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Thank you for visiting my website.  There are seven categories. Please look at the list on the right and click on the one you want to read.  Each category has a list of articles from which you can choose.  Feel free to post your comment in the bubble.

The photo on top is my spouse Muriel on the left and my sister Taeko on the right taken in South Africa.  Picture on the right is me, Tad Mitsui and my cat, George.

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I WAS READY TO QUIT RELIGION

I believe in religion. I go to church regularly and never miss the chance to go to a mosque when invited. I enjoy chatting with my Buddhist colleague Rev.Yasuo Izumi about religion. As Yuval Harari said, “humans think in stories not in facts, numbers and equations.” Religion is a story; a system created by imagination. If it’s not religion, it’s beauty, ethics, ideal, ideology, or tradition. Money is another product of imagination. Its value is nothing but the trust in the system agreed upon. Without the trust in what it promises, money is worthless. “In God we trust,” says Greenback. We create stories by imagination and put trust in what we imagined. But greed and hubris can easily transform religions into dark force.

It was in Jerusalem: I used to go there yearly during the 1980’s for refugee work. It was not the constant conflicts between two groups of sons and daughters of Abraham and Sarah; Arabs and Jews. It was the centuries’ old enmities between the believers of Jesus the Christ that made me ready to quit religion altogether. Go and see the Church of Holy Sepulchre, for example. Churches have been fighting over ridiculous inches of the space in the sanctuary. It’s all about property, and the money pilgrims/tourists bring in. I realized that Jerusalem was the location of butchery by Christians more than a millennium.

Marriage of religion and power makes it the agent of evil (paraphrase), said Salman Rushdie when he was under the threat of death “Fat’wa” by Ayatola Khomeni. Christianity became a demonic power after Emperor Constantine made the Christian Church the establish state religion during the fifth Century. Butchery: Crusades, Hundred Year War, Inquisition, Misogyny, Witch Hunt, Colonialism, Holocaust, including “Indian Residential School” ensued. All because of the pursuit of domination in stead of justice and love. I speak of Christianity because that’s the one I know. But other religions are guilty as well. Think what’s Buddhists are doing to the Muslims in Myanmar, for example.

My co-religionists lament secularization and demise of religious institutions. I don’t. After 15 centuries of living in the “glorious misunderstanding” (the words by Swiss theologian, Emil Brunner), the Christianity finally has a chance return to its true being, sort of like a homeless bare-foot prophet in the wilderness crying out for justice, love, and mercy.

LIFE IS A CONSTANT CHANGE Life is a river. You have to keep paddling to stay on the same spot. Likewise life is a process of continuous transformation. Mother Nature demands it. When you stop changing, it indicates you are dead. But the constant change is not easy. Remember the discomfort when you moved to a new school or a new job? I hated it every time but eventually I got used to it and became comfortable. Nothing stays the same. Even the words of a traditional prayer had to change with economy. “Debt” was a sin requiring forgiveness in the old Lord’s Prayer. Now debt is the engine of economy in the capitalist society. It’s called credit. So the wording changed to “trespass” to protect private property. Likewise ethics change with time. You can put an adulterer to death by stoning no more. Another example: Tattoo is in fashion and ubiquitous. But it bothers me. As a self-professed “progressive person,” this antipathy puzzles me. I think it is because memories die hard. Iin Japan only the members of “Yakuza” had tattoos. Yakuza, like Italian Mafia, are the outlaw gangs who have controlled gambling, debt collection and protection rackets for centuries. So hot spring hotels in Japan refuse anyone with tattoo; though white tourists with tattoo are reluctantly tolerated. How much traditions still control my judgement surprises me. I should know that nothing stays the same, but it is not easy to accept it. Having suffered many centuries of bloody turmoil, small island nations like Britain and Japan value order and stability. I realize reluctantly that I am Japanese therefore naturally conservative. This does not make sense. I am a son of a man, who got into trouble with the fascist police for singing the Socialist anthem “International.” He was in a theological seminary. He supported Japanese Socialist Party all his life. So I thought that progressive ideology was in my DNA. But I love some conservative qualities; cleanliness, clean desk, good manners, punctuality, order, proper clothes, stability, and traditions. In other words, I understand the frustration of conservative people. When things move too fast, you feel things are falling apart. You feel you are no longer respected. Change is upsetting but reality. I was born conservative (small “c”) but I know I have to persuade others that changes are normal and necessary. Change is a fact of life.