestsellers.) The book also portrays Rumsfeld as a man who believes in having the courage to admit ignorance and being on the reserved side in making public promises and on the more generous side in carrying them into effect.

 情け容赦のない人物、といわれることしばしばだったが、本人は「人の話に耳を傾ける」を信条にしていた。他に「『知らない』といえる勇気を持て」「公約は控えめに、実行は多めに」なども挙げられよう(J・A・クレイムズ『ラムズフェルド』KKベストセラーズ)。

In Japan, new chiefs have been named to head two organizations on the decline-namely, the Japan Highway Public Corp. and the Social Democratic Party.

In both cases, rehabilitation will be a formidable task. But whether the new chiefs will succeed or fail is a matter that affects the course of Japan as a whole.

 こちら日本では、傾きかけた組織に新しいボスが2人誕生する。日本道路公団の総裁と社会民主党の党首である。いずれも「再建」は容易でない。しかし、その成否は日本の針路にもかかわる。

What Rumsfeld did first in rebuilding his pharmaceutical company was to set priorities. By scrutinizing the firm's operations, he identified where there were problems. Then he clarified where to begin fixing them, setting an order of execution for further corrective measures at the same time.

As I see it, the Japan Highway Public Corp. has an urgent need to try to identify its long-standing woes.

The Social Democratic Party, meanwhile, should first focus on understanding why fortune stopped smiling on it in the first place.

 ラムズフェルド流再建の特筆すべき点を挙げれば、まず優先順位を明確にしたということだろう。どこに問題があるかを精査し、何から手を着けるかをはっきりさせる。そのための実行手順を決める。道路公団では、旧弊の洗い出しが急務だろう。社民党は、そもそもなぜ傾いたのかの点検が必要だ。

Returning to Rumsfeld, the question now is whether his competence as U.S. defense chief is being channeled in a mistaken direction. This matter has a crucial effect on world peace and security.

 ラムズフェルド氏に戻れば、「有能さ」が間違った方向に発揮されていないかどうか。こちらは世界の平和と安全を左右する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 16(IHT/Asahi: November 24,2003) (11/24)
 
 
 
It's time to do away with relentless prejudice


A poem written in 1937 by a sixth-grade elementary school girl goes: ``My friend was leaning against a railing/ Wanting to surprise her from behind/ I sneaked up on her/ I saw she was crying clutching a letter in hand.''

To bring this picture into sharper focus, you have to understand the writer of the poem had contracted Hansen's disease and was thus condemned by law to live apart from society in an institution for leprosy patients for the rest of her life. Her weeping friend, also an inmate, had received a letter from home.

11月21日付
■《天声人語》

 「てすりにもたれてゐる友/目かくししやうと思つて/そつと後にまはつたら/手紙をもつて泣いてゐた」。1937年に書かれた尋常小6年の少女の詩だ。彼女が療養所に隔離されたハンセン病患者だと分かれば、故郷からの手紙を手にして涙する友、そして2人の姿が容易に思い浮かぶだろう。

The poem is one of many heart-rending pieces in ``Hansen-byo Bungaku Zenshu 10; Jido Sakuhin'' (Collected works of literature pertaining to Hansen's disease, Vol. 10; Writings by children), published by Koseisha.

One episode is about a boy who has to leave home before dawn one day in late autumn. While he eats his meal, his mother packs his bags. When it is time for him to go, the tearful boy tells his mother over and over, ``Mother, please stay well and healthy all your life.''

 『ハンセン病文学全集10 児童作品』(皓星社)には、胸を打つ作品が多い。晩秋の未明に旅立つ少年がいる。食事をする少年の傍らで母が旅支度をしている。少年は「お母さん達者で何時(いつ)までも居(お)つて下さい」とお別れをした。涙しながら何度も繰り返した。

A letter from home opens a floodgate of memories for a first-year senior high school girl. She remembers how she and her younger sister used to pick renge (Chinese milk vetch) flowers together, sing songs and throw stones from a bridge. ``Are my sister and her friends still throwing stones?'' the girl wonders.

A first-year junior high school girl confesses that, while she was walking on the beach at night, ``Suddenly, I just couldn't help crying out aloud for my mother.''

 故郷から便りが届くと思い出が押し寄せる。妹とれんげの花を摘んだり、唱歌を歌ったり、橋から石を投げたりした。「今でも妹達は石を投げてゐるかしら」(高1女子)。夜の浜辺を歩いていて「たまらなくなつて、『お母さん』と大きな声で呼んで」みたこともある(中1女子)。

There was a time when boys and girls like these were forced to live in exile and were treated as pariahs while they battled leprosy. But this disease is now curable, thanks to medications and treatments that have since become available. The government, too, has admitted its past policy of segregation was wrong.

 かつて闘病生活と隔離そして世間の偏見を背負わされて生きた少年、少女たちがいた。ハンセン病はその後、治療薬が開発され、治療法も確立、完治するようになった。国も過去の隔離政策の誤りを認めた。

A hot spring hotel in Kumamoto Prefecture recently barred a stay by former leprosy patients. I was more saddened than angered by this appalling incident. I can only hope this will teach people that many among us are yet to be enlightened.

 熊本県のホテルがハンセン病の元患者らの宿泊を拒否した「事件」には、憤りを超えて悲しみすら感じる。せめて「事件」を啓発の契機にするしかない。

``I felt brave. I felt I could overcome sorrow,'' wrote a third-year junior high school boy who was going back to the sanatorium after a brief home leave. He felt strong because he had one best friend who stood by him, when everybody else whispered unkind things behind his back.

 「かなしみなんか乗り切るのだと心に力がわいた」。一時帰郷から療養所に戻る中3の少年の思いである。皆が陰口をきく中、ひとり励ましてくれた親友のやさしさに変わりなかったからだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 21(IHT/Asahi: November 22,2003) (11/22)
 
 
 
TV, a present-day dinosaur, now roams freely


In his book ``Terebi-no Ogon-jidai'' (The golden age of television), published by Bungei Shunju, novelist Nobuhiko Kobayashi recalls a visit to the Nippon Television Network (NTV) building around 1960. He was invited to preview a variety show, and he felt as if he was in some ``nifty neighborhood workshop.''

11月20日付
■《天声人語》

 60年ごろの日本テレビの社屋のことを作家の小林信彦さんは「気のきいた町工場のような感じだった」と述べている(『テレビの黄金時代』文芸春秋)。小林さんは、バラエティー番組の試写に招かれていた。

The TV station was only in its seventh year of operation, but the program Kobayashi previewed was already laced with cynicism against the medium.

Toward the end of the show, an emcee warned viewers: ``Beware of television. Depending on how you watch it, the outcome could be detrimental.''

To explain, the emcee talked about eggs of the dinosaur iguanodon. ``We have two eggs now,'' he said. ``One egg is atomic energy. The other is television.''

 開局7年目というのに、試写で見た番組は既に辛辣(しんらつ)なテレビ批判を織り込んでいた。最後の方で司会者が「テレビには気をつけてください。見方によっては、おそろしいことになります」と言って、恐竜イグアノドンの卵の話をする。私たちはいま二つの卵を持っている。一つは原子力、もう一つはテレビです、と。

The NTV building has since transformed itself from that nifty neighborhood workshop into a towering high-rise. And one could say that television, which was just an ``egg'' 50 years ago, has grown into a dinosaur today. This dinosaur wields tremendous influence on society, but it is also at the mercy of viewer ratings.

 町工場風の社屋は高層ビルに変わった。生まれて50年、卵だったテレビも現代の恐竜に成長したといえよう。世の中に大きな影響を与える一方、視聴率に操られて右往左往する恐竜である。

The NTV producer who allegedly bribed viewers to raise the ratings of his shows was obviously obsessed with numbers, but apparently did not consider them sacrosanct. Since the ratings were being monitored by a ``mere independent monitoring company,'' he must have thought there was nothing wrong with resorting to bribery.

 視聴率買収工作をしたとされる日本テレビのプロデューサーは、視聴率に拘泥しながらも神聖視はしていなかったようだ。「たかが民間会社による調査にすぎない」との意識があったから、買収という安易な発想も生まれたのだろう。

His ``respect'' for numbers is there, but I certainly do not sense any respect for individual viewers. But this seems to be the case with the TV industry in general, and the NTV scandal inadvertently exposed this inverted awareness. I suppose our era is hardly friendly to conscientious producers who would rather risk viewer ratings for quality programming.

 数字への「敬意」はあっても個々の視聴者への「敬意」がまるでうかがえない。テレビ局側の転倒した意識が期せずして表れた事件ではないか。たとえ少数しか見てくれなくても良い番組を、というような気概が通用しない時代になったのか。

Television-the present-day dinosaur-will turn savage in the absence of anyone to tame it. In the past, there were people who knew what to do. But, as Kobayashi laments, the generation that followed has allowed the dinosaur to roam freely.

 現代の恐竜、テレビは「飼い馴(な)らす人たちがいなくなれば、凶悪な面をあらわにする」。かつては飼い馴らす術を持った人たちがいた。後続世代は恐竜を放任してしまった。小林さんの嘆きである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 20(IHT/Asahi: November 21,2003) (11/21)
 
 
 
The demographic picture just a paper lantern


French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud was only 8 years old when he wrote in a notebook that he would live to be a pensioner.

11月19日付
■《天声人語》

 フランス象徴派の詩人、アルチュール・ランボーは、8歳の時に、こうノートに記した。「僕は年金生活者になる」

The sentence followed a paragraph in which he said there was no need to study Greek or Latin, according to an article in a collection of poet Tsuguo Ando's works, published by Seidosha. (Ando, who died last year, was known for his insightful criticisms of haiku.)

Times are different now. Likewise, the meaning of being a pensioner has changed over time. Even so, Rimbaud's observation as a child offers a compelling aspect about his life-his rebellious spirit when he was young.

 ギリシャ語やラテン語の勉強なんか、やらなくたっていいんだ、というくだりの後に出てくる(『安東次男著作集』青土社)。時代も、年金の意味も今とは違うが、アルチュール坊やの反逆の才際立つ一節である。

It is often said that today's young people are generally indifferent to pensions. Looking back over my youth and not-so-young days, pensions and hot springs remained outside the scope of my main interest for a long time. Perhaps, the reason for my aloofness was that school textbooks carried a ``demographic pyramid,'' one with reassuringly widening lower sections.

 現代の若者については、年金離れが指摘されている。省みれば、若年のころから長いこと、年金と温泉は山のあなたの存在だった。それでいられたのは、「人口ピラミッド」の図が末広がりの安定感をもって教科書に載っていたからかも知れない。

With this in mind, I have taken a look at the latest demographic shape of the nation in a statistical report based on resident registers. A bar graph is used to explain the statistics. This was done by dividing the population into five-year age groups and then by gender. The higher the bar, the older the group that is represented.

In terms of national totals, the survey shows that the demographic pyramid crumbled years ago. It has given way to what may be called a paper lantern, with the generation of baby boomers and that of their children protruding and dented by the elderly and small children.

 そう思って、最新のピラミッドを『住民基本台帳人口要覧』で見た。5歳刻みでまとめた人口を、男女別に積み上げてある。上に行くほど高齢になる。全国の合計で見ると、ピラミッドは崩れて久しいと知れたが、団塊の世代と、その子の世代が出っ張り、高齢と年少の層がすぼむ「ちょうちん形」は辛うじて保たれていた。

A prefecture-wise analysis reveals a still more different picture. The composition of the female population forms a reverse pyramid in many prefectures, such as Nagano, Shimane, Kochi and Kagoshima. In these regions, the top bar is the longest and the lower bars keep getting shorter. The top bar represents all women aged over 80. Even so, the days of the demographic pyramid seem to be numbered.

 ところが、県別に見ていくと、女性では、一番上が最長で、ほぼ下へ行くほど棒が短くなる逆ピラミッドの所が幾つもある。長野、島根、高知、鹿児島などだ。一番上は80歳以上を一まとめにしてはいるのだが、それにしても、「ピラミッド」と呼べる日はそう長くはないようだ。

One look at the bars explains why young people are frightened by the prospect of having to bear the crushing burden. If the government is to ease their fears, a broad review of the pension and other systems, including the way all tax revenue is spent, seems to be in order.

 この図を見ていると、覆いかぶさるような負担の重みに若年層がおののくのも、うなずける。若者に「年金生活者になる」と言わせたいのなら、税金全体の使い道まで広げて見直してみる必要もありそうだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 19(IHT/Asahi: November 20,2003) (11/20)
 
 
 
SDF is neither a `hard' nor `soft' target


The word ``soft'' implies something pleasant and delightful, as in a soft fabric or a soothing voice. But there is nothing soothing about the expression ``soft target,'' which we now see frequently in newspapers.

11月18日付
■《天声人語》

 ソフト(soft)の原義は「快い」だという。柔らかい布や穏やかな音声を思えば、納得がいく。しかし、このところ紙面で目につく「ソフトターゲット」という言葉には、穏やかならざるものを感じる。

Unlike military and government facilities that are heavily guarded, a soft target is one that is defenseless and vulnerable to attack. In Iraq, United Nations and Red Cross facilities were attacked and many lives were lost. In Afghanistan, a French U.N. worker was shot dead. People are naturally outraged by these wanton, one-sided attacks against defenseless targets.

 防備の手厚い軍隊や政府の施設などではなく、攻撃に弱い標的を、こう呼ぶようだ。イラクでは、国連や赤十字が狙われて多くの犠牲者が出た。アフガニスタンでも国連のフランス人職員が射殺された。丸腰状態の相手に対する一方的な攻撃に憤りが募るのは自然なことだろう。

And terrorist car bombs on Saturday exploded near Jewish synagogues in Istanbul, killing 24 and injuring numerous worshippers.

I wonder what thoughts could have passed through the minds of the terrorists when they targeted these unarmed civilians. Perhaps they were convinced the Israelis were the perpetrators of violence against defenseless Palestinians, whose land Israel continues to occupy by force under its hard-line Palestine policy.

There is no simple solution to the dilemma and I know I sound like a wimp, but all I can say is that neither side should ever resort to terrorism.

 トルコのイスタンブールでは、ユダヤ教の礼拝所でのテロで、多数が死傷した。丸腰の人々に狙いを定める時、テロリストたちは何を思っていたのだろうか。軍事占領のような、イスラエルによる対パレスチナ強硬策こそ丸腰の人々への攻撃ではないか、と言うのかもしれない。悩ましい問題で、歯切れが悪いのも承知だが、双方共に採るべき手段ではないと言うほかはない。

In Iraq, attacks are escalating against ``hard targets'' of the U.S.-led occupation forces, and the Americans have restarted missile attacks against resistants in Iraq. Japan has reportedly decided against sending Self-Defense Forces personnel before the end of this year.

 イラクでは「ハードターゲット」である占領軍への攻撃が激しさを増している。米軍も再びミサイル攻撃を始めた。政府は、自衛隊のイラクへの年内派遣を断念するという。

I wonder what the Iraqis think of the SDF. It must be difficult for them to fully grasp the concept of ``armed forces for self-defense.'' Would it make any sense to them, if one were to explain that the SDF is neither ``hard'' like the U.S. military, nor ``soft'' like the United Nations?

 自衛隊は、現地ではどう受け止められるのだろう。英語での「Self−Defense Forces」の「自衛」の意味と実体は、なかなか理解できまい。米軍のような「ハード」でもなく、国連のような「ソフト」でもないと言って、通用するだろうか。

Japan should take time out now, not only to discuss when to dispatch SDF troops to Iraq, but rather to rethink the dispatch itself. And we certainly need to think twice about the meaning of this war in Iraq.

 派遣の先送りにとどまらず、派遣そのものと、この戦争の「原義」とを見直す契機にしたい。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 18(IHT/Asahi: November 19,2003) (11/19)
 
 
 
Athletes and their special brand of magic


Naoko Takahashi, the Olympic women's marathon champion in Sydney, looked exhausted. I feared she would collapse as she crossed the finish line. Instead, she stayed on her feet, looking as if she were not tired at all. She even managed a small smile.

This surprised me. Even though she finished second in Sunday's Tokyo International Women's Marathon, I felt reassured that she was not a run-of-the-mill runner.

11月17日付
■《天声人語》

 ゴールしたとたんに崩れ落ちるのではないかと思った。それほど苦しそうだった高橋尚子さんがゴール後、平然とした表情で、笑顔さえのぞかせたのには驚いた。きのうの東京女子マラソンで敗れたとはいえ、並のランナーではないと思わせもした。

``My legs became wooden,'' Takahashi explained. This expression refers to when we are worn out and our legs defy our will to move forward. Sometimes, we have to continue walking even then, dragging our unwilling feet. By her own account, Takahashi's legs suddenly wouldn't function as she wanted shortly before the 30-kilometer point. Even so, she kept on going because she was determined to finish.

 「足が棒になってしまいました」とは高橋さんの言葉だ。私たちも疲れ果てたときに「足が棒になる」という。足がいうことを聞いてくれない。それでも引きずるように歩かねばならないときもある。高橋さんの場合は、30キロ手前あたりで急に「棒になった」らしい。それでも走り続けた。

Yuko Arimori, who won medals in two successive Olympic women's marathons, writes about ``the wonders of human capability'' in ``Watashi Kakumei'' (Revolutionizing myself), published by Iwanami Shoten. According to the author, something short of a miracle occurs when a runner tests his or her personal limit. ``The more you defy your limit, the more your limit stretches,'' she says. In this way, runners can continue to improve themselves.

 五輪女子マラソンで連続メダリストになった有森裕子さんが「人間の能力の不思議」について語っている。走っていて、もう限界だと思う。しかし走り続けると「限界は、どんどん伸びていく」。経験上の限界を突き破って伸びていく、と(『わたし革命』岩波書店)

Conceivably, the wonders lauded by Arimori may also backfire. It is quite common for an athlete who conventionally has no problem, having worked out properly and is feeling fine, to suddenly come down with a disorder.

Athletes always tread a fine line, not knowing which way the magic will work.

 逆の場合もあるだろう。練習も十分積んだし、体調もいい。経験上は何の問題もないはずだ。ところが、突然どこかに変調を来す。これもまた「人間の能力の不思議」だろう。スポーツ選手たちはいつも、どちらに転ぶかわからない境界線上を走っている。

Grand sumo champion Musashimaru, who has just announced his retirement, weighs five times as much as Takahashi. Sheer weight is a potent weapon itself in a sport in which the outcome of a match is decided quickly in a small ring. But it imposes a great burden on the wrestler as it makes him liable to lose his balance. This was especially true of Musashimaru in the present tournament. For fear of losing his balance, he often stood upright, which didn't allow him to exercise his full power.

 引退を決めた横綱武蔵丸の体重は高橋さんの約5倍だ。狭い土俵で一瞬の勝負を競う相撲では、重さは強力な武器である。しかしバランスを崩すと重さは大きな負担になる。武蔵丸も「棒立ち」になって力を出せない場面が増えていた。

While Musashimaru has left the sumo ring, sensing that he has reached his limit, Takahashi will continue challenging herself, thereby extending her limit.

 限界を感じた武蔵丸は去るが、高橋さんは、なお限界への挑戦を続けることだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 17(IHT/Asahi: November 18,2003) (11/18)
 
 
 
Ginza keeps changing, but for the worse


The novelist Matsutaro Kawaguchi (1899-1985) wrote: ``The Ginza district takes on a different aspect every day.'' This sentence appears at the beginning of his novel ``Yoru no Cho'' (A butterfly at night; published in 1957). ``The Ginza keeps undergoing imperceptible changes at some corners,'' he added.

10月20日付
■《天声人語》

 「銀座は毎日顔が変る」と書いたのは、川口松太郎だった。小説『夜の蝶』の冒頭で、「何処かの片隅が目立たぬほどに変って行く」と続く。

Only recently, I noticed that the ``face'' of the Ginza district in Tokyo had visibly changed. What I mean by this is not the look of the town but the roadway running north-south through the entire Ginza district. The color of the asphalt covering the main Ginza avenue had been changed from black to bright gray. But the change was confined to half of the stretch-from 1-chome to 4-chome.

 東京の銀座の顔が目立って変わったのに気づいたのは、数日前だった。顔といっても街並みではなく、銀座八丁の真ん中を貫いている目抜き通りの車道である。この銀座中央通りの、1丁目から4丁目までの車道の色が、黒いアスファルトから明るい灰色に変わっていた。

At the most congested 4-chome intersection, the color was a mix of black and gray. This was because the color of the asphalt remained black as before from 5-chome to 8-chome. At first, I thought a mistake in mixing the paint ingredients was to blame for the confusion of colors. I learned later that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport was experimenting with ``environmental pavement.''

 人通りの集中する4丁目交差点では、5丁目からが以前の黒さのままだから、灰色と黒とが交じっている。はじめは何かの調合の間違いかとも思ったのだが、国土交通省による「環境舗装」の試みなのだという。

The growing urbanization has been driving the summertime temperatures in the heart of Tokyo to unbearably high levels. The so-called heat-island phenomenon poses a serious problem not just in Tokyo but in other major cities as well. The experiment on the Ginza represents an effort to cope with this problem by coating the surface of the pavement with a heat-insulating paint, so that the rise in temperatures on the surface of the roadway could be held down.

I was told that the effect of the heat-insulating paint was still under investigation. The use of a grayish paint seems to have made the contrast between the newly coated half of the main Ginza avenue and its other half startling for infrequent visitors like me.

 募る都市化のため、夏に都心部が高温になる「ヒートアイランド」現象は、東京に限らず大都市で問題になっている。そこで、舗装の表面に熱を遮る遮熱性の塗料を塗って、路面の温度の上昇を抑えようというのである。抑制の効果は調査中という。今回使った塗料が灰色っぽかったので、黒い所との差が際立ったようだ。

The aim of the experiment is understandable. Still, I think the feel of artificiality about the main Ginza street has become stronger.

This street has pockets of low trees planted on the sidewalks, but the roadside trees for which the Ginza was once famous were removed a long time ago, with the result that building walls and street lamps became more noticeable. There was always an impression that the street, though orderly, was more inorganic than other streets. I have a feeling that the metallic color tone of the roadway bolsters that impression.

 狙いはわかるのだが、率直なところ、中央通りの人工的な印象が強まったという感じがする。この通りには植え込みはあるが、並木が無くなって久しい。ビルの壁や街灯が目につくので、整ってはいるが、他の通りよりも無機的な印象があった。今度の金属的な色合いを持つ車道は、それを一歩進めるような気がする。

I wonder if the increased artificial look of the street is an unavoidable trade-off in efforts to cope with the unbearable summertime heat levels in major cities. Authorities should explore all possible alternatives, including the use of other colors.

 「都会熱島」という課題への対応によって、より人工的になるのは仕方のないことなのか。色も含めて、よく案配した方がいい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 20(IHT/Asahi: November 17,2003) (11/17)
 
 
 
Knowing when to pull back is always crucial


The troops are exhausted. Their spirits are down. We must put an end to the hardships and dangers that keep befalling them. In urging Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) to withdraw his army, Coenus (circa 360-326 B.C.) made these points in front of his soldiers. But the king of Macedonia refused to listen.

11月14日付
■《天声人語》

 兵は疲れている。気力もなえている。艱難辛苦(かんなんしんく)とうち続く危険には、どこかで限界を設けるべきです。兵士たちの前でそういって撤兵を促す演説をする側近コイノスに、アレクサンドロス大王はすぐには耳を貸そうとしなかった。

Furious that one of his most trusted commanders would suggest withdrawal, Alexander dismissed the meeting. However, after four days of careful deliberation, he declared he had decided to turn back. Cries of joy greeted this announcement and many soldiers wept, according to ``Anabasis Alexandri'' (The campaigns of Alexander) by Arrian (Flavius Arrianus). Its Japanese translation is published as a two-volume Iwanami Bunko paperback. The episode from 326 B.C. illustrates the difficulties a commander faces in deciding to pull back.

 兵を引くこと、撤退することがいかに難しいか。側近の演説に怒って集会をいったん解散させた大王はしかし、4日間ほど沈思の末、撤退を決めた。兵たちは歓声を上げ、涙を流したという(『アレクサンドロス大王東征記』岩波文庫)。

The aide who offered this advice did so at risk to his life. The man was emboldened because he had the support of his soldiers. Alexander, who had no choice but to retract his decision to ``advance,'' must have also been troubled. It was a painful decision for a general to whom the idea of ``withdrawal'' was totally alien.

 撤退を勧めた側近は命がけだった。兵たちの支持があったからこそできた行動だったろう。「前進」という主張を撤回せざるをえなかった大王も悩んだに違いない。「後退」を知らなかった将としてはつらい英断だった。

U.S. President George W. Bush, who can be likened to a modern-day king, must also be agonizing. He started a war whose cause was questionable at the outset, and quickly declared the major combat ended on May 1. This, though, is at odds with what has been happening. U.S. troops and those of countries supporting the U.S. endeavor are suffering rising casualties. Belatedly, Bush is trying to change the occupation policy to expedite ``transfer of sovereignty'' to the Iraqi people. If all goes well, this action will lead to early withdrawal of the occupational forces.

 現代の大王、ブッシュ大統領の悩みも深いはずだ。大義が疑わしい戦争を始め、大規模戦闘終結宣言はしたものの、協力国を巻き込んでの犠牲者はふえるばかりだ。ここに来てようやく占領政策の転換を図ろうとしている。イラク国民への「主権移譲」を早めるという。うまくいけば占領軍撤退を早めることにつながるだろう。

The Japanese Imperial Army avoided using the words withdrawal or defeat. Instead it often referred to tenshin (literally changing course or shifting position). It appears Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will also be forced to ``change course.'' He should seize this opportunity to reconsider the propriety of dispatching Self-Defense Forces to Iraq.

 かつての日本軍は撤退や敗退という言葉をつかうのを嫌がった。代わりにしばしば「転進」という言葉がつかわれた。小泉首相も「転進」を余儀なくされるのではないか。イラクへの自衛隊派遣再考の機会ととらえることもできよう。

Coenus advised Alexander that discretion is all the more necessary when the tide is favorable. Perhaps Koizumi, who ``won'' the Lower House election, should heed the same advice.

 側近コイノスは「幸運に恵まれているときにこそ自重自制を」と大王に説いた。総選挙に「勝利」した小泉首相にもいえるかもしれない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 14(IHT/Asahi: November 15,2003) (11/15)
 
 
 
A sign of respect-Matsui `uncrowned'


Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in the major leagues. Racial discrimination was rampant in those days, and the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers knew he was taking a big risk in signing Robinson. The general manager made sure Robinson understood that.

11月13日付
■《天声人語》

 ジャッキー・ロビンソンは米大リーグ初の黒人選手だった。人種差別激しいころで、彼と契約を結んだドジャースの総支配人にとっても大胆な賭けだった。まず、こんな態度に出たそうだ。

According to ``Meja Rigu Supasuta Meikan'' (Directory of major league superstars) compiled by Fumihiro Fujisawa and published by Kenkyusha, the general manager told Robinson as he slapped his right cheek, ``You are going into a tough fight nobody has ever been through. ... You need the guts not to fight back.''

Robinson replied, ``I have another cheek.''

 「君はこれまで誰もやっていなかった困難な戦いを始めなければならない」「仕返しをしない勇気を持つんだ」と言って、右ほおを殴った。ロビンソンは「ほおはもう一つあります」と答えたという(藤澤文洋『メジャーリーグ・スーパースター名鑑』研究社)。

His first season with the Dodgers was in 1947. A teammate from the South complained about sharing the locker room with him. Pitchers of opponent teams threw brush-back pitches and beanballs at him. There was booing from the stands when he came up to bat. He received hate mail.

But all that ``noise'' dissipated as fans became enthralled with his extraordinary athletic prowess and superb play.

 47年がドジャースでの最初のシーズンだった。南部出身の同僚選手から同じロッカールームに入れないでくれと苦情が出る。相手投手は危険球を投げてくる。観客からはブーイングが飛ぶ。脅迫状も届いた。しかし卓越した運動能力を持つ彼のプレーに多くの人は魅せられ「雑音」は消えていく。

The American League Rookie of the Year award was created that year, and Robinson was voted the first recipient. He was not exactly young anymore-28 years old-having played in the Negro League before he came to the major leagues.

Later, the award was renamed to honor him.

 その年新設された新人王を獲得した。黒人リーグに在籍するなどしていたため、新人としては高齢、28歳だった。後に功績をたたえて、新人王には彼の名が冠せられるようになった。

Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees missed this year's award. He is 29. An outraged Yankees owner George Steinbrenner issued a statement Tuesday.

``I firmly believe that a great injustice has been done to Hideki Matsui,'' he asserted, and cited Robinson's name in stressing the ``spirit of the award.''

Whatever the past career is, a newcomer in the major leagues is considered a rookie. Matsui has the legitimate qualification as a rookie. And he did have a great season.

 今年29歳、ヤンキースの松井秀喜選手が新人王を逃した。「不正があった」と怒りを爆発させたスタインブレナー・オーナーはロビンソンの名を挙げて、賞の精神を説いた。確かに経歴はどうあろうと大リーグ1年生は新人とみなされる。松井選手には、新人王の資格も、ふさわしい結果もあった。

Having played in Japan for 10 years as a superstar, Matsui noted mildly, ``I may be a bit too old for a rookie.''

He has chosen to acquiesce in his ``uncrowned'' status. Should I understand this as the major leagues showing respect to Japanese baseball?

 日本で10年、スター選手として活躍してきた彼は「新人にしては年を取りすぎかな」と柔らかくかわした。彼の「無冠」を日本プロ野球への敬意と受けとめようか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 13(IHT/Asahi: November 14,2003) (11/14)
 
 
 
Strategy on SDF dispatch gets odder each day


It almost looks as if Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is trying to avoid discussing the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. If his policy remains unchanged, his current words and deeds would appear to be out of step.

11月12日付
■《天声人語》

 よもや小泉さんは、逃げるつもりではありますまい。それにしては、自衛隊のイラク派遣問題で、言うことなすことが、ちょっとおかしい。

There is speculation that formal Cabinet approval of troop dispatch plans will be put off until after a special session of the Diet. This would result in an avoidance of deliberations on the issue by a Diet where seats held by Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) have sharply increased.

The speculation is odd enough. But remarks Koizumi made in a news conference on Monday, the day after the Lower House election, were more than odd. I found them worrisome.

 民主党が増えた国会での審議を避けるため、派遣計画の閣議決定を特別国会後に先送りするのではないかという。これだけで十分おかしいが、投票日翌日の会見での言い方をみると、おかしいというより心配になる。

A reporter asked the prime minister how he viewed the relationship between the massive electoral gains by Minshuto, which was opposed to sending SDF troops to help reconstruct Iraq, and the wishes of voters. His answer appeared to deny a correlation. ``Minshuto was not the only party that came out against it,'' he said. ``The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were also opposed, rather more strenuously than Minshuto.''

Minshuto won more votes than Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party in the proportional representation blocs, as opposed to single-seat electoral districts. That, in effect, makes Minshuto the largest proportionally elected party. I had looked forward to the master of catchy phrases uttering a comment that took note of the popular vote in favor of Minshuto. But somehow he spoke equivocally.

 自衛隊派遣に反対した民主党の躍進と民意との関係を聞かれて、こう述べた。「反対と言ったのは民主党だけではない。共産党も社民党もむしろ民主党以上に反対していた」。民主党は比例区で自民党を上回る票を得た。いわば「比例第一党」である。そこに表れた民意について、いつもの小泉さんらしいズバリの一言を期待したのに、どうしたのか。

Seizing the occasion, Koizumi went to say, ``The three ruling coalition parties clearly stated that it was necessary for Japan to send SDF troops to Iraq, and because of this stand, we were able to secure a stable parliamentary majority.''

This statement is understandable as an assertion by someone still breathing hard after directing a hard-fought election campaign.

But if Koizumi thinks the ruling coalition secured a stable Diet majority as a result of winning over voters on the troop dispatch issue, why does he appear to want to send troops to Iraq in a manner that will conceal the issue from the eyes of the public?

Does he have to follow this strategy because the stable majority won by the ruling coalition is actually unstable?

 更にこう述べた。「与党3党は(派遣が)必要だとはっきりと言い、安定多数を確保できた」。激しい選挙を終えたばかりの指揮官の強い息づかいとしては、分かる。しかし派遣問題で国民の支持が得られ、その結果「安定多数」を確保したというのなら、なぜ国民の目を避けるようなやり方に向かうのか。「不安定多数」であることの証明なのだろうか。

In a dispatch on the Lower House election, the British newspaper The Independent reported that ``Japanese voters returned Junichiro Koizumi to power as prime minister... but with a reduced majority and a powerful opposition that has pledged to challenge his decision to dispatch troops to Iraq.''

 英インディペンデント紙は「日本の有権者は小泉首相を再任したが、与党は議席を減らし、首相の自衛隊派遣の決定に異議申し立てをすると誓った野党が議席を増やした」と論評した。

The people elect members of the Diet to have them deliberate important matters on their behalf.

That is their job, but the government is moving to deprive them of an opportunity to do just that.

All legislators should join hands to put up resistance to such moves.

 国会議員は、大事な論議を託すために国民に選ばれた。その仕事を早々と奪うかのようなやり方には、あらがうべきではないか。党派の別なく。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 12(IHT/Asahi: November 13,2003) (11/13)
 
 
 
Lonely autumn rains a harbinger of winter


``Along this road/ No one passes/ An autumn evening.''

As I watched the vote count Sunday night for the Lower House election, this haiku by Matsuo Basho (1644-94) flitted through my mind. Perhaps I recalled it because I was thinking about the future ``road'' of this nation's politics. Elections that result in dramatic meetings and partings may have caused me to become sentimental.

11月11日付
■《天声人語》

 〈此(こ)の道や行く人なしに秋の暮〉。総選挙の開票が進む騒然とした夜、芭蕉のこの句がしきりに脳裏を行き来した。政治の進む「道」について考えていたからかもしれない。人の離合集散が劇的に起きる選挙という行事がもたらした感慨なのかもしれない。

I imagined the faces of the defeated candidates the next morning would appear as dark as ``an autumn evening.''

I also remembered another Basho haiku written around the same time of year: ``The sound of voices/ As people go home along this road/ An autumn evening.'' According to Shuson Kato, the poem speaks of ``a hunger for human companionship rooted in a deep sense of isolation.'' Kato's remarks are found in ``Basho Zenku'' (Complete Basho haiku), published by Chikuma Shobo.

 一夜明けて敗者の顔があれこれ浮かんでくるとき、その心境はまさに「秋の暮」であろうかと思ったりもする。同じ時期につくられたもう一つの句は〈人声や此の道帰る秋の暮〉だ。「孤独感に根ざした人懐かしさのこころ」とは加藤楸邨(しゅうそん)さん(『芭蕉全句』ちくま学芸文庫)。

In ``Mumei'' (Nameless), published by Gentosha, writer Kotaro Sawaki talks about his father and haiku. He asks his ailing father, who liked poet Mantaro Kubota (1889-1963), which one of Kubota's haiku was his favorite.

His father cites the following: ``Autumn wind blows through/ A crowd of people.''

 作家の沢木耕太郎さんが父のことをつづった『無名』(幻冬舎)には俳句の話がちりばめられている。久保田万太郎が好きだった病床の父にどんな句が好きか、とたずねる。〈あきかぜのふきぬけゆくや人の中〉だ、と。

After his father's death, Sawaki compiled a collection of haiku written by his father. Poems that depicted autumn far outnumbered those describing other seasons. He divided the autumn haiku into two sections so that the collection starts and ends with autumn.

The last haiku his father wrote was also about the fall season: ``As far as this road stretches/ Cosmoses also stretch endlessly.'' The collection is titled ``Sono Kata no'' (The shoulders). He took it from a haiku written by his father, the son's favorite: ``On the shoulders/ Solitude casts a shadow/ With hands in pockets.''

 死後、父が残した俳句を句集にまとめた。秋の句が突出して多かった。秋の部を二つに分け、秋に始まり、秋に戻る体裁にした。生前最後の句も〈この路のつづくかぎりのコスモスぞ〉だった。句集のタイトルは著者が最も好きだった父の句〈その肩の無頼のかげや懐手〉から「その肩の」にした。

Sawaki's father died in the month of November. ``It was a fitting month for my father's death,'' he writes. Guessing from the book, his father died on Nov. 10. Although Sawaki had little to do with haiku as a writer, one day, as he thought about his dying father, his feelings suddenly emerged in the form of a 17-syllable haiku: ``Drop by drop/ Life trickles down/ Autumn rain.''

 父が亡くなったのは11月だった。「父が死ぬのにふさわしい月」と著者は記す。作品から推察できる命日は、きのう10日である。俳句とは無縁の生活を送ってきた著者だが、あるとき、死にゆく父への思いが不意に五七五の形をとった。〈ぽつぽつと命のしずく秋の雨〉

According to the lunar calendar, it is officially early winter. But rain continues to fall as autumn advances.

 暦の上で冬とはいえ、深まる秋を感じさせる雨が降り続いている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 11(IHT/Asahi: November 12,2003) (11/12)
 
 
 
Minshuto opens the door to 2-party system


The Japanese word for ``road,'' michi or do, is often mentioned in the political world. Opposition politicians, for example, used to speak of kensei no jodo (the normal path, or expected action, under constitutional government) when they pressed the government to resign.

Older people are also familiar with chudo (middle of the road). More recently, daisan no michi (third road) has been advocated as a way to topple the Liberal Democratic Party.

Sunday's election, the first Lower House election held in the 21st century, may have opened the door to a ``new road'' leading to the birth of a genuine two-party system in Japan.

11月10日付
■《天声人語》

 政治の世界では「道」という言葉がよくつかわれる。古くは「憲政の常道」から「中道」、そして「第三の道」が唱えられることもある。21世紀最初のこの総選挙では二大政党制に向かう「新しい道」への扉が開かれたといえるかもしれない。

To cite an old story, in a comment on the outcome of the first election under the new Constitution, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allied occupation forces, said the people of Japan had opted for the middle-of-the-road political forces, shunning the extremists both on the right and the left.

In that election, three parties-the Socialists, Liberals and Democrats-did equally well and captured the great majority of the seats at stake among them. A senior official of the Japan Socialist Party, which emerged as the largest party, made history by blurting, ``We have an awful problem now.'' The party was utterly unprepared to form a government.

 少々古い話だが、新憲法公布後の最初の総選挙についてマッカーサーは「極左でも極右でもない中間の道を日本国民は選んだ」と評した。社会、自由、民主3党が拮抗(きっこう)して大勢を占めたからだ。ところが第一党になった社会党幹部は、思わず「えらいこっちゃ」と口走ったそうだ。政権担当の用意などまるでなかったのだ。

There is no chance of hearing such a comment from Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), the party that sought to wrest power from the LDP and its coalition partners and made massive gains in Sunday's election. It is more likely to be heard coming from the ruling LDP, which failed to secure a simple majority.

The party had expected the goal of winning a simple majority to be possible if it made the most of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's personal popularity and highlighted his reform plans. But voters appear to have applied the brakes, denying the party its hoped-for success.

 今回の選挙で政権交代を掲げて戦い、躍進した民主党がまさか「えらいこっちゃ」と口走ることはあるまい。単独過半数に届かなかった小泉自民党の側のせりふではないか。小泉人気と改革路線とで突っ走ろうと思ったところへブレーキがかかったかに見える。

Issues that did not surface as points of contention during the campaign may have cast a shadow on the LDP's showing. By this, I mean the planned dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq and constitutional revision. Both are issues that remind people that Japan may be retracing its steps to its military past. The sense of deja vu may have caused some people to vote against the LDP.

 あまり表に出なかった争点が影を落としたのかもしれない。自衛隊イラク派遣や憲法改正である。「いつか来た道」を思い浮かべ、自民党批判に回った人もいるだろう。

A poem by Suharu Anryu comes to mind: ``I quietly waited for the door to open/ Thinking it was an automatic door/ When someone pushed me aside/ And opened the door by hand.''

As it turned out, the latest election was not an ``automatic door'' that provided a secure basis for continuing rule by the LDP. In a manner of speaking, Minshuto opened the door by hand. The largest opposition party reached for the door before the LDP by articulating its bid for power and hoisting a manifesto as its standard.

 こんな短歌を思い浮かべる。〈自動扉と思ひてしづかに待つ我を押しのけし人が手もて開きつ〉(安立スハル)。選挙は、自民党安泰への「自動扉」ではなかった。政権交代論とマニフェストを掲げて割って入った民主党が、いわば手でもって扉を開こうとした。

I wonder what kind of road lies beyond the door. While it is unlikely to be paved, there is no slighting the wishes of the people who have opted for a new road.

 扉の先にはどんな道が開いているのか。平坦(へいたん)な道とは思えないが、「新しい道」を模索する国民の意思を軽く見ることはできない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 10(IHT/Asahi: November 11,2003) (11/11)
 
 
 
It's hard to tell masterpieces from trash


On a trip to a bookstore, one takes a look around and looks at many titles before settling down on a book or two for purchase.

Your eyes are first drawn to prominently displayed books and magazines with covers of varying colors. They are stacked flat, each seeming to beckon you to take up.

11月01日付
■《天声人語》

 本屋に行くことは、本の顔を見に行くことでもある。平積みにされた色とりどりの本や雑誌が、こっちを向いてというように手に取られるのを待っている。

Huge numbers of books are being published every day. But there are probably many more that are not getting published. Even among books now known as masterpieces, there may be ones that were once turned down by publishers and did not see the light of day.

 それにしても、おびただしい数の本が日々生まれている。そして、これだけ出ていてもなお出版に至らないものも多いのだろう。今は名作と言われる本にも、一度は出版を断られ、もしかしたら日の目を見なかったかもしれないものがある。

Pearl Buck's ``The Good Earth'' is one of the masterpieces that overcame the initial misfortune. The letters that rejected them-masterpieces in themselves-can be found in Andre Bernard's book published in 1991 ``Rotten Rejections: The Letters That Publishers Wish They'd Never Sent.'' A Japanese translation ``Makoto-ni Zannen-desuga...'' (We're terribly sorry but...) has been published by Tokuma Shoten. According to the book, a publisher told Buck that he was very sorry, but American readers had no interest in a Chinese story.

 10年ばかり前に出版された『まことに残念ですが…』(徳間書店)は、名作への不採用通知の傑作選だった。「まことに残念ですが、アメリカの読者は中国のことなど一切興味がありません」。これは、パール・バックの『大地』への断り状である。

Turning down ``Lady Chatterley's Lover,'' a publisher advised D.H. Lawrence not to try to get it published for his own sake.

The publisher who handled Thor Heyerdahl's ``The Kon-Tiki Expedition'' wrote that while an exploration by people on a drifting raft offered an interesting theme, he found the records of a Pacific voyage cumbersome, monotonous and boring as a whole.

 「ご自身のためにも、これを発表するのはおやめなさい」は、D・H・ロレンスの『チャタレイ夫人の恋人』への、「人が筏(いかだ)で漂流するというテーマには魅力があるが、全般的に、長く重く単調で退屈な太平洋航海記である」は、ヘイエルダールの『コンティキ号漂流記』への不採用通知だ。

Bernard wrote letters of rejection himself when he was working for a publishing company. Looking back, he says that when copies of a book he rejected with confidence were filling the shelves at bookstores, with more printings on the way, he writhed with regret.

 編著者のアンドレ・バーナードは、出版社に勤めていた時には自分も断り状を書いていた。自信を持ってはねつけた本が書店の棚を埋め尽くしじわじわ版を重ねていくのを見ると、口惜しさに身もだえしたという。

A secondhand book festival is an annual event held in Tokyo's Kanda district, an area known for having many bookstores. As usual, I saw small crowds formed here and there in the alleys and on the sidewalks. The focus of attention was on books that have long been out of print. The age-muted covers of these books made an excellent match with the soft light of the autumnal sun.

 本の街、東京・神田では「古本まつり」が開かれている。いつもながら、路地や歩道に小さな人垣ができている。主役は、日の目を見てから久しい本の数々だ。年季が入って落ち着いたその顔は、柔らかな秋の日差しとほどよく溶けあっていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 1(IHT/Asahi: November 10,2003) (11/10)
 
 
 
Viewing our tiny life in the boundless universe


The Subaru telescope in Hawaii has captured light emitted from the most distant galaxy ever observed, 12.83 billion light years away.

Since the universe is expanding, it must have sent a faint flicker while moving away from Earth. It provides a clue to the development of the universe, astronomers say.

11月07日付
■《天声人語》

 その光が発せられたのが、128億3千万年前だった。ハワイの「すばる望遠鏡」が観測した最も遠い銀河である。宇宙は膨張しているから、遠ざかりながら、かろうじてかすかな光を地球に届かせたのだろう。宇宙の生い立ちを知る手がかりになるという。

To begin with, how old is the universe? This has long been a subject of controversy. At one time, the universe's estimated ``age'' ranged between 10 billion and 20 billion years. In February, NASA stated the Big Bang that created the universe likely occurred 13.7 billion years ago. Currently, this is the most prevalent view.

 そもそも宇宙の年齢はいくつなのか。長く議論の対象になってきた。100億歳から200億歳の間を行ったり来たりした時期があった。今年2月になって米航空宇宙局(NASA)が137億歳説を発表、これがいまのところ最も有力である。

Edwin Hubble (1889-1953), the father of modern astronomy, who in 1929 determined that the universe is in a continual state of expansion, estimated it to be about 2 billion years old. Since then, however, his calculation has become obsolete with the emergence of other theories, including one that estimated that Earth itself was created 4 billion years ago.

 1929年に宇宙が膨張していることを発見、現代天文学の父ともいわれるハッブルは、宇宙年齢を約20億歳と推定していた。その後、地球の年齢でさえ40億歳とする研究が現れたりし、20億歳説は葬り去られる。

I recall a well-known poetry collection titled ``Nijuoku Konen no Kodoku'' (Two Billion Light-Years of Solitude) by then 21-year-old Shuntaro Tanikawa. The book was published more than a half century ago. Come to think of it, his poem reflected Hubble's idea of the universe:

``Because the universe is distorted,/ we all seek for one another./ Because the universe goes on expanding,/ we are all uneasy./ With the chill of two billion light-years of solitude,/ I suddenly sneezed.''

 半世紀以上前に世に出た有名な詩集を思い浮かべる。当時21歳だった谷川俊太郎さんの『二十億光年の孤独』である。思えば、ハッブルの宇宙と呼応していた。「宇宙はひずんでいる/それ故みんなはもとめ合う/宇宙はどんどん膨んでゆく/それ故みんなは不安である/二十億光年の孤独に/僕は思わずくしやみをした」

(The poem was translated by William Elliott and Kazuo Kawamura, in ``Two Billion Light-Years of Solitude,'' The Hokuseido Press). The contrast between the expanding universe and the sneezing self was striking. People go about the trivial matters of everyday life while awed by the boundless stretch of the universe. That is all too human.

 いまならさしずめ「137億光年の孤独」だろうか。どちらにせよ、膨張する宇宙と、くしゃみをする僕との対比は鮮烈だった。宇宙の果てしない広がりにおののきつつも、些細(ささい)な日常を繰り返すのが人間である。

It is also around this time of year when the sky grows bright with stars that Minamoto no Shitago (911-983) composed the following poem: ``The galaxy is clear and bright in the autumn sky/ I see dewdrops glisten in a round shape in a tree-filled garden.''

 星空が日ごとにさえてくるこのごろ、昔の人もこう詠んだ。〈銀河澄朗たり素秋の天/また林園に白露の円かなるを見る〉(源順)

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 7(IHT/Asahi: November 8,2003) (11/08)
 
 
 
Showing how governments change hands


I wish to give an example of how governments change hands. I am fully aware the circumstances are quite different between Japan and Britain, a country where a two-party system has been maturely established, but let us look back on the 1997 British elections in which the Labor Party recovered administration after 18 years.

11月06日付
■《天声人語》

 政権交代はこうして起きる。日本とは条件が違うことを承知の上で、18年ぶりに労働党が政権を握った97年の英国総選挙を振り返ってみよう。保守党と労働党による二大政党制が成熟した国でのことである。

``Privatization'' of pensions was a major issue. The Conservative Party advocated privatization before the election. The proposal was aimed at alleviating the heavy burden on the national finance by shifting state-run pension systems to personal pension systems run by private insurance companies. It can be said that the shift was a foregone conclusion of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's reform policy of advancing privatization and attaching greater importance to the accountability of individuals.

 年金「民営化」が争点の一つだった。保守党は選挙前に、民営化を打ち出した。財政を圧迫する年金事業の国営をやめ、保険会社に運用を任せる個人年金に移行する案だ。「民営化と個人責任重視」を進めたサッチャー元首相の改革路線の帰結ともいえる方針だった。

At the time, the Labor Party appeared to stand by the policy of not conducting a ``negative campaign'' by finding fault with its opponent. However, as far as the pension problem is concerned, it broke away from that rule to fire criticism at the Conservative Party for a limited period. Later, it returned to a ``positive campaign'' to stress its own merits.

 労働党は、相手の欠点をあげつらう「ネガティブ・キャンペーン」をしないというのが当時の方針だったようだ。しかし年金問題では、時期を区切って集中的に保守党を非難した。その後はまた自党の良さを訴える「ポジティブ・キャンペーン」に戻った。

As the ruling party, the Tories tried to seize on the opposition's weaknesses. For example, the party asked how it planned to deal with European integration on which the nation was divided. The Labor Party responded promptly that it would hold a referendum. The Conservatives' election strategy seemed to waver in the face of the opposition party's positive stance. It is also said that the ruling party failed to take advantage of ``a favorable economy,'' which was its strongest point.

 政権党である保守党は、野党の弱みをつこうとする。たとえば、国民の意見が割れる欧州統合をどうするか? 「国民投票にかける」と答える。積極的に受けて切り返す労働党に対し、保守党の選挙戦略は揺れたようだ。「順調な経済」という最も大きな強みを政権党は生かせなかった、ともいわれる。

The Labor Party won 419 seats and the Tories 165 seats. It was a landslide victory for the Labor Party that most people never imagined possible. In addition to an effective election strategy, the victory owes much to the youth and freshness of party leader Tony Blair, who positively advanced Labor Party reform. The timing may have also agreed with the mood of the British people, who were fed up with the Conservative government.

 労働党419議席、保守党165議席という結果は、大方の予想をはるかに上回る大差だった。選挙戦略だけでなく、労働党改革を進めたブレア党首の若さと清新さも力あった。保守党政権に国民が飽き飽きしていたこともあったろう。

A British newspaper ran the following commentary: ``The people seem to have known what they were doing all along and were preparing long ago to do what none of the professionals could believe. The people are sovereign. Never can I recall my sense of that ancient democratic truth being so emphatically, incontestably made flesh.''

 こんな感想が英紙に出ていた。「専門家が信じられないようなことを国民はやってのけた。国民が主権者であることを実感した」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 6(IHT/Asahi: November 7,2003) (11/07)
 
 
 
Afghans aiming for Islamic-style democracy


The main news item on Nov. 4, 1946, was a massive rally held in Tokyo the previous day to celebrate promulgation of the new Constitution.

Newspapers carried big photographs on their front pages of the rally held in the square in front of the Imperial Palace. One headline read: ``A massive chorus of 100,000 in celebration.''

Printed alongside the stories was an imperial edict declaring the new Constitution, which was drafted with the aim of rebuilding Japan according to universally accepted principles for mankind, had the blessing of a freely expressed national consensus.

All this came about a little more than a year after Japan's surrender in World War II.

11月05日付
■《天声人語》

 「十万人の大唱和」。46年11月4日の新聞は、前日の皇居前広場での憲法公布祝賀会を大きな写真入りで報じた。「国家再建の基礎を人類普遍の原理に求め、自由に表明された国民の総意によって確定されたのである」との勅語が併せて掲載されている。敗戦から1年余のことだ。

Afghanistan's draft Constitution was unveiled on Nov. 3, a day for commemorating the promulgation of the Constitution in Japan. In all likelihood, this was a mere coincidence. Still, the writing of a new Constitution in Kabul, a crucial first step for nation-building after years of conflict, does not feel like someone else's affair for us. President Hamid Karzai once said he wanted to learn from postwar Japan.

 アフガニスタンの憲法草案が3日発表された。日本の憲法公布記念日を選んでの発表というのではあるまいが、長い戦乱を経て新しい国造りに取りかかる重要な一歩だけに、他人事(ひとごと)でないような気がする。カルザイ大統領も「日本の戦後を見習いたい」という趣旨の発言をしたことがある。

In their procedural explanations about the draft, officials said the people of Afghanistan were weary of war and anxious for peace. Stressing the significance of writing a Constitution, they said ordinary people were participating in drafting a road map for peace for the first time.

 憲法起草の経過説明でも「アフガン国民は戦争に疲れ、平和を切望している」と言い、国民が初めて積極的に平和への道程づくりに参加するのだ、と憲法制定の意義をうたう。

But the draft Constitution does not have provisions like the war-renouncing Article 9 of Japan's Constitution. Instead, anticipating acts of war, it has ``emergency provisions'' to deal with such situations by concentrating all powers in the president and the government.

The political reality is that with regional warlords making a comeback, Afghanistan is bogged down in a state bordering on civil war. ``The situation is worse than any time in the past,'' reports physician Tetsu Nakamura, who is working as a volunteer in that landlocked country.

 ただし「戦争放棄」のような条項があるわけではない。それどころか戦時を想定し、権限を大統領や政府に集中する「緊急事態」条項が盛り込まれている。各地に軍閥が復活し、内戦模様が続く政情だ。「過去のどの時期よりも事態は悪化しています」と医師の中村哲さんも現地から訴える。

The draft stipulates that other faiths would be free to conduct religious rites within the bounds of the law. Even so, as an Islamic republic, Afghanistan has no choice but to keep Islam as the central authority. This would mean that while introducing Western-style institutions, Afghanistan will remain Islamic at its core.

 「他の宗教が法の範囲内で宗教儀礼をするのは自由」というものの、イスラム共和国としてイスラム教に求心力を求めざるをえない。制度は欧米流、精神はイスラムで、という方向である。

Back in 1946, it was asserted in Japan that ``although we have a new Constitution, it just signals the start of democracy, not its perfection.'' The same thing may be said of Afghanistan, a country that is aiming at Islamic-style democracy.

 「憲法は完成したが、民主主義の出発であって完成ではない」。日本の憲法公布時にいわれた言葉は、イスラム的民主主義を目指すアフガンについてもいえるだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 5(IHT/Asahi: November 6,2003) (11/06)
 
 
 
Some walls express humanity, others crush it


French painter Jean Dubuffet explains his fascination with walls in ``Pari Shashin no Seiki'' (Century of Parisian photography), a book written by Eiko Imahashi and published by Hakusui-Sha Co.:

``Walls are just like the earth, except for the fact that they are vertical ... To me, a wall is like a great book that one can write or read.''

11月04日付
■《天声人語》

 フランスの画家デュビュッフェは壁の魅力をこう述べている。「壁は大地と全く変わらないのですよ。垂直であるということを除いては。……壁は、私にはあたかも一冊の本、豊かな本、書いたり読んだりできる本のように思えるのです」(今橋映子『〈パリ写真〉の世紀』白水社)

In 1950, Dubuffet published a collection of lithographs entitled ``Les Murs'' (``Dubuffet's Walls'' in English). He was certainly not the only artist who was fascinated by the walls and wall graffiti of Paris. They were a pet subject for photographer Brassai, who cited Debuffet as well as Paul Klee and Joan Miro in arguing the tremendous impact on 20th century art of the ``discovery of walls.''

 リトグラフ集『壁』(50年)を出版した彼のように、パリの街の壁や落書きに魅せられた芸術家は少なくない。パリの壁の落書きを数々撮った写真家ブラッサイは、デュビュッフェのほかクレーやミロらを挙げながら「壁の発見」が20世紀美術にいかに大きな意味を持ったか、を説いた。

Walls inspire artists. But when used for political purposes, walls often become utterly ugly. The Berlin Wall was the symbol of the Cold War. Blood has been shed around that and many other walls.

 芸術家の想像力を刺激した壁が政治の世界に持ち込まれると、しばしば醜悪さをむき出しにする。東西冷戦の象徴だったベルリンの壁をはじめ、いわば血塗られた壁は多い。

In Northern Ireland, where Catholics and Protestants have feuded for centuries, a wall was erected in Belfast to divide the two groups into separate quarters. Ironically, this came to be called the Peace Wall. In three decades of relentless terrorist reprisals, more than 3,000 people have been killed.

 カトリック系とプロテスタント系とが争ってきた北アイルランドもそうだった。両者の居住区を分けるためにベルファストの市街地に築かれた壁は、皮肉なことに「平和の壁」と称されていた。この地で30年以上も続くテロでは3千人以上が犠牲になった。

The Israeli government started building a 320-kilometer wall around the West Bank of Palestinian territory last year. About 100 km have been completed. The Israelis say the barrier is intended to thwart Palestinian terrorists. For the Palestinians, however, this wall is exactly what it has come to be known as-the Apartheid Wall.

 イスラエル政府が去年から築いている分離壁は、すでに100キロ以上が完成したらしい。パレスチナからのテロリスト侵入を防ぐための壁というが、パレスチナ側から見れば「アパルトヘイト(人種隔離)の壁」である。

Brassai was particularly moved by children's graffiti on the lower parts of walls. But Palestinian children do not have the freedom to scrawl their graffiti on the wall of ethnic segregation. It is an ominous wall that rejects the human capacity to feel and imagine.

 ブラッサイは、とりわけ壁の低い部分に描かれる子どもの落書きが感動的だと語った。パレスチナの子どもには落書きの自由はない。想像力を拒む非情な壁である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 4(IHT/Asahi: November 5,2003) (11/05)
 
 
 
A power failure can be a blessing in disguise


I happened to be visiting Italy when a power blackout threw most of the country into darkness about a month ago.

Perhaps because of the noise around my hotel in Rome, I awoke shortly after 3 a.m. I looked out the window and saw nothing unusual on the street below. The television in my room did not switch on, so I knew that the city was in the grip of a power failure.

11月02日付
■《天声人語》

 ひと月あまり前、イタリアのほぼ全土にわたる大停電に、たまたま居合わせた。ローマの宿の周りが騒がしくて起きたのは、午前3時過ぎだった。窓の下の通りに異変は見えないが、テレビがつかないので停電と知る。

The power supply was still out when the day dawned. I decided to step out and explore the city, thinking that Rome, full of ancient ruins, might take on the look it had in ancient times.

The clerk at the front desk told me that subway trains were not moving and the telephone service was down. I watched the buses and garbage trucks moving. All shops were closed and I heard beeping alarms everywhere.

There was a cafe doing business. I looked in and saw a clerk scribbling orders and receipts in a notebook by candle light.

 夜が明けても電気は来ない。古代遺跡の都市が古代都市になったかと、街に出る。地下鉄が止まり電話も不通とフロントで聞く。バスやゴミ収集車は動いていた。商店は軒並み閉まっていて、あちこちでビービーと異常を知らせるような音が響く。開いていたカフェでは、ろうそくの光の下、店員がノートにえんぴつで注文と売り上げを書いていた。

Continuing my stroll, I went to St. Angel Castle near the Vatican's San Pietro Cathedral. A staff member refused to let me in because of the power outage. Certainly, I thought, one could not walk through the castle when the lights were not on.

 歩いて、バチカンのサンピエトロ寺院近くのサンタンジェロ城へ行く。停電のため入れないと職員が言う。確かに、明かりが無ければここは無理かと、中のハドリアヌス帝廟(びょう)の暗さを記した一文を思い起こす。

I recalled an essay by Atsuko Suga on the darkness of the Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian inside the castle. Based on her visit to the mausoleum, she wrote: ``I make my way in darkness. A light guides my steps for several meters. Then, I am enveloped again in darkness feeling like a thick cloak.'' This passage, quoted from a Kawade Bunko paperback, appears in Suga's book ``Yurusunaru no Kutsu'' (Yourcenar's shoes), which is a collection of essays.

So, the mausoleum of Hadrian, known as one of the five ``wise'' Roman emperors, sits in total darkness. He died in the second century.

 「暗闇を進む。何メートルかは、照明が足もとを照らしてくれる。が、また、厚ぼったいマントのような闇がすっぽりと私を包みこむ」(須賀敦子『ユルスナールの靴』河出文庫)。紀元2世紀に没した五賢帝のひとりの墓廟は真の闇の中だ。

As far as I could see, traffic signals at all the intersections were out. Drivers on the roads were a study in contrast, no longer behaving violently like hordes of insects crowding around something. I saw drivers mutually ceding the way at corners.

 見る限りの交差点の信号がすべて消えている。多くの虫が競って何かに群がるような、いつもの激しい車の走りも消えて、幾つかの角では譲り合いも見た。

Around noon, I noticed the lights back on at the front of a tailor's shop in a back street. The modern lights that took a pretty long time to come back began to cast a glow in a seemingly reserved way on an old sloping road.

On the boulevards, with traffic signals functioning again, drivers were already back to their usual horn-sounding ways likened to hordes of insects madly scrambling for something.

 正午ごろ、裏道で、服屋の店先に明かりがともるのに気づいた。久しぶりの現代の光は、遠慮がちに古い坂道を照らし始めた。信号の戻った大通りでは車の警笛が鳴り響き、早くも、あの虫の走りがよみがえっていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 2(IHT/Asahi: November 4,2003) (11/04)
 
 
 
Pomegranates credited with miracle power


A pomegranate tree stands by the road I usually take to the train station. Reflecting the progress of the season, the fruits on the tree have colored. There is a feel of porcelain-like lucency about their crimson skins-a quality that appears to bring back ancient times.

The pomegranate has its origin in Southwest Asia. Man began to cultivate it in prehistoric times. Then it spread to the east and west.

10月25日付
■《天声人語》

 通り道に、ザクロの木が1本ある。秋の深まりを映して、実は色づいていた。陶器にも通じる透明感のある紅色の肌は、どこか古代の景色のようなものを感じさせる。南西アジア原産で、有史以前から栽培され、東へ西へと伝わったという。

The other day, after watching the Canadian movie ``Ararato no Seibo'' (Ararat), I came away impressed by the way pomegranates were employed for effect.

The film is mainly about massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I. Director Atom Egoyan, an Armenian-Canadian, did not confine himself to depicting the massacres. Through deft management of the time axis, he dwelt on portraying the lives and activities of Armenians as immigrants after they were driven away from home. In this way, he turned it into a drama of human beings.

 先日見たカナダ映画「アララトの聖母」では、ザクロが印象的に使われていた。第一次大戦のころのオスマントルコによるアルメニア人の虐殺が主題だ。監督のアトム・エゴヤンはアルメニア系だが惨事を描くだけではない。故郷を追われた人々の移民としての暮らしや営みを、時間軸を巧みに操りながら人間のドラマに仕上げた。

Toward the end, one of the protagonists and his mother talk about their memories of pomegranates. A pomegranate tree stood in the yard of their house. The mother took a fruit off the tree before she was led away by Turkish troops. She had a premonition that she was going on a long journey. She forced a one-seed-a-day diet on herself. Secretly and carefully gnawing on a seed, she took it for a single meal.

 終盤で、主人公のひとりが母とザクロの記憶を語る。その家の庭にはザクロの木があった。トルコ兵に連行される時、母は実を一つもぐ。長い旅路になると予感した母は、毎日ザクロの実を一粒だけ口に入れた。そっと大切にかじりながら、この一粒が1回の食事だと思って食べた。

Recalling her experience, the mother tells her son to ``try it yourself.'' Then she says, ``A single pomegranate seed teaches me two things-the fortune of being able to eat it and the power of imagination.''

As seen by those buffeted by cruel history, pomegranates were presumably a companion that shared their fate and also something that had the power to bring them back home instantly.

 そして続ける。「食べてみたまえ。一粒のザクロは私に二つのことを教えてくれる。幸運と、想像する力だ」。過酷な歴史に翻弄(ほんろう)された人々にとって、ザクロは運命を共にする道連れであり、瞬時にふるさとに引き戻す力も持っていたのだろう。

The movie is set mainly in the vicinity of Mount Ararat, to which the Ark of Noah drifted, according to the Old Testament.

While imagining pomegranate trees, a feature of the region, I put a seed in my mouth. I found the sweet-sour taste to be appropriate and refreshing. Somehow, I also sensed a quality that made me feel nostalgia.

 旧約聖書で、ノアの箱舟がたどりついたとされるアララト山の周辺が映画の主な舞台だ。その地を彩ってきたザクロの木々を想像しつつ、一粒を口に含む。ほどよい甘酸っぱさが、さわやかで、どこか懐かしい。

Having many seeds inside, a pomegranate breaks open when it matures. These characteristics make it the symbol of fertility and hope.

 多くの種をつけ、熟してはじけるザクロは、豊穣(ほうじょう)や希望の象徴でもあるという。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 25(IHT/Asahi: November 3,2003) (11/03)
 
 
 
How U.S. troops in Iraq see their missions


What conditions are U.S. forces in Iraq facing and how is their morale? From mid-October, Stars and Stripes ran a seven-part series from Iraq.

The U.S. government-funded newspaper for its forces overseas has the advantage of being firmly plugged into the system. I found the series unexpectedly candid and devoid of bias, even critical of the Iraqi campaign.

10月31日付
■《天声人語》

 イラクに駐留する米軍の士気は高いか? 星条旗新聞が10月半ばから7回にわたって現地報告をした。米軍の準機関紙という立場から内部に深く入ることができる強みを生かしている。意外なほど軍への遠慮が感じられない連載だ。鋭い批判も交えている。

``In Iraq, some service members live like princes while others sleep in the sand,'' says the headline for the third installment of the ``Ground Truth'' series. A division, headquartered at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, has an indoor swimming pool and even an Internet cafe for the staff to use. ``I don't want my soldiers coming up here,'' a senior division commander was quoted as saying. ``I don't want them to see how good the division staff has it.''

 「イラクでは、王子のような暮らしをする軍人もいれば、砂の上で寝る兵もいる」。連載3回目の見出しである。司令部をフセイン元大統領の宮殿に置く師団のスタッフは、室内プールからインターネットカフェまで利用できる。「自分の部下には見せたくないね」と指揮官。

On the other hand, many soldiers have been living for months in quarters without proper beds, latrines, hot meals or showers. ``Around here, it's just sit and wait until somebody shoots, so we can do our job,'' shrugged one service member. Some have begun to harbor the resentment of the have-nots toward the better-accommodated units. ``Are we fighting the same war?'' asked another.

 一方で、何カ月もベッドやトイレもなく温かい食事やシャワーにありつけない生活を続ける兵も少なくない。「誰かが攻撃してくるまで座って待つだけの生活だ」。待遇のいい部隊についての怨嗟(えんさ)の声も上がる。「同じ敵を相手に戦っているとは思えない」

Why are they in Iraq? One episode recounted an evening raid on an apartment complex: ``The translator knocked on the door ... the startled family slowly walked out to face a group of heavily armed soldiers... .''

A sergeant noted: ``We're not used to knocking on doors. We're used to knocking doors down.''

There is resentment among soldiers who feel the jobs they are being made to perform are more suited for police or civil affairs units.

 何のためにイラクにいるのか? ゲリラ掃討作戦で民家を訪れる。通訳にノックさせる。恐怖に震える女性が出てくる。「おれたちはドアをぶっ壊すのは慣れているが、ドアをノックするのには慣れていない」とある軍曹。警察や民生関係の仕事をさせられているとの不満も上がっている。

A questionnaire, answered by about 2,000 service members, found that 35 percent of the respondents thought their mission was ``mostly not clear'' or ``not clear at all.'' An almost equal number said ``very clear'' or ``mostly clear.''

Asked to rate their unit's morale, 16 percent answered ``very high'' or ``high,'' and 49 percent answered ``low'' or ``very low.'' The rest said ``average.''

 約2千人が回答を寄せたアンケートでは、35%が「使命があいまい」と答え「明瞭(めいりょう)」とした人とほぼ同数だった。部隊の士気が高いと答えたのは16%、低いが49%、残りが「普通」だった。

President George W. Bush asserted earlier this week he was staying the course. I wonder how the U.S. troops in Iraq felt about it.

 ブッシュ大統領は28日「方針を変えるつもりはない」と語った。現地の米軍兵士たちは、どう受けとめたことか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 31(IHT/Asahi: November 1,2003) (11/01)

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