Studying the Japanese Language
By Drinking Gourd
(Motokichi Inoue, Meishu-sama's personal secretary)
It often happens at special meetings with Meishu-sama that a minister asks about something, the verbosity continues, and the purpose of the question never becomes clear, so Meishu-sama has to ask the person about the question, and the reply seems to be about something entirely different. At such moments, I remember the words I hear the many instances I am scolded by Meishu-sama, “You cannot use Japanese satisfactorily. Study Japanese more!”
You may think it strange for Japanese to be told to learn Japanese, but this is what happens when there are Japanese who cannot use their language satisfactorily. Even if the words one speaks are Japanese, if one is not making any sense, it is the same as not being able to use Japanese. This misuse can come in many forms, such as taking something that, if said simply as it is, would be understood and making it difficult, turning subjects and verbs around, trying to form sentences while being worried about being scolded, putting on appearances, and talking about matters not understood as if one does understand them. The worst cases are those who, in response to their question, have to be asked about it and reply with something entirely off the point. Such use of language inconveniences everyone present and wastes valuable time. It is truly a blasphemy to God. Our brains are such that we cannot even use Japanese.
Even now when I occasionally ask Meishu-sama a question, he will correct me in several places, and I am made to realize that I still do not use Japanese well enough. I believe that my most difficult training has been to seek to make my language understandable so that it does not fail to be of use to God. In essence, this training means the raising of one’s soul and the clearing of one’s brain. Hence, I truly believe that those persons who can speak to Meishu-sama with success are really great. Meishu-sama often says that “there is hardly anyone who can answer my questions satisfactorily,” so it appears that I am not the only one who cannot use Japanese.
Actually, there are even well-known public figures who either talk too much, do not talk enough, whose manner does not match their content, or who do not show any positive outlook or emotion. Most hopeless are those who are not responsive or who seem to be listening but who do not contribute positively at all. Meishu-sama tries to listen very carefully to university professors and intellectuals, but sometimes when Meishu-sama hits a vital point, they have the wind taken out of their sails and start to stammer.
Those who can use Japanese are those who can answer Meishu-sama’s questions appropriately. This does not mean being able to speak with fancy phrases, but just to speak as things are. For a long time, we have lived in a world of fraud, our brains full of toxins, and our souls asleep. The manifestation of our individuality has been bent by various mistaken ideologies and systems, and we cannot speak frankly as things are. Such a condition is conspicuously exposed before the actuality of God.
Thanks to Meishu-sama, we are able to heighten our knowledge to a much higher level than that of the present, so we should continue to study Japanese [read your own native language here, translator] to be able to spread light and joy to the world through a more polished level of language.
Eikô, Issue 233, November 11, 1953