The Bright Light of September

As the autumn insects chirped merrily in the bushes, the harvest moon shone serenely in the sky. It was more radiant than ever.

I love the bright light of May and September. Among the four seasons of the year, these two months seem to be special. For living things, it is a force propelling evolution, repeating the cycle of appearing most spectacular, growing, and creating seeds for the next generation. It is the dispensation of nature.

In the case of rice plants, seeds sown in the previous year grow into seedlings, which are then planted in the paddy fields. Around May these rice plants flower and germinate. Under the bright light of September, they ripen, and the seeds for the following year are completed. The seeds are a link in time.

Both May and September are months of flowering and months of fruition. These months are full of life. Since ancient times people have held festivals to express gratitude and celebrate the harvest at this time of the year. It is an eternal custom.

With these thoughts in mind, recently I have been fascinated by the flowers and seeds of September and enchanted by the skies, clear despite the lingering heat of summer, and the bright light anticipating the deepening of autumn, limpid skies, and the gentleness of winter.

Looking at my notebook, I see that at the beginning of the year I wrote, “Aim for a broad perspective, but start with a narrow one.” In February I wrote, “It’s okay. Tomorrow a new life will be born once again.” And “moral law, heaven, earth, commander, and discipline.”

In March it was “Momentum means corralling advantages and controlling powers.” And then came 3/11: “An unprecedented natural disaster. All we can do is rescue the victims and take a new step forward. We must help one another with heartfelt assistance and compassionate action and speed up recovery by all means.”

“The most serious disaster, however, is the human one. The accidents at the nuclear power plant are bringing about all kinds of difficulties, and no progress whatsoever is being made under an incompetent political administration lacking any policy at all. This is giving rise to groundless rumors not only in Japan but overseas as well.”

“I was brought up in a rural household engaged in livestock farming. Without their owners, the beloved cows, pigs, and chicken that families raised like their own children will die a natural death or be killed. It pains me to think about what will happen. Politicians should have high aspirations and firmly implement countermeasures that show the way forward. There is nothing more miserable than policy-less politics.”

In April I wrote, “It is precisely a crisis that brings out the essence.”

In May I wrote, “The hazy twilight / Lights shine in the rose garden / Butterflies return / Fluttering wings / Children eat soup with wooden spoons / They play for a while then sleep / Smiling / I’m by their side.”

Then my notebook becomes blank. My anger at the earthquake, the tsunami, the nuclear power plant disaster, and the government’s clumsy response, which went entirely against the grain of humanity, had reached a climax. As a result of the Kan administration, the pride of the Japanese had been completely trampled underfoot. For businesspeople too, they were insipid days indeed.

In August I wrote, “Losing my mind / The world is hell / Beneath the scorching heat.” There was also this entry: “The realization of a new plan just requires an indefatigable spirit. If that is so, then march straight ahead with devotion, vision, pride, and strength.” And my starting point: “Let’s nurture things that create value and contribute to the development of the industry.”

The new administration has kicked off by embodying the old Japanese idea of “harmony should be valued.” The bright light of September and a new government . . . At the very least, I hope that it eases the unhappiness of the Japanese people that began with the Koizumi administration.