Archive | March, 2013

Waste Land, Tecali, Mexico

30 Mar

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Waste Land at Tecali near Puebla, Mexico

Tecali near Puelba, Mexico and Shusaku Endo’s Novel “Samurai”

30 Mar

 

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A Beautiful Spot at Tecali, near Puebla, Mexico

 

Shusaku Endo’s novel Samurai is  tightly based on historical facts. However, the mysterious Tecali ex-monk appearing before the samurai is not the case. As Endo revealed in response to a question put to him by a scholar-critic, “He [the Tecali ex-monk] is a pure creation”.
Years ago the ex-monk  had left his motherland for Manila to become a monk but had to leave Manila to abandon Christian practices partly due to a strong antipathy to Eurocentric Christianity. Crossing the Pacific, he arrived at Tecali, Nueva Espana. He dismissed a worldly king of pomp and pageantry but discovers, in contrast, a king “emaciated and ugly”:

‘Is that why you abandoned Christianity?’

‘No, no!’ The renegade monk glanced behind him. Several Indians were standing in front of the hut to the rear, staring at the Japanese.

‘No matter what the padres might say, I believe in my own Jesus. My Jesus is not to be found in the palatial cathedrals. He lives among these miserable Indians… Although he had hat is what I believe.’

Tilly Whim Caves, Swanage

29 Mar

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Tilly Whim Caves located near Anvil Point,
Swanage, Dorsetshire, Britain (Postcard, Private Collection)

Most Active Sister City Relations between Olympia and Inazawa

11 Mar

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The Japanese City of Inazawa and the Greek Municipality of Olympia got together on the day of the Hadaka Festival held on 22 February 2013 at Inazawa, Japan. Shown in the picture above are Mayor Thimios Kotzias from Olympia; Mayor Toshiaki Ohno of the City of Inazawa; and President Aris Panayotopoulos, Olympia Tourism Organization (from left to right; source of the photo: Asahi Newspaper, Nagoya Edition, 23 Feb. 2013).  The two city have advanced extremely strong sister city activities ever since the late Professor Keiji Kokubu, who was made Honorary Citizen of Olympia in 1981, helped to establish the sister relationship back in 1987.

Please visit the site “Keiji Kokubu”  (a Wikipedia article written in Japanese, though) at http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E5%88%86%E6%95%AC%E6%B2%BB .

Tatsushi Narita’s New Book Entitled “T. S. Eliot, the World Fair of St. Louis and ‘Autonomy'”

8 Mar

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Tatsushi Narita, T. S. Eliot, the World Fair of St. Louis and “Autonomy”  (Published for NCCF-Japan)
(Nagoya: Kougaku Shuppan Press, 2013)

A Brief Note on Tatsushi Narita’s New Book

Years ago, Tatsushi Narita discovered new evidence concerning the early years T. S. Eliot spent in St. Louis, Missouri. The evidence is entitled “Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904, Stockholder’s Coupon Ticket”, a ticket booklet issued by the Exposition Company  to  the stockholder “T. S. Eliot”. In the book, (1) Narita offers a detailed description of the “Coupon Ticket” and (2) clarifies the would-be poet’s factual links with the Exposition such as the target exhibits and events which he explored on the fairgrounds and the Eliot family connections with the new suburban campus of Washington University in St. Louis, a campus which was used as an essential part of the World Fair.

The new evidence also enabled Narita to have the following three outcomes.  (3) Long before the anthropological studies at Harvard, Eliot had immersed himself in the cross-cultural discussion between civilization and culture (savagery) during his St. Louis period.  (4) The treatment and critical cognizance of indigenous people in his short story “The Man Who Was King” (1905) derive from his encounter with Igorot people from the Philippines, who were on exhibit at the World’s Fair. (5) The short story sustains the autonomy of a primitive island society of Matahiva in the South Seas. This applies all the more in view of the fact that, immediately after the Spanish-American War, the issue of autonomy arising from the problem how to treat the Philippines and Cuba was especially prevalent.

–成田興史著『T. S. エリオット、セントルイス万国博覧会および「オートノミー」』(英文、2013年1月発行)案内

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Bust of Professor Keiji Kokubu/ 国分敬治教授胸像

6 Mar

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The Bust of Professor Keiji Kokubu (1907-1997),
Honorary Citizen of Olympia, Placed at the Front Garden of the City Hall
of the Municipality of Olympia, Greece.
(Courtesy, City Government of Inazawa, Inazawa, Japan)

For many years Professor Kokubu taught philosophy at Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan.  He was a philosopher whose research interest lay in the study of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, St. Augustine and St. Aquinas in addition to the historical study of Greek vase paintings. In later years, he strongly advocated and emphasized reliance on tariki like Shinran, the great Buddhist reformer teaching tariki, before him. He immersed himself to the comparative study of Christianity and Buddhism, focusing attention specifically on St. Paul and Shinran.

Professor Kokubu had a life-long genuine passion for Greece and Greek people. In 1982, at the City Hall of Olympia, a ceremony was held creating him Honorary Citizen of Olympia. He played the crucially important role in successfully establishing the sister city relationship between Olympia and Inazawa. The signing of the sister city agreement was conducted in 1872.  There is a bust today in his memory at the front garden of Olympia’s City Hall. The plaque placed below the  bust reads, “Here lie the ashes of the philosopher Kokubu according to his last wishes”.  As for his other photos available on the Web, see “The First Japanese We Met on our Trip was a Figure in Bust Form” (https://twitter.com/sabu_mikawaya/status/174500954509545473) and also “Sightseeing Greek Historic Ruins” (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lazsrT6h41AJ:otomu.blog.eonet.jp/default/2009/11/post-9a33.html+%22%E5%9B%BD%E5%88%86%E6%95%AC%E6%B2%BB%22%E3%80%80&cd=59&hl=ja&ct=clnk&gl=jp&client=firefox-a).