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Story “Festival of Life” by KUSABA Kazuhisa

いのちのまつり

Prologue

The world is reeling. Politics, economics, the environment, education...We have reached an impasse in various fields.
There is a sense of stagnation enveloping the world; a simplistic sense of values where everything is divided into winners and losers. Although Japan is supposedly an affluent nation, the meaning of “happiness” and “common sense” is becoming less and less clear.
I think this situation is the result of losing sight of the “core”.
What, then, is the “core”?
In my opinion, it is “to connect life” and to be aware of it.
Isn’t the purpose of politics, economics and education in order to better develop and continue life?
Now, however, the reverse is true.
We have not undertaken life with life as the focus. I feel that not only human beings, but all life is being treated as merely a tool of politics and economics.
How many adults can give a clear answer as to why they live, why they learn, and why they work? Expressed in an American way, it might be self-fulfillment or success motivation.
However, that is just a visible pipedream such as honor, status or money and nothing more than an individual’s “purpose”. And the purpose will change depending on the values of the individual and the occasion. It wavers.

草場一壽 作業イメージ

The Spread of the Picture Book “Festival of Life”

It was in 2004 that the picture book “Festival of Life: Where do I come from?” was first published nationwide. Initially, this book was self-published in order to share with a limited number of people, but it came to the attention of Sunmark Publishing which published it nationwide. In no time it went through several printings, the number of copies printed exceeding 300,000. Currently it is assigned as a supplementary reader for elementary school morality classes and it has been published in several other countries. To be honest, its popularity has surprised even me.
Later, five more books were published as part of the “Festival of Life” series: “Connected!” in 2007, “Thank Goodness” in 2010, “The Man Who Sells Happiness” in 2012, “Shining” in 2013, and “To the Future” in 2015.
All of these books take “Life” as their theme. As the author, nothing could make me happier than having so many people read them, but at the same time I believe it is a testament to just how much “Life” education is currently needed.

絵本読み聞かせ風景

The Message of “Festival of Life”

I also realize that the number of people who are aware of such things is definitely increasing. Life is not something that I can call my own. It is arrogant in a sense to think of it as only belonging to me.
Life has reached this point after having traveled with every species together with extraordinary history, and it is the role of those who live to better connect life to the next.
Moreover, as adults, in this age where life is fragile and easily treated roughly, we must fulfill the role of communicating to the children what the essence of “Life” is.
It is also an age when adults should first and foremost talk about Life.
I would like to express my gratitude to all the irreplaceable people I’ve met in my life.
Passing through all the magnificent history of life and considering all the billions of people in the world, every encounter I have had is nothing short of a miracle.
But it is my very existence here as the result of a mindboggling number of years of continued life that is the true miracle.