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2008年12月30日 (火)

余録:凍える年末年始

(Mainichi Japan) December 30, 2008

Linking sympathy with action amid hard times

余録:凍える年末年始

Around the time of the Great Tenmei Famine, when people were starving to death and riots were breaking out in various areas, about 100 people arrived at Kyoto Imperial Palace as if they were making a group shrine visit. After this, the number of people walking around the perimeter of the palace -- men and women, young and old -- began to increase day by day. It is said that eventually, the number of people who gathered, including those from Omi and Kawachi provinces, numbered 70,000.

 天明の飢饉(ききん)による餓死や打ちこわしが各地に広がっていたころだ。最初100人ほどが神社に参詣するように京都御所にやってきた。それを機に御所の周囲をめぐり歩く老若男女は日に日に増え、やがて近江や河内からも集まった人々は7万に達したという

The group activity that came to be called "1,000-time Imperial palace visits," started because the people who sought relief from poverty from the Kyoto magistrate's office were ignored. Retired emperors and court nobles, who began to hand out apples and rice balls to commoners, and Emperor Kokaku, through the Kyoto Shoshidai administrative office, asked the shogunate to provide relief for the poor -- an act unheard of in the history of the shogunate government. It was an event that was said to lead to the downfall of the shogunate's control of the Imperial Court and the rise of debate on reverence of the emperor.

▲「御所千度参り」と呼ばれるおかげ参りのような群衆行動は、窮民救済を京都奉行所に求めた民衆が相手にされなかったために始まったものだった。上皇や公家は人々にリンゴや握り飯をふるまい、光格天皇が京都所司代を通じ幕府に窮民救済を求める幕政史上異例の事態になった


The despair of people at a government that would not help starving people ended up leading to a historical movement, and sympathy over the suffering and sadness of those facing hard times can sometimes exert tremendous force.

▲幕府の朝廷統制のほころびと、幕末の尊皇論台頭のきっかけとされる事件である。飢える人を救えない政治への民衆の絶望はやがて歴史の地殻変動につながった。困窮する人の苦しみや悲しみへの人々の共感は時にすさまじい力をあらわす

In modern times, Japan was said to have a safety net for the poor. But with the economic downturn sweeping the globe, it has become a tough year-end period for many people, who could literally end up out in the cold. For those without a roof over their heads, the week around Jan. 1 -- when the functions of society all but come to a halt -- is a particularly tough time.

▲さて窮乏へのセーフティーネット(安全網)ならあるといわれていた現代日本だ。だが、いざ世界不況の波を受ければ、多くの人が凍えかねない試練の年末年始になった。とりわけ住む場所を失った人には社会機能の止まる1週間は厳しい

As expected, Hello Work employment counters were due to be open until Dec. 30 and talk with those who had lost their jobs and were seeking employment and housing. However, in politics, where we often hear that the type of financial crisis we are seeing happens only "once in 100 years," can we say that measures to meet the year-end and new-year period are also at a once in 100 year high?

▲さすがに各地の主要なハローワークは30日まで窓口を開き、職や住居を探す失業者の相談に応じるという。しかし「100年に一度の経済危機」と繰り返す政治にあって、100年に一度の年末年始に見合う対策は尽くされたといえるのか

The circumstances of both those preparing to greet the new year as usual, and those displaced workers left out in the cold, stabs at our consciences. And while there is plenty of sympathy for those freezing, action is a lot harder to come by. ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)

▲普段の年のように新年を迎える準備にあわただしい人も、寒風の中の離職者の境遇が心に突きささる年の瀬である。凍えるつらさへの共感が、凍える人々への実のある支援に容易に結びつかぬこの間の成り行きがもどかしい。

毎日新聞 20081228日 006

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