BUSHIDO, Samurai in this day and age

Hello, how are you doing? Today, I want to focus on bushido and samurai spirit. Whenever I have an opportunity to tour-guide foreign guests in Japan, quite many people ask me about samurai. They ask if samurai is still walking on the street or they say they believed that they would come across samurai if they came to Japan. In such an occasion, I would answer “My ancestors were samurai but they abandoned the samurai lifestyle more than 100 years ago. However, the spirit of samurai, or samurai genes are still living in our blood.” Large number of foreign guests are very interested in Japanese ancient history, so when I share some stories of samurai, or  background of the emperor and the royal family, they pay much respect and listen attentively.

みなさん、こんにちは。今日は、武士道または侍について綴ってみたいと思います。外国から来た人々に日本を案内すると、非常にしばしば侍について質問を受けます。「侍は普通に道を歩いていないのか?」或いは、「日本に来れば侍に会えると思っていた。」などなど。そういう時は「私の先祖は侍だったけれども、百年ほど前にもう侍の暮らしは捨ててしまった。だけど、侍の精神性はまだ日本人の血の中に残っています。」という風に答えます。多くの外国人は日本の歴史について、大変興味を持っているものなので、侍の話や天皇陛下や皇室の歴史を説明すると熱心に耳を傾け、日本に敬意を払いつつ感心しながら聞いてくれます。

Among Japanese, who I especially believe to hold on samurai spirit and has been struggling with a lonesome battle is an actor singer, Takuya Kimura, who is also known as Kimutaku. The popularity of Takuya might be declining throughout the show business career nearly 30 years, however he was entitled as the most attractive actor for 20 solid years. It is worth admiring  as the entertainment business is so competitive in Japan, new talent come and go. The reason why Takuya was astonishingly popular was that his spirit and mentality is one of a kind. For some years he wasn’t allowed to get married with a woman he dearly loved. His production company was against it and the anger and the hidden irritation of Takuya was reveled on magazine interviews and such. He was unable to point out the issue, but some kind of sexiness was oozing and he was  irresistibly alluring. A movie, Takuya played a role of samurai, “Love and Honor” was also so appealing. People can sense that Takuya has a samurai spirit, he values on some sort of great dignity as a Japanese.

日本人の中で、この人は侍の魂を持ち続け、一人孤独な戦いを続けていると私が個人的にいつも思うのは、俳優で歌手の木村拓哉です。木村拓哉の人気は三十年近くにも上る芸能生活で、いまはやや下降しているかもしれませんが、彼の隆盛期は入れ替わりが激烈な日本の芸能界で実に約二十年続きました。木村拓哉が一人勝ちを続けた理由は、何よりも彼の精神性の格好良さにあると思います。特に事務所に大反対されてまで工藤静香と結婚するまでの何年かは、彼のインタビュー記事を雑誌で読む度に、匂いやかな男の色気と闘う男の孤独と苛立ちが伝わって来て、強烈なフェロモンが放出されていました。彼の主演の「武士の一分」も良い映画でしたが、彼には何処かしら侍を思わせる潔さと奥に秘めたる日本人としての矜持があるのです。

The production company gave tremendous pressure against their marriage, however he never gave in to it. He chose to marry a woman, a singer Shizuka Kudo, whom he truly loved. Takuya had a strong commitment and he chose what he believed to be right, rather than the commercial strategies. The attitude of his own is nothing but genuine and not made up by direction nor stage effect. That’s the reason why he kept attracting so many people. Since very young, Takuya looked up to Shizuka. And Shizuka who is older than Takuya had some affairs before him. Takuya was too young at the time. I bet Takuya must have had tears countless times that were never shown to others. Takuya only wanted a heart of Shizuka, not the huge popularity. One time he was asked what is his type and he answered he likes a woman who has heavy luggage both of her hands and she would put it down if front of her sweetheart, but never depend on him, after a while she would start walking again with the luggage. I know he was talking about Shizuka who dived into the stormy ocean of the entertainment industry when still a young teenager to support her family and managed to swim along the way.

オールオアナッシングに賭けることが出来る、人生の勝負どきに目を逸らさないブレない軸は生き様から出てくるもので、それは演出によって作り上げられたものではなく、だからこそ多くの人を非常に長い期間に渡って魅了して来たのだと思います。ごく若い頃より木村拓哉はずっと静香に憧れていて、静香はいろんな男と浮き名を流したけれど、まだまだ坊やだった彼は相手にして貰えませんでした。きっと彼は決して人には見せない涙を何度も流したと思います。日本中の女に騒がれることよりも、たった一人の女の心が欲しかった。結婚前にインタビューでどんな女性が好きかと聞かれて「重い荷物を両手に持っていて、恋人の前ではその荷物を下ろすけど、決して相手に依存したりはせずに、またその荷物をヒョイと持ち上げて歩いていける女性が好き。」と答えていました。それは十代で一家の家計を担うために芸能界という荒波に飛び込んで、一人泳いで来た静香に向けた言葉だったのでしょう。

Speaking of Takuya, I’ve never heard of any rumors of affairs after marriage. I think Takuya is unbelievably sexy, and being too popular that he is sometimes fed up with the fact, but I guess he is the one who would truly love and dedicate himself to a special lady of his own. The entertainment industry is filled with show and display, in other words lies and vanity. I know Takuya must also have told lies countless times to protect himself. However, he devoted himself to the love with Shizuka. Takuya must have seen true affection in Shizuka and he was surrounded with her deep heart, he must have decided to sacrifice everything to protect the love.

木村拓哉に関して言えば、結婚以来、静香以外の女性の影を聞いたことがありません。彼はとてもセクシーで、きっと自分でも嫌気がさすくらいモテるのだけれど、それとは裏腹にとても一途な思いを抱き続ける人なのだと思います。嘘と虚飾にまみれた芸能界にあって、彼がスレていない訳はないと思います。彼自身も自分を守るために、つきたくない嘘をたくさんついて来たことでしょう。でも、静香との愛に関しては己を貫き通した。世間的なイメージとは異なる芯の強さを彼女の中に見て、彼女の心の深さに包まれて、自分自身を捧げると誓ったのでしょう。

In Japan, super idols are not permitted  to get married smoothly. It could be so controversial and sensational. When the time Takuya married Shizuka, I assume he had a contract with the production company that he would not talk about Shizuka nor his home in public. And he kept on acting an idol image what is hoped to be right after getting married and becoming a father of two. He chose to be a professional and he was struggling to be in the position. He is matured as a guy but it seemed his maturity was not accepted by the agents quite a while. We, audience could sense his agony and his lonesome battle, we were unable to not to pay attention to him.

彼はトップアイドルが人気の絶頂で結婚を貫くという禁じ手を打つときに、事務所との取り決めで絶対に家庭の話を妻の話を公ではしないと約束を交わしたのではないか。そして夫となり二児の父となった後も、アイドルとして求められる像をプロフェッショナルにお茶の間に提供し続けて来ました。成熟した一人の男としての自己像と、成熟を良しとしない永遠のアイドル像との間に横たわる大きな溝に苦しみながら、それでも職人気質の彼はプロフェッショナリズムの誇りを必死で守り続けた。その葛藤が苦しみが透けて見えるから、その苦悩すらも魅力になって人は目を離せなかったのだと思います。

I love and respect who is sincerely noble. Not someone who shows off his/her good quality, but someone who would choose never to do something he/she doesn’t approve in any situation. He/She prioritize the basic principle which he/she would not promote nor brag up loudly. And in the long run, the principal and the attitude would be transformed into the charm of his/her own. That charm is hard to win in a day or two. It is enriched gradually in that person taking much time since childhood. And every time I’m blessed to have a fortune to encounter a person like him/her. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

人にどう思われるかを気にして慎ましやかにしている品の良さではなくて、人としてするべきではないことはしない、別に誰に見せるわけでもないのに信条を自分の中に持っていて、それを守り通す潔さをごく自然に身につけている人が好きです。男女を問わず。そういうものは一昼夜にして得られるものではなく、幼い頃から自分が自分自身を諌めて培われるものだと思います。そしてそういう人と巡り会う幸運を得る度に、私は生きていることを深く感謝するのです。

That’s all for today. Abundant blessings to each one of you!

それではまた。皆様一人ひとりに溢れる祝福がありますように!心より

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