Cornerstone: Chapter 17-1

The following is a translation of an excerpt from Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai (Cornerstone: The Faith and Life of Genjiro Kashihara) by Teruo Nishiyama. Note: This translation is a provisional one and may need to undergo further revision.

Note: This translation is presently incomplete.

Yelling at Scorched Earth

There are times when human beings take on characteristics even lower than animals after losing their sense of honor and confidence. There was no way that Japan’s defeat on August 15 would not have a profound affect on its people. The country was in a state of disorder. People bared their basest desires, making frantic efforts in order to eat and survive. All forms of established authority were renounced, ridiculed, and treated like scraps of paper. Beauty and strength disappeared from people’s hearts.

It was if an entirely different race had emerged in just a single day. When there are no ideals to cherish, no homes to live in, and no rice to eat, the depths of wretchedness to which people could fall to surpass the imagination.

Yoshinori stood on the scorched earth with tears dripping down his face. He could not help but be flooded with the desire to rebuild Japan by all means possible.

He saw how his father Genjiro simply kept devoting himself toward saving people’s minds one after another. Genjiro had no doubts about what he ought to do. Yoshinori too thought there was no doubt that this was the path a religionist ought to take. Yet when faced with such unprecedented circumstances, was it possible to rebuild Japan with such efforts alone?

Yoshinori made a name for himself by giving lectures at schools throughout Tokushima Prefecture before the war. He felt that this was precisely the time to double up one’s courage and pass on the torch of great ideals to young students rendered spiritless by Japan’s defeat.

When school began, Yoshinori took a packed lunch with him to give lectures at each school.

“My dear students of this defeated nation! I myself am a religionist of this same defeated nation. You may wonder what this religionist of this defeated nation has to say to you.

“Our Empire of Japan has collapsed, but the Japanese people are alive and well. We Japanese may have fought against 42 countries and lost, but we are great. You should not lose confidence in any way.

“Our remarkable race has enough potential to remake Japan into an industrial and cultural nation. All of you will be able to work to your heart’s content and become leading figures of this industrial, cultural Japan. Japan will become great. This has to happen.

“But of course, the road will not be easy. You must be ready for a steep road ahead. This cannot be accomplished by sitting still.” As they say, ‘Idleness will eat away even a mountain of riches.’

“What you first need to do is to stand up, not using your feet but using your hearts. Nothing be can accomplished unless your ideals are high and your hearts are opened wide.

“Dear students, there is no need for us to be conservative or temporizing just because we have been defeated once. Even the Germans and the French achieved glory after having rising from the ashes of defeat in war. There is nothing bad about defeat. It is worst when we allow our hearts to be defeated and lose the drive to rise once again.

“When we open the history books of East and West, we see that the Mongols, headed by Genghis Khan, conquered the world through military strength. However, when they suffered a massive defeat, they secluded themselves in the barren deserts of Mongolia and chose a conservative and temporizing existence, never again to rise again in the annals of world history.

“Defeated in war, Japan has become confined to a fate of being an easternmost island nation. Now, dear students, will you become like the Mongols and chose a conservative and temporizing existence? Or will you raise grand ideals and devote yourselves to getting an education? There will be a huge difference in Japan’s potential future depending on which you choose.

“The fate of Japan will open up depending on the hearts of each person. Dear students, you have the strength to do this! ” ここでがんばらなくて、いつがんばる時があるというのだ