Letter to Japanese Friends on March 11th

Japanese Version of Letter Below (scroll down)
French Version of Letter Below (scroll down)

Emerging Above Natural and Man-Made Crisis

A letter to Japanese friends contains a poetic vision of how artists, citizens and decision makers could together define a new Japan.

Today is the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami.  Let us move forward together. Fukushima could one day be a name associated not with disaster, but a springboard for national and international change.  Everything is still possible.

Please circulate this Letter to Japanese Friends, discuss it, click “like” to encourage Japan.  Join us to work with other artists and citizens who inspire.  Link to Beyond Our Best: Creators Uplifting Japan so we can work creatively together.

This letter has been published in 2012 both in English and Japanese by the chief editor of Sogensha in Osaka Japan in 日本語臨床フォーラム, a web journal dealing with psychology psychotherapy and art.  It has also been since re-published in Belgium in 2013 in the philosophy and theology journal Acta Comparanda XXIV, FVG, Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions, pp. 137-138, 2610 Antwerpen Belgium.

For other venues interested in publishing it, please Contact Us.

 

—– English

A Letter to Japanese Friends

Leiko Ishizuka, MBA, MALD, Keio University exchange, a Franco-Japanese from New York

Paul Briot, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Professor at the Antwerp Faculty of Comparative Religion

This,

understanding, heart of sun,

when?

Nations, just like individuals, often ask crucial questions in times of crisis.  It is only when things become really difficult that we have the courage to consider transformational change.  After the 2011 tragedy, Japan set about recovering with a dignity and courage that moved the world.  Just as in 1945, the Japanese will recover and rebuild.  The question is: can a new Japan emerge?

Some Japanese realize that in the face of increasing natural and man-made disasters, the country has to equip itself with a new moral drive that enlightens and inspires.  To rebuild an old Japan in the current international context is not enough.  To write a glorious page of its history, Japan will need to emerge from this crisis far beyond its previous best.

Let us imagine how Japan can conceive and bring about a sublime nobility, a beauty capable of projecting its inhabitants beyond what they ever were, even at the height of their culture and past.

Japan needs This, a moral drive rich in comprehension and compassion.  The country requires an enlightened spirit of fraternity, open to all those in the world who in this period of adversity have shown their sympathy and respect for Japan’s courage, dignity and solidarity.

In order to mold a new heart for themselves, a heart of sun, one that ignites the sparks that live within them, the Japanese launch into the sky the arrows of their imagination.  In a country that experiences a tremendous range of human emotions and feelings, poets suggest a Japanese This, an element of value and meaning that resides in the very spirit of the Japanese people.

Painters, sculptors, architects and all artists envision faces that gradually rise towards This, a moral sun that is stronger and undoubtedly nobler than unbridled nature.

Intellectuals, historians, writers, journalists, major broadcasters evoke the past.  Throughout its history Japan has been influenced at times by China at times by the West.  But today those lands are also in search of meaning, of their own existential journey.  Fortunately, Japan itself can devise its own audacious future.

The spiritual, the wise and those who meditate propose their experience.  This will signify according to each individual: spiritual faith, moral force or beauty.  These three aspects are indeed compatible.  Imagining meanings, choosing one’s own specificity, committing oneself to the essential Adventure.

Individual citizens ask important questions of themselves and of their country.  They move, they engage, they act to rebuild Japan from within.

Finally an appeal is launched, a solemn appeal to those in charge, including leaders and decision-makers, to contribute to a new Japan.

The Japanese envisage the sun in full freedom, as their inspiration dictates.  They question it in all possible ways.  They imagine poetically its responses, its enigmas, its allusions.  Meaning starts to live, it deepens, it spreads freely.  Value blossoms, sparkles, becomes light, a measureless light that sublimates all things.

The Japanese are capable of This and the world context requires nothing less: comprehension, compassion, liberation, realization.

This,

understanding, heart of sun,

now.

 

—– Japanese

天災と人災を乗り越えて

日本の友人への手紙

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka(ナタリー 玲子 石塚) パリHECでMBA、慶応大学に留学、「ベストを超えて:日本を元気にするクリエーター達」ディレクター

Paul Briot(ポール・ブリオ) 哲学博士、アントワープ比較宗教学講座教授

これこそが

悟り、太陽の心、

それはいつ?

個人と同様に、国家も、危機に直面すると重要な問いを発するものです。本当に困難な状況に陥ったときに初めて、根本的な変化へと踏み出そうとする勇 気が出 てきます。2011年3月の悲劇的な災害から、日本は尊厳と勇気を持って復興への道を歩みだし、世界を感動させました。第二次世界大戦から復興したときと 同じように、日本はまた復興と再建を成し遂げることでしょう。問題は、「日本は新しく生まれ変われるのだろうか?」ということです。

自然 と人為、二種類の災害の頻度がますます高まっている昨今、日本人の中にも、道を照らし、人々を勇気づけるような新しい精神力を身につける必要があることに 気付きはじめた人々がいます。現代の国際情勢においては、以前と同じ日本をもう一度再建するだけでは十分ではありません。日本がこの苦難の時を乗り越えた とき、これまでの日本をはるかに上回る素晴らしい国として生まれ変わった姿を示すことができれば、その歴史に輝かしい1ページを書き加えることができるで しょう。

想像してみてください。新しい日本が、文化的な栄華を極めた過去のいかなる時代をも超越した、これまでにない高みにまでその国民を引き上げることができるような、崇高で壮麗な美を生み出している姿を。

日本には、相互理解と思いやりに満ちた、この精神力が必要なのです。日本に必要なのは、光にあふれる博愛の精神です。この災禍のときにあって日本人が見せた勇気と尊厳と団結心に共感と敬意を示した世界中のすべての人々に対して心を開く、博愛の精神です。

日本の人々は、新しい心、すなわち内なる輝きに火をともす太陽の心をかたち作っていくために、想像力の矢を空高く放ちます。詩人たちは、数えきれな いほど さまざまな感情や思いを今まさに経験しているこの国において、日本人本来の精神性の中にもともと備わっているこの価値観、この意味を訴えかけます。

画家、彫刻家、建築家、その他すべての芸術家たちは、この精神的な太陽に向かって、少しずつ立ち上がっていく日本の人々の姿を描き出していきます。心の太陽は、歯止めのきかない奔放な自然よりも力強く、また間違いなく崇高なものです。

知識人、歴史家、作家、ジャーナリスト、ニュースキャスターなどは、過去の歴史を呼び起こさせます。日本はその歴史上、中国から、そしてまた西洋か らも影 響を受け続けてきました。しかし今日では、それらの国々もまた意味を求め、自らの存在を問い直す旅のなかにあります。幸いなことに日本は今、自分たちの未 来を自らの手で大胆につくり出していくことができるのです。

宗教家や賢人、瞑想家たちは、自らの経験を言葉にして伝えます。信仰、精神 力、そして美――これが日本人ひとりひとりにとって重要な意味を持ちます。これら3つは共存可能です。意味を想像すること、自分だけの特質を自ら選び取る こと、そして意義深い「冒険」へと踏み出していくこと。

日本人ひとりひとりが、自分自身について、そして日本という国について、重要な問いを投げかけます。ひとりひとりが、日本という国を内側から立て直すために立ち上がり、力を合わせ、行動するのです。

最後に、次の言葉を訴えかけたいと思います。指導者や政策決定者たちを含む、新しい日本の創造に貢献できる立場にいる人々に向けた、重みのある宣言として。

霊感の指し示すところにしたがって、日本人はその心の中に自由に太陽を描き出します。日本人は可能な限りのあらゆる方法で太陽に問いを投げかけま す。太陽 が返す答え、太陽がかける謎、太陽が暗示するものを、日本人は詩的に想像します。意味が命を得て、深まり、そして自由に広がっていきます。価値は花開き、 輝き、光となります。それは、すべての存在を至高の高みへと導く、計り知れない光です。

理解、思いやり、解放 ――日本人にはこれらを成し遂げる力があります。そして、世界の状況も今それを求めているのです。

これこそが

悟り、太陽の心、

今こそがその時

著者紹介

ポール・ブリオ

ポール・ブリオは哲学博士、アントワープ(ベルギー)の比較宗教学講座教授。危機の活用、誠実さ、芸術的創造、目標の明確化などをテーマとした詩的随想や記事、著書を発表。近著(Le rayonnant…un art vers l’Infini…?  2004, Editions Caractères, Collections : Cahiers & Cahiers)では、すべてを超越し、人々を高みへと導く内なる芸術について論じている。

ナタリー 玲子 石塚

石 塚ナタリー玲子は慶応大学で日本語を学び、フレッチャー法律外交大学院でMALD(法律と外交に関する修士号、ハーバード大学との共同学位)を、パリの HECではMBAを取得。学位論文では1946年に制定された日本国憲法と国連平和維持活動について論じ、憲法起草者の一人から称賛の手紙が贈られた。危 機を国家や個人を変革するためのチャンスとして捉えることをテーマに執筆活動を行っており、「日本の友人への手紙」に、日本の昔話「鶴の恩返し」を重ね合 せた寓話「きずな(KIZUNA)」を発表している。

 

 

 

 

 —– French

LETTRE A DES AMIS JAPONAIS

Leiko Ishizuka, M.B.A. HEC, M.A.L.D. Fletcher School, a Franco-Japanese from New York

Paul Briot, Docteur en philosophie, Professeur à la Faculté des religions comparées d’Anvers

Ceci,

comprendre, cœur de soleil,

quand?

En 1945, les Japonais ont réparé les dommages de la guerre et développé une économie particulièrement brillante.  Après le drame de 2011, ils se redressent une fois encore avec une dignité et un courage qui touchent le monde entier.  Mais certains Japonais comprennent que, face à des désastres naturels et d’autres créés par l’homme, le pays doit se doter maintenant d’une force morale qui éclaire l’existence et l’inspire.  De cette crise actuelle le Japon peut écrire une page glorieuse de son histoire.

Imaginons comment le pays conçoit et réalise une noblesse, une beauté qui projette ses habitants au delà de ce qu’ils étaient avant cette épreuve terrible.

Il faut au Japon Ceci, une force morale riche de compréhension et de compassion.  Il faut au pays un esprit  éclairé, fraternel, ouvert à tous ses amis du monde qui, dans cette épreuve, ont manifesté au pays sympathie et respect pour son courage, sa dignité, l’aide que chacun a apportée aux autres.

Pour se forger un nouveau cœur, un cœur de soleil, pour faire jaillir ces étincelles qui déjà vivent en eux, les Japonais lancent vers les hauts les flèches de leur imagination. Dans ce pays qui a reconnu l’immense gamme des émotions et des sentiments humains, les poètes suggèrent ce quelque chose qui vaut, ce quelque chose lourd de sens qui réside dans l’esprit même du peuple.

Peintres, sculpteurs, architectes, tous les artistes imaginent des visages qui peu à peu s’élèvent vers Ceci, soleil moral plus fort en fin de compte, plus noble assurément que la nature déchaînée.

Compositeurs et chorégraphes évoquent une sagesse où volonté et courage s’unissent à l’amour.

Penseurs, historiens, écrivains, journalistes, grands diffuseurs évoquent le passé.  Au cours de son histoire, le Japon fut influencé tantôt par la Chine, tantôt par l’Occident.  Mais aujourd’hui ces lieux se trouvent eux aussi à la recherche d’un sens, d’une formule d’existence.  Par bonheur, le Japon lui-même peut concevoir des plans d’audace, un Ceci japonais.

Les spirituels, les sages, ceux qui méditent proposent leur expérience.  Ceci signifiera selon chacun destinée spirituelle, force morale ou encore beauté, ces trois aspects étant, bien entendu, compatibles.  Imaginer des sens, choisir un sens particulier, s’engager dans l’Aventure essentielle.

Enfin un appel est lancé, un appel solennel qui s’adresse aux responsables, aux dirigeants, aux décideurs pour apporter leur aide à un nouveau Japon.

Les Japonais considèrent le soleil librement, selon leur inspiration.  Ils le questionnent de toutes les manières. Ils imaginent poétiquement ses réponses, ses énigmes, ses allusions.  Du sens se met à vivre, il se creuse, s’étend librement.  La valeur s’épanouit, lance des feux, devient lumière, lumière immense qui sublime toutes choses.

 

Ceci,

comprendre, cœur de soleil,

maintenant.

Nuclear Energy

Addressing Nuclear Energy with Greater Comprehension

nuclear energyAs a Franco-Japanese from New York, I realize that after Hiroshima, Nagasaki and now the “accident” of Fukushima, we must comprehend.

To learn something from our past is to embrace the need for a new consciousness.

In a country which experiences important earthquakes and tsunamis (and where there is a prediction of a 70% chance of a major earthquake to occur in the next four years), nuclear energy may be efficient and economic, but not “ethical” in that such “accidents” may present risks for the Japanese and for the planet.

Although I would like to believe that it takes a great tsunami, the likes of which we hope to never see again, to create such a disaster, I fear this is wishful thinking.  What opened my eyes to graver dangers were two documentaries on the crisis by Arte and the BBC.  In these documentaries we see that the reality on the ground is quite different from realities in headquarters miles away.

In one of the Most Industrialized Countries in the World what role did technology play on constraining the Nuclear crisis on the ground?

Experts interviewed by the French channel Arte  (Arte Enquete sur une supercatastrophe nucleaire) present an eye opening view to ground realities in a nuclear crisis.  Similarly,  (BBC This World 2012 Inside the Meltdown) presented me with a disturbing realization: our safety in one of the most industrialized and efficient countries in the world was in part in the hands of car batteries used to reboot electricity in a nuclear plant, manual maneuvers and men with courage.

What would this crisis have looked like elsewhere?

What we see in the documentary is that the rescue team on the ground used simple car batteries taken from their own cars to reboot electricity in a room at a nuclear power plant.  They had to resort to manually turn valves to release hydrogen (given that no one envisioned the possibility of an electric outage).  We see a small core staff from TEPCO and also firemen who cooled an explosive situation with simple hoses and make-shift maneuvers.  These men and their families are the true heroes, but we should not let their effort and gift of their own health and lives fail to teach us something important.

For me, the most important lesson is not nuclear energy nor a debate on whether it is 100% safe, but our actual state of human consciousness.

That we can do no better than use our intelligence to create bombs capable of eliminating much of humanity is a reflection of the current poverty of our consciousness.  That we have not yet focused on developing energy that is both safe and whose waste does not pollute our ecosystem for thousands of years is another statement for our era.

When the problem is defined as such, the solution is not the immediate elimination of all nuclear energy (although in some circumstances such as countries with high risks of earthquakes or natural disasters this can be common sense), but the creation of a much more vast human consciousness defined in positive terms.  This solution has to encompass a greater vision for man, for technology and for progress itself.

When we fight against Something We give it Power

The distinction may not seem important.   However, in the field of positive mental health in which I have worked with Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, we have found that when we fight against something, we give it power.  To fight against a depression is to give it importance and strength.  To create a war against nuclear energy will also create a strong backlash by powerful forces.

Succeeding in Saying “Goodbye to Nuclear” requires stating Vision in Positive Terms

Rather than defining success in Japan solely as “goodbye to nuclear” and facing formidable resistance by the government and industry, I believe Japan could define success in positive terms so that both the wise generation and the youth will rally behind such a movement and go much further.  I think defining success in positive terms will enable Mr. Kenzaburo Oe and Mr. Satoshi Kamata and others to provide a real and important alternative to the Japanese should they decide to shut down all reactors and create an alternative route to nuclear.

Success in Nuclear Defined in Positive Terms

Japan could demonstrate by example to the whole world that green and renewable energy is not only a “moral” choice in a country visited by earthquakes and tsunamis, but a viable choice for an industrialized nation. 

Through breakthroughs in technology and innovation Japan can lead the world in renewable energy and establish a new relationship with nature.  It can do so in a humane manner that respects the liberty of individuals.

Learning from Crisis

To achieve the above goal defined in positive terms will require tremendous will power, courage and focus.  It is likely to involve national and international cooperation and the will of a nation of great minds to make important breakthroughs in renewable energy and innovative technologies.   It will also necessitate a nation to make strategic decisions and create innovative funding structures capable of unifying industry with a common aim through an economic downturn.  And most importantly, it will require a compassionate Japan that considers and respects the dignity and liberty of all individuals.

Japan will need to create an alternative that currently does not exist. Given the current national and international context, it may well be, the Japanese, who could be amongst the first to succeed.

Fundamental change in a Nation does not start nor end with Nuclear issues

In a world where crisis is mounting and where our will is constantly tested, we need to define our future in clear positive terms.  The real problem or challenge is a change in consciousness.   This consciousness must embrace greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization both at the individual and national level.   Anything short of this is not success.

By creating a new Japan that uses its imagination to inspire, and rise above crisis, the Japanese may not only save themselves from the worst, but can provide an inspiring model for the rest of the world.  Through greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization, we may be able to overcome other disasters in the future, be they nuclear, global warming, rising nationalism, poverty, unjust and unhealthy working conditions or other.

I believe that the Japanese can and will succeed.

—–

Petition for Japan to become a leader in Natural Energy (anyone in any country can participate). Please print out the PDF, sign, send.

Original site with petitions in various languages:    http://sayonara-nukes.org/shomei/

Petition for the Realization of Denuclearization and a Society focused on Natural Energy 

The petition deadline has been extended to the end of May 2012. We ask for your further support!

English petition form(pdf)
________________________________________
■About the Petition Form■

In Japan, a personally signed petition is still more forceful than an Internet-based signature. Therefore, please print out the English petition form (pdf file) and send it to us by postal mail.

Here are some instructions:
1. The petition consists of two pages which have to be submitted together. Please staple the 1st page with the petition text and the 2nd page with your signatures together.

2. The English petition is addressed to the present Japanese Prime Minister. It is valid even in case the Prime Minister changes. When our organization will submit the petitions, we make sure that the legal requirements for a valid petition are observed.

3. Please send the petition by postal mail (fax is not valid) to the following address:
Citizens’ Committee for the 10 Million People’s Petition to say Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants
c/o Gensuikin, 1F 3-2-11 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0062, JAPAN

4. The final deadline of this petition is February 28, 2012. However, we have set two intermediary deadlines: September 10, 2011 and December 20, 2011.

5. Some further notes:
 You can write your name and address in your native language.

 Petitions from foreign citizens living outside Japan are valid as long as the petition is addressed to the Japanese Prime Minister. In case the petition is addressed to the National Diet (House of Representatives) or the Upper House, petitions from foreigners living outside Japan are not valid.

 There is no age limit. Signatures from children are also valid.

 In principle, a petition has to be signed personally. In case of children or disabled persons, it is accepted if someone signs the petition on the person’s behalf.

Letter to the Japanese

The World’s Most Valuable Asset in a Time of Crisis

Letter to Japanese Friends

Dr. Paul Briot and I (Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka) believe that to rebuild Japan will require a magnificent and strong morale made of comprehension, of compassion, beauty and all the pacific values of the great Japanese culture.  In that respect, Japanese artists, writers, thinkers and the youth have an essential task to realize.

It is with great modesty that Paul and I wish to address in the months to come a letter to our Japanese friends and in so doing share our own optimism for Japan.  We believe that Japan thanks to this crisis will rise again.  Not uniquely in an economic or political sense, but in a morale, aesthetic, existential or spiritual sense.

Should the Japanese collectively, and individually, emerge from this crisis with greater comprehension, compassion, liberation, and realization they could initiate changes in society far beyond a previous balance.

If successful, the Japanese could go as far as stiring the imagination of other nations on how to face and successfully overcome natural and man-made crisis, each freely with respect to their own culture, specificity and individual differences.

Brief Background Description of Authors of the Letter:

Paul Briot

Paul Briot, Ph.d in Philosophy, Professor at the Faculty of Comparative Religion, Antwerp (F.V.G.), Belgium.  Author of poetic essays, articles and books on the subject of the utilization of crisis, sincerity, artistic creation, and the clarity of objectives.  Recent books include Le rayonnant…un art vers l’Infini…?  (The Radiant…An Art towards the Infinite?) 2004, Editions Caractères, Collections : Cahiers & Cahiers.  La Structuration de l’existence, (The Structure of Existence) Charleroi, Editions du Centre universitaires (Cunic), 1989.

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka

Nathalie Ishizuka studied Japanese at Keio University, M.A.L.D. Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy (administered in cooperation with Harvard), M.B.A. from HEC, Paris.  Her 240 page summa cum laude thesis on Article 9 of the 1946 Japanese Constitution and UN peacekeeping received written praise from Colonel Charles Kades, one of the Constitution’s founding fathers.  Ishizuka currently writes on the use of crisis as an opportunity to build individual and national health for the Positive Mental Health Foundation. She is also the author of this blog inviting Japanese artists and citizens to imagine a new Japan.

 

Japanese Art & Artists

Japanese Art & Artists: What will the works of Japanese Artists Invite us to Dream About?

 

beyondourbest

Can Japan Go Beyond a Previous Best?  (Artist, Nathalie Ishizuka)

If certain artistic masterpieces can be understood from the aspect of wisdom, what do the works of Japanese artists invite us to dream about?   How did the Japan tsunami, the Japan earthquake, and the Japan nuclear meltdown change Japan?  Are we about to discover something more important than technology and economic efficiency as the central motor of our civilization?  This section of the site will analyze or comment on the works of artists who inspire.

 

 

Use Crisis

February 16, 2012

Crisis Both Danger and Opportunity

Crisis can move artists and individuals in a positive direction.  In the future, we wish to post here interviews with key individuals in Japanese art, culture, and society who wish to discuss a positive vision for Japan and incite both the old and young to act with greater comprehension, compassion, liberation or realization.

Yukio Ishizuka 5 Alternatives at threshold of stress

We will also post articles for individual Japanese citizens to use the crisis as a means for greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization.  These articles will include a psychology of health, balance and  building meaning in our everyday lives despite difficulty.

 

Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear

February 16, 2012

Japan Earthquake, Japan Tsunami and Japan Nuclear Power Plant  provide an Opportunity for Societal or National Transformation

The analysis of crisis on this website begins with Japan because of the severity of the crisis (timing is critical in crisis and the desire for change) and because of the great courage the Japanese have shown in the face of a triple disaster (japan earthquake, japan tsunami, japan nuclear).

Kesennuma boat chaos

The nature of the articles on this section is humanistic, philosophical, cultural and psychological.   As media attention on the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis can be often short-lived and short-sighted, articles presented here are are meant to incite the Japanese to continue a narrative on the nature of the crisis and the opportunity crisis provides for societal or national transformation.