9.11: Letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (written by NNA member Jason N. Kamalie)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
C/o Nobuhiro Wantanabe, Deputy Consul General
Masato Wantanabe, Consul General
Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco
275 Battery Street Suite 2100
San Francisco, CA 94111
September 11, 2014
How many are the wonderful things derived from, or characterized by, the great nation of Japan. How many good things come to mind, when we think of your country – even if we have never seen your shores. The land of the Rising Sun. Of the resilient people. Land of the mannered. Of the humble. Often, of the sweet and cultured. Land of the origin of Haiku. And, so – a Haiku. Or two.
From Konishi Raizan, who writes:
You rice field maidens –
The only thing not muddy
Are the songs you sing.
Which, symbolically and contextually speaking, reminds the whole world of this: The disasters which have left Japan quite “muddy” sometimes – symbolically, but also, often literally, terribly muddy – have been profound indeed, when they have struck. My understanding is that, to this very day, some of the muddy plains of Nagasaki and Hiroshima still radiate with the dirty energy of atomic explosions. The ground, the dirt, the very mud in these places still hums, slightly, with energy and knowledge gone wrong, misused. And, it was the Japanese people left to reach, to strive, to pick up the pieces, to plant the rice again. To sing in the mud of terrible, difficult days. To grow, to harvest, to rise, yet, from despair. Singing songs in the muddy madness.
Resilience. To rise again. Like the sun rises anew, each day. And, so has Japan been faithful to the task against the overwhelming opposition of calamity like nuclear holocaust. More recently, like that of the Fukushima disasters which left whole ranges of the land filthy, broken, muddy, unusable. An earthquake, perhaps foreseeable, but certainly, unmanageable by any aspect of any handbook. Then, a tidal wave. A coursing flood. A broken, disassembling, radiating, nuclear power plant. A muddy situation of a much dirtier, more dangerous caliber. I could write about the effects of that disaster; I could write of thyroid cancer, of misplaced persons, of misused citizenry toward clean up. I could write of secrecy laws that seek to dis-inform. But, all these things, Shinzo, you know about, or should. Instead, I’ll use this haiku to reference the great spirit of the nation, after its repeated “muddy” holocausts. Like the songs of the women in the rice fields, the spirit of your people carry through the disasters. You could help be part of that resilience, that radiance of the Rising Sun that is the Japanese people, Shinzo. But, only if you choose to be part of the solutions, instead of making the mud. That means, primarily, better energy choices, relegating fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear energies to a bygone era.
And now, from Basho, who writes this haiku:
When the dusk sets in
And hawks can no longer see,
The quail cries loudly.
Which, contextually and symbolically speaking, reminds the world of this: War, violence is madness. War is darkness. And, the day of war is over. It goes now, with its bloody, sometimes atomic, weapons, creeping, limping off into the dusk of history. War, which is blindness, which is darkness, anyway, couldn’t see all that well to begin with. Now, the hawk, of course, is a bird of prey which fulfills its own role in nature, secures its own place in a type of natural hierarchy. A man, a nation, is not a hawk, though many such as these might be described as hawkish. The quail, like mankind, situates close to the ground, mostly flightless. Yet, the quail’s cry is one of triumph, not terror. Your people, Shinzo, like the quail of Basho’s haiku, want to cry triumphantly that war is over. That they need not fear the hawk of militaries or machines come to kill. Or to send sons and daughters shuffled off to foreign outposts to die for other nations. To broaden your Constitution to lengthen the day – the long, cold season of war – is to serve the ignoble hawkish of man – but without the natural hawk’s majesty or purpose. Inspired by the beauty of a Japanese woman, a most famous American songwriter once sang: War is over. If you want it. I want it to be, Shinzo. I want peace and pleasure and true freedom. Do you?
Jason N. Kamalie
640 Clay Street, Number 325
San Francisco, CA 94111
No Nukes Action Committee,
San Francisco & Berkeley, CA