Laurie Toby Edison


Women of Japan 日本の女性

The Models’ Words モデルの言葉


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