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Vol. 3, No. 1 (Autumn 2012) Published on November 1st, 2012
Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 2011) Contents
Preface Ozawa Ichirō and Japan’s Political ‘Revolution’
Column by Dick Stegewerns
Dealing with death and disaster
Article by H. van der Veere
Kitō and Go-senzo-sama
Calligraphy by Arthur Witteveen
De speelman en zijn aapje – Deel II
Article by Henk Akkermans
The Words of a Mad Doctor
Article by W.J. Boot
'Vroeg in de middag'
Article by Frans B. Verwayen
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Preface

Inevitably, the disasters that struck Japan in March continue to ‘draw their tail’, as the Japanese phrase goes, affecting daily life, society, the economy, and the political situation. In view of the tremendous loss of life, and of the dent in the Japanese self-esteem caused by the nuclear calamity in Fukushima, this will amaze no one. It will take a long time for the individual and collective trauma to disappear. Two of the contributions in this last issue of our journal in 2011 are directly or indirectly inspired by the consequences of the flood. Hendrik van der Veere’s contribution analyses the ritual and religious problems that confront the survivors who mourn the disappearance of entire families and communities. What do you do, when the usual supports of the ceremonial are unavailable? When there is no body to cremate, no temple to go to, and the house altar and family grave have been swept away? Thanks to his Buddhist training and temple affiliation, Van der Veere is able to give an insightful, authoritative account of the difficulties mourners in Japan’s North-east encounter, and of how they cope with them. Key terms in this context are ‘ancestors’ (gosenzo-sama) and ‘prayer’ (kitō). These two words inspired Arthur Witteveen’s calligraphies. As he explains himself, the characters are written in two appropriately different styles.
        Politics, in the meantime, went their own callous way. Inadequate handling of the aftermath of the earthquake was as good a pretext as any for some members of the Democratic Party who wanted to topple their Prime Minister Kan Naoto. The various factions, all supporting their own candidates, girded their loins and engaged in battle, but in the end it was not the candidate supported by Ōzawa Ichirō, the leader of the anti-Kan faction, who succeeded Kan, but the more neutral Noda Yoshihiko. In his column, Dick Stegewerns analyses the context of the fight, and the personality of Ozawa.
        Frans Verwayen contributed the translation of the modern poem 'Namiddag', describing morose reflections in a station cafeteria. As the cafeteria is 'filled with the Japanese people' drinking beer, one imagines a holiday afternoon, but the atmosphere can hardly be called festive. Older poetry, of a more ebullient nature, is found in Henk Akkermans’ translation of the third and fourth sequences of linked verse of the haiku anthology Sarumino (1691). After the sequences 'Winter' and 'Summer' of the third issue of this year, we now have the sequences 'Autumn' and 'Spring', again accompanied by Akkermans’ informed comments on the genre and his notes on the individual verses.
        The final contribution is my translation (with notes and introduction) of an essay in praise of Dutch medicine that Sugita Genpaku (1733-1871) composed in 1775. Genpaku, in later years the doyen of Dutch Studies in Edo, wrote the essay in the year after the translation of Kulmus' Ontleedkundige tafelen was published, which event put Dutch Studies on the map and turned Genpaku into a controversial figure.
 

On behalf of the Editorial Board
W.J. Boot
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