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2012年11月 2日 (金)

古典の日 伝統文化への理解を深めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 2, 2012)
Think about traditional arts and culture on 1st Classics Day
古典の日 伝統文化への理解を深めたい(11月1日付・読売社説)

Today is Classics Day. It has its origins in "The Tale of Genji," as Lady Murasaki referred to the masterpiece in her diary, "Murasaki Shikibu Diary," on a page recounting Nov. 1, 1008.

A bill covering Classics Day, which was submitted by a suprapartisan group of Diet members, was enacted into law during the last ordinary Diet session.

The law defined classics as superb literature, music, art, traditional performing arts and other cultural products that have been passed down from ancient times. The idea behind the law is to enhance people's appreciation of the classics.

The classics have withstood the tests of time and history, and we can say they are the fruits of people's knowledge and wisdom. To touch the hearts of ancient people through them could also be a foundation to create new culture.

The Cultural Affairs Agency is scheduled to host a symposium commemorating Classics Day today. Various events, such as presentations of traditional performing arts, will be held across the nation. Autumn is considered the best season for art, so how about spending the day soaking in the charm of the classics?


Scholastic education is the key

For many people, the world "classics" is associated with classic literature such as "The Tale of Genji" and "The Pillow Book." Everyone has studied these books in school, but I imagine most adults do not have time to read them.

A precondition for people to maintain interest in the classics would be to teach the magnificence of the classics in school in an easy-to-follow way. The government's new official guidelines for teaching at primary and middle schools stipulate the goal of enriching the quality of teaching Japanese tradition and culture.

Starting this year, the Kyoto municipal government has set a goal of introducing programs to let students experience ikebana and tea ceremonies at all public primary and middle schools. Tokyo's Setagaya Ward has already introduced classes teaching haiku and other forms of Japanese poetry, the Analects of Confucius and Chinese poetry at primary schools using original teaching materials. The classes have proven popular.

Schools should work hard on expanding classics teaching through such efforts as providing opportunities for students to experience noh and kabuki.


Govt assistance important

The new law urges the central and local governments to take necessary measures to make the classics more accessible to people. It will be important for the governments to provide a certain level of assistance to traditional performing arts to help them continue their activities, such as helping them nurture young talent.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto once said the city would freeze subsidies to bunraku puppetry, which originated in Osaka. However, after discussions with bunraku officials, Hashimoto retracted the policy.

Some of Hashimoto's remarks on bunraku were off the mark, such as the one describing the bunraku establishment as "the privileged class." It seemed as if he was hostile toward bunraku. However, some of his comments made sense, such as the necessity of bunraku making its subsidy use transparent.

We need to develop not only bunraku but also other traditional performing arts and culture and hand them over to the next generation. To accomplish this important task, both the public and private sectors need to have more lively discussions.

It is good to think about such things today, as this is the first time we experience Classics Day.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 1, 2012)
(2012年11月1日08時23分  読売新聞)


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