Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The big one (1997) by Michael Moore

(photo) cluster amaryllises in a cemetery, in Ohta, Gunma prefecture, Japan

The big one is a funny title. When Michael had a conversation with BBC staffs, he called the US the big one for a laugh against the Great Britain of the UK. Yet the title symbolizes the essence of the US and its businesses that they cannot help expanding their powers. Probably that could be a character of the capitalist system.

The theme of this movie is issues of unemployment, especially in the big businesses. Michael is traveling around the US, promoting his book. He is interviewing with both employers and employees in the businesses in the state which he visits. He reveals big businesses are moving manufacturing bases overseas, though they are making big profits in the US. The employers usually say that moving manufacturing bases is necessary for keeping their competing power. But he asks why they don't care their employees in the US.

At the end of the movie he interviews with the president of Nike. He asks," Why do you employ 14 years young girls for low payments in Indonesia? Why do you cooperate with the military government to exploit young people? " The president replies," A part of them will be able to get ahead." This is the president's thought through all his life. Michael comments," So what?" This is his thought through all the movie.

I think this movie succeeds to express the greed of the big businesses, but he can't explain why the employers becomes greedy from the historical and social structural point of view. That means if he can express the issues of unemployment from these point of view, his criticism would be more fundamental.

Anyway I'm deeply impressed in that his movie is full of laughter, dealing with these serious problems.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

SICKO(2007) by Michael Moore

(photo) one of the oldest temples in Japan, in Kohyasan, Wakayama prefecture

Sicko deals with a serious problem but is full of laughs. Michael's approach is new and interesting for using emails from citizens to make the movie. It could be effective for an influential and pressing problem like a health care system because everyone has experienced it and have their own opinions. Michael is pointing out many issues in the health care system in US seasoned with wit, humor, and sometimes black humor, comparing with one in other western countries such as Canada, UK, and France. Some people say Michael has anti-American feeling, but I think he is certainly one of the most patriotic persons because a fundamental criticism can advance a society rightly. He seems to ask us the questions which is important, human lives or money, and which should be emphasized, the profit of an individual or the happiness of a society as a whole. These questions must be meaningful for everyone living in capitalist societies.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Haiku in English(10)

(photo) The bell tower, in Kohyasan, Wakayama prefecture, Japan

not seeing
the room is white
until that red apple


The apple's red color stings our eyes though red is just a word. The contrast is so clear that we can even feel like being in the white room. Moreover we can feel the largeness of the room with the word apple. This haiku seems to show us how mysterious the relationship between languages and imagination is.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Haiku in English(9)

(photo) the great gate, in Kohyasan, Wakayama prefecture, Japan

the homeless man
takes off his shoes before
his cardboard house

Penny Harter, US

I was very surprised to read this haiku first. It succeeds to express cultural essence Japanese people have through a homeless man. Most Japanese haiku poets don't think a homeless man is the theme of haikus. In this way, this haiku is new. Actually, I've tried to craft homeless haikus as follows:

feeling deeply moved by
the back of a homeless man―
a sneeze

barefoot sandals of
a homeless man―

presenting sake
to a homeless man―

Journalism and powers

(photo) one of the oldest temples in Japan, in Kohyasan, Wakayama prefecture

At last the condition of a change of administration has been established in Japan. Many people, especially young people, have wished the day for a long time. Generally speaking, I think, the journalism often plays an important role in changing a government in advanced societies. But the newspapers in Japan have not had the ability to criticize drastically the powers yet, including political power, economical powers, and religious power. I've discussed this problem with a journalist and I've found that the Japanese own delivering system affects the journalism, that delivers a newspaper to each subscriber every morning and evening. Newspapers don't have to compete with each other at stands about their information vales and analysis abilities because the system ensure the stability of their managements. The ruling party, many businesses, and religious groups consider newspapers are one of the most effective advertisement media that they may inject big money into. Newspaper companies also consider the money to be essential to run. And they want to maintain and enlarge the system so that they come to conform to the majority of the readers. In this context, newspaper cannot criticize powers thoroughly. I think the role of newspapers is very important for the mature of democracy. How far can the cyberdemocracy deal with the issue?