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2015年7月27日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:やらざるをえないもの /東京

July 26, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the heart: Things that we feel compelled to do
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:やらざるをえないもの /東京

The Akutagawa Prize, which is awarded twice yearly, is an extremely prestigious honor among writers. The winners of the most recent competition -- the 153rd in its history -- were "Scrap and Build" by Keisuke Hada, and "Hibana" by Naoki Matayoshi.

Matayoshi is one-half of the comedy duo "Peace," and he may often be seen on television. The main character in his novel is similarly a comedian, who undertakes a quest to advance to a full-fledged master of humor under a comedy mentor.

The novel portrays the dedication with which the performer strives to become a star -- efforts that are so extreme, in fact, that what begins as a light story gradually becomes quite intense for the reader.

Author Amy Yamada, an Akutagawa Prize judge, spoke on behalf of the selection committee during a press conference -- and I found her description of Matayoshi's novel striking. "The work seems to be portraying a poignant story that the author felt compelled to tell," she commented. "While the novel does have its faults, it left me with an overall feeling that was quite strong."

This phrase "felt compelled to..." is one that I had not heard for a very long time -- and it represents a feeling that I had long forgotten.

I leave every morning for the university or for my office, where I then give lectures or see patients. When deadlines approach, I write my columns. Although I do attempt to give my best efforts for such pursuits, I find myself feeling very relieved on my days off. And on some days, I find myself thinking, "Truthfully, I would just rather not go in to work today."

In other words, the phrase "compelled to..." represents a strong feeling from which I have become alienated. Without realizing it, I suppose that I have taken on the attitude of simply doing things "because it is my job."

As for my young students at university, they are involved with their studies, club activities, and part-time jobs. While I am sure that these are all activities they enjoy doing, it is my guess that they rarely feel so strongly about something that they are "compelled" to do it.

When handing in reports, my students sometimes include their own opinions, prefaced with something like this: "I know this is not directly related to the subject at hand, but I really felt like I had to write it." It is precisely this type of feeling that I hope these students will continue to cultivate.

Matayoshi works as a comedian, but he additionally penned a novel because he "felt compelled" to do so -- even though it might have been more beneficial for him as a performer to have spent that time appearing on television or doing comedy shows. In order to engage in this novel-writing endeavor, I'm sure that he must have also gained the understanding of his comedy partner and others around him.

I would love to once again engage in something because I felt compelled to do so -- even if it meant pushing myself beyond my own limits in the process. And it is none other than Matayoshi's work that has inspired me with this feeling.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年07月22日 地方版


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