「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

発信箱:送り火に祈る=布施広

(Mainichi Japan) August 20, 2011
Saga over using firewood from tsunami-hit area in Kyoto bonfire shows cultural gap
発信箱:送り火に祈る=布施広

When I was living in Kyoto as a student decades ago, I often climbed Mount Daimonji, one of the sites for Gozan no Okuribi, a traditional bonfire festival in this ancient capital.
 学生時代を京都で過ごしたので大文字山にはよく登った。送り火の大文字保存会も身近な存在だった。

It is hard labor, but a significant event to bring a large quantity of firewood up to the mountain and set it alight in the shape of the kanji character, "dai" ("big").
夏の盛り、大量のまきを山に運び、火床を配して燃やすのは大変だが、意義深い行事である。

When I heard that firewood from a pine tree from the tsunami-hit city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture would be used for the bonfire I was impressed as it is a good ceremony to express condolences to disaster victims. 今年は岩手県陸前高田市の松を燃やすと聞いた時は、鎮魂の儀式としていい考えだと感心した。

Gozan no Okuribi is a ceremony to send off the spirits of the dead, who Buddhists believe come home to stay with their relatives during the Obon holiday period in mid-August before returning to heaven.
(祇園の送り火はお盆に天国より戻った祖先たちの魂をなぐさめるための儀式なのだ。 ・・・スラチャイ訳)

However, the plan was cancelled after the organizer of the event as well as the local government wavered over whether to go ahead with it due to radiation concerns.
 この計画が二転三転、結局中止されたのは周知の通りだ。

In the end, small amounts of radioactive cesium were detected in the surface of the firewood, and the organizer and the local government had no choice but to bow to some local residents' arguments that burning Rikuzentakata firewood could spread radiation in the city and that it could taint water in Lake Biwa, which is used for drinking.
松材からセシウムが検出され、「放射能をばらまくのか」「水がめの琵琶湖が汚れる」などの声に抗しきれなかったらしい。

It is highly questionable whether such criticism has any scientific basis, but Gozan no Okuribi is a religious festival.
科学的根拠は疑問だが、もともと宗教的な伝統行事だ。

Scraping the surface of the firewood to remove cesium would never convince local residents who long for "pure" fire.
「松材の表皮を削れば問題ないのに」という感覚では、「きれいな火」を求める人々とは分かり合えまい。

It is difficult to coordinate views between the festival organizer and worried local residents.
調整はなかなか難しい。

Takeo Kuwahara, a French literature expert who lived in Kyoto for many years, wrote in his book, "Gakumon no Sekai" ("The World of Academics") that Kyoto residents are often described as "wicked," "individualistic," "cold" and "calm," just like the French.
 京都に長く住んだ仏文学者の桑原武夫によると、京都はフランスに似て「意地が悪い」「個人主義」「冷たい」「冷静」などと言われるそうだ(講談社学術文庫「学問の世界」)。

But let's put aside comparisons between Kyoto residents and French people now.
フランスとの比較はともかく、

Some people have criticized the Kyoto Municipal Government and the organizer as being "narrow minded" over the latest case, while others have appreciated their decision as "calm judgment not being overwhelmed by emotion."
今回の一件では京都市や保存会を「心が狭い」と批判する人もいるし「情に流されない冷静な判断」を評価する声もある。

Others may call the decision a typical response by Kyoto.
いかにも京都らしいともいえようか。

Personally, I think the decision is regrettable because I wonder whether they should have been so afraid of such small levels of radiation.
 私自身は「そんなに恐れる必要があったか」と残念だが、

At the same time, however, I have no intention of making light of the ancient capital's sensitiveness and culture.
古都の生活感覚を軽く見る気もない。

As a former resident, I have the impression that Kyoto, which is situated in a basin, forms a unique space both topographically and culturally, and that various things -- both tangible and intangible and good and evil -- gather and accumulate there, just like a satellite dish facing the sky.
元住民として言わせてもらえば、盆地の京都は地形的にも文化的にも独特の空間を形成し、空に向けた巨大なパラボラのように有形無形、善悪正邪、いろんなものが集まって堆積(たいせき)する感覚がある。

Therefore, careful behind-the-scenes efforts to persuade relevant parties to accept the burning of Rikuzentakata firewood in the festival should have been made in advance.
 だからこそ今年の送り火には入念な根回しが必要だったのだが、

But rather than blame the relevant parties, I would like to think the latest case has called into question how the entire nation should wisely handle radiation.
関係者だけを責めるより、全国的に放射線との賢明な付き合い方が改めて問われたと考えたい。

I prayed to the Kyoto bonfire on Aug. 16 that firewood from quake- and tsunami-hit areas can be burned in the Gozan no Okuribi festival next year and that the ongoing nuclear crisis, which continues to release radiation into the air, will be settled at an early date.
16日の送り火に祈った。来年は被災地の松を燃やせるように。何よりも、この「放射能時代」が早く終わるように。

(By Hiroshi Fuse, Expert Senior Writer)
(論説室)

毎日新聞 2011年8月18日 東京朝刊
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by kiyoshimat | 2011-08-22 07:28 | 英字新聞

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