明けましておめでとうございます。

 

 甲辰!

 あまねく光に照らされ、急速な成長と変化が起きる年になると暦には出ております。

 

 ネアカ、のびのび、へこたれず。 どんな年になろうとも、少々のことには気落ちせず、常に自分自身に「絶好調」と言い聞かせて1年を過ごしたいと思います。 

 

参議院議員を1年5ヶ月前に辞めてから、今まで生活の基盤を作るために頑張ってきました。この1年で、慶応義塾大学(特任教授)や東京大学(客員教授)にみならずインド工科大学ハイデラバード(特任教授)や韓国先端科学技術院(特任教授)、そしてオクスフォード大学インターネットインスチチュート(上席客員研究員)にもポジションをいただくことができました。

 

今年は、このような基盤をベースに、学術界のみならず政界や官界、そしてビジネス界も巻き込んで日本のため、世のための仕事に集中していきます。

 

具体的には、人口が少ないドイツにも抜かれた日本の経済のため「日本の技術力の復活と文化力の活用」を政策として提言し、実現していきます。

 

本年もよろしくお願い申し上げます。

Hōjōki (方丈記英訳)

An Account of My Hut or The Ten Foot Square Hut

Translated by Iron Kenzo Fujisue

Note: ( ) are notes by the translator. Chapter headings are also by the translator. The original does not have chapter headings.

 

Overall Interpretation by Translator

I love Buddhist philosophy. I believe that the most fundamental of Buddhist philosophy is the elimination of attachment.

In the Hojoki, Kamo no Chomei explains the impermanence of things that perish or disappear, and that we should seek inner peace instead of being attached to housing, property, or status. This idea is still valid today, some 1,000 years later, and it shows us that human thinking and values have not changed. He explains "impermanence" and "the problem of attachment" using a disaster as a subject, but we think the most fascinating part is that he states at the end that "we ourselves cannot get out of attachment.

Although this is an English translation written by an amateur philosopher, I hope that by making it available free of charge, people around the world will become familiar with Kamo no Chōmei and the Hojoki, which embody Japanese culture and philosophy.

Honestly, I translated it for my own English study.

I'm glad to have the opportunity to publish this here.

Impermanence: as fleeting as the bubbles

The flow of a river never ceases, and the water that flows through it changes constantly. The droplets that appear in the torrent never stop for a moment, and as soon as they appear, they disappear, only to reappear anew.

The fates of people in the world and the rapid changes in their homes and residences can be likened to the flow of a river and are as fleeting as the droplets that appear and disappear in a torrent.

In the magnificent capital of flowers (Heian-kyo, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heian-ky%C5%8D), houses are lined up in rows, competing with their beautifully high "Iraka" (roof tiles). There are many houses of people from all walks of life, and they never cease to exist, but it is impossible to find something unchanged among them. It is extremely difficult to find something that has the beauty of the past. It is very rare to find a beautiful house that has survived to the present day, and it is extremely difficult to find something of the olden days. Or, when you look back and realize that there never used to be such a fine house here, you find that the poor house you used to live in was burned down and is now this fine house. In this way, people who were once rich and lived in beautiful and splendid houses are now living in shanty-like dwellings that pale in comparison to their old homes. Such is the fate that people have to live with.

 I looked around to see if I could findany old acquaintances, but I could find nosuch people. It is truly moving to see the path of destiny that people must take.

 When I think deeply about this destiny of human beings, a destiny that is so transient that we must be born in the morning and die in the evening, a destiny that is so changeable that it is like the bubbles of a water current that connects and then vanishes, and then reconnects and then reconnects. The destiny of the bubbles, which are connected to the torrent and then disappear, is after all the destiny that people must follow.

 Many people come into the world, but where do they come from? Where do they come from and where do they go? Where they come from and where they are going is a mystery that will never be solved, and it is in this mystery that people are born and die. People are born and die in this mystery, just as bubbles on the water are bound together and disappear.

 What do those who have to live with such a daring and insoluble destiny enjoy and suffer in this world?

 If you were to ask many people what kind of work they find interesting and what kind of things they suffer from in their lives, which must disappear like bubbles, you would get all kinds of answers, but there would never be a single one, and in the end, what they suffer from, what they enjoy, what they should do, and so on, would be a mystery that could never be solved. In the end, what we suffer, what we enjoy, what we should do, and so on, will be a mystery that will never be solved.

 Over the years, because of fires, earthquakes, and other various vicissitudes, splendid and beautiful houses have been lost, rich families have become poor, people of noble rank have fallen into lowly status, and the constant changes in people and their homes are just like the morning dew on a morning glory flower and its flower. The extreme changes in these people and their homes are just like the morning dew on a morning glory flower and the flower itself. The flower is the home of the dew. The dew is the inhabitant of the morning glories.

 Whether the dew falls to the ground first or the flower shrivels up first, it will always fall and shrivel up. The dew does not remain until the evening sun, and the same is true of morning glories, which are destined to wilt when the morning sun rises high in the sky. People and their homes must after all follow the fate of the morning dew on the morning glories and the fate of the morning glories. It is impossible to know which will fall first, but they will fall after all.

The Disaster of Fire

 I have lived in this world for as long as 40 years, and there are many things in the world that I have seen and heard since I can remember that are completely mysterious. I would like to write about some of the things I have seen and heard.

 It was a very windy day, and finally a big storm broke out. A fire broke out in a house in the southeastern part of Kyoto. It was a time of strong winds, so it was not an easy time to get out of the house. The fire quickly spread to the northeast. Finally, the Suzaku Gate, Daigoku-den Hall, the University Dormitory, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and other important buildings were all reduced to ashes in a single night.

 According to later investigations, the house that started the fire was a house on a small street in Higuchitomi (the name of a block in the town), where a sick person lived. The flames were fanned by a gust of wind and spread out in a fan-like pattern. Houses far from the fire were completely surrounded by the raging smoke, and people were so choked with smoke that they could not even breathe freely. Roads near the burning houses were blocked off to the public because of the flames pouring out of them. The sky over the city was as red as a sea of fire at night because of the blazing flames, indicating how many houses were about to be set ablaze. The winds were getting stronger and stronger, and did not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

 Surrounded by the middle of the storm and fire, the people of Kyoto were in a complete frenzy and did not know what to do. They were so stunned that they could not think of anything to do, and there was nothing they could do. People caught in the smoke stopped breathing, collapsed, and became unconscious, while those caught in the fire often lost their precious lives on the spot. Even those who were fortunate enough to escape with their lives in the midst of such chaos and danger found it impossible to remove their valuable household goods from their homes, and they watched as their precious possessions were reduced to ashes in the fires. And yet, there was nothing they could do about it. The value of the various household goods, tools, and treasures thus destroyed, some of which must have been handed down from ancestors and fathers, must have been so enormous that it is impossible to even imagine how much they must have been worth.

 Since as many as 16 residences of the nobility were destroyed by this great fire, the number of residences of low-ranking merchants must have been destroyed beyond count. This great fire reduced as much as one-third of the city of Kyoto to ashes in a short time.

 Many people lost their precious lives because of this great fire. Not a few of them were young men and boys who would have done great things in the future, but it is a shame that they had to die. Since even human beings have suffered from such an accident, there must have been countless cases of horses and cows being burntto death. People are naturally capable of doing all kinds of foolish things, but in a city like Tokyo, where there is a great deal of danger of everything being reduced to ashes in a single morning, people spend a great deal of money to build their own houses, without knowing that they are doomed to ashes in a single morning. I realized that there is nothing more stupid and foolish than to spend a great deal of money to build a house, struggling over what to do and how to do it, not knowing that it was destined to turn to ashes in a single morning. Even after all this hard work, if it catches fire one morning, it will be reduced to ashes and dust.

 In the fourth month of the fourth year of Jisho, there was another great whirlwind. It originated on the banks of Kyogoku and blew as far as the Rokujo area. It was so powerful that it overturned, destroyed, or damaged almost every house, no matter how large or small, in its path. It blew with such tremendous force.

 Some were caught in a whirlwind and knocked flat on the ground, while others were left with only their girders and pillars, and the shoji screens and walls had been completely blown out. Others had their gates blown down four or five streets away, while others had their fences blown down and the boundary between them and their neighbors' houses removed, leaving their yards connected to each other, causing a great deal of tragedy. Various household goods were also uprooted and blown into the sky. The cypress bark shingles that covered the roofs were blown up into the sky in the winter like leaves in the wind.

 The sky was so thick with dust and dirt that it seemed as if the smoke had completely covered the entire sky of the city, and even though it was a clear day, it was dark all over. People's voices were drowned out by the raging strong winds, and there was little noise to be heard. The only sound that could be heard in the streets of the city was the tremendous sound of the wind. The winds were so fierce that it seemed as if the winds of hell were blowing in the real world. The cruelty of the houses that were blown down or damaged was beyond description. There were also many people who went outside to work on repairing damaged areas of their homes, only to have something big blow down on them, crippling them in the process. These were truly unfortunate people. This whirlwind also moved toward the southwest, causing various damages and grief to the people living there as it did before. There is never a time when the wind does not blow throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter, but while the winds are always pleasant and tasteful, this wind was tremendous and caused much damage to the people. Such winds may or may not occur every few years and are truly a rare exception. When I think deeply about this catastrophe, I can't help but think that it was a warning from the God of heaven to the people of the earth.

Relocation of the capital city

 Around June of the 4th year of Jisho (1180), the capital was suddenly moved to another location. The residents of the capital were surprised and dismayed by this sudden and unexpected move.

 It had already been more than 400 years since the capital was established in Kyoto during the reign of Emperor Saga, and it would not be easy to change the capital unless there was some special circumstance. Therefore, people were worried about what special circumstances might exist, and it was quite understandable that their worry disturbed the peaceful mindset of the people. However, the people's concern was nothing to worry about, and finally, not only the Emperor, but also all the ministers and court nobles moved to the new capital, Fukuhara. No one who occupied an important position and worked in the world lived in the old capital of Kyoto any longer. Those who had only one hope or ideal, that of being the highest-ranking person in the world, or those who wished for the blessings of the heavenly son, were determined to leave the old capital behind and move to the new capital, Fukuhara, as soon as possible. However, those who were left behind in the world and had no hopes or ideals were saddened by this event and remained in the old capital, but could not abandon it.

 The old city was so lonely without its high-ranking officials and wealthy people. The imposing houses, whose beauty had been admired by all, gradually fell into disrepair as the days went by, with no one to live in them and no one to take care of them. Many of the houses were torn down and sent to Fukuhara on rafts floating on the Yodo River. The ruins of the damaged houses were turned into fields before we could see them. There was no way to see even a trace of the old days. Such a great change had a tremendous impact on people's minds. The graceful urban atmosphere was completely gone. This sentiment appeared in many places, first of all in the ox-drawn carts that court nobles used to ride in the old days, and then in the horses they used to ride in the style of the samurai, preferring the agility of the horse. The elegant and leisurely style of the past is gone. In addition, although the people now looked for a place in the southwestern sea that had many ties to the Heike clan, there was no longer any desire for a place in the northeastern part of the country, far from the new capital. In this way, everything has changed.

 I happened to have a chance to see the new capital of Fukuhara in Settsu Province, and I would like to describe it as follows: First of all, the size of the city is much smaller than Kyoto. The northern part of the city is high in the mountains, while the southern part is low and faces the sea. The southern part of the city is low and faces the sea, and because it is close to the coast, the sound of the waves is constantly echoing noisily. The sea breezes from the ocean are extremely strong, and the area cannot be said to be very blessed. The most important imperial palace was built in the mountains. Looking at the building, I wondered if the wooden palace of Emperor Saimei (the 35th and 37th emperors of the 7th century) in Asakura was like this, and thought that it might have been elegant and elegant in its own way. This was the state of the new Imperial Palace and the new capital.

 In Kyoto, people were busy moving day after day. Many houses were broken and transported down the river on rafts, so much so that even the wide Yodo River was filled with rafts to the point that it seemed almost too narrow. Many houses were transported to Fukuhara in this way, but if you look at the land in Fukuhara, there was still a lot of vacant land because not as many houses had been built as had been sent from here. There were only a few houses that had been built. It was hard to tell where the houses that had been sent to Fukuhara were going to be built, or where they were being built, since the river seemed so narrow.

 Kyoto is becoming more and more desolate by the day, and it will take many more days before the new capital, Fukuhara, is fully equipped as a capital. There is no reason for the people living in the city to feel at ease during these times. Like clouds floating in a blue sky, they moved with the wind and were truly unstable, and people's hearts were dark. The people who had originally lived in Fukuhara were grieving because their land had been taken away from them by the new officials who had come with the Heavenly Prince. The new officials had to build their own houses, and they were suffering from the troublesome work. When I looked at the people passing by, I saw that those of noble rank who should be riding in oxcarts were riding horses instead of oxen, and that the court nobles, who should be wearing the garments of the common people, were flirting with the rising power and wearing hinatai, the traditional garb of the samurai class. Finally, the graceful and elegant customs of the capital disappeared, and the people were left in a truly pitiful state, no different from the rough and rugged warriors of the countryside.

 I have heard faintly that during the reign of the Holy Son of Heaven, the central point of His government was to sympathize with the general populace. When the common people were suffering due to poverty or some other calamity, His Imperial Highness did not pay the slightest attention to the Imperial Palace where He resided, and when there was no rice for the common people to eat, He did not even cut off the uneven edges of the thatched roof. Furthermore, when there was no rice for the people to eat, they were even exempted from paying tribute. These actions are the result of His gracious and merciful desire to rule the world in peace, and we are grateful for that. But what about the present state of affairs? Instead of ruling the world in peace, we are plunging it into the depths of anxiety with talk of the relocation of the capital and other such matters. It is truly deplorable.

Severe famine

 I remember it was around the time of the Yowa Period, but it was so long ago that I cannot say for sure when it happened. It was a terrible famine, and the situation was truly disastrous. During the long period from spring to summer, not a drop of rain fell, and the daily drought caused all the crops in the fields to wither and die. Then, in the fall, there were heavy winds and heavy rains that caused a huge flood, and there was no harvest at all. So there was no rice for a year. So there was not enough rice and food for the whole year.

 Life in the land of one's ancestors without food must be a series of hardships. So people abandoned the land where they had lived for generations and began to wander around the country. Others abandoned their homes and arable lands and went to live in the mountains, as if they had forgotten all about them. This was probably because there was still more food in the mountains, such as nuts.

 In such a truly disastrous situation, the people had no other choice but to destroy themselves, and even the Heavenly Prince became concerned and had people perform various prayers and practices that were said to be particularly efficacious.

 The people of Kyoto had always received all of their supplies from the countryside, and when the countryside, their supplier, was unable to obtain any supplies due to the natural disaster, the people of Kyoto of course began to complain of a shortage of supplies. Kyoto had lost all of its suppliers. The people of Kyoto were in trouble. First of all, they could not obtain food.

 In order to obtain such food, they would throw away their household goods and go to those who had rice to buy it, but they could not sell their precious rice when supplies were scarce, and they would only sell it at a very high price. In such a situation, no matter how much money or treasures they had, they could not do anything about it. So, as the days went by, the number of beggars gradually increased, and the roads became filled with their pitiful cries for food. The first year of the Yohe Era, however, ended in such a miserable state of affairs.

 In the second year of the new year, people had hoped that this year would bring a return to a peaceful world with abundant supplies, but their hopes were sorely disappointed. However, their hopes were sorely disappointed. As if to compound the devastation of the famine, an epidemic of disease broke out. The devastation of the people was beyond description, and it became worse and worse. It was almost to the point of envy, and one wondered where the peaceful days of the past had gone.

 Many people, weakened by famine, fell victim to the plague, and many lost their lives. Meanwhile, the scarcity of goods became more and more severe, and people fell into the depths of hardship. This situation was just like putting too many fish in too little water, and everyone was doomed to be deprived of life. Finally, even people of high social standing were forced to wear leg bands (kyahan: a cloth/leather garment worn around the shins. Even people of considerable social standing had to wrap their legs in guêtre (a cloth or leather garment wrapped around the shins and covering their faces with shades to hide their shame as they walked along the street, begging for food. It was so pathetic that it was quite common for people to walk along the streets begging for food and then, just as they were walking along, they would fall to the ground and lose their precious lives. It has become so pathetic that it is now quite commonplace for a man to fall to the ground and lose his life. So, wherever one went, one could find the corpses of the poor people who had fallen ill. One in front of a mud wall there, another in front of a gate there, and so on. Moreover, since there was nothing but the corpses of the starved to death and the dead to clean up the spring, the corpses were gradually rotting and losing their shape as the days went by, and the stench was spreading far and wide throughout the city. The city was so full of corpses that there was not even a road for oxen or horse-drawn wagons.

 The lowly people and lumberjacks who went to the mountains to get firewood and sold it to the people in the capital for their daily livelihood could no longer do their daily work due to hunger. Therefore, people in the capital were running out of firewood. So, those who have no family at all try to sell their houses to those who need firewood, but the price of firewood they sell is not enough to sustain even one person. What was even more bizarre, or perhaps pathetic, was the fact that among the wood that was to make up for the lack of firewood, there were sometimes pieces of wood that had been painted with a fine paint job or had gold or silver leaf on them. I thought this was truly bizarre, and after thinking about it for a while, I came to understand that people who were in dire need of firewood had sold everything they had left to sell, so they sneaked into temples and stole Buddhist statues and other temple implements, and sold them as firewood. The scarcity of goods had taken a toll on the people's lives. It was darkening to see how the scarcity of goods could cloud people's minds. It is truly shameful to have been born into such a difficult world, and to have to see such a muddle in a life that should have been so easy.

 Among all the miseries of the world, the most pitiful is the fate of those who love each other. It is human nature for those who are in love with each other, those who have husbands and wives whom they love deeply, to give what little food they have to their beloved husbands and wives first, leaving themselves aside. It is so obvious that the one who loves the other deeply must always die of starvation first.

Disasters and the Fragility of Human Life

 This is most evident between parents and their children. There are children who do not love their parents, but there are no parents who do not love their children. Therefore, parents must always give their food to their children, and the parents must always starve to death first. The strongest love is the love of parents for their children. It is most clearly manifested in times of trouble. The sight of a child crying for its mother's breast, even though the mother is already dead, is not an exaggeration to say that it is hell on earth to see a helpless baby crying over her corpse. The city of Kyoto is no longer the peaceful place it once was, but is now suffering the torments of a living hell.

 At that time, there was an ordained priest named Ryuho Hoin at Ninna-ji Temple. Whenever he found a corpse, he would write the character "A" on its forehead and pray for its rebirth in paradise. The number of corpses that had the character "a" written on their foreheads during the two months of April and May was a total of more than 42,300 corpses in the southern part of Ichijo, the northern part of Kujo, the western part of Kyogoku, and the eastern part of Suzaku. This is a very large number, and it is easy to understand how big an event it was. The death toll was so high even within a short period of two months, and when the number of deaths before and after the earthquake is included, the number is so large that one might have thought that all the inhabitants of the capital had perished. If we add the deaths in Kawahara, Shirakawa, and the western part of Kyoto to the above number, and then add the number of deaths in all of Japan, it is needless to say that the total number of deaths would have been unlimited and staggering. I have heard that there was a famine like this during the reign of Emperor Shotoku, but I did not see the situation at that time from my own eyes, so I do not know anything about it. However, seeing the devastation of this famine, I was struck by how terrible it was, and this was a rare and unprecedented tragedy.

Disaster called Earthquake

 Around the same time, we also suffered another calamity: a major earthquake. The earthquake was stronger than any earthquake I had ever experienced, and the damage was not as severe as usual. Large mountains collapsed due to the earthquake, burying the rivers flowing beneath them. The land was split in two and water gushed out between the two, and large rocks tumbled down into the valley. Ships on the sea were tossed about like leaves in a tree by the massive waves caused by the earthquake, and people, horses, and cattle walking along the roads lost their footholds and fell over.

 Not a single house, large or small, in the city is satisfactory, and all of them have been destroyed. Shrines and temples have also been destroyed, many of them magnificent structures. Dust and ashes were rising like a thick cloud of smoke around the houses that had been completely or half destroyed. When the ground shook from the earthquakes and large houses were toppled, there was a tremendous sound like thunder.

 People had nowhere to settle down. If they stayed in their houses, they could not stay still for fear that their houses would be crushed at any moment. If they ran outside, the ground would crack and they would have nowhere to go. It would have been best if they could have escaped into the sky, but they had no wings and were unable to do so.

 If I were a dragon in this case, I might even be able to ride the clouds and ascend to heaven.

 I have come to realize that there are many other terrifying things in the world, but nothing is more terrifying than a big, strong earthquake. The earthquake, which shook so strongly and violently that people had nowhere to settle down, stopped after a while, but the aftershocks that followed did not seem to stop anytime soon. Even the aftershocks were of a strength that would normally surprise anyone, and they occurred at least two or three dozen times a day. However, as the days went by, ten days passed, then twenty days, the aftershocks, which had been so severe, gradually became less frequent and more frequent, with intervals between them. The number of aftershocks became four or five times a day, then two or three times a day, finally every other day, and then once every two or three days, but aftershocks continued throughout the month of March. Fire, water, and wind are always causing disasters to people, but the earth does not cause many disasters, and yet this time it caused a terrible disaster that was quite unexpected. Comparing this earthquake to the one that occurred in the year of the Great Saikyo Earthquake, when the head of the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple, the head temple of the Kegon sect in Nara City (formerly Heijo-kyo Capital), fell to the ground, this earthquake was a small thing compared to that of the previous one. That is how bad it was this time.

 Encountering such a variety of calamities, people began to think that life itself is boring, and even life itself is tasteless. They began to think that they would like to help each other, at least while they are still in this world, and live pleasantly and without greed. The continuing calamities must have changed people's minds, which had been a little clouded. As the days, months, and years went by, people gradually forgot about such a great disaster, and the desire to help each other and to live comfortably without greed for personal gain or profit disappeared, The world has gradually become a disgusting place, where people are now only concerned with their own self-interests. It is truly a shameful thing.

 As mentioned above, the world is a cruel and difficult place to live in, and it is also true that one's own destiny is fearless and unreliable, and that even one's home is not guaranteed to be struck by disaster at any time and at any place. And there is no telling how much trouble people are in because of the restrictions imposed by the bonds of the world, depending on where they live and their status. Thus, the world is a difficult place to live in. On the one hand, there are natural disasters, and on the other hand, each person lives on his or her own without loving one another.

 As for a place to live, if you live in a small town where houses are crammed together, you are bound to suffer the consequences of a raging fire once you encounter it. Even if you could escape the fire hazard, you would still have to walk long distances along poor country roads to go out or take a walk, and you would also have to be prepared for the fact that you would often be attacked by bandits in a secluded area. It is not an easy way to live a peaceful life.

 A person with power is never satisfied with the power he or she currently possesses, but wants to have more power, and goes through a lot of trouble to achieve it. If they have too much wealth, they cannot sleep peacefully at night for fear of being robbed by thieves. If you are poor, you have to worry and struggle day and night for your daily bread, and this is also very painful. If you are a slave to others, you are treated like a slave and have to suffer. If I try to live my life in accordance with the laws and moral codes of ordinary people, there is a void in my life, and I am never truly satisfied with my life. But if I were to leave the life of ordinary people and live as I wish, I would be treated as a madman by the people of the world, and I would also have to suffer. When I think of it this way, in a world where I must suffer no matter what I do, I am at a loss as to how I can live a life of peace and tranquility without suffering. What should I do and where should I live in order to achieve eternal peace of mind, to be satisfied with my true heart, and to live a peaceful life? In the end, I still feel attached to this mundane world, don't I? If this is the case, then escaping from this mundane world may be the thing that gives me the most satisfaction, peace, and calmness in my life.

Moving to Kamo no Chomei 's Hut/Hermitage

 I had been living on the land where my grandmother had lived for a long time in order to inherit my paternal grandmother's family and to live there, but my family members had preceded me in death, and I had suffered so many misfortunes that I had lost all my energy and finally, living there reminded me of many past misfortunes that I had experienced, so I decided to abandon the land. I finally decided to abandon the place. I could no longer be satisfied in the mundane world, so I decided to abandon it as well and build a small hermitage (a simple hut made of grass, bamboo, or other materials) in a place where no one would come to visit me. I was exactly 30 years old at the time. This hermitage was about one-tenth the size of the house I had inherited from my grandmother, and it was very small. Even so, I was able to build a living room in it, but not enough room to call it a home. He made a small roughly woven hedge (magaki), but could not build a splendid gate to display it. He used bamboo poles to make a place for cars to enter. The hermitage was a very dangerous building, as I was afraid that it might be blown away if the wind blew a little too strong, and I did not know when it would be crushed if there was a snowstorm. Moreover, the building is located so close to the riverbank that if a flood were to occur, it would be swept away without a trace. Even after leaving the mundane world behind, the worries of the people are constant.

 I have been living in this difficult and painful world for as long as 30 years, complaining about how difficult and unpleasant it is to live in. And through the various events that have occurred during that time, the many times I have been sadder than happy, the unexpected mishaps and failures, I have come to realize the pitiful nature of my destiny. In the spring of his fiftieth year, he decided to leave his home and the bitter world behind him, and to live a life of complete seclusion.

 I am a solitary person with no wife or children, so I am not drawn to the love of my family at all, and I am not bothered by such things. I had no need for a high-ranking position, a noble office, or a large salary, so I was not attracted to the mundane world in any way, and I was able to leave the world behind very easily.

 It has been a long time since I lived a completely secluded life deep in the snowy mountains of Ohara, and I have been back and forth between spring and autumn several times.

 When I was nearly sixty years old and had very little time left to live, I once built a new house to live in. This was just likea traveler whohas finally found a place to stay for the night and is relieved. This new house was not even a hundredth of the size of the one we had built and lived in before. As I grew older, my house gradually became smaller and smaller, as if it were my own destiny.

 If I were to compare my current house with what is commonly known as a "home," I would say that it is so shabby that it cannot even be called a home anymore. However, it is a very comfortable house for one person to live in, and there is no doubt that it is a good place to live. It is only about 3 meters square, and its height is correspondingly less than 7 meters (2.1 meters). I have no idea where I have to live, so I don't even think about whether I like it here or there. However, it is convenient in that it can be easily erected wherever you feel like it. If something happens to the roof after it has been erected, it can be torn down and moved to another location.

 If you want to move to another place, you only need to spend a little money. As long as you pay for the rental of a car, you can do the labor yourself and move out with ease.

 After the construction of the present hermitage on Mt. Hino, a crude but 3-foot-high (about 1 m) eaves shade was installed on the east side of the hermitage to provide a shade from the sun and make it easier to fold bushes under it. To the south, a bamboo porch was built, and to the north, a shoji (sliding door) separated the porch from a picture of Amida, and a statue of Fugen was hung beside it, with the Lotus Sutra placed in front of it. At the west end, he built an akadana (a cabinet for storing water and flowers offered to the Buddha) to make it convenient for storing things, and made various other facilities that resembled a dwelling. For his own bed, he picked up ears of bracken at the east end and laid them out. In the southwestern part of the house, he built a bamboo hanging shelf. In these baskets were several books on waka poetry, music, and excerpts from "Ōjōyōshū: The Essentials of Rebirth in the Pure Land" and other books. These are to be read and comforted at any time of the day. Next to it, I have placed a koto and a biwa, one each named "ori-koto (a koto with a body that can be separated into two parts)" and "tsugi-biwa (a biwa with the handle removed for everyday use and joined together when used)," on a stand. The above-mentioned is my current residence.

 The house is surrounded by a stone gutter to the south to draw water to a cistern. Firewood, a daily necessity, can be gathered without any difficulty because there is a forest in the immediate neighborhood. There is a mountain called Sotoyama (Mt. Sotoyama)just next to the house, but the road to this mountain is overgrown with a thick growth of Japanese chervil, which completely fills the road and makes it difficult to climb up. The valley is so thick with vegetation that it is a little dark, but the view to the west is clear and open, making it a good place to meditate on the Pure Land and the Buddha, which is said to be located in the west.

 In spring, wisteria flowers bloom all over the valley, and purple clouds are shelving in the west, creating an enchanting view.

 When summer arrives, the kakko gulls will sing with their sad voices, as if they are promising to guide you on your journey to the land of the dead, as the old people used to say.

 In autumn, evening cicadas (evening cicadas) begin to sing all over the mountains, and I can hear their mournful voices. I feel as if they are singing to me a dirge about the fleeting fate of this world, and it makes me feel somewhat sad and pensive.

 In winter, sometimes the entire mountain is covered with snow, and this gives me a deep appreciation of the beauty of snowy mountains. When I watch the snow gradually disappear and accumulate again, I cannot help but remember how human sins, just like the snow, accumulate and are purified and lost by the great will of the Buddha, and how we commit sins and are purified again.

 I have been reciting the Nembutsu every day, but sometimes I feel too lazy to do so, or when it is too difficult for me to recite the sutras, I sometimes neglect to do so myself. I have no friends here who would feel ashamed of my laziness, so I just end up being lazy. Living alone in the mountains in the middle of nowhere, I naturally have to do silent work, and I am not necessarily diligent in obeying the precepts of the Buddha. In such a mountainous environment, there is no temptation to break the Buddha's precepts. I am not trying to become a saint or a prince, but in a place like this, where there is no one to talk to, I naturally do my silent acts and naturally follow the path of the Buddha, not because of any help from myself.

 Sometimes, when I am too bored to do anything else, I watch the boats passing by Okanoya and ponder the daring nature of human destiny as I watch the foam disappear and reappear in the wake of the boats. I also try to imitate the customs of the ancient poet Manshami (Man'yosha poet), and compose poems in his style. Or, when the evening breeze rustles the laurel trees in the evening, they think of the evening scenery of the Jinyang River. Sometimes, when I play a song called "Akikaze" on my biwa, imitating Katsura Dainagon (a Japanese poet from 1016 to 1097), the sound of the pine wind seems to harmonize with it. When I play a piece called "Ryusen," I hear water flowing through the valley as if it were harmonizing with it. My biwa playing skills are not what one would call proficient, but this is enough for me, as I play for no one else, but only for myself and enjoy myself. It is enough for me to play for myself and enjoy myself, not for anyone else. If I can play a song and feel refreshed, calm down, enjoy my life, and comfort the loneliness of the mountains, that is all I need to do.

 There is a small hut at the foot of a mountain, a short distance from the hermitage, where a mountain guardian lives. There is a child who sometimes visits my hermitage to talk with me. I like to say that he is the only guest in my hut. When I had nothing to say or do, I would take the child as a friend and we would wander around the mountains. We are good friends and enjoy each other's company. Sometimes they would pick flowers or rock pears while walking in the mountains. Sometimes we would pick up nukago (the shoots that grow at the base of a yam leaf), and other times we would pick seri (Japanese parsley). When we are tired of such activities, we go to the foot of the mountain to pick up fallen ears in the rice paddies and make ear mounds. When the weather was fine and pleasant, he would go up to the top of the mountain and look at the sky over his hometown in the distance, or look out over Mount Kohata, the village of Fushimi, Toba, Hazukashi, and other areas. Since there is no one who can take advantage of the beautiful scenery of these mountains, there is no obstacle to enjoying them to the fullest, making it a truly enjoyable experience. When I have a good heart and am not even a little tired of walking, I sometimes go far away from home. On such occasions, I would go over Sumiyama, past Kasatori, pay a visit to the Iwama shrine, and then pay a visit to Ishiyama. A little farther away, in Awazu-no-hara, they would visit the ruins of a temporary house where Semimaru is said to have lived in ancient times, to comfort his spirit, or pay a visit to the grave of Sarumaru-tayu, located on the banks of the Tagami-Tanakami River. On the way back from these excursions, they would fold a branch of cherry blossoms in the spring and a branch of maple in the fall, or a bunch of sheep's teeth in the spring and a branch of maple in the fall. They would also take a sheaf of sheep's teeth or a basket of nuts to offer to the Buddha or to use as food for themselves.

 On nights when the moon is beautifully bright and shining brightly, I sit by the window, remembering old friends I used to have with each other in the past, and when I hear a monkey crying sadly to the moon, I can'thelp but feel tears in my eyes.

 The fireflies in the grassy knolls, shining so brightly in the valley that it seems as if they are the torches of Makishima, comfort my lonely heart, and the shower at dawn, which awakens me from sleep, seems like a storm that blows the leaves off the trees. The sound of the rain is like a storm that blows the leaves off the trees, and I listen to it with a sense of loneliness.

 Whenever I hear the chirping of wild birds, I wonder if it was my father's voice or my mother's voice that I hear now, and I remember with nostalgia the life I used to lead when my parents lived here. When I see deer, which also live deep in the mountains, come close to the hermitage, I sometimes feel as if they are showing me how far away from the mundane world I live, and it makes me feel lonely.

 In my sixty-plus years of old age, there are times when I cannot sleep at night, and the only thing I can look forward to is stirring up a charcoal fire and warming myself by it. In these times, even a charcoal fire can become an important friend. It is not so deep in the mountains that there is anything to be afraid of, but when I hear the gloomy cry of an owl, I can't help but feel a sense of loneliness and pity.

 As you can see, each spring, summer, fall, and winter has its own unique charms, and there is no end to the variety of scenery to be found in the mountains. If people with deeper introspection and keener perception than we have, they would have been able to discover and enjoy more interesting things than what I have felt, but as for me, I can only find enjoyment in such things, which makes me feel somewhat sorry for myself.

Lived in the hermitage for 5 years

 It has been five years since I came to live here in the mountains. As the years have passed, the hermitage has become torn in places, the leaves have piled up deeply under the eaves, and the leaves have been left to rot. Moss has even begun to grow all over the floor.

 I have heard from time to time in the wind from Kyoto that many people of noble birth have died, and I am sure that many people of lowly birth have died as well.

 I have heard that many houses have been destroyed by fire, but my own lowly house has never caught fire, and I feel very peaceful. No matter how small it was, I had a place to sleep at night and a place to read books in the daytime, so I did not feel any inconvenience or shortage of space. The hermit crab lives in a small shellfish because it knows its own size, and the hermit crab is a suitable home for a small shellfish, while theheron (a hawk bird that eats only fish) is too afraid of people to stay away from the rough seashore. Like the hermit crab and the heron, they live in their own small houses, and knowing the boldness of the world and the sorrow of their destiny, they leave the world and live in the mountains, seeking neither wealth nor rank, much less worldly companionship, and live alone and without anxiety, just as the heron and the heron crab enjoy their own peace and tranquility. They live alone and without anxiety, just as the Misagos and Dodokari enjoy their own private peace.

 People in general build houses not for themselves, but for their parents, wives and children, or other family members. They build houses for the sake of their own appearance, their lord, or their master. They are sometimes built to store possessions or treasures, and they are never built just for themselves. However, my current building was built purely for myself. I don't have parents, a wife, children, friends to live with, or servants, and no one to build a house for me under my current circumstances. In today's world, to be a friend to others, you must first and foremost be rich, and you must be able to relate to them, and it is not necessary that you be deeply compassionate and honest. If you would rather have such frivolous friendships, how much better it would be to stay in the mountains and live each day with nature and music as your friends.

 Those who want to become servants of others first want to be paid well and only want to go where there is money to be made, and even if they are loved, cared for, and provided for, if the salary is small, they will never understand that they are being used. In this case, they must suffer even though they use others. It is best to make yourself a servant instead of using a servant. Although it may be troublesome to do so, you do not know how much better it is than suffering through the use of others. If you must walk, walk on your own feet. If I must walk, I will walk on my own feet, and although it will be more or less painful, I do not know how much easier it will be than having to take the trouble of riding in an ox cart or a carriage. I have two servants in my body. One is my hand, which serves as a servant, and the other is my foot, which serves as a vehicle, both of which satisfy me to the full. When my body starts to suffer, I stop using them and give them a good rest, and when my body is strong again, I use them again. Even when I feel sluggish and don't feel like walking or working, there is nothing to worry about. Working and walking every day is the best way to nourish your body and soul. Therefore, we cannot just sit idle and do nothing.

 To walk or to ask for help from others to take care of oneself is clearly a sin.

 The same can be said for food and clothing. Rattan robe and linen nightgowns are sufficient for clothing, and anything more than that is unnecessary. They can survive on the camellias found in the fields and the saplings found in the mountains and have no need for anything more. Since I do not socialize with other people at all, no matter how poor I am, no one will say anything about it, and since I am in the mountains where food is extremely scarce, I can eat delicious food no matter how bad it tastes. I am not writing about my present life as a lesson to other wealthy people to live this way, but only to compare my life when I was still living in the secular world with the life I lead now.

 The world can be either a painful or a joyful place, depending on one's attitude of mind. If one's mind is not in a state of peace and tranquility, no matter how much money one has and how nice a house one lives in, it will be nothing. I am living in a small house in a lonely mountainous area, but my spirit is truly at peace, and I am enjoying my life day after day.

 Moreover, I love this house more than anything else, even though it is as shabby as this.

 I happen to go out to the capital to beg for alms, and at such times I sometimes feel ashamed that I have become such a beggar monk, but when I look back at my small home, I think about the worldly people who live their lives clinging only to the benefits of the floating world, and I even feel pity for them. I even feel pity for them. If I say such things, people may say that I am dreaming, but if you think deeply about the lives of fish and birds, you will see that fish live in water all their lives. Fish live their whole life in the water and never run out of water, and birds wish to spend their whole life in the forest. Only the fish and birds themselves can know the feelings of the birds and fish. I, too, have to live alone in the mountains, away from the world, to understand this feeling. The joy and loneliness of a quiet life in the mountains has a deep taste that cannot be experienced in the mundane world, and only those who have truly experienced it can understand this taste. This taste is more pleasurable and enjoyable to me than climbing to a high position or becoming rich.

 

 Now that I am about to embark on the journey of death, there is nothing more to mourn or grieve over. The Buddha's teachings tell us not to be attached to anything, and even loving this hermitage in the mountains, where I can live peacefully and happily, is a manifestation of attachment and is a sin. I have wasted my time rattling on about pleasures that have no value in the eyes of the Buddha's world.

 As I continue to ponder these truths in the quiet dawn and reflect deeply on my own mind, I realize that my initial purpose in escaping from the floating world and entering the mountains was to devote myself to the path of the Buddha. However, when I look at my own life, although I may look like a saint on the outside, my mind is still far from being a saint, and I am as muddled as a layman. My dwelling was built in imitation of the hermitage of an ancient Indian merchant and disciple of the Buddha, but in terms of conduct and faith, it is inferior even to that of a disciple of the Buddha, Shurihandatu, who is said to have been the most stupid and slow-witted of all. He is said to have been a poor and dull person. I asked myself why I could not attain enlightenment, but I could not give any answer. So, with the help of my mouth and my tongue, I would chant the name of Buddha Namu Amidabutsu two or three times and pray for his blessings.

 It was written by the monk Renin (ordained name of Kamo no Chomei ) at his hermitage in the outer mountains on the last day of the third month of the second year of Kenryaku era.

 

オックスフォード電話オックスフォードでの仕事が終わり、そのまま半分休暇半分、仕事のような状況でフランスを抜けスペインバルセロナに入りました。
はじめの二日間はエアビーアンドビーで1泊1万5000円のアパートの部屋を借りましたが 3グループが1つのアパートにいて、いつも夜中に帰ってくるのでバスルームの横に入る。私はあまり寝ませんでした。


しかしながら妻がネットでガウディのテンプルの真っ正面の台所付きホテルをとってくれました。早速うつるとこちらは一白30,000円2倍しか違いませんが、全く環境が違いました窓から見える景色も違いますし、なんと屋上にはガウディのテンプルが真っ正面に見えます。それも途中に何の建物もありません。
 

私は毎晩自分で夕食を作り、ちょっと高めのワインを買って、ここでガウディのテンプルを眺めながら食事をしました。また、朝は日本時間に合わせ(スペインは日本より1時間遅れとなります)毎日数回、行っていました。そしてメールの返信を書いていると、昼押すひるがすぎ、それから活動している毎日でした。


しかしながらパルセイロに来て、日本にいる時よりも仕事が進んでいます。おそらく環境がいいので、精神状態も良く、仕事が進むのではないかと思いました
こちらに来て思ったのは物価が高いと言うことです。NSくなったこともありますが、地元の人に聞いてると物価がここ数年で2倍近くになっていると言っていました。ちょっと大げさな表現ですが、おそらく相当物価が上がってるんじゃないかと思います。また俺も安くなってますので私の感覚で言うと、日本の物価の2倍から3倍のイメージです。特にレストランは高く、軽く朝食を取っただけでも2000を超える状況です。夕食をきちんととれば10,000円に達する感じです。したがってキッチンもありますので、ほとんどの食事を自分で作って食べる状況なりました。


特に近所に肉屋さんがあって、そこで肉を買ってステーキを食べ、また野菜が外食ですと不足しますので生野菜を食べまくりました。ホテルの屋上からガウディのテンプルを見ながら食べる。食事の夢は今最高です
 

また朝や夜にはこの屋上で仕事をしました。正直、仕事が猛烈にはかどります。
 

そして仕事が終え、このガウディのテンプルを見ながら考えた事は、「もう100年以上も建設を続けているこのガウディのテンプル、ガウディが死んでも、彼の意思を引き継ぎ多くの人々がテンプルを完成させようとしている自分も自分自身が死んだとしても、自分の姿が残るような天命を果たしたい」と言うことを痛切に感じました。おそらく自分の店名は新しい哲学を作り、思想を作り、世の中を良くすることだと確信しています
今から学問的に哲学に集中するかそれとも働きながら娑婆世界を渡りながら哲学を学んでいくか研究するか、おそらく後者となると思いますが、自分の生きてる間に大きな道を作り、それを後継者に託せるようになりたいと、痛切に心に刻みました。

メールに突然の訃報が届いていた。

なんと、1986年に通商産業省(経済産業省)の一緒に入り、東京都北区浮間にあった独身寮で一緒に暮らした同期O君が亡くなったのだ。

今年の春には同期会で会っていた。

病気の様子は全くなく、突然の訃報だった。

直ぐに友人に電話をしたが、死因もわからず、葬儀もご家族だけで行うとのことだった。

葬儀場はわかったので、すぐに浮間寮で一緒に暮らした5人の仲間と一緒に献花をすることにした(仲間には事後承諾)。

 

一通りに対応が落ち着くと冷静になり、涙があふれ出してきた。

そしてO君との想い出がまさしく走馬灯のように流れてきた。

  • 一緒に北海道に旅行し、生ウニが美味しかったこと。パック旅行で知り合った居酒屋に飲みに行ったこと。
  • 寮の近所に台湾の方が経営するパブ「高雄」があり、よく一緒に飲みに行ったこと。そこのパブのフィリピン人の女性ルビーさんに「英語がへた」と馬鹿にされて、英語の勉強を頑張ったこと。
  • 通勤で使う浮間舟渡駅前のとんかつ屋、焼肉屋、志村坂下交差点近くのお好み焼き屋で一緒に飲んでいたこと。
  • 時々、赤羽まで遠征して一緒にお酒を飲んでいたこと。
  • O君が新婚の時に新居に遊びに行って、奥様のご馳走を頂いたこと。
  • 私の結婚前に妻とO君と三人で飲んで、泥酔したこと。

想い出と涙が尽きることはなかった。

 

E・グロールマンは、自分の周りの人たちの死について次のような詩を残している。

親の死        あなたの過去を失うこと

配偶者の死  あなたの現在を失うこと

子どもの死    あなたの未来を失うこと

友人の死       あなたの人生の一部を失うこと

 

まさに人生の一部を失った感覚だ。

O君のご冥福を中心からお祈りする。

 

ちなみに、浮間寮の仲間5人に送ったメールです。

>浮間寮同期名で献花しました。
>時間がなかったので事前に断らず申し訳ありません。
>昨日は涙が止まりませんでした。
>Oちゃんのご冥福を祈ります。
>藤末はあと60年生きます。
>向こうでおちゃんに入ってもらいまた皆で飲みましょう。
>藤末健三拝

注:この浮間独身寮はブルグを書いている時点で解体工事が始まっている。

 

 

2023年6月22~27日、ケニアを訪問してきました。

Part3として、ケニアの現状と経済/中国の影響について報告します。

 

【ケニア視察報告】

Part1 ストラスモア大学イノベーションラボへ訪問

Part2 アフリカのWeb3.0に関する国際カンファレンスへ参加

Part3 ケニアの現状と経済/中国の影響

 

■概観

•ナイロビの発展は話に聞いていたが、遥かに想定を超えた発展。感覚的には、インド・ムンバイよりは街が美しく、気候も安定、人々の顔も険しくない。個人的にはシンガポールより住みやすいと感じる。

•ビジネスの発展に規制が追いつかず、様々な新しいビジネスが誕生してきている。今後、この流れを維持できるかを注視する必要がある。

•ビジネスは中国が大きな力を持っていると感じる。日本企業も腰を据えてアフリカ進出を始めなければ大きな成長市場を取り逃がすのではないかと危惧。

 

2023年6月22~27日、ケニアを訪問してきました。

Part2として、アフリカのWeb3.0に関する国際カンファレンスへ参加について報告します。

 

【ケニア視察報告】

Part1 ストラスモア大学イノベーションラボへ訪問

Part2 アフリカのWeb3.0に関する国際カンファレンスへ参加

Part3 ケニアの現状と経済/中国の影響

 

■概観

•アフリカのWeb3.0のカンファレンスに参加するため、初めてケニアを訪問。

•カンファレンスで知り合ったスタートアップ3社からアドバイザ就任の要請あり、リスクが大きくなければ受ける予定。

 

 

2023年6月22~27日、ケニアを訪問してきました。

Part1として、ストラスモア大学イノベーションラボへ訪問について報告します。

 

【ケニア視察報告】

Part1 ストラスモア大学イノベーションラボへ訪問

Part2 アフリカのWeb3.0に関する国際カンファレンスへ参加

Part3 ケニアの現状と経済/中国の影響

 

 

 

■概観

•アフリカのWeb3.0のカンファレンスに参加するため、初めてケニアを訪問。

ケニア私立大学NO1のストラスモア大学のイノベーションラボとの関係を構築できたことは大きな収穫。客員教授就任を打診。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

現在、藤末もオブザーバーとして参加する世界の国会議員で核兵器廃絶を目指すPNND (Parliamentrians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament)の共同議長であるエド・マーキー米上院議員は、核兵器の実験、生産、配備を 21 世紀に凍結する法律である武器制限交渉 (HALT) 法を合衆国上院に再提出することを発表しました。マーキー上院議員とは何度かお会いしたことがありますが、アメリカ議会内でも世界の議員内でも大きな意志と力を持った方です。

 

同法案は5月4日に、ジム・マクガバン下院議員によって米国下院に提出されました。

 

ウクライナ戦争でロシアが核兵器を使用するリスクが高まる中で、国際的に包括的に核兵器の実験・生産・配備を制限する条約制定を進めることは、北朝鮮や中国の核兵器の脅威を止めるためにも有効だと見ています。

アメリカ議員や政府と連携し、世界レベルで核兵器の脅威を提言する取り組みに日本も自国の安全保障の観点からも取り組みべきだと考えます。

マーキー上位院議員(出典:PNNDサイトより)

 

なお、HALT 法は 、米国の政策の目的には以下を含める必要があると規定しています。
すべての核兵器および核兵器の運搬手段の実験、生産、およびさらなる配備の検証可能な凍結に関する合意。

  1. すべての核兵器および核兵器の運搬手段の実験、生産、およびさらなる配備の検証可能な凍結に関する合意。
  2. 新 START 条約に基づく現地査察と検証措置の再開。
  3. 新START条約の対象外の非戦略核兵器または戦略システムを対象とする条約または協定に関する、米国とロシア連邦との二国間協定。
  4. 国連軍縮会議またはその他の国際フォーラムにおける、検証可能な核分裂性物質条約または核分裂性物質カットオフ条約の交渉。
  5. 兵器に使用可能な核物質の備蓄を削減するための一連の米国の軍縮サミット。
  6. 米国による包括的核実験禁止条約 (CTBT) の批准、および同条約の発効に必要な同様の行動を追求するための CTBT 附属書 2 の対象となるすべての国の動員。
  7. 将来の多国間の軍備管理、軍縮、およびリスク削減に関する協定を交渉し、締結するために、核兵器を保有する他のすべての国とのその他の関与。と;
  8. 米国の爆発性核兵器実験の準備または実施のための資金の禁止。

The HALT Act stipulates that the aims of U.S. policy should include:

  1. An agreement on a verifiable freeze on the testing, production, and further deployment of all nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles for such weapons;
  2. A resumption of on-site inspections and verification measures per the New START Treaty;
  3. A bilateral U.S. agreement with the Russian Federation on a treaty or agreement that covers non-strategic nuclear weapons or strategic systems not covered by the New START Treaty;
  4. Negotiations of a verifiable Fissile Material Treaty or Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in the United Nations (UN) Conference on Disarmament or another international forum;
  5. Series of U.S. disarmament summits to reduce stocks of weapons-usable nuclear material;
  6. U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and mobilization of all countries covered by Annex 2 of the CTBT to pursue similar action necessary for entry-into-force of the treaty;
  7. Other engagements with all other countries that possess nuclear weapons to negotiate and conclude future multilateral arms control, disarmament, and risk reduction agreements; and;
  8. Prohibition of funds to prepare for or to conduct U.S. explosive nuclear-weapon testing.

Today at 11:30 pm, I was a moderator at the AI to Peace International Internet Conference. This is my first experience as a moderator at an Internet conference. It was a very exciting experience.

I'm not good at English, so I made a PowerPoint document as a supplement, but I couldn't use it. For your reference, I am posting the material below.

 

 

Q. Kenzo, please could you tell us about your role in the Japanese legislature and academia, and why AI is important to you in relation to your work?

 

I have experiences of government official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, parliamentarian as a member of the House of Councillors (Snate), the State Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications in charge of ICT, and now visiting professor of Tokyo university and Keio University. I have experienced Parliament, government, and academia. Unfortunately, no business experience.

 

 

I am familiar with the roles and ways of working of each field.

Currently, from the standpoint of an academia, my role is to examine the effects of systems and regulations necessary for the better spread of new technologies such as AI in Japan with lawmakers, government, and industry. I will encourage them to make new policies and laws and regulations for AI.

During my time at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and as a member of the House of Councillors, I worked in the regulation and dissemination of innovation. AI is indispensable innovation, and I believe that AI will make indispensable industries that will support the future of Japan.

First, I would like to explain the status of the Japanese government's consideration of AI ethics and regulations.

In 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, where I was a vice minister, compiled 10 principles regarding the use of AI as shown in the table.

It is organized into four issues. Issues to protect life and body safety, rights and interests, issues related to the relationship between humans and AI, issues requiring solutions from a technical perspective, and issues related to data.

 

 

In 2022, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had published 22 AI-related values. However, I think that research and discussion on AI in Japan lags behind other countries.

 

 

We need to ensure that these transformations are positive by collaborating together to shape the path of AI use.

The G7 is scheduled to be held in Japan in 2023, and preparations are underway to actively propose the state of AI. In the midst of various developments, we are expected to cooperate with the international community to create a new society.

 

Q. Kenzo, what impact will AI play in our survival?

 

AI tends to attract attention for its high performance, but in order to implement AI in systems and promote its use, it is necessary to overcome various issues and concerns such as fairness, transparency, security and robustness, and safety. Among them, fairness and transparency (explainability, etc.) are mentioned in many AI ethical principles and guidelines, and related research is increasing in academia and industry, and they are key issues in the implementation of AI society.

 

Now that digital technology has become a part of people's lives, more than half of the world's population has access to the internet and spends an average of 6.4 hours a day online.

Digital technology, including AI, is inseparable from us.

I think AI is a double-edged technology that can help the world progress if the good poeple use it correctly, but if the bad people use it incorrectly, it will run out of control and throw the world into chaos. Innovations from the Industrial Revolution, such as the steam engine, which have improved our lives so far, have shifted from hardware to software and are completely digital such as AI. Humans may be afraid of things that they cannot see or imagine, but if used correctly, this AI will enrich human society even more because it has functions that surpass humans in some ways.

AI can make decisions much faster and calmer than humans in stock trading, for example. On the other hand, there is also an argument that AI can replace human jobs. I think there are many influences that AI has on our impact, but I think that not only AI but also we are required to evolve with the progress of technology.

 

Q. finally, for the individuals who are watching, what can they do to make sure AI promotes the protection of people and our shared planet?  - and the same question to you Kenzo.

 

AI has some great ways to surpass humans in some ways.

For example, by conducting large-scale simulations using AI, we can see what kind of impact our activities, production in factories and farmland will have in the long term, and prevent such dangers in advance, for example, disasters, wars, accidents, etc. that could occur by using AI for things close to future prediction. I think it would be a good idea to use it to extract judgment materials that can prevent such things from happening. If we protect the fact that humans are the final decision-makers, AI can be controlled and will become a good neighbor that supports us without getting out of control.

 

In recent years, while AI systems have been used for socially important decision-making (personnel recruitment, crime prediction, etc.), there have been reports of cases where "fairness" has become a problem, such as AI learning human bias included in training data. In addition, it is required that humans, who are users, can trust and cooperate with AI.

 

Although economic impacts are difficult to predict, we should prepare for the following five economic impacts:

1. Positive contribution to increase productivity

2. Skills changes required in the labour market, including further increased demand for higher levels of technical skills

3. Unfair distribution of impacts by field, income level, education level, occupation, and location

4. Fluctuations in the labor market, in which certain occupations disappear while new ones are created

5. The possibility of a worker losing a job in the short term and prolonged job loss due to policy actions

            According to the OECD report

The annual number of hours worked per worker in the G7 has been on a long-term downward trend, and the rate of labor productivity growth is slowing. We expect AI-driven automation to improve labor productivity."

 

1990年代初頭に土地・株式のバブルが崩壊して30年間、日本経済はずっと低迷している。

今でも覚えているのは、1993年、私は経済産業省の電子機器課というコンピュータ産業や半導体産業を担当する部署にいた。そこで「電子産業ビジョン」というコンピュータや半導体といった電子産業の未来ビジョンを書いていた。そのビジョンに「日本の経済規模は500兆円に達し、一人当たりのGDP(国民総生産)もアメリカに迫ろうとしている」と書いたことを今も明確に覚えている。その時は、まさかこんなにも長く経済の低迷が続き、30年後も日本のGDPがほとんど変わらないままになるとは思いもしなかった。

 

日本の経済成長が停滞する一方、世界経済は成長している。

日本のGDPは米中に次ぎ、世界第3位というが、2009年までは世界2位だった。2010年に中国に抜かれて3位になったが、2022年時点で中国のGDPは日本の3倍を超えている。また、2023年にドイツに抜かれて4位に転落するという予想もある。どんどん追い抜かれて離されている状況だ。

また、1995年当時、日本の一人当たりGDPは世界で3位(為替レート基準)だった。それが2021年時点では27位となっている。このままだと、日本の1人当たり名目GDP は2022 年に台湾、2023 年に韓国に抜かれてしまう。

 

このような経済成長がない期間、私はその期間の3割を経済産業省の役人として、1割を東京大学のイノベーションの研究者として、そして6割を国会議員として、継続して日本の経済成長のために働いてきた。経済産業省とし大学ではできる範囲では最大限のことをやったと自負している。しかしながら、国会議員としては、中小企業金融支援・税制改正、自然エネルギーの推進、宇宙・サイバーにする法制度整備など限られた範囲しか貢献しておらず、大学の交付金の削減を止めることや研究開発税制の拡大など抜本的な政策を作ることはできなかった。

 

このような反省も込めて、これからの経済政策をどうすべきか。時に経済成長の中核となるイノベーション、科学技術力について考えてみる。

■アメリカの失われた30年

下図は1870年からのアメリカの「国富」の推移をしめしてものである。アメリカも1960年から1990年にかけて「失われた30年」を経験している。

世界恐慌、ITバブル崩壊、リーマンショックなど大きな経済ショックがある時に、国富は伸びていないことがわかる。そして、注意すべきところは1960年から1990年までの30年間、途中で石油ショックなどはあったものの30年という長期にわたり、国富の蓄積は停滞したのである。ちなみにこの30年間に日本の経済は約25倍になり、⽇経平均は100倍以上に急成⻑している。

 

 

しかしながら、1990年以降、アメリカは⽇本のイノベーションから学び、それもより強化して、復活した。

 

■アメリカ、そして中国は日本の産業政策に学んだ

1995年アメリカ ポストにある マサチューセッツ工科大学(MIT)に留学した。今でも忘れられないのはMIT の図書館に「メイド・イン・アメリカ」という日本でも出版された本の資料集 が保管されていたことだ。その資料集は本だな一つをほとんど独占していた。

『メイド・イン・アメリカ:Made in America』は1989年にアメリカで刊行された。本調査では

・日本企業が長期的視点に立った経営

・日本のジャスト・イン・タイム生産システムの効率性

などが指摘された。

本にすれば 200ページ程度の 本である。MITがこの研究の事務局を務め、事務局を務めたリチャード・K. レスター教授と話をした(2000年にレスター教授の著書「競争力―『Made in America』 10年の検証と新たな課題」を藤末は和訳出版) ・レス―教授は、「メイド・イン・アメリカ」を作るために当時 で数億円という資金が使われ、そのための調査レポートは前述のように 本棚 1つを占めていた。例えば、当時アメリカの産業界で大きな話題となっていた「カンバンシステム」だけで数冊の分厚いレポートがつくられていた。

これだけ大規模な研究を行い、日本の製造業の強さを分析しそれをアメリカに取り入れたのである。ちなみに中国も日本の産業政策を研究し「中国製造2025」という「中国版メイド・イン・アメリカ」を作り、通信、半導体、EV、原子力などの技術力を、国を挙げて強化している。

一方、日本は、1990年代の日米構造協議などを通じ、特定の産業を育成するターゲティングポリシー(産業政策)を捨ててしまった。

これから経済安全保障の観点から安全保障に必要な産業の育成が必要となる。今こそ20年前に捨てた産業政策を復活すべき時に来ている。

 

 

■韓国並みの研究開発投資を実現すべき(研究開発投資を1.5倍に)

主要国の研究開発費総額の推移を見てみると、中億がWTO入りをした2001年以降に急激に伸び、今では日本の4倍近くになっていることがわかる。正直なところ、電気製品・スマホ・PCなどの製品技術、AI、バッテリーなどの最新技術いおいて日本は中国に大きく負けていると思う。

また、⽇本の研究開発投資額は世界第3位であるが、ドイツ及び韓国との差額が2013年以降徐々に減少している。日本が止まっている間に他国は研究開発投資を進めている。

 

 

一方、GDP比の研究開発投資を見ると、日本は2010年くらいまでOECD国内では1位だったが、2019年には韓国の4.6%に比べ、日本は約3.2%と大きく差をつけられている。これは韓国が2000年以降、国を挙げて科学技術投資、研究開発投資を増やし、一方、日本がほとんど変わらなかったことが原因である。

日本も韓国並みの研究開発投資を行うことで時間はかかるが産業力はアップする。つまり研究開発投資を1.5倍にして韓国との競争にも打ち勝たなければらならない。

これは難しいことではない。政府の研究開発投資を1.5倍に大幅に増やし(約2兆円の支出増)、民間企業は蓄えた内部留保(2021年度、日本企業の内部留保は516兆円)を税制や補助金で科学技術及びイノベーションに投資してもらうようにするだけで実現できる。

 

 

また、研究開発の成果を事業に結びつけるための制度の整備も重要である。

下図は、コンサルティング会社TANAAKKの資料からの抜粋である。

 

 

日本の国内の研究開発投資は年間約20兆円、5年間で100兆円。

アメリカの国内研究開発投資は年間約60兆円、5年間で300兆円。

5年間で100兆円の研究開発投資にも関わらず日本はGDPを増やしていないが、アメリカは300兆円の研究開発投資で300兆円の経済成長を果たしている。

 

その大きな差は何か?

私は、グローバルに急成長する企業が生まれたかどうかの違いだと考える。

 

今、株式時価増額を全て合計するとGAFAMの価値はおよそ1000兆円となる(2022年7月時点)。なんと日本のGDPの約2倍となる。時価総額とは株式の価値、つまりGAFAMは1000兆円という価値を生み出し、その価値のうち多くの資金がイノベーションに流れ込んでいるのである。つまり、GAFAMに資金が集まり、それがアメリカの大きなイノベーションをけん引している。

 

また、アメリカは、世界トップの大学に世界から優秀な人材を集めている(日本でも沖縄科学技術大学大学院がひとつの成功事例として動き出している)。そして、労働力の流動性の高さ、教育の競争力の高さなどにより生産性を高めてきている。

 

特にイノベーションに対する資金投資の仕組みが発達している。新しい企業に資金を提供するベンチャーキャピタル投資家やエンジェル投資家が多く。また、

世界からイノベーションに資金を集められる力が強く、証券取引に上場する企業の価値(株価価値)は他国の取引所を遥かに凌駕している。証券取引所を通じて世界の資金が企業に提供されている。例えば、通常であれば政府が投資すべき未来の技術である核融合技術にも民間資金が投入され、宇宙開発も民間企業が担っている。

また、優秀な移民が多いため、最先端技術をベースとしたGAFAM(グーグル、アップル、フェイスブック、アマゾン、マイクロソフト)のような企業に世界から多様な人材が集まっている。実際にGAFAMのトップ(CEO)の多くが米国外で生まれである。アップルを創ったスティーブ・ジョブズも移民の子どもであり、GAFAMはアメリカ人以外の多国籍の人財のちからで成長したとも言える。

日本にも同じようにイノベーションを駆動する企業を創らなければならない。

そのためには、研究開発を強化するとともに、規制などを見直しイノベーションが生まれる制度を政府が設計しなければならない。

私は日本の一人当たりのGDPはアメリカと同じレベル(現状の1.5倍)まで引き上げることはそれほど難しいことではないと考えている。

要は、「国としての意志」の問題である。