香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「敵」の健闘たたえる余裕 /東京

September 21, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Learning how to praise our 'enemies'
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「敵」の健闘たたえる余裕 /東京

I recently went to Tokyo Dome to watch a professional baseball game.

The Yomiuri Giants were not playing that evening, as this was one of the several games hosted there yearly by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

They were playing against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, who are presently at the top of the Pacific League.

The Fighters were on top of the game from start to finish. The climax occurred when Atsunori Inaba, who recently announced his retirement, went up to bat as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning -- likely the last time he would appear during a game hosted by his team at the Tokyo Dome.

When Inaba was called to the plate, a murmur could be heard rippling through the crowd.

Shortly afterward, the entire stadium audience rose to their feet.

Fighters' fans leaped into the air and broke out with a rendition of the famous "Inaba jump" -- but it soon became clear that they were not alone. On the left side of the stands, as well as behind third base, SoftBank supporters were jumping right along with them.

Inaba unfortunately did not manage to score a hit, but as he left the plate, he was accompanied by loud applause from all around the stands.

He waved to both sides of the crowd, wiping away tears several times. Fighters Manager Hideki Kuriyama later told him, "I was moved as well."

There is an expression in the Japanese language that may be loosely translated as "praising someone even though they may be an enemy."

The phrase is said to have originated in the act of military commanders lauding their opponents' brave fights -- a description that seems to describe the feelings on the part of the SoftBank fans at that moment.

This incident also called to mind the proverb that refers to "sending salt to one's enemy."

It goes without saying, but this refers to the conscious decision of offering support to one's enemies while not engaged in battle with them.

The origin of the phrase is an incident that occurred during the Sengoku ("Warring States") period, when Uesugi Kenshin refused to comply with the Imagawa clan's demand that he halt salt exports to his enemy Takeda Shingen -- instead providing him with the shipments of salt.

While the topic at hand is of course sports, which is a world unto itself, I must say that this incident I witnessed -- whereby an entire group of people naturally began congratulating someone else, without having been told to do so, and irrespective of whether that person was an associate or an opponent -- left a very strong impression upon me indeed.

We are constantly subjected to intense competition in our daily lives, and we often consume all of our energy trying to seek out our rivals' vulnerabilities while in turn concealing our own.

After we have cut down someone else whom we have identified as an "enemy," and gone on to declare our own victory, however, I wonder: Can we really feel good about ourselves?

I had many thoughts after I watched baseball fans passionately bidding farewell to Inaba that evening, including this one: Somewhere along the line, have many of us not forgotten the lesson from the Sengoku period to treat enemies and vanquished persons with respect, and to wish them well?

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年09月17日 地方版

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