POSTED LAST WEEK: Since learning of Japan’s recent troubles I find myself thinking repeatedly of this piece of music. I am posting this blog as my tribute to the Japanese.
If you want to listen to this music I issue this challenge to you. Click on the link below and then IMMEDIATELY shut your eyes. Listen to the music and see if you can guess which movie it’s from. I bet you can’t pick it:
NOW READ ON:
Some helpful soul left the following comment on the YouTube page on which this clip was posted:
The title of this song performed by an all girls school in Japan is “Oh Peace,Oh Light Return”. The lyrics are as follows- “May we Outlive Destruction, May we Look to Tomorrow with Hope, May Peace and Light Return to Us.”
This song is from the movie Godzilla – the original 1954 black and white movie featuring this now legendary cinematic monster. I watched this movie as a curiosity and, admittedly, spent much of it smiling amusedly (and, if I am to be completely honest, just a touch condescendingly) at all of the footage of a big rubber dinosaur dolly stomping on toy sets. But the footage accompanied by this sombre song jolted me out of my complacency, made me sit up and watch and moved me to tears. I just wasn’t expecting something of this serious impact in what I had thought would be a fairly silly movie. The footage happens during a part of the movie where Godzilla’s rampage through Japan is well and truly underway. It is a while since I saw the movie but I remember shots of people tending to the wounded and huddling in makeshift evacuation centres. While watching I realized that this movie had been made less than a decade after the end of World War 2. Many of the cast and crew of this film would have still have had personal recollections of hiding from death and destruction, seeing the wounded and dying around them, from the War. The Japanese collective psyche would still have been trying to process the fear and trauma of destruction descending on them in quantities and qualities hitherto unknown to mankind, and, nod doubt, Godzilla is a manifestation of this.
I lived in Japan from 1999-2001. I loved my time there and retain an enormous affection for the country, its culture and its people. I was based in Osaka and taught English to adults. Many of my students still harboured terrifying memories of the big Kobe earthquake and the hardship it caused. As much as I hate to hear of people in any part of the world undergoing any calamity, news of Japan’s recent crises struck a personal chord with me. Once again the Japanese are facing death, destruction, and physical and emotional trauma on an almost unimaginable scale. Once again there are too many Japanese huddling in makeshift evacuation centres, thinking about the loved ones they will never see again and wondering how on earth they will pick up the pieces and remake their lives.
May they outlive destruction. May they look to tomorrow with hope. May peace and light return to them.