August 15, 2017
Definition of Japanese People by Hayao Miyazaki
A prominent animated film maker, Hayao Miyazaki held a press conference in Ghibli studio in Koganei city, Tokyo on July 13th of 2016 to talk about his inauguration for becoming the chair of the Henoko foundation. The Henoko foundation is a non-profit organization to oppose the construction of a new US base in Henoko, Okinawa. Many foreign journalists participated in this press conference as this press conference was hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. Among many journalists, a French correspondent, Joel Legendre stated that when another French correspondent asked Yukio Mishima what it is to be Japanese, he answered, “to be invisible”. Legendre then asked Miyazaki the same question. Miyazaki answered that Japanese people are those who live on a set of small islands in the corner of the world and they should be people who live peacefully on this small corner of the world.
Unfortunately, efforts made by activists are in vain, the process of reclaiming the land in the ocean of Henoko has just begun on April 25, 2017. Once the reclaiming of land is completed, it is impossible to move it back.
In these moments of difficulty for those who oppose the construction of the Henoko base, this definition of Japanese people should be thought about with regards to pacifism and the idea of Japanese people living peacefully.
Below is a transcript of Miyazaki’s answer.
I believe that we are that people that live on a set of small islands on the corner of the world. And we should be the people who are able to live peacefully on the small corner of the earth. After all we have water, we are blessed with great greenery and nature. We don’t have great resources, but we have enough resources to produce our main staple, rice. I believe in other words that the present current modern lifestyle we see in Japan, is basically the result of bringing together many many things aspects of life styles from around the world. We go through each new life style quickly and throw them away. This kind of living I think unsustainable in the long run. In regards to your question, what is to be a Japanese, a sense of being Japanese, I really do not know how to answer that question what the answer is, but I believe that we do possess the wisdom to live our corner of the earth. The world in peace.
Source Youtube Video by Video News「米軍基地は日本全体で負担すべき」スタジオジブリの宮崎駿監督が外国記者と会見