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TEDxSeeds-Shimizu_Han_Eiji-12/12/09

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Hello everyone. My speech will be an easy one to listen. Neither master nor anyone like that comes up on stage. I was an ordinary businessman until I was 35 years old. So, I still have few stories to talk from my project, which are still developing and not quite like ones compared to the previous speakers with their proud history, but please stay with me. The first thing I am talking today is I’ve always been a big fan of TED. For years, I’ve been podcasting TED videos with my ipod watching them on my way to work, and wishing that TED would get more popular in the world. I am so happy that TEDxSeeds conference comes true. I just want to thank all the volunteers who organized this conference. Everyone please give them a round of applause. According to their booklet, purpose of this conference is to spread Japanese ideas to the world. In another point of view, they maybe organized this event because they are concerned about Japan losing it’s existence in the world. Today, I am working on not only Manga (graphic noble) but shooting a documentary film as well. I travel all around the world, which made me hard to find the one to marry till this age, While I have been traveling, but as I see the world I do also have misgivings that meaning of Japan’s existence is degrading  economically, culturally, and politically. I don’t know if that the reason or not but honestly speaking, I have a feeling that  Japan is kind of losing its liveliness and confidence. When I was feeling down, but I often heard the words “COOL JAPAN” recently. I was happy to hear that. Teenagers in EU and US are inspired by Japanese Anime and Manga. I thought it’s a great opportunity for Japan culture to be noticed in the world. That's great, isn't it? So, I decided to do some research about “COOL JAPAN”. I googled it and found out some pictures like this. wait a minute... Something like this "Cool Japan" came up. (laugh) Umm… was not quite what I’ve imagined, I believe some of you are around my age, so I think you can agree with me. Around my generation, We learned the big dream from "Ashitano-Jo", guts from "Kyojin-no-hoshi" . bleakness and vanity of war from “Hadashi no Gen” and bittersweet feelings of love from "Haikara-san ga toru." Major parts of our values were taught and build by these Manga and Anime. Those made us who we are today, so I was disappointed how today’s Japan’s image was introduced in foreign countries. I believe there’s more potential.  And I do feel “COOL JAPAN” does have more potential to it. By the way, as I was introduced previously,my name is Eiji Han Shimizu. I’m a Korean-Japanese. Therefore I have experienced discrimination when I was a child. Recently I’m feeling little confused that Korea is getting popular in Japan. but basically I grew up with the feeling of anger towards people discriminating and grinding others.  The documentary that I am working on right now is about war and poverty happening this minute.  Just as Mr. Saito has mentioned stories about children killed by war which happened 60 years ago but are still happening today. I was reacknowledged by watching documentary films that discriminations or wars are wrong. Since I used to work at publishing company, So obviously, I know how to publish a book. By using Japanese Manga as a media it must be possible to depict something like world’s irrationalness. That’s the reason behind my project. My project is describing lives and stories of great heroes, such as Madame Curie, Wright brothers, Babe Ruth. I believe a lot of you have read those. In my project I am making one of those novels. Especially I focused on  these people on the screen, Che Guevarra, The Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and Mahatma Gandhi. Those who fought for their lives to save the oppressed people. A true super heroes. Real justice. I'm making those hero's Mangas. Reading actual biography of The Dalai Lama is desirable, but it has enormous number of pages, Gandhi’s is even more. People would lose their drive to read it. But by Manga, very unique Japanese method, long complex stories can be  easy to read and to understand.  I think it’s wonderful. By actually reviewing the progress they've made, we find many historical events, some includes the irrationalness that I have mentioned. Let me introduce some of it to you. (preparing slides) This is an English version Manga about Tiananmen Square incident. This one is still in progress but it’s a Manga about Aung San Suu Kyi. describing the democratization of Burma, including how Japanese businessmen have involved during those times and how it is supporting today’s products. I’m dealing with various touchy subjects. For example, by creating Manga about Islam and Hindooism. I transmit religious conflicts towards the world. Talking about irrationalness, of course I do cover Iraq war. Here’s George W. Bush and Heartbrakers. Dissent opinions are written in it as well. (preparing slides) So, roughly I’ve talked about a profile of Manga  and it’s status now. I’m getting many responses, this series of Manga will be translated in to 6 languages and published in 20 countries in 2010. I am very delighted. Now the last half of my speech, I want to be little specific I want to discuss “non-violence” This keyword reminds us of things we learned from elementary or junior high text books such as the philosophy that Gandhi achieved indepednece, or the civil-rights movement that Martin Luther King Jr. gained black people right to vote. “Non-violence” has overcome difficult challenges. But, honestly, it’s really hard to see what it is. On the other hand, compared to “non-violence”, violence is much more easier for media to describe. One guy punchs another like this, and he’ll have a nosebleed and stuff. By just discribing this,“violence” is really easy to show. But, if we can describe the other approach with a great impact that is non-violence like the one which freed India from British Empire after 90 years of its control, and the one which politically eliminated racial bias against African-Americans after a long history of slavery and discrimination. If it's possible to describe “non-violence” clear in media, if we can make the great power of “non-violence” visible, some may see me a bit extreme, but people who continue the wars today and those who are about to stand up with armed force may realize how powerful “non-violence” is. I don’t know if they will employ it, but if they could see “non-violence” as one of their options, I thought it is worth it to make its Manga. So, one and a half years ago, I started producing Manga about “non-violence”. I started with Gandhi. On the way to creation, because episodes about Gandhi are based on a true story and since there are many movies and books about him, I thought we should check out how other media depict his non-violence. And then, I did some research. This is the famous Salt Satyagraha. In 1930, Gandhi led nation for 340 kilometers. Back then, English colonial government had a monopoly in the salt market. But Gandhi nation augustly went to shore and started making salt in front of officers. This non-violence and non-objection event was the trigger to reach a threshold to independence movement in India. Here we have a documentary about it. So please have a look. (Movie playing) Lots of kinds of media have depicted this historical event. Next we see is print media. This is the article from newspaper. I’ll read it out loud. (Reading out) (Reading out) (Reading out) (Reading out) (Reading out) (Reading out) This article rouses emotion and imagination from the expression about the event, and I think this is remarkable journalism. So this was an example of print media. Now, let’s see how Hollywood depicted Salt Satyagraha. I am playing it in a second. Film depicted it very well, using graphical contents and music this way. (Movie playing) So this is how film shows it. This film “Gandhi” is a masterpiece that won nine Academy Awards including best picture. But somehow “non-violence” it self didn’t really made a big impression. The point of our Manga is to make great impact of “non-violence”, But we got stuck how to depict the true power of non-violence at that time. So, we did some more research and then Martin Luther King came to be our breakthrough. Martin Luther King mentioned the essence of non-violence in his book. He said, “the nonviolent resister does not seek to defeat the opponent”. “It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor (but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption.)” http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1131 This gave me an understanding. So, I thought if I depicted the sense of shame well, if I described it straight, power of non-violence would come through to the readers. Point is, English citizens and white Americans including those who supported for the civil-rights movements started disliking and feeling ashamed of themselves and other parties who persecuted others. In such situations, such big reforms happened, I believe. Now, when I try to depict that in Manga, maybe something like cops with bats are very furious and fret aloud about crowds go against them. And at the same time, they feel grievous about themselves hurting non-resistants. We can see their sadness from his face. Sad and furious expression. And he knows what’s right so he also looks ashamed as well. It’s not easy to depict an expression with all those three emotions mixed together in a text form and it’s also hard for an Academy-winning actor to make that kind of expression. But I thought maybe Manga can do it. So we decided to put emphasis on it. Then, I looked for manga artists who can depict that psychological complexity. I researched through the web. And, I found this cartoonist site. His drawing was picturesque enough and moreover, it's power of expression in his Manga. Deformation and choice of words for scenes and characters put life in to his Manga. So we decided to have a partnership with him and started creating this Manga one year and a half ago. OK, now I would like to go on to the next. but I don’t have much time left so I’ll speed up a little. The Salt Satyagraha that we made is this. (showing slides) What I wanted to show here was wistful and ashamed expression of the policeman and the rightness of “non-violence”. Please check this out too. (showing slides) This is what we discussed in the first part of the talk. We published this book just before Beijing Olympics. At that time, there were protests all around the world for Tibetan rights. World leaders raise voices in protest. For example Sarkozy, president of France,urged world leaders to boycott Beijing Olympic opening ceremony. Very French-like action. The U.S. had a big assembly having The Dalai Lama over and gave him the Democracy Service Medal. What German Chancellor Merkel did was having a meeting with The Dalai Lama even though Chinese government asked them not to. Each country enlisted in each course in their own way. Fukuda, then Prime Minister of Japan, assembled a party visiting China acted like a roundsman of China. Well, I think Japan has it’s own opinion and Japanese way to advocate it. I may be the only one who’s tenacious about this but I just want to share my thoughts here. Well, since I don’t have any more time left, I need to wrap up ... Wait a minute, I want to share one more thing. I think there’s another slide… It’s a quick announcement that the Manga we published is now translated to Tibetan by the education ministry of Tibetan government in exile. the Manga is now used as like a textbook in Nepal and northern India and such. There are many Tibetan refugee children around there. This Manga is contributing inheriting Tibetan and its culture and non-violence philosophy of The Dalai Lama. These are some pictures with The Dalai Lama. I contacted him like a groupy the other day. I took out a manga about him and gave it to him. I was glad he appreciated it very much. Going forward, I would like to take this opportunity as a new start, and keep on creating living super heroes mangas. Regarding with President Obama, we are not sure about him at this moment. We will keep an eye on his achievements for a few more years and decide whether to produce his manga. Thank you very much. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 25 minutes and 50 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 457
Posted by: translators on Mar 5, 2010

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