Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Regarding the Emperor's thought

August 9th was a day when Nagasaki was bombed and so many innocent people had been exposed to the radiation from the nuclear weapon. 

Hiroshima is so famous for the tragedy, yet Nagasaki also experienced the same disaster. I put my hands together for those many lives that were lost. 

Yesterday our Emperor had made a statement about his "Okimochi (thoughts)." It moved me. He carefully chose the words to express how seriously he takes about the matter of his people and his nation. One could feel that he soulfully dedicates his life for it. 

Looking at the history of the Japanese Imperial Family of over 2000 years, an emperor showing his face to the public did not happen until the Meiji Emperor's enthronement(1867~1912). 

As shown in the picture, there was always a Misu (bamboo blind)  in between the officers and the emperor and only his voice was heard. 

The statement the Emperor had announced is a historical event and a serious matter.
The content that left me the most impression is as follows;

* As an emperor’s duty, I have always thought of the importance to pray for the nation's peace and happiness. Therefore, during the 28 years since my enthronement, I have dedicated my body and soul to think and pray for the people of Japan.  

His Majesty has used the word "pray" considering the separation of government and religion and for the people having different religions. But the truth is that the Emperor would be praying in the Shinto ritual style to Amaterasu-Ohomikami for the peace of the people, nation and the world. 

The Grand Shrine of Ise (Ise Jingu) is where all the ancestors of the Imperial Family rests. The Emperor would be the top priest of all the high priest of this shrine. 

I could feel his seriousness for the sense of mission and the concern that if he has health problems he would not be able to pray for the people well enough.  What will happen when he becomes ill and stops praying? 

 As we have witnessed in the past, when the Emperor becomes ill in a severe condition, the society comes to a standstill and the people's lives are impacted in various ways. 

The Emperor stated his concern in a reserved expression. You may doubt about this idea, would it really create so much influence? But in his daily prayers where he is saying, 

* If calamity needs to occur for the people or the nation, I will take it over with my entire body.   

When his daily prayers to the great god had to be stopped, a crisis to the nation comes. We have witnessed many times in the past history of Japan. 
He also mentioned in his announcement that in the practice of the Japanese Imperial Family, after the death of the current emperor the ritual of passing the throne to the next emperor would include a heavy mourning duties that continues every day for two months followed by funeral events that continues for one year. Simultaneously, the new emperor must proceed with rituals and preparations to open a new era which also takes heavy strain for one year.  During this period, the emperor will not be able to do his daily prayers and rituals or any official duties as the symbol of Japan. Considering all of these facts and strain that he himself and the empress had to experience in the beginning of his enthronement, he wishes that these two big events to be done at a separate time so the next emperor and the family does not have to go through what he went through. 

This is what I felt personally through the words spoken from the Emperor. I felt this is why he is asking for the abdicate while he still has good health. To put his responsibility for the nation and the Japanese people first, he has made this big statement in order for the duty as the Emperor of Japan does not stop because of all the ceremonies that needs to take place during the passing of the throne.  

I have seen the public calendar of the Emperor's schedule. He only has one day off a week, and it was filled with visiting places all over Japan. There were comments on the internet, that this is a harsh occupation and really too much work. 

I would like to look back what had happened in the past history when the Emperor was not able to give the daily ritual of prayers.

The were many times when the crisis of the nation in the matter of life and death had took place in the past. But the first event that comes into my mind, is the Nara Period(AD710~794). Emperor Shomu's mother was suffering from a psychophysiologic disorder for more than thirty years. However, her mother's family, the Fujiwara Family recommended her to become a Buddhist and to try the buddhist rituals which worked and made a good turn. Emperor Shomu's wife was also from the Fujiwara Family and a strong believer of Buddhism. 

The first Fujiwara (according to some scholars there are few theories that he came from overseas, most likely Chinese or Korean and a person of high position). He was exceptionally bright and fluent in the language from the continent. Hence, he became an officer in the foreign affairs and the Fujiwara Family had worked for the government for over one thousand years remaining in a very important position. And they were a passionate Buddhist. 

Because of the influence from his own mother and his wife, even as a Japanese Emperor, Emperor Shomu became a devouty of Buddhism.  And he came to a decision to spend most of the national budget to build the famous large Buddha figure in Nara and made the people work on it. During this period, naturally his Shinto practice of prayers were not performed properly. And what happened to Japan and its people? If you read about the history of this time, you will find out. 

Our Prime Minister has commented after the Emperor's speech. To me, I saw tears in his eyes. He has experienced himself the arduous duties. Therefore when he thinks of the Emperor for his 28 years of heavy duties and responsibilities, he must have had some rumbling emotions running through. 

Somehow, this reminded of me of the great champions, Yokozuna sumo wrestlers giving a retiring speech, "it was at the limits of my physical ability." The Emperor is now over 80 years old. And he has run a longest marathon without taking any break. For him to make such announcement, I could only imagine how hard it was for him. I would like to quietly pray for him that everything would go smoothly to fulfill his wishes.  

The above thoughts are entirely my personal opinion. I will respect everyone to have their own thoughts about this matter.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

I am grateful to be led to live this life

生かして頂いて 有り難う御座います

written 2016.8.09