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Why do I want to cherish the time to remember the dead?


This summer, I was able to find a partial answer to that question, triggered by my visit to New York City, where various extreme energies swirled.

It might seem obvious that life is precious, but at what age do people stop saying it so easily? When I was a child, I also thought that way more sincerely. However, I want to truly make that obvious notion commonplace, and I constantly hope and think that my creations could be a trigger for that.

For me, summer has always been a season to contemplate life. In Japan, in August, it's a custom to visit the graves of our ancestors as it's believed their spirits return home during this time, and the town holds summer festivals. Also, in August, there are days like the anniversary of the atomic bombings and the end of World War II, providing ample opportunities for me to reflect on the war and the people who perished in the chaos around that time.

And in recent years, during my summer travels, I've often visited cemeteries and memorials in the countries I've visited. I do this to connect the history of that country with what I'm seeing now, to bridge the past and the present in my mind.

So, in a way, summer has always been a season of remembrance and contemplation of life for me.

This summer, I went to New York for an exhibition of my work, and I visited Ground Zero.

When I visited ten years ago, it was just a hole, and the atmosphere was filled with a tense, unresolved feeling.

Now, it has become a bright and open memorial park, providing a serene environment to contemplate the dead. It was bustling with people, probably because it was a holiday.

At the 9/11 Museum, I spent as much time as I could.

I was in the sixth grade when the events occurred. It made a big splash in the news in Japan, and it was followed by a surge of news about the Middle East. That's when I first learned about Islamic culture and the countries in the Middle East.

By the way, I studied world history in high school and developed an interest in Islamic culture and modern history in my late teens. I now genuinely love various aspects of Islamic culture, from its architecture and clothing design to its food and the beautiful sound of the Quran. I have some Muslim acquaintances, so I know a little about how deep and broad their faith can be, and although I can't fully grasp its meaning to them, I can imagine it. And since living in California, I've felt how well the lives of Muslim people blend into American society.

As I looked at the exhibits at the 9/11 Museum, I was overwhelmed by various emotions.

I thought, "How complex humans are." The more complex we are, the more we might need to simplify our thinking. What is true richness for humans?

Does 9/11 convey to us that there were enemies, attacks, and the death of allies?

What left the strongest impression on me as I viewed the museum's exhibit was the fact that people on the airplanes, facing imminent death, made phone calls to their families, saying 'I love you' in very calm voices, and the immeasurable courage of the firefighters who acted at the cost of their own lives.I couldn't imagine having such courage and kindness in myself. The actions of these people undoubtedly shine as one aspect of human richness.

Is it easy to dismiss this brightness as mere idealism? There are various opinions and perspectives on the historical and political facts surrounding the 9/11 event, and I do have my own views to some extent, but the more I think about what the truth is, the more it becomes an endless and dizzying pursuit.

However, while looking at the museum, when I thought about what the unwavering essence of being human might be, I realized that the actions of these loving individuals were undeniably present.

After leaving the museum, my husband and I stood and prayed in silence for a few minutes in front of the memorial. I felt that this time was essential before returning to the current New York. I imagined the view we saw there on that day under the clear sky.

So why do I want to cherish the time to remember the dead?

As the summer break ends this week and the new school year begins, the summer heat and scents gradually subside, and the season of life comes to a close. The return to a hectic daily routine feels somewhat like returning from a visit to a memorial to a bustling tourist destination.

The hectic daily routine is like a vivid dream and entertainment. Thoughts driven by words are in a frenzy, and we often move swiftly, losing sight of our surroundings. In those days, I consider that the time to confront death is the only reality, and the time to remember the dead is necessary for us to keep our feet on the ground .

Therefore, I would like to cherish that time, and I want to sublimate that sentiment in my work.

And, if possible, I hope to meet as many people as I can who resonate with that feeling.



































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