Wednesday, June 1, 2011


June 1, 2011

The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's June 1 issue.
* * *
The following is said to have been advertising copy for a liver drug.
"Running fast through the smog-filled town,
Dazzling his seniors and coworkers,
Leading the bar-hopping at night,
And going to the office neatly this morning, too."
This copy was cited by author Kazutoshi Hando in a chapter of his book "Showa-shi Sengo-hen" (History of the Showa era: Postwar days), published by Heibonsha Ltd. and focusing on the period of rapid economic growth after World War II.
Young people nowadays may be impressed by the copy, or react with a wry grin. I have no idea how it will strike them.
But it probably is true that postwar reconstruction was achieved because groups of young people, described in the copy as if all their bodies' cells were jumping with energy, vigorously interacted with each other in various fields.
The major Yomiuri Shimbun series titled "Showa Jidai" (Showa era), which appears every Saturday, is featuring the Showa 30s (the decade from 1955 to 1964) in its first part.
The theme of the May 28 installment was "Taiyo no Kisetsu" (Season of the sun), a novel written by Shintaro Ishihara in those days. The article describes the vigor of the energetic postwar young generation symbolized by Ishihara, who is now the governor of Tokyo, and his late younger brother Yujiro, an actor.
Yujiro's nickname was "tough guy" and it probably was a time when many young men deserved the name--like the one featured in the liver drug ad.
Even though the structure of society was different then from today, I cannot help but feel that era contained something too good to be kept only in the reminiscences of middle-aged and elderly people.
"You did it, damn.
I'll get revenge by redoubling it..."
These are lines from "Arashi o Yobu Otoko" (Man who causes a storm), a hit song sung by Yujiro.
I hope this becomes our mindset for dealing with the natural disaster that struck Japan.
(Jun. 6, 2011)

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