Category Archives for Artistic Propositions

Meditation

Re-inventing Ourselves Silently

Nations do not change, only individuals.   We are all called to be artists, creators of change within ourselves and around us.  To create something entirely new, to go beyond our best as individuals, we need to draw on our inner capabilities.

One such path is through meditation.  Meditation is not something we do, it is a state we enter when our body, mind and spirit are ready.  Certain meditative techniques or practices help make meditative states be experienced sooner than others.  As such it can not be taught, but only experienced by those willing and open to experiment on themselves and disciplined enough to create the right body, mind and spirit.

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There are many paths that lead to “meditation,” chose one that fits you and begin today.

RAJA YOGA

Nirmal was trained in Raja yoga in Nepal as of age nine,  practiced Ayurveda as of eleven and is fluent in Japanese.  We recommend you meditating with him (on Tuesday at noon — check schedule in case it changed), or his private Ayurvedic Counseling or Pranyama class (Thursday nights) at Nirmal Yoga.  Contact Nirmal Gyawali Yoga Studio (Shirokanedai) info@nirmalyoga.com to create a new group of meditators or to practice one on one or for for individual ayurvedic counseling.  Nirmal also has a teacher training course.

ZEN

For those interested, we recommend Zen at Senkakuji Temple with Chudo Yamamoto (Japanese/English).  Many other temples in Japan have Za-zen, you need to call and find out when it is available to the public.  Most in Japanese!  Zen is a full life-style that includes the way you walk, sleep, eat, so if you think by sitting one or two hours a day will be enough for a full transformation, you need to re-think your whole lifestyle.

HATHA YOGA

YOGA TREE (Hiroo, Japan).  We recommend for hatha yoga Michael Glenn’s studio (English/Japanese) at Yoga Tree in Hiroo, Tokyo.  There is something about Michael’s intensity and focus that makes practicing there an incredible experience that harmonizes the body, mind and spirit.  The Japanese teachers are excellent too.

YOGA in SYNC (Outram Park, Singapore).   For those in Singapore, we recommend hatha yoga with Vikram at Yoga in Sync (hard to find a yogi who knows the body better).  For advanced students, health challenges and athletes, we recommend his private sessions.

NIKAM YOGA.  For cleansing techniques that prepare the body for meditation we recommend doing yoga with Nikam Yoga. Nikam Yoga includes pranyama and is free of charge, but only available in certain countries like India and Singapore where former students become teachers devoting their time and expertise freely.  It is a course, with each class building on the other and regular practice, so committed members only.

QIGONG

We recommend Qigong with Shu Seika (Chinese/Japanese) Friday mornings at 8am in Arisugawa park (near the statue on the side of Library) Hiroo.  Mr. Zhou or Shu Seika began his training at age 9 and has helped people with cancer and other illnesses in Japan for many years.  He has given workshops that rejuvenate health at the cellular level and treats individuals.  Speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently. Tel: 0363289606.

YOGA (From Comfort of your Home with most Effective Yogic Techniques)

For those who do not have an individual teacher, who wish to learn at their own pace or from the comfort of their own home, we recommend the effective techniques of Sadhguru, an Indian yogi.  The best place to begin is his online Isha Kriya or his on-line Inner Engineering Course (download his app).  Sadhguru gives more advanced trainings in countries where there are enough volunteers to assist follow up trainings.  The US, India, Singapore, Malaysia, UK are amongst a few.  Then perhaps to India!

For those with limited time but desiring effective techniques–this is it.  Naturally as this yogi is Indian, in the West one must be open to that which we do not know (not the best trait of the French nor the Japanese according to a Franco-Japanese!).

Sadhguru is a yogi full of joy, he is profound, his technique combines all forms of yoga even if he himself is probably a kriya yogi.   He has talked at the UN, taught the Kennedy brothers, spoken at MIT, Harvard, Yale, trained CEOs and does whatever is needed to bring a small element of spirituality to this world.  You may not understand everything he does (nor do I), but his techniques I have tested.  They work!

Download Sadhguru App (itunes Version) or search for the one adopted for your phone.  For simple 5 minute practices select Yoga on the app and press “Yoga Tools” Learn Now. Apps available on isha website.

For those who wish to do a short 15 minute meditation try  ishakriya meditation on the app.  Do it daily for 90 days or 2x a day for 48 days for maxium benefit without missing a day.  It works..

For those with health issues download the health meditation chit shakti meditation online or use the app.  There is also a meditation on love, success and peace.

TIBETAIN BUDDHISM

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM there is a Tibetain Buddhism center in Saint Gilles called Kagyu Samye Dzong, located at 33 rue Capouillet who follow the Karmapa line of Buddhism which is in line with the Dalai Lama.  I walked in one weekend to do my first seated 20 and 40 minute meditation with a formidable meditator and Lama named Yeshe who has meditated in seclusion for many years in the forest and also more than once for 25 or so days in a dark enclosed box (most humans go crazy after a few days).

I later returned once again to the center to learn briefly from and meet his elder brother who was a great lama and doctor, named Akong Rinpoche.   Both brothers started the first Tibetain monestery in Europe in Scotland.  Lama Rinchen Palmo, a French lama at the center also kindly helped me to contact a Zen master as I was leaving for Japan to work with the Japanese.  Ken Holmes and his wife Katia are a formidable team of scholars who I met there and give an 3 year on-line course on Tibetan Buddhism that is impossible to find elsewhere.  I could only complete two due to my schedule, but recommend it highly.

The Kagyu line also have a  monestery in the Catskills, New York which I discovered when a monk I met in the train back from NYC wished to bring me there!  Although a novice myself on Tibetain Buddhism, all the people I met at this center were inspiring.

SILENCE AND THE SISTERS OF BETHLEHEM

Christianity has its own set of practices that are meditative in nature and a tradition of silence.  The monastery of the sisters of Bethlehem in the Catskill Mountains (Livingston manor), two and a half hours from New York City,  is home to this silence, to great love and to the joy of solitude.  This is a sacred place and Sr. Amena, the head of the monastery, and the nuns who practice there have a beautiful presence which make each moment spent there sacred.

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I had the good fortune of going there once a year for the last few years and staying in a wood cabin for a few days of silence in the forest.  It was divine and the small chapel with the chants of the sisters early in the morning lift one’s prayers and meditation.

See if you can book a place Livingston Manor for a silent retreat, contribute for your stay a donation to the sisters (as they live on what they earn with their art) and return re-invigorated.  Each sister here is special, each one wants to remain nameless.   Each one feels like my sister.  Each one has prayed for our family countless times.

Silence is rare these days.  And yet, Jesus went into the desert to meditate.  There is in Christianity a tradition handed down by mystics and later by the Carmelite tradition exemplified by Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux and Thomas Merton amongst others for silence.  One of the techniques used, centering prayer, is much like the techniques I have found in the other traditions above.  It is contemplative prayer and it has been renewed with Father Thomas Keating’s work at St. Benedict’s Monastery.

BEGIN NOW

Learn to enter deeper states of relaxation, strengthen your meditation practice, experience the art of well-being or discover a new level of being far beyond a previous best, as you transform yourself and us with your creations and your life.

With gratitude and joy to all artists, all creators,
Nathalie Ishizuka

BeyondOurBest.com

A blog to go Beyond our Best in body, mind and spirit

http://www.beyondourbest.com

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.

Kenzaburo Oe “Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself”

Kenzaburo Oe, “Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself,” Gallimard, 1995.  BOOK REVIEW

Kenzaburo Oe Nobel Prize LiteratureThis book contains the speech by Kenzaburo Oe given on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature 1994 and other essays that ask important questions of Japan and Japanese artists.

For the purpose of artists working together to incite Japan’s imagination on a new Japan, see the About section of this website.

What follows in this blog entry are thoughts and questions for Japanese artists and citizens that stem from Kenzaburo Oe’s book “Japan the Ambiguous, and Myself,” and from thinking about a new philosophy in face of crisis with Dr. Paul Briot.  All opinions are errors are mine.

The questions in this review concern the soul of Japan as defined by Murasaki shikibu (and not Japanese nationalists), the “ambiguity” of that soul and Japan’s capacity to use the March 11th disaster for fundamental change.

Reflection & Question 1:  Can we use March 11th to envision a Japan with the comprehension, sensitivity and imagination of Murasaki shikibu?

If I understand correctly Kenzaburo Oe’s book, “Japan, the ambiguous, and myself,”  in 1945 Japan did not utilize the crisis to define itself it a large humanist sense—in the same manner that the noted woman writer Murasaki shikibu, the author of “The Tale of Genji,” might have inspired us to do so by her work.

The soul of Japan, a term originally used by Murasaki shikibu, was instead utilized by Japanese nationalists during WWII as a vulgar slogan of war, and forgot its initial vast definition formulated by this great lady of Japanese literature.  Comprehension, sensitivity and imagination have not yet taken root in our world still today.  Is it not the moment now, one year after the March 11th crisis to accomplish what we Japanese did not know how to do in 1945?

Reflection & Question 2 :  If knowledge is critical to create a new Japan, is there a knowledge which stands above technology, efficiency or even the great classics of Chinese writings?

Kenzaburo Oe Nobel Prize LiteratureIn Kenzaburo Oe’s book , « Japan, the ambiguous, and myself, » he explains that without « knowledge,” the Japanese soul could not function.  He mentions that the Japanese have throughout history at times inspired themselves with a Chinese knowledge, and at times from a knowledge emanating from the West.  They have nevertheless not come any closer to their own soul as a result.

I agree, however, I wonder if the Japanese direction remains ambiguous in part, because we Japanese have not yet understood the definition of knowledge itself?

Is there not a knowledge that is above technology, above efficiency or even the great classics of Chinese writings?  I cannot help but wonder if the definition we are looking for is not simply a comprehension or knowledge of ourselves and the meaning of life.  A basic knowledge:  that the Japanese and all human beings share a common humanity and a recognition that we Japanese must act with full understanding of this knowledge.

Reflection and Question 3:   What is the nature of a “Japanese soul”?

Murasaki shikibuMurasaki shikibu spoke of a Japanese soul to designate a Japanese specificity or something common to the Japanese.  In effect, although nations can be considered fictions or constructions of man and history, they each have their own energy or creativity; an imagination inspired by a collection of individuals.  Each nation has its own specificity, which needs not be eliminated nor made to resemble all other people nor all other nations.  In this sense our specificity if kept both noble and tolerant is a strength to inspire and share freely with others.

Kenzaburo Oe in this book says this well when he says that the understanding of a Japanese soul as defined by Murasaki shikibu has nothing fanatic or intolerant.  Rather it is both “gentle and human”; it comes from certitude of men capable of doubting.”  But we Japanese went astray.  During World War II those who tried to define a Japanese specificity contented themselves with the definition of a traditional culture whose center was the emperor.  No one could question such a sun, embodied by the emperor, and defined by the militarists themselves.

I cannot help but wonder if there was not a time in Japanese history where the sun itself was above even the Emperor?  The Emperor and most Japanese, agreeing that the sun is humanist, would encourage each of us to question a tolerant sun in full freedom.

And if the sun encourages us to question itself, if it embodies full freedom, who is anyone to speak for the sun or for each other?  I believe that Japan today is ready for a tolerant and humanist sun; its own “Hikari” a light capable both of inspiring, doubting and transforming.

Japan Heart of Sun

To envision a humanist sun, I would like here to quote and encourage artists to discuss and interpret artistic propositions by Paul Briot found in Le rayonnant…un art vers l’Infini…?   Here are two beautiful ones, there are of course many possible others.

FACES OF SUNS

A field of sunflowers, moving sculptures.  The flowers converse, look after one another, bow in all directions.  Eyelids of suns.  Us.

–Paul Briot, 2004, Editions Caractères, Collections : Cahiers & Cahiers

MASKED SUNS

Noble suns move forward masked.  At rare intervals, their veils part, announcing radical changes.  Time, the intermittent revolutionary.

–Paul Briot, 2004, Editions Caractères, Collections : Cahiers & Cahiers

Reflection et Question 4 :  Will the healing power of art transform Japan from within?

In Kenzaburo Oe’s book, he states that he believes in the curious power of the healing of art.  His writing is art, an art that inspires.  In the letter Dr. Paul Briot and I have written entitled Letter to Japanese friends, we too think that art heals and transforms.  That is that art can share an experience which words cannot.   I have put on this site artistic propositions to encourage artists to interpret them and propose their own, ones that can be shared freely with all the Japanese.

My question to artists is how can artists inspire more comprehension, compassion, liberation, and realization through their art?  Can we the Japanese, with as strong tradition of inner art, create a radiant art that inspires and transforms as Dr. Paul Briot suggests?   In Kenzaburo Oe’s future novel, will such an imagination succeed in having us go out once again to see the stars?   When will we go out and experience this together?

Reflection and Question 5 :  Is there such a thing as a moral sun?

Natsume Soseki Kenzaburo Oe mentions Natsume Soseki’ book « And Then » written in 1909.  He tells us how Daisuke, the main character, evokes the difficulty of finding an equilibrium between a “vital desire” (such as the endless desire for the consumption of goods) and a “moral desire.”

In the novel, Daisuke believed that Japan could first grow by responding to its vital desire, an economy equivalent to that of the West, and only in this manner afterwards acquire a moral desire.  After 1945 this was the path taken by Japan, but today after the “accident” of Fukushima Kenzaburo Oe seems to suggest by his activism and words that we are indeed asking ourselves the same questions as 1945.

I think that we Japanese can exit from an ambiguous Japan and create a new one, and in so doing, come nearer to our own soul as described by Murasaki-shikibu.  For this to occur, one path may be for artists and citizens to experience this moral force through transformative art that lifts us far above March 11th.

How will Japanese artists help define the nature of a Japanese soul, as possibly intended by the great work of Murasaki shikibu?  How will the Japanese people experience such art and use this crisis to transform their country from within and inspire us all?

End Note

I read the book in French but comment and quote here in English.  All errors are mine.  I am not yet able to read the original texts in Japanese.  As such I remain limited, I ask to be corrected and quoted only in English to avoid any misunderstandings. Japanese themselves, with a knowledge far beyond mine, can engage in a more profound discussion.  Indeed, I have much to learn from many.

Japanese Art & Culture, Japanese Artists

Japanese Art & Culture to define a New Japan from Crisis

The purpose of this site is to stir the imagination and examine current views of Japanese artists in a variety of fields (Japanese writers, Japanese composers, Japanese sculptors, Japanese painters, Japanese historians, Japanese intellectuals, Japanese poets, Japanese architects, Japanese film producers, Japanese choreographers and others) on using the 2011 Tohoku earthquake to define a New Japan.   The objective is to explore a Japanese understanding, philosophy or existential experience in face of natural and man-made crisis (the earthquake, tsunami & the Japan nuclear power plant).  Together, we wish to define a vision for Japan in positive terms that can lead to greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization.

Murasaki shikibu

Japanese Art & Culture can Stir New Vision of Humanity

The website presents a letter to the Japanese people with a vision of how artists and individual citizens could together define a new vision for Japan.  It will include a commentary on artists, works, or individuals who are moving Japan in a positive direction.  In the future, we will also post 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.  We will include examples of artistic propositions to be interpreted freely by Japanese artists which could incite the imagination of the Japanese.  Finally, to help individual Japanese citizens use the crisis as a means for greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization, we will post articles about a psychology of crisis, balance and  building meaning in our everyday lives.

A Call to the Japanese and to Each Other : The World’s Most Valuable Asset in a Time of Crisis

Efforts by the Japanese to use crisis as an opportunity to define itself in positive terms could inspire other nations in a difficult international context to ask important questions during their own economic, natural, or man-made crisis– each with respect to their own traditions, culture and specificity.  In that sense, the articles on this site has relevance to other countries or continents such as the U.S. or Europe which also face crisis.  How individuals and societies collectively chose to respond to crisis and emerge beyond a previous understanding can and should be explored together.

Opinions Mentioned on the Website

All errors are mine and I ask indulgence.  The website is the first step in an investigation to explore a possible philosophy or understanding in the face of crisis, and is by no means conclusive.  Each individual who is interviewed on this site is not responsible for the views of all others on this site nor does that individual embrace a common philosophy or message.  Likewise, commentaries posted on this site are the sole opinion of the author of each article.  Dr. Paul Briot and I can have different opinions and unless stated in this blog that we sign something together,  the opinion is mine.  There are of course many other valid perspectives to be considered.  Differences of opinions are encouraged.  Naturally, the response of a few individuals does not constitute the whole.  And yet, it may be sufficient to stir the imagination.

About the Author of the Blog, Leiko Ishizuka

Copyright © 2012 Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka reserves the right to be recognised as the author of her writings contained in this blog, under copyright law.

 

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka, a Franco-Japanese from New York,  sees hope for Japan

Born of a French mother and Japanese father but raised in New York, Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka is of three cultures.  Today, due to the Japanese crisis, she desires to return to Japan and be with the Japanese people.  She, her husband, and her two young children (5 and 7) are hoping to make that possible as of September 2012.

Seishin Joshi Gakuin: A traditional Japan

At age 16, Nathalie enrolled as the first high school student from the United States to attend the all-Japanese traditional girl school, Seishin Joshi Gakuin.  There in the most traditional of Japanese schools, Leiko was initiated to the Japanese language, Japanese mythology, and Japanese brush painting during a four month exchange.

Mitsubishi Communications:  A Peek at Office Life

A following short summer internship at Mitsubishi Communications, gave her a peek into Japanese office life.  Like the Belgian author Amelie Nothomb in Stupeur and Tremblements Nathalie Ishizuka served tea in the morning, arrived early, and spent much of her day asking how she might be of use.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution :  Original Research

At age 22,  Nathalie Ishizuka wrote a 240 page Summa Cum Laude thesis at Amherst College on Article 9 of the 1946 Japanese Constitution.  She received the Doshisha Asian Studies Award and written praise from Colonel Charles Kades, one of the Constitution’s founding fathers.  Ishizuka was fortunate to benefit from Kades’ guidance as well as input from Professor Ray Moore, Professor Donald Robinson, Jim Sutherland, and Terusuke Terada.

Keio University: A Struggle with Language

Nathalie attended Keio for a six month exchange to better speak the language.

Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy: Psychology and International Affairs

While at the Fletcher School, Ishizuka wrote “Lessons from Preventive Health to Preventive Diplomacy,” winning an Eisaku Sato Memorial Essay Award.  Ishizuka was invited to the U.N. University in Tokyo.  During this time she also applied a hypothesis about how the affect fear influences economics and went to Berkeley for a year to work with Oliver Williamson (Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2009) to explore a paper she had presented at the Academy of Management.

Returning to Japan to be with the Japanese

Today at age 42, Nathalie Ishizuka wishes to return to Japan in a sign of solidarity with the Japanese people.  She hopes to work with writers, thinkers, artists, deciders and those who hold the Japanese traditions and spirit dear.

While Nathalie’s own father’s mentor, Dr. Taro Takemi, a long time President of the Japanese Medical Association, had once told her father, Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, “Not to return to Japan,” because the future was the West, Nathalie Ishizuka believes this is no longer true.  She and Dr. Paul Briot, a Belgian essayist, see great hope in Japan.

Nathalie Ishizuka

They will share their optimism with their Japanese friends in an article they wish to publish in Japanese print in the next few months.

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.

 

 

Artistic Propositions

Artistic Propositions

We will include here examples of artistic propositions to be interpreted freely by Japanese artists which could incite the imagination of the Japanese. We encourage artists to make new suggestions.  We suggest that any ideas used be appropriately cited to the authors to empower and continue to inspire.  We encourage all artists to tell us about any interpretations so we can share their work with others.

paulbriotbook

Paul Briot Le Rayonnant..un art vers l’Infini… 2004, 2017. Published by Caracteres, France.

Examples of propositions for artists to interpret freely (painting, sculpting, dance, multi-media or other) are included here from Paul Briot.  They are published in, Le rayonnant…un art vers l’Infini…? (The Radiant…An Art towards the Infinite…?) 2004, 2017 Editions Caractères, Collections : Cahiers & Cahiers

FACES OF SUNS

A field of sunflowers, moving sculptures.  The flowers converse, look after one another, bow in all directions.  Eyelids of suns.  Us.

–Paul Briot, Le rayonnant…un art vers l’Infini…?

A PURPLE CLOUD

A purple cloud condenses into a rain of ideas.

–Paul Briot, Le rayonnant…un art vers l’Infini…?

 

Ready Made Links to Beyond Our Best
A blog on Re-inventing Ourselves Silently: Body, Mind and Spirit
http://www.beyondourbest.com

Japanese Art & Culture, Japanese Artists

Japanese Art & Culture to define a New Japan from Crisis

The purpose of this site is to stir the imagination and examine current views of Japanese artists in a variety of fields (Japanese writers, Japanese composers, Japanese sculptors, Japanese painters, Japanese historians, Japanese intellectuals, Japanese poets, Japanese architects, Japanese film producers, Japanese choreographers and others) on using the 2011 Tohoku earthquake to define a New Japan.   The objective is to explore a Japanese understanding, philosophy or existential experience in face of natural and man-made crisis (the earthquake, tsunami & the Japan nuclear power plant).  Together, we wish to define a vision for Japan in positive terms that can lead to greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization.

Japanese Art & Culture can Stir New Vision of Humanity

The website presents a letter to the Japanese people with a vision of how artists and individual citizens could together define a new vision for Japan.  It will include a commentary on artists, works, or individuals who are moving Japan in a positive direction.

Snapseed 8

Cosmic Brilliance by Saiso Shimada

In the future, we will also post 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.  We will include examples of artistic propositions to be interpreted freely by Japanese artists which could incite the imagination of the Japanese.  Finally, to help individual Japanese citizens use the crisis as a means for greater comprehension, compassion, liberation and realization, we will post articles about a psychology of crisis, balance and  building meaning in our everyday lives.

A Call to the Japanese and to Each Other : The World’s Most Valuable Asset in a Time of Crisis

Efforts by the Japanese to use crisis as an opportunity to define itself in positive terms could inspire other nations in a difficult international context to ask important questions during their own economic, natural, or man-made crisis– each with respect to their own traditions, culture and specificity.  In that sense, the articles on this site has relevance to other countries or continents such as the U.S. or Europe which also face crisis.  How individuals and societies collectively chose to respond to crisis and emerge beyond a previous understanding can and should be explored together.

 

Copyright © 2012 Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka

Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka reserves the right to be recognised as the author of her writings contained in this blog, under copyright law.