Tuesday, May 10, 2011


April 8, 2011

The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's April 8 edition.
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I have previously taken up in this little column the writings of the late author Saburo Shiroyama (1927-2007). Some may know the title of a posthumously published collection of his writings, which could be considered a love letter to his late wife, Yoko. It was titled, "Oh, That's Right. You're Not Here Anymore."
Those who have lost a family member know how the sense of loss can assail one even some time after the event, repeatedly and unexpectedly.
After the funeral has been held and you have tidied up the things left behind by your loved one and are about to return to normal life, you are reminded, out of the blue, of the absence of your beloved. "Oh, that's right. You're not..." This is painful indeed.
It has been reported that people hit hard by the massive quake and tsunami are regaining some stability in their daily lives, if only little by little, while still facing great difficulties in disaster areas. But, surely, it is in the days to come that their sense of sorrow over the loss of their loved ones will grow deeper than ever.
A passage from the late author's manuscripts refers to "the only one among 5 billion people [on Earth] to whom I can call, 'Oi!' (Say, dear!)." For a bereaved family, the person lost--be it a child, a father or a mother--would be "the only one among 5 billion people."
I cannot help but feel sorry when I think how many of the bereaved will have to go through that pain at evacuation sites, without so much as a partition to separate them from others.
I do hope that, as soon as possible, every family will be at least provided with a makeshift house where they can cry without worrying about the gaze of others. There may be times in the small hours when the surviving members of a family want to fill the emptiness in their hearts with tears.
(Apr. 14, 2011)

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