The Yomiuri Shimbun
The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's May 18 issue.
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Feudal lord Kato Kiyomasa (1562-1611) is known to have been adored by people in his Kumamoto domain even long after his death. In stage shows featuring Kiyomasa, commonly called Seisho-ko, the appearance of the actor playing this role makes audiences respond somewhat differently than they do to other scenes.
His character even made an appearance, probably during the Meiji era (1868-1912), in the popular samurai drama Chushingura, which is based on an 18th-century incident, according to the book "Yoshikawa Eiji-shi ni osowatta koto" (What I learned from Mr. Eiji Yoshikawa), written by Shozo Ogiya and published by Rokko Shuppan.
The actor playing Kiyomasa appears on stage after an appropriate pause in a scene. Before exiting, he utters the words:
"There's nothing special to do, but..."
Opposition parties are fiercely attacking Prime Minister Naoto Kan for making an inspection trip to a crippled nuclear power plant the day after the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
Was there anything to do there?
It is highly dubious whether the prime minister should have left his office, the headquarters for handling the disaster, to make an "appearance," even though he was aware of the possibility of damage to the containment vessels of the plant's reactors.
Come to think of it, it also was strange for Renho, state minister in charge of government revitalization, to be asked to double as state minister in charge of promoting energy conservation on March 13, two days before the establishment of an integrated headquarters of the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to deal with the nuclear crisis.
It is troubling if, as commander in chief, Kan was acting as a showman trying to steal scenes in which he believed his appearances would be applauded.
Kan insists that the trip was meaningful, but in fact it was meaningless if we imagine the prime minister in the role of Kiyomasa saying, "There's nothing special to do, but..."
(May. 23, 2011)