History helps to build the World of Tomorrow

Remembering Eizaburo Okuizumi(奥泉栄三郎)1940 – 2013

Remembering Okuizumi Eizaburo: "Purposeful serendipity"

I have known Mr. Okuizumi Eizaburo for over 20 years. He has been my friend, personal librarian, a sort-of father figure, and above all, a super senpai and sensei.

His help was too natural to notice. As Professor Norma Field wrote for his memorial service: "And I'm so very glad to be with so many of you who are feeling the loss that we could not have calculated because he was so always there, always helping before we even knew that we needed the help."

Okuizumi-san gave me the opportunity to work with him as a translator. His interests included: World War II, Japan's defeat, censored publications in occupied Japan, nationalism, militarism, the freedom of press, history of Japanese newspapers, etc. I was curious enough to translate the materials, but I was absolutely uninterested in these topics. In my ignorance, I thought they were things all lost to history.

I have suddenly come to appreciate all of them, which seem to have gained new relevancy and urgency in the long wake of Fukushima 3.11.

As Professor Field wrote, he was not only a librarian, but also "a scholar in his own right." Her account is especially insightful with regard to his helpfulness, "his own quiet learnedness," and “purposeful serendipity."

"And so that kind of purposeful serendipity, that seems to characterize his life, I think has affected and benefited us all. … So I felt again here a very purposeful serendipity, if it is true that it was accidental that he got into this field. That purposeful serendipity, I felt in some ways explains the mystery I felt about him and the mystery that is not. That is to say, he was that extremely unusual person in our line of business, who was very, very capable, learned, and just went about doing his business quietly, in his understated way without calling attention to it."

His "purposeful serendipity" continues to this day and beyond, and therefore can keep his works alive.

奥泉栄三郎 (1940-2013) さんを慕って




Peter Rothstein氏は、彼の「百科事典のような知識と寛大さ」にふれている。




あっそうか。ヨーロッパの人にとっては、火を見るよりも明らかなことなのだなあ、と納得した。 あまり政治的でない人も若い人も、ごく普通の欧州人たちは、安倍首相とヒトラーとをはっきり同一視しているのですね。彼ら二人の近さ・類似をごく明白なこととして見ていて、それを指摘され驚く日本人は「何をとぼけて」って感じでしょうか。




"Radio Paris ment, Radio Paris ment, Radio Paris est Allemand"

mentir (嘘をつく)のmentモンとAllemand (ドイツ)のmandモンが韻を踏んでいます。ドイツのラジオ放送は嘘だらけという、皮肉な曲調を紹介していました。約70年前の歌が、彼女の頭にはっきりと残っているのですね。



Three frontiers (Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands)


突然、義弟が再婚するという知らせがあった。彼は、やんちゃでプレイボーイなので、来夏の結婚まで持つかは分からない。いや、彼は本気か? <神妙にお縄を受けて共暮らし> (時実新子)。「とにかく婚約はメデタイ。楽しもう」と、彼らの住むベルギーにむかった。





Peaceful solution to the disputed Diaoyu-Senkaku islands

Yesterday I (Japanese woman) went to two Chinese grocery stores in Luxembourg to buy a bag of Japanese rice from California, Korean seasoned seaweed, imperial-dragon gyoza wrappers, and Taiwan highland (gao shan) oolong tea.

In Mexico and Spain, people mistook me as a local resident and asked me directions in Spanish. Similarly, Chinese and Korean people often talk to me in their languages. Happily, I try to make conversation with them, using some words which I have learned from Chinese, Taiwan, and Korean friends over the years (i.e., hello, 1, 2, 3,..., delicious, so-so, it doesn't matter, thank you, see you, I love you, etc).

Maybe, it was just a figment of my imagination, but yesterday one of the Chinese owners was slightly distant, not as cheerful as usual. Though, later I realized that she put two extra oranges in my plastic bag for free. Then, I thought of the ongoing dispute over the islands among countries.

Today I was reading two articles by Gavan McCormack who presents background information about the territorial disputes (The first article is translated into 中文, 한국어, and 日本語): "Small Islands – Big Problem: Senkaku/Diaoyu and the Weight of History and Geography in China-Japan Relations".

Nuclear Disarmament and the Capability Approach

I have been writing a paper entitled "Amartya Sen's Capability Approach, Democratic Governance and Japan's Fukushima Disaster." So, I think of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima everyday: three man-made disasters. Here are notes from (about) three people on Hiroshima/Fukushima.

John Rawls (whose work has heavily influenced the philosophy of the capability approach):

50 Years After Hiroshima.
"The fiftieth year since the bombing of Hiroshima is a time to reflect about what one should think of it. Is it really a great wrong, as many now think, and many also thought then, or is it perhaps justified after all? I believe that both the fire-bombing of Japanese cities beginning in the spring of 1945 and the later atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6 were very great wrongs, and rightly seen as such. In order to support this opinion, I set out what I think to be the principles governing the conduct of war—jus in bello—of democratic peoples. These peoples' have different ends of war than nondemocratic, especially totalitarian, states, such as Germany and Japan, which sought the domination and exploitation of subjected peoples, and in Germany's case, their enslavement if not extermination" (Dissent Magazine, Summer 1995).

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