Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (139)  June 7, 2024

Top 10 of “composing a senryu easily! my senryu competition” that is an annual event at this time of year and Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company looks for was published. According to this, the first place was “tax and excess fat are increasing but extravagance is decreasing”, the second place was “I don’t see and don’t buy goods, and don’t go to the stores due to high prices” (an omission of a middle part) and the 10th place was “my manager said that don’t ask twice! But he asked three times”.
There is no seasonal word in senryu different from haiku, and senryu satirizes the state of the world at the moment and in other words, it is black humor. When I sometimes come across a senryu that I feel “this is good, isn’t it”, I smile with satisfaction in spite of myself. I don’t remember exactly how many years it was, but there was “bulky trash! It went home at night, even though it was taken out in the morning”. I thought that “I should try not to be told that way”.

■■What I have recently thought and focused on:
■“Self-tormenting notes” sent by my university classmate:
I feel senryu is humorous and warm, but my university classmate sent me things titled “self-tormenting notes” the other day. The title is “difference between 18 years old and 81 years old”, and in terms of age, it is just me and my grandson’s relationship. Referring a little, “18 years old‐addicted to love, 81 years old‐drown in the bath” “18 years old‐stumble over life, 81 years old‐stumble on a stone” “18 years old‐drive out of control on the road, 81 years old‐drive on the opposite side of the road”, “18 years old‐there are many things he does not know, 81 years old‐there are many things he forgets”, “18 years old‐can obtain a driver’s license ,81 years old‐encouraged to return his driver’s license”. In addition to these, there are still more concrete examples, but I leave off here, because they are just self-tormenting and they touch me deeply.
It is pointed out that the background to these overlapping with the reality is that declining birthrate and aging population are progressing rapidly. Last year’s birthrate remained 1.20, record low since 1899, and those aged 65 and over account for 29.1 % of the overall population in 2023 and aging is progressing rapidly. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the average life expectancy of Japanese people in 2022 is that men are 81.05 years old and women are 87.09 years old, but the problem is an age gap between average life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. A healthy life expectancy is defined as “a survival time when a person sustains his life with his own mind and body and can live independently without daily and continuous nursing care”. In case of Japanese people, average life expectancy of men is about 9 years longer than healthy life expectancy, and in case of women, about 13 years. In other words, during this period, they need some form of livelihood support, and social issues such as “leaving work to care” and “young carer” are arising.
In Japan, a long life has been considered as “a blessing” from the old days and “Respect-for-the Aged Day” is also enacted. On the other hand, as it is said that “Don’t scold children, that the way you came. Don’t laugh at old people, that the way you go”, if everyone lives a long time, he will grow “old” without exception. Mr. Nikai, former Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Pary, received an inquiry from a young reporter “Do you retire due to your age?” the other day, and he replied that “You will be old like me eventually. You are stupid!”, and I could feel that sentiment.
By the way, while a long life itself is a cause for celebration, “a rosy old age” is not guaranteed.
When I think about the critical financial situation of the country, to demand it from the country is unfortunately impossible. Therefore, it is necessary for each citizen to keep in mind not to become “frail”, that is a state of old and weakened mind and body due to aging when he has turned forty. I think this is “a national obligation”. Of course, it’s natural for able-bodied people to help “vulnerable people”. But the first step is to make efforts toward self-sufficiency in person as much as possible.
I myself take 20 deep breaths after I wake up every day, and exercise my style stretch using rubber band, squat, standing on one leg, practice swing of golf club for the finish and so on, for about 30 minutes at a pace called 2 days in a row and 1 day off. This would be sufficient with a space of 2 tatami mats, and is not affected by the weather conditions, and also possible in the hotel room. It has been said for a long time that “consistency is key”, but on the contrary, I think that it is important to “continue what you can continue”. Even if you pay a high membership fee, it is meaningless to stop without noticing, because you feel lazy to go there.

■Chinese economy and export of deflation or low price export:
35 years have passed since the occurrence of “the Tienanmen Square Incident” starting from movement toward democracy in Tienanmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989. The truth of this incident, including “how many people were killed?” is still unclear and locked away. At that time, General Secretary Zhao Ziyang who took over for General Secretary Hu Yaobang after his sudden death demonstrated understanding of the student’s requirements. However, supreme leader, President Deng Xiaoping holding office from December 1978 to November 1989, positioned this as “a riot”, and turned to a thorough crackdown, and then the historic Tienanmen Incident occurred.
With this incident, Chinese economy that continued to grow steadily due to turning to reform and open-door policy after “the Great Cultural Revolution” that raged for 10 years till 1976 fell into a severe economic downturn because of increased state control. After that, Mr. Deng Xiaoping visited Wuhan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai from January to February 1992, and turned to open to the outside taking an opportunity of announcement of famous “Southern Tour Lectures”. And double-digit economic growth continued and China surpassed Japan in GDP in 2010, and now four times the size of Japan, and becomes the world’s second largest economic power after the United States. Incidentally, according to statistics of IMF, a share of world nominal GDP by country in 2023 is as follows. 1.The United States, 26.1 % 2. China, 16.9 % 3. Germany, 4.3 % 4. Japan, 4.0 % 5. India 3.4 %.
But now, Chinese economy has lost momentum it once had and domestic demand has been stagnant, and China is exporting cheap goods such as steel products, solar panels and EV due to excess capacity and overproduction, and the impact on Western economies is serious. On the other hand, domestically, internal contradictions such as widening inequality, youth unemployment problem, progressing aging and so on are becoming apparent. For that reason, externally, China takes blatantly hegemonism and wolf warrior diplomacy and strengthens military power to cope with the United States, and is becoming a threat to Japan, Taiwan, Korea and neighboring Asian countries.
In China, the Communist Party is in control of one party, and does not concede principles, and does not “admit fault”, even if the result is wrong. And the person standing at the top is President Xi Jinping. It is also necessary to keep this in mind in regards to Taiwan Issue. In order to stop going out of control by China, it is essential for neighboring countries to adopt a coordinated defense policy, not to correspond individually.
When I visited China for the first time except when I was born in Shanghai was November 1976 when I joined “Autumn Canton Fair”. And on December 2, 1988, I had an audience with President Deng Xiaoping and his successor Mr. Jiang Zemin holding office from November 1989 to November 2002 at the Great Hall of the People and heard their opinions directly. And in the previous job era, I opened a representative office in Beijing and Shanghai in 1985, and after that, I visited there once or twice a year and established several joint ventures.
In terms of witnessing a turbulent country with my own eyes for nearly 50 years, I consider myself to be a living witness. At the same time, I am keenly feeling that how to deal with China that has changed a lot in the future is a very important and difficult issue for Japan.

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