The lyricist of “Children Who Have Never Known War” considers Putin’s trauma | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The lyricist of “Children Who Have Never Known War” considers Putin’s trauma

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Do you know the song “Children Who Don’t Know War”?

This song tells us that those of us who grew up without knowing war are only allowed to hold back our tears and sing songs of peace.

What were the thoughts of Osamu Kitayama, who wrote the lyrics, when he wrote the song, and what does he think about it now? When we asked him for an interview, he responded, “I would like to speak out, given the circumstances,” and agreed to be interviewed.

Folk songs about harmony, harmony, and humanity. The representative of these songs is Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize, and Osamu Kitayama is one of Japan’s legends!

A song that questions those who talk about fighting as if it were a medal.

Children Who Don’t Know War” was written for a concert held at the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka. Mr. Kitayama was 24 years old at the time.

My father’s generation experienced World War II. At the time, I felt that I was being suppressed by that generation, who told me, “Young people who don’t know about the war shouldn’t talk big. Young people had not yet experienced many things, and I think there was a sense of resistance against those who blamed them for things they had not experienced.

In ’71, the song was released as a single, sung by Giraudes, and the song became an explosive hit. It was called an anti-war song because it was sung at rallies and marches, but what it portrays is a softness that would be the first to run away if war broke out.

The song was called an anti-war song because it was sung at rallies and marches, but it portrayed a soft-heartedness that would make one run away if war broke out. But as a lyricist, I was aware of the significance of “effeminate” from the very beginning.

It was like a canary in a coal mine, and I knew that if this guy died, we were in for a really bad time. The fact that these soft guys can continue to sing this song is proof that at least we are at peace.

This song is the voice of a generation that has never experienced war. The live recording was recorded at the Expo Hall, and Kitayama, who hosted the event, appealed, “I really hope that this song will be sung forever” (Photo: Kyodo News)

Putin’s trauma is the feeling that his motherland has been invaded

As a depth psychologist, Kitayama said he has always believed that this world is a combination of both paternal and maternal, or masculine and feminine, in which “I” exist.

The first thing a human being experiences at birth is motherhood, to which paternity is added to form a triangular relationship that includes oneself. This is not limited to the sexes, for example, one can see fatherhood in a woman, and vice versa, and one grows up not as one or the other, but as something important that neither should lose. This is the origin of diversity.

Kitanayama explains that both motherly and paternal aspects are necessary: “to nurture and embrace weakness and the desire to escape,” and “to rush in, break down, and crush,” and that world peace exists when these two aspects are bound together by “harmony.

The adjective “mother” is used to describe the land and the country, isn’t it? For Ukrainians, it is “Mother Ukraine. So, no matter how much Russia may talk about how it defeated Ukraine based on paternalistic principles, we will never forget that this mother thing has been invaded and destroyed.

We Japanese have our origins in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and as soon as we are called the “only country to have experienced the atomic bombings,” a certain horizon opens up and a certain way of thinking is born. The same is true for the Ukrainian people, and in fact, I think this has happened in Putin’s past as well.

For Putin, the old, strong Soviet Union was his motherland. He has been traumatized by the fact that it was invaded by something unilateral, and he may be trying desperately to prevent that from happening now, Kitayama says.

He feels that Mother Earth is being humiliated by NATO, and there is a negative cycle of doing back what was done to him. That is my view as a depth psychologist.

In that sense, he probably sees it as a just war.” Furthermore, Ukraine is like a little brother to Russia, and he is jealous that his brother has started to find new friends. When one comrade becomes friends with someone else, alone, a kind of “kin hatred” is apt to occur. I think this is what we need to learn from the recent invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s trauma is the feeling that his motherland has been invaded (Photo: Afro)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was met with protests around the world. Anti-war voices have spread throughout Russia, and even the passage of a bill “imposing imprisonment of up to 15 years” has not stopped them (Photo: Afro)

The dictatorship was created by an entrenched “dichotomy” mentality.

Paternal or maternal? Enemy or ally? Or NATO or non-NATO,” Kitayama calls it a “dichotomy. Instead, flexible thinking that “there is this and there is that” is what is important, and that is what is missing from Mr. Putin’s current thinking.

Even in the U.S., depth psychologists are beginning to study him, wondering, “What is wrong with this person, what is he thinking?” If we become more and more entrenched in the dichotomy, even we can become like Putin at any time. What is lost then is our receptivity to diversity. We must always have the feeling that we are not this or that, but a third person.

I think the Japanese position is very important. For more than 75 years since the end of World War II, Japanese people have been in a state of half-heartedness and have not been able to decide which side they are on. I have always been told that I am not a good person. But this is perhaps the healthiest neutrality in the world today, and an important way to survive.

It is a mentality that is hard for people overseas to understand, but that the Japanese cherish greatly. I think it would be good if I could successfully introduce myself to the world. A healthy neutrality. Don’t give up on this.”

Thinking about it, Christianity is a materialistic god, but Japanese Shinto is the god of all things in the forest, the god of all the millions. When you are born, you visit a shrine, get married in a chapel, and have a funeral in a temple. It is a very neutral way of life, but it can also be said to be generous and open-minded. Even a single word is diverse and flexible, such as hiragana, katakana, and the use of spoken and written language.

Such Japanese thinking tends to be dismissed as “juvenile” or “not globally accepted,” but it is impossible to ask people to understand the Japanese without introducing this ambiguity. Even if they do not understand us, we must make an effort to make them understand us. If we want to tell people how the only war-affected country survived the atomic bombings, we must not stop introducing ourselves.

All we can do to achieve this is to keep singing with tears in our eyes. And the way to do that, Kitayama believes, does not have to be limited to music.

In our time, people said, “Silence is golden,” and people were not very good at discussing and resolving issues with words. That’s why we used to communicate through songs, but now, with the advent of social networking services, many things, including slander and libel, are being said. I think this is a tremendous change. Even if it is not put to music notes, games, fashion, manga, and especially anime are conveying messages, and I feel that they are influencing the mentality of young people.

Young people are always looking for ways to put their thoughts into words and express themselves. The days when that medium had to be music are perhaps over. As for our generation, we would love to see what is coming out in the future. There are so many possibilities.”

In his recent book, “Depth Psychology for Surviving the Hub” (Iwanami Shoten), he examines the alienation and suffocation that people feel, and how it works from a depth psychological worldview. It offers hints on how to live life in one’s own way. He also discusses what lies behind wars, not only against humans.

Osamu Kitayama Psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, lyricist, president of Hakuo University, and professor emeritus at Kyushu University, Kitayama participated in the formation of The Folk Crusaders in 1965, and made his debut in 1967 with “Kitaite kita yopparai. His numerous works as a lyricist include “Senso Shiranai Kodomotachi (Children Who Don’t Know War)” (which won the Japan Record Award for Best Lyrics in 1971), “Ano Suteki Ai wo Mametto (Once More a Wonderful Love),” “Kaze (Wind),” “Bride,” “Shiroi Iro wa Koibito no Iro (White is the Color of My Lover),” and “Saraba Koibito. His books include “Kobu no nai camel” (Iwanami Gendai Bunko), “Last Lesson” (Misuzu Shobo), and “Kare ni nai yopparai tachi e Ikiru yoku no shinrinkagaku” (To the Yopparai who Can’t Return: Depth Psychology for Living) (NHK Publishing Co., Ltd. Shinsho).

  • Interview and text Chimasa Ide

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