This short report which I am going to write is primarily to put in order
some visions confusedly tangled in my heart and secondly to be somewhat
useful for the superiors to decide my destination. Maybe this report will
seem to those more experienced very idealistic or too ambitious. I realize
this,but at the same time I know that it is a privilege of young men to
cherish great hopes and it’s their painful duty to see their plan fade
gradually and become more ordinary and modest. Anyhow I will write sincerely
what I am thinking without any hesitation.
1) What do I want to do in future?
Naturally I want to be ordained to the Priesthood and to work for the
salvation of my countrymen as a priest. From my noviciate I have been thinking
what I should do for the salvation of my brothers. Maybe it is the best
way to become a saint myself. But what KIND of saint? We can’t become St.Iganatius
or St.Francisco Xavier. We must become a Ignatius or a Francisco Xavier
of our days and of our country,Japan. We sometimes mistake the words “sibi
mortuus”. We must be “crucifixus mundo” ,but we should not kill the good
part of our personality. We must bring up our talent which God has given
us for the Glory of God and for the good of ourselves and our neighbours.
We should not hide the talent in the ground like that slothful servant
Am I going to say that I have some talent which I should cultivate? I
don’t know. But when I reflect on myself I can find some inclinations:a
strong sympathy for the poor men,and a strong interest in literature. I
said “poor men”,but this doesn’t mean immediately that I am interested
in “social works”. I don’t have any talent of the line of buisiness or
enterprise. I just want to be an adviser and friend of poor men,specially
of young workers. In line with this principle I wanted to work for them,writing
and giving lectures. Last year I had a little experience in Christmas Village.
The poor men want rather to talk with us than to be given milk and lard. It
is necessary for us to work systematically and furnish equipment,but at
the same time it is equally necessary for us to become their friends and
advisers. For example the faithful of Soka Gakkai has a very strong influence
on poor clases without any big building and material support. On the contrary
sometimes they even demand their faithful contribution
to Gakkai. When I talk about this problem almost everybody advises me to
study sociology. Maybe my opinion is somewhat sentimental and “literary”.
But I can say I understand the mentality of the poor very well. Speaking
more concretely,I liked to work as an assistant of the Fathers who work
more directly in the field. But gradually I became to notice that there
was not such a room for a writer in our province.
I wrote that I had a strong interest in literature. In another occasion
I wrote about this more generally. So here I will write more personally>
To tell the truth when I realized that my hope or plan of working for the
young workers writing articles and sometimes giving lectures on the problem
of the life was not practical,I was at a loss what to do. It has been my
opinion that for the rooting of the Catholicism it is necessary the help
of literature. This fact can be confirmed in the histories of Catholicism
in many countries. Theology can furnish a very nice theory but what makes
it clear and concrete has been always the literature of that country. In
my opinion our faith is not real one if it is not backed up by sentiment:intellectual
faith is just as skelton without flesh.
When I was thinking about working for the young workers,I thought it
would be very effective to write the Christian message in a form of criticism
of literature. On that time(last October) I met Toshio Shimao,a novelist
who is a cousin of my mother. I tolked with him about many things,specially
of criticism of literature. Then he said that if some critics who were
Catholic could criticize suitably the works of Japanese literature from
the Christian viewpoint,it would benefit tremendously the novelists and
also readers. Although the contemporary Japanese literature seems somewhat
confused,it is seeking the solution of the existencial problem of man.
And he said if I would like to work in future in this field he would willingly
help me and introduce me to his friends,novelists and critics and poets.
So,from that time I could meet many people and everybody treated me very
friendly and advised me of something useful to write correctly. Among them
there are also so called lefitists but they are very sincere in seeking
the truth and justice. I can say that we could be able to have cordial
dialogue with themif we would approach them without any prejudice or pride.
Anyway I could believe firmly that in this field of literature one could
work very effectively and find APERTURA to a real dialogue with Japanese
culture and people.
2) What kind of preparetion be necessary?
First of all I would thought that it would be better to study in the
department of Japanese literature. But afterwords when I saw the present
situation and listen to some advice of critics,I felt that it wasn’t necessary
to study in the university. The reasons are these:first,at present in universities
the main current is the study of bibliography;second,the professors don’t
teach how to write;third,mainly they treat ancient literature,and the study
of contemporary literature is merely an appendix;fourth,generally speaking
most of the literary critics are from the other fields;for example,from
French literature,English literature,or even from scientific fields. This
odd fact could be explained in that one could criticize objectively and
freely only when he can see the subject from inside and outside,but in
any case it is tremendously necessary to read deeply and have a quite clear-cut
knowledge of Japanese literature.
But in my case what should I do if God wanted me to work in this field?
Now it’s time to describe more concretely what I am thinking.
I think it is better to use my regency for improving myself in writing
and to store up the necessary knowledge for criticism. More concretely
I say that I’d like to work part-time in s publishing company taking part
in editing of magazines or literary books. Doing this I could be able to
know the real situation of publishing and this experience would be useful
both in writing and helping in future when we publish some books. I think
I could find a suitable publishing company(even now I know a head of a
publishing company and some editors of literary publishing). At the same
time I will study writing,looking to some novelists or critics for guidance.
(※See the last page)
3) To be specialist or mere writer
I can’t say about this clearly now. I know that it is quite difficult
to be a writer without any special job like that of a teacher. Indeed many
literary men are professors of the universities.The reason has to do with
the title of professor,which aids both the name value of the books and
maintenance of one’s family. (I don’t mention here the sincere teachers
who apply themselves honestly to the education of students).
I studied Spanish at Sophia University. From that time on I have used
Spanish in reading and translating spiritual or philosophical books. So
if it would be necessary for me to have a certain job(besides writing)I
could be able to to use this knowledge of Spanish. But to teach Spanish
literature I must study it more systematically and more academically. But
where? Maybe it will be necessary to go to Spain to gain a degree in Spanish
literature. But when? If I should go to Spain I’d like to go after finishing
the study of theology and ordination.
The reasons are these:first,the land where I must work is Japan,so during
my theologate I’d like to to see the present situation of Japan and think
more deeply about the real problem of the evangelization of my country.
Second,I have’nt yet practiced much writing and have not yet read books
which are necessary for forming some visions of Japanese literature. Third,I
think it’s better to have contact more with the writers of Japan and make
a suitable atmosphere for the future work in this field.
If the department of Spanish doesn’t want a Japanese teacher,I could be
able to teach some introduction to Catholicism. Or at that time (after
my tertianship) if the situation changes,there will be room for a writer
in Christmas Village.
Nobody knows and even myself don’t know whether I havs the ability for
going this special road and whether I can do something useful for the Glory
of Christ. But it’s the duty of man to endeavour to reach the goal and
it’s also the duty of man to accept the result of his labor humbly.
But before concluding this report I must say something again why I’d like
to be writer or critic. My big desire which I can’t ever extinguish is
to know what is Japan,who are Japaneses;and these questions,I think,finally
coincide with this question:who am I in the history of the Salvation. The
main theme of my criticism will be to listen to the secrete Voice of God
in Japan. Generally speaking the novelists are seeking the most important
problem like “what is man?”but in confusion and in a worldly sense. In
the contemporary literature even the symptoms of a metaphysical interrogation
can be seen. It’s real duty of critics to guide them to the very root of
the problems. For this reason the study of philosophy and theology will
be extremely necessary and vital to me.
If I could write articles to magazines and could have many friends with
whom I could talk freely and suggest the Christian viewpoint,it would be
of some to the evangelization of Japan. My principal aim is to know more
deeply and concretely the Japanese culture and our brothers and seek the
possibility of real dialogue between Catholicism and the Japanese culture
and people. Junichiro Sako is a Protestant critic and up to the date has
written many books on literature and has many friends among literary men.
He travels all over the country to give lectures at churches and schools
when he dosen’t write. My hope in future is to write articles,poems and
to translate good books,to give lectures at churches and schools about
the religious problems of man in literature.
I don’t know whether I could express what I wanted to say neither it is
useful to decide my destination. But anyway I must stop here because my
SHORT report is getting more and more involved.
On the fiest of St.Peter Canisius,
※ If this plan seemed to the superiors somewhat impractical I’d like to
go to Nagatsuka to study Japanese clasics and composition from the Prof.Inaga
and contemporary Japanese literature from Prof.Isogai of Hiroshima University.(Prof.Isogai
guided me kindly when I was a junior) In any case I’d like to know the
possibility of mine in this field. Because sometimes we are like frogs
in a well.