読書について

Boys! Throw away your knives and pick up some books!少年よ、ナイフを捨てよ、本を取れ!

1960年6月18日夕刻、18歳だった私は、暴力団組員であったけんか相手を刺殺し、翌6月19日逮捕された。

On the evening of June 18, 1960, when I was 18 years old, I stabbed to death a gang member I was fighting with and I was arrested the next day on June 19.

その結果、7年の刑で岩国少年刑務所に送られた。
As a result of that, I was sentenced to 7 years and I was sent to Iwakuni Juvenile Penitentiary.

しかし、私は、入所してわずか10日ばかりで、同房者とのいざこざから16針の縫合を要する重傷を相手の顔面と頭部に負わせた。
However, only 10 days after arriving at the facility, I had a fight with my cell-mate in which I caused serious injuries to his face and head that required 16 stitches.

その結果、裁判にかけられて6カ月の刑を追加された。
As a result of that, I went to trial and was given an additional sentence of 6 months.
しかも、手錠をかけられて懲罰房にぶち込まれ、2カ月間に及ぶ「軽塀禁2カ月」という最も過酷な懲罰をも受けた。

In addition, I was thrown into a prison cell with my hands in handcuffs and I was given the strictest punishment, “solitary confinement,” which lasted two months.

看守の号令で、一日中、正座1時間、30分間安座を繰り返すことを強制された。
All day long, I was forced to continually repeat sitting “seiza” (sitting upright with your legs folded under you) for one hour and then sitting at ease for 30 minutes at the guards’ commands.

独房の中で私は、厳しい寒さにふるえながら、言語に絶する精神的苦痛を味わった。
In my single prison cell, I experienced unspeakable mental anguish as I shivered in the dreadful cold.

することもなく、話す相手もいない独房の中で、過去を振り返ると、小学校や中学校時代が懐かしく、なすべき勉強や仕事を持つことがいかに素晴らしいことであるか、また、他人の存在がいかに大切であるかに気が付いた。
While I was in my cell with no one to talk to and nothing to do, I looked back on my past and thought fondly of the days when I was in elementary and junior high school and I realized how wonderful it was to have studying or work to do and I also realized how important the existence of other people was.

少年鑑別所の面会室で初めて見た父の涙を思い出し、子を思う親の深い愛情に答えなければと思った。
As I remembered seeing my father’s tears for the first time in the interviewing room of the juvenile detention center, I felt that I had to respond to his deep paternal love for me.

「被害者」と「加害者」として出会うよりも、互いに慈しみ助け合う「友人」として出会いたかったと、刺殺してしまった被害者を思い、私は悔やんだ。
As I thought of and mourned over the victim that I had stabbed to death, I wished that we had met as “friends” who loved and helped each other rather than meeting as a “murderer” and a “victim.”

出所後、トラックやタクシーの運転手、通訳、英会話講師、企業通訳、英語塾経営など、職を転々とする中で、3冊の英文自叙伝が高校、大学などの教材として採用され、講演にも招かれるようになった。
After I got out of prison, as I changed jobs such as working as a truck and taxi driver, an interpreter, an English conversation instructor and running an English cram school, my three English autobiographies were adopted and used as teaching materials by some high schools and universities and I began to be invited to give lectures as well.
1995年4月、月刊英字新聞The Seto Inland Timesを創刊し、テレビ、新聞、雑誌などの取り上げるところとなった。
In April 1995, I launched the monthly English newspaper “The Seto Inland Times” and it got mentioned on TV and in newspapers and magazines.

人は、金や財産を作ることよりも、「自由」に生きることの方がはるかに大切だと思う。
I think that living in “freedom” is far and away more important for people than making money and fortunes.)
一度きりの人生を大切に、他人とのせっかくの出会いを大切に、そして、少しでも多くを経験し、人生を楽しむことが大切だ。

We have to cherish our one chance at life, cherish the people that we are fortunate enough to meet and it is important to experience as many things as we can and to enjoy life.

短い人生の中で、10代、20代は最上の部分だが、私は、少年刑務所の独房(懲罰房)の中で、手錠をかけられて成人の日を迎えた。

Our teens and twenties are supposed to be the best times of our short lives, but I celebrated “Coming-of-Age Day” in a prison cell in a juvenile penitentiary with my hands in handcuffs.

貴重な青春を刑務所で過ごすのはあまりにも悲しいことだ。

It is a terribly sad thing to spend your treasured youth in a prison.

独房内で始めた英語の勉強は、何一つとして楽しみのない生活に大きな変化をもたらした。
The English studies, which I began in my prison cell, brought about a great change in my life, which had had no joy in it whatsoever.
中学を中退し、勉強と仕事が大嫌いであった私の人生観を完全に変えてしまった。

It changed my outlook on life completely even though I had dropped out of junior high school and I had hated studying and working.

読書から得た新たな知識によって、自分がどんどん変化していくのがとてもうれしかった。
I was very ecstatic with the continuous changes in myself from the new knowledge gained by reading books.
岩国少年刑務所から山口刑務所、鳥取刑務所へと刑務所を転々とする中でも英語の独学を続けた。
Even while I was sent from prison to prison from Iwakuni Juvenile Penitentiary to Yamaguchi Prison to Tottori Prison, I continued to study English on my own.

逮捕時18歳であった私は、あと2カ月で26歳になるというところで仮釈放となった。
I was 18 years old when I was arrested and I was just two months short of being 26 years old when I was released on parole.
当時、日本では、少年によるナイフ刺殺事件が頻発する事態になり始めていた。

At that time, Japan began to be in a situation in which there was a high frequency of incidents of people being stabbed to death by knife-wielding youths.

2人の子どもを持つ今の私には、懸命に働いて育てた我が子が殺されてしまったり、あるいは殺人者となってしまったりした時の親の苦しみや悲しみは、察してあまりある。

Now, as a father of two children, I can just imagine the pain and sadness of parents who have worked hard to raise children who then end up being killed or end up becoming murderers.

悔いに満ちた波瀾万丈の人生であったが、読書や英語学習の習慣が生きがいとなり、私を幸せへと導いてくれた。
I have had a life full of regrets and ups and downs, but my habit of reading books and studying English gave me something to live for and led me to experience happiness.

「英語習得」という目標に向けて、ささやかな(そして継続した)努力の後に味わった「達成感」の素晴らしさ、また、その成果が他人に「評価」されることが、私の「自信」と、ますますやる気が出る「意欲」の源泉となった。
The wonderful feeling of achievement that I experienced after my small(and continuous) efforts which were aimed toward the goal of “English language acquisition” and other people’s appreciation of the results of my efforts were the source of my confidence and desire to work harder and harder.

人生に退屈し、刺激の欲しい若者よ、ナイフを捨てて本を取れ!
You young people, who are bored with life and want more excitement, throw away your knives and pick up some books!
そこには新たな世界がある。
That is where you’ll find a brand new world.
現在は過去の結果だ。

The present is a result of the past.

行動を改めよ!

Change your ways!
そうすれば、その結果としての未来はきっと良くなるのだ。

If you do, your future will definitely get better as a result.
暴力に訴えたり、シンナーや覚醒剤に逃避すれば、生涯自分が苦しむのだ。

If you resort to violence or escape from reality by sniffing thinner or taking stimulants, you will suffer the consequences your entire life.

学校で勉強をしなかった私だが、読書をすることによって、退屈で面白くない世界が「ワクワクするようなエキサイティングな世界」へと変わった。

I didn’t study when I was in school, but through reading books, my world, which was boring and uninteresting, was changed into a “thrilling and exciting world”.

独房の中で開いた英文法書の中で、全く新しい世界を私は見つけた。
I discovered a completely new world in the English grammar books I opened in the prison cell.

学ぶことから得られる刺激や喜びは、何物にも代え難い。
The excitement and joy that are achieved by learning cannot be replaced by anything.

読書を通して蓄積された知識は、他人に盗まれることはなく、いくら使っても、尽きることのない宝となる。
The knowledge that is accumulated through reading books becomes a treasure that cannot be taken away from you by other people and will never run out no matter how much it is used.
学校が嫌なら行かなくてもいいが、他人を理解し、自分を理解してもらう能力が必要だ。

If you do not like school, you don’t have to go, but it is important to have the ability to understand others and to make yourself understood to others.

この能力の方が学力よりも大切だ。
This ability is more important than academic abilities.

「教育」とは学校へ行くことではない。
“Education” does not merely mean going to school.

一流大学へ行って、人に自慢することでもない。
It does not mean attending one of the best universities and bragging about it to people, either.

「他人との意思疎通能力」を身に付けることこそが教育の基本的な目的である。
The basic purpose of education is acquire the ability to “communicate with other people”.

どこにいても、何歳になっても、読書によって、いつでも自分を再教育することはできる。
No matter where you are, no matter how old you are, you can always re-educate yourself by reading books.

「幸」と「不幸」は、われわれ自身の中にある。
We all have “happiness” and “unhappiness” inside of us.

2つのうち何れを引き出すかは、われわれ自身の問題だ。
The question for each one of us is which one of the two we are going to get rid of.

自分の問題を、社会や学校や親のせいにしてはならない。

You should not blame your problems on society, school or your parents.
誰でも、いつでも、どこでも自分の力で幸せになれる。

Anyone, anytime, anywhere, can become happy on their own.
勉強や仕事は「楽しむ」ものだ。

Studying and work are “enjoyable” things.
自ら選択する勉強や仕事は、例え苦痛を伴っても、「達成感」、「自信」、「実力」という素晴らしい結果によって報われる。
Studies or work that we do of our own choice, even if they are accompanied by pain, will be rewarded through the wonderful results of the sense of “achievement,” “self-confidence” and “ability.”

「好奇心」を持って、新しいことにチャレンジする者は幸せだ。
A person who has “curiosity” and tries new things is a person that is happy.

「知的好奇心」を持たず、「思考停止」に陥った者は、死んだも同然だ。
A person who has fallen into the trap of having no “intellectual curiosity” and who has “stopped thinking” is just the same as someone who is dead.

苦しみや悩みを経験したことのない者は、決して幸せになることはない。
A person who has never experienced pain or trouble can never become happy.

幸せとは、痛みが初めからないことではなく、痛みを持つ者が自らの努力で、その痛みを少し軽減することだ。
Happiness does not mean never having felt any pain from the start, it is a person who has pain and who reduces that pain a little through their own efforts.

病気に苦しむ者のみが真の健康の価値を知り、空腹に苦しむ者のみが真に食物の味を知る。
Only a person who has suffered with illness can truly know the value of good health and only people who have suffered from hunger can truly know the taste of food.
全く無知であった私には、一冊の書物が、まさに、「すき腹に食物」だった。

To a person who was as completely ignorant as I was, one book was exactly the same to me as “food to a starving person.”
私は、読書で救われた。

I was rescued by reading books.

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