Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

Women of Japan 日本の女性

The Models’ Words モデルの言葉

KUMAMOTO Risa

熊本理抄 KUMAMOTO Risa

Inside of me there is always an “I” burdened with many wounds? For that “I,” to “talk” about myself began with recalling the experiences, facts, and emotions of my life which I had put a lid on and carefully sifting through them. When I felt the energy of people who live in “reality,” when I shared in people’s suffering, when I felt joy with them, when I came in touch with a wonderful meeting and connection as a human being—not in the “story” that I created—the acts of “listening,” “talking,” and “being listened to” strengthened me. I felt the trauma writhing within me, which I had purposely tried to ignore or had been forced to ignore, awaken from its long, long sleep with a huge yawn. Engaging with others was part of the process of my attempt to create myself by discovering myself and becoming enriched while in the midst of suffering, faltering, and wavering. It was a soothing action to tightly embrace the “I” within me in an effort to heal the emotional wounds through my own power and through support from others. And I will continue to speak out so that I will not merely keep this within my personal framework of comforting myself for the discrimination I have experienced, but, rather, so that I can go beyond this and take aim at the irrationality of discrimination, to seek honor as a human being who works to change society and do away with discrimination. I do this not only to liberate myself from oppression, but also to liberate myself from being the oppressor. Knowing the pain of discrimination and knowing the warmth of people, I feel proud to pursue my stance of anti-discrimination by treating my discriminatory feelings as having the same quality and being of the same dimension.

What I want most to speak of now is my close yet far and far yet close family. Not as one who persists in acting the “good child” as “daughter,” or “grandchild,” or “big sister,” but in order for me to have a process of thinking about my life on my own and in order to obtain the words to define myself on my own. In order to liberate myself from having discriminated against my grandfather, grandmother, mother, and younger brother who lead their lives bearing various thoughts and experiences and who have substituted the individual problem of those being discriminated against for the social problem of discrimination; and to relate to them anew “as human beings.”

translation by Beth Cary

わたしの中にはいつも、たくさんの傷を背負った「わたし」がいます。そんな「わたし」にとって、自分を「語る」ということは、自分の生い立ちの中でふたをしてきた体験や事実、感情を思い起こして、一つひとつ丁寧にひもといていくことから始まりました。自分がつくる「物語」の中ではなく、「現実」の中で生きる人びとの息吹を感じたとき、人びとの痛みを分ちあったとき、喜びを共にしたとき、人間としてのすてきな出会いとつながりに触れたとき、「聴く」こと、「語る」こと、「聴いてもらう」ことは力となりました。自分の中にうごめいているけれども、でも、あえて見ないようにしてきた、あるいは見ないようにさせられてきたトラウマが、大きなあくびをしながら長い長い眠りから覚めるのを感じました。自分の中に起こる変化に気づいてきました。他者と交わることは、苦しみながらも通いながらも揺れながらも、自分を発見し、豊かにし、自分で自分を作っていこうとする過程でした。わたしの中にいる「わたし」を「ぎゅっ」と抱きしめて、その傷を自分自身の力や他者の助言などを通じて回復させようとする癒しの行為でした。そして、ただ単に被差別体験を癒すという個人的な枠内にとどめるのではなくて、被差別の非合理を撃ち、社会を変え、差別をなくしていくという、人間としての誇りを求めるために語りつづけています。抑圧される自分を解放するだけではなくて、抑圧する自分をも解放するために。それは、差別の痛みを知り、人間の暖かさを知り、他の差別への思いも同質・同次元で馳せることのできる、反差別の立場を貫いていくことへの誇りでもあります。

そして今、一番語りたいのは、近くて遠い、遠くて近い家族です。「いいこ」を演じつづける「娘」ではなく、「孫」ではなく、「お姉ちゃん」ではなく、自分の人生を自分で考える回路を持ち、自分のことを自分で定義する言葉をもつために。社会の問題を被差別者個人の問題にすりかえ、さまざまな思いや体験を抱えて生きる祖父、祖母、母、弟を、差別し続けていた自分を解放し、「人間として」もう一度出会いなおすために。