Testimonies - Minamata Disease

KURIHARA Akira (Ed.) February 18, 2000, Iwanami Shoten, 4+206+10p.
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『Testimonies - Minamata Disease』

KURIHARA Akira (Ed.) February 18, 2000 Testimonies - Minamata Disease, Iwanami Shoten,4+206+10p. ISBN-10: 4004306582 ISBN-13: 978-4004306580 735 [amazon][kinokuniya] ※


□Introduction of its Contents from Publisher/Author
Now, it is worried that the accident of Minamata Disease might be forgotten. Can we really "forget" Minamata Disease? Tremendous death of families, discrimination and prejudice around them, a long fight with Chisso Corporation and the government and choice of acceptance of the proposed settlement... This book is the collection of testimonies of 10 patients to understand how they have lived and for what they have appealed with diseases. How should we respond to the question?

□Contents(From "BOOK" Database)
Tremendous death of familiar people, bitter discrimination and prejudice, a long fight with Chisso Corporation and the government and choice of acceptance of the proposed settlement... How have they lived and for what have appealed for with diseases? This book is the collection of testimonies of 10 patients' own experiences and feelings to question the sensitivity of the age.

■Table of Contents

Introductory chapter The dead and the unborn: Patients with Minamata disease tell (By KURIHARA Akira)
Chapter 1 Start of tragedy
 A young daughter becomes "strange disease" (By SHIMODA Ayako)
 From oblivion of destruction of a family (By ARAKI Yoko)
Chapter 2 Hidden damage
 Losing fishing (ARAKI Shunji)
 Leaving hometown (OMURA Tomie)
Chapter 3 Standing up by themselves
 Fighting alone (KAWAMOTO Teruo)
 Painful choice (SASAKI Kiyoto)
Chapter 4 With Minamata disease
 Living in the sea of Minamata (SUGIMOTO Eiko)
 Saved by buraku (NAKAMURA Miyoko)
Chapter 5 Questioning the present
 Reunion with the deceased (KINOSHITA Reiko)
 Whereabouts of soul (OGATA Masato)
The Origin of this book: Instead of postscript
Related literature on Minamata disease
Related chronology of Minamata disease

■Citation from the Book

Chapter 5 Questioning the present
 Whereabouts of soul (OGATA Masato) P.193〜196

Withdrawing a petition for patient status
 Meanwhile, I myself withdrew the petition for patient status I had been seeking. One of the reasons, I think, was that I had been following the whereabouts of the essential responsibility of the Minamata disease incident. Surely, in the incident it is true that the Chisso Corporation is the offending enterprise and the Japanese government and Kumamoto Prefecture have maintained the corporation's position and promoted the policy for prioritizing the industry. In that sense, it is structurally true that each of the three is the offender. However, I kept questioning whether the responsibility of the three, which I had thought there had been, was essential. I could not help wondering if there was a very big problem of human responsibility behind its structual responsibility.
 On the other hand, I wondered what the Minamata disease incident told us. The reason, I thought, was that what had been questioned for a long time was the offenders and it was natural. I have never thought that "I" was questioned. However, during the struggle at such places as the Kumamoto Prefecture, the Environmental Agency and the court, since an opponent that received what I threw out was always different, I was not able to see its element. And since there was no opponent that 'really' received what I threw out, it returned to me in the end. As a result of this, the question made me crazy. I think I was questioned, "How about you?" Once in the era when the Chisso Corporation kept poisoning and earned a lot of money if I had been its employee or executive, I had not been certain that I would not have done the same thing. This was what I was forced to ask myself.
 And I began to wonder what the Chisso Corporation was and what my opponent was. After struggling for a while, I finally found the huge 'system society'. What I meant by the "system society" was the law and system. Moreover, values of the era was structurally built in it. I thought that the society was very fearful. Since I felt I was about to be invloved in the system soon, I withdrew my petition for patient status and since then I had alerted other patients in my own way.

The Chisso Corporation is another self
 It is still important to consider what the Chisso Corporation was. I know it might be sudden, but I think that the Chisso Corporation is another self.
 Our era "has been driven by 'richness'", such as money, industry and convenient things. Our own life already exists in the huge and complex system and it is very difficult to get out of it. It is as if we were controlled by the contemporary values that caused the Minamata disease.
 Over the last 40 years we ourselves have bought cars and refrigerators in our private life and taken plastic ships in our work. What this means is that there are a lot of things in our houses that are made at chemical factories such as the Chisso Corporation. In those days the Chisso Corporation manufactured most of PVC used for pipes. As for liquid crystal, the situation is the same now. Thus, in case of the Minamata disease incident itself the Chisso Corporation have a responsibility but we are already "another Chisso" today. Isn't it "we" that asked for "modernization" and "richness" in this society? I think we need to break the spell of ourselves and get out of there.

Translated by KATAOKA Minoru
UP: November 2, 2010 REV:November 10, 2010/November 11, 2010/November 12, 2010/November 16, 2010
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