Produced in 2000
Identity in NY
Some texts from desktop publications.
From a paper output sample
To DTP books
About postcard works
● Moses King and New York Skyscrapers
In 1920-30, New York buildings became postcards and were sold in large numbers. Until then, it was unthinkable, but a mere building had become a tourist attraction. The postcards collected by Mr. Shibayama were made mainly for tourist guides by a person named Moses King who ran a publishing company in the first half of the 20th century. King was credited with introducing the skyscrapers to the world widely in his guidebook, but he put out a lot of postcards of the skyscrapers and advocated how important the skyscrapers were. In it, many buildings that were not actually built were drawn.
Today, we can learn about the history of the skyscrapers in New York through postcards. That image is exactly the image of the future, and even in the 1920s, helicopters are flying in the sky, and things like human-powered airplanes are also flying. It's just like a scene from a science fiction city. There is a famous movie about Android called "Metropolis" directed by Fritz Lang.
The movie features a forested futuristic city of skyscrapers, and Moses King's image of New York was just like that. The symbolic part of this painting is the highway that connects the tall buildings in the sky. Of course, there is no such thing yet, but the image of a highway passing through an elevated road was born in this way from New York, not Europe. After that, the New York Highway actually became a very large artery connecting New York and the countryside.
● Future image as heaven and hell The future image given to people all over the world by the skyscraper drawn on the postcard of Moses King is infinite development that extends to higher and higher places. It is an image of.
The architecture of this era is called "American Gothic", but the American skyscrapers at that time competed for height anyway. And building so many buildings that stretch to the heavens makes us imagine the willingness to approach the world of Utopia, similar to European Gothic architecture with tall spiers to get closer to God. Far from heaven, the remaining earth reminded me of a picture of hell. As you can see from this old postcard, you can see the presence of the dark strata as opposed to the light-filled upper floors.
Above and below the building is a huge metaphor for heaven and hell. In the 20th century style, the top of the building is heaven and the bottom is hell. There, an image with a hierarchical disparity due to the positional relationship between the top and bottom is drawn, which is different from the hierarchical society in Europe by class. The upper part is a very comfortable space, a world where everyone can look down on the city. Utopia, the world of the future, below is a dark, poor world with workers working.
You can see that kind of scenery as it is in the movie "Metropolis", but the president lives at the top of the building, the rooftop is like a paradise of the world, and there are naked girls. Playing, when the president's son gets lost, he bathes with a naked girl. However, the story is that the daughter of a worker working underground gets lost there.
Isn't this what people imagined there?
"If you concentrate on building such a building in a small place, you will end up in a world where workers are working and slums will be created, and violence and crime will occur frequently." Europe became the main purpose of urban development in the 19th century, exactly because it was to eliminate crime-prone areas such as the darkness of the city and snowdrifts. This is exactly the image of New York that this painting has made people embrace.
People thought that was the image of the future of the 20th century. However, the New York skyscrapers have succeeded in dispelling that image of hell. Of course, the light-up did not happen suddenly, but under the clear image of a city as a stage set, it began to illuminate the upper floors first, then the entire building, and finally the building itself. .. If you take a closer look at the postcards introduced here one by one, you can also see the history of such light-up transitions.
New York as a 20th century city
● Birth of the world city New York
Paris is said to be a world city in the 19th century, and New York is an image of a world city in the 20th century. From its position as such urban theory, I would like to think about New York first.
There are many ways of thinking about how New York became a world city in the 20th century, but it is certain that there was a shift from Europe to the Americas after the 20th century.
Until then, the world city was Paris, which was the center of attention. If you ask Paris, you probably don't think you've lost to New York. In the style of this magazine, "Identity in NY," New York has quickly acquired a world-city character more than Paris.
First of all, it is important that the country of the United States has had great power since the end of the 19th century. It took the United States to reach California until the 1880s, so the 19th century was full of domestic problems, and there was basically nothing to send to the world. However, it has changed all at once since the turn of the 20th century. The skyscraper that impressed Le Corbusier was a major impetus for transforming New York into a world city.
One of the reasons the skyscrapers were built is that the American system was very weak in the craftsmanship and sophistication of Europe. Europe has a very developed professional system in its long history, but the people who came to the United States were a group of people who were ejected from such a world, in other words, pure and idealistic, but amateurs. ..
The only strategy that such a group of amateurs could take was to make a lot. The fact that there are only amateurs is, conversely, very free. What is made by non-carrier groups may smell like an amateur, but it has the great advantage of producing new shoots.
The Broadway stage was also made in that way. It's completely different from traditional European opera and ballet.
● A device called a stage set
Many people were attracted to the skyscrapers because it was highlighted in the form of an exhibition hall for machine civilization in the 20th century. And the mechanism of the exhibition hall was greatly influenced by the stage set. In fact, American commercial and industrial designs are very often based on stage sets. The design of the stage set is also used for the design of the building.
When skyscrapers were born one after another in the 1930s in New York, most people said, "That's a music hall." Certainly, the streets of New York, especially the skyscrapers, are the stage of the music hall, and I get the impression that the glittering stars and Art Deco designs in the back have invaded the real world as they are. The best example is the Chrysler Building. The design of the building, especially the glittering design of the spire, is almost reminiscent of the background of a music hall. In fact, the set writer Hugh Ferriss also participated in the design of the Chrysler Building.
In that sense, it can be said that the skyscraper presented a new urban space and rules for how to show the city. New York was constructed as a theater space because of the origin of architecture.
● Building to be lit up
Built in 1930, the Chrysler Building changed the future image of the city of the 20th century. The new image is Superman. As you can see in the movie "Superman", Superman flies over the city, and the underside of the buildings lined up in the dark night sky is decorated with lights, showing an unusually bright world. It is an image of a city of light that is lit up with heavy use of light.
By making it a city of light, the upper part of the building has an image of heaven, the ground is bright, so no matter how many skyscrapers are built, you can live a normal life, and the underground will be a fun red-light district. The image of is completed. In this way, the skyscrapers of New York are truly decorated with stage sets.
The skyscraper itself acts as a light-emitting device, as well as being illuminated and bright. By shining light and turning the streets into an entertainment space, New York has risen to the status of a world city at once. As the whole of New York became a very large stage set, the urban space itself became a huge audience seat that accommodated the audience at the same time as the stage.
Currently, there are many skyscrapers in the city of Tokyo, but unfortunately there is no concept of stage equipment. Built in the Meiji era, Tokyo is modeled after European cities such as Paris and Berlin. In the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II, it was ashed twice and rebuilt each time, but there was no concept to make the city look attractive.
Meanwhile, many conceptors have appeared in the city of New York. Early appearances such as Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright are also conceptors that colored New York. However, Hugh Ferriss is probably the one who created the image of New York today. He drew many skyscraper drawings in the 1920s, but his specialty was the design of stage sets. The skyscrapers of all the drawings by Hugh Ferriss are illuminated by light. His theatrical flair is what makes New York a city of light and a source of theatrical space.
However, Tokyo has not built a building considering how to enjoy and see the city. In New York, it's so messy, but when you look up at the sky, you can see the skyscrapers and the beautiful skyline. Even if you build a big building in Tokyo, there is no place where you can look up at the building and think "Wow" or "Is this my city?" A typical example is the Shinjuku Metropolitan Government Building, and you can't see the whole picture unless you go to another city. The dramatic space has not been utilized in terms of landscape.
● Tokyo as a temporary city
So where is the fun of Tokyo as a city? I think that the neighborhood of Shibuya and Harajuku is more interesting than the skyscrapers of Shinjuku. It is one of the various aspects of Tokyo that Shibuya and Harajuku are attracting attention from all over the world, including Asia.
The red-light district in Tokyo now is that it was originally a special area such as a temple or graveyard. Harajuku is connected to Meiji Jingu, and Aoyama is a mysterious space as the name suggests. In the Edo period, Aoyama Daichi and Meiji Jingu were connected, and all areas including Akasaka and Roppongi were temples and graveyards. These places hit the hills in Tokyo, but since it is difficult for water to come out on the hills, it was not originally a space for people to live in. In other words, it was an extraordinary space.
This can be generally said as an image of a city, but the red-light district is a space where the image of a human living space is thin, extraordinary, temporary, and mysterious. I think that the current image of urban spaces where young people gather, such as Aoyama, Harajuku, and Shibuya, is linked to such things. I sometimes go to Shibuya and Harajuku, but the view of the city is completely different. That temporaryness is very attractive. That is where Tokyo is decisively different from New York.
While New York has maintained its appearance for 100 years since it aimed to create a city like a stage set, in other words, Broadway in the 20th century, the cityscape of Tokyo is very. It will change in a short cycle. In particular, Aoyama, Harajuku, Shibuya, etc. have a strong tendency to do so, and it looks like a tent hut for a limited time, where everything changes with each act. ——Maybe that is the stage of the city of Tokyo. If Tokyo emphasizes that "yesterday and today are different" like that, it may be quite interesting. Such temporaryness and ephemeral nature may represent the elements of a new 21st century city.
● Identity and art
Many of the works featured in this book are actually picked up from what had fallen on the streets of New York. It can also be seen as so-called "garbage art". In fact, the work of gathering together unnecessary things and breathing new life into them is actually the most divine act.
Garbage on the street has been killed once. By collecting it, combining it with other garbage, connecting it, and displaying it, it will be caught in the consciousness of the viewer again.
For example, if a horseshoe crab falls on the shore of Connie Island, it is nothing as it is, but when it is picked up and comes out with the label "This is the horseshoe crab that was the beach on Connie Island". , Will be on the stage. The spotlight is on.
Very importantly, identity is always a resynthesis.
If you want to find your point of contact with New York, going to New York and seeing various things is just the beginning. From there, you have to bring something that you want to resynthesize.
I think there are various methods for resynthesis. As introduced in this book, collecting and resynthesizing what has fallen is also "this is my New York". Recreating in this way is an important monument of identity.
The same is true for artists. I think I'm always resynthesizing, not creating something. In a pure sense, it's like a child picking up a stone on an excursion. However, when the artist resynthesizes, what is reproduced becomes an expression of oneself and brings a connection with the other party.
This act of resynthesizing and shining a spotlight is one of the points of art in the 20th century. Until the 19th century, what was not art was born by naming it "art", as if it were exhibited at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) or Guggenheim. I think that is exactly what Marcel Duchan's work is. By coming out to New York, where the syndicates of European traditions and professional groups have not been established, and presenting his own ready-made works, he showed himself that "living is art".
I think that was possible only in the theatrical space of New York.
Interview with Katsumi Asaba
New York was the bible
● New York in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s
——What was your first impression of New York?
Asaba: I first went there when I was 29 years old. The first impression was that it was very noisy, the city and the buildings were very noisy, and I was wondering what was going on. In the diary at that time, I wrote "a city like a dinosaur screaming". At that time, Tokyo was quiet. The buildings were low and everything was crowded like a aviary. First of all, we were overwhelmed by the size of the building in New York. I thought New York was a city with a three-dimensional effect.
——What did you think of New York's art and design at the time?
Asaba: When I was young, I was greatly influenced by New York design. In the 1950s and 1960s, New York's "Art Directors Yearbook" was the bible. It was a time when America was more energetic and creative than it is now.
The 1960s New York design still feels overwhelming. It was the most glamorous time with many talented photographers, editors and designers. The most amazing thing was the advertisement of an advertising agency called "DDB". It was our role model in making ads.
The design and art of the 1960s was amazing, and the 70s, when Andy Warhol was at the height of pop art, was lively. Two years before he died, I used him as a model to create advertisements.
——Which part of New York did you have an influence on?
Asaba: The influence of pop art in New York was great. Also, the skill of making advertisements for theater, disco, and Madison Avenue. The power of architects and interior designers was also amazing.
I also read New York magazines every day. I often went to work on Sunday and cut off any good pages. It was a first-come-first-served basis, so as soon as a magazine arrives, it becomes thinner.
When I was in high school, I often saw "Art Direction," "Purpose Bazaar," and "Vogue" at the American Cultural Center. New York still feels exciting. At that time, the city of New York itself was shining brightly.
——Do you feel that the design of New York at that time and now is different?
Asaba: It's still interesting, but it feels a little too refreshing. I also stopped looking at the "ADC Yearbook" in New York. Currently, I feel that the work of Japanese designers is more interesting. In the United States, there are many older and active designers and artists. For example, my favorite Jasper Johns is 70 years old and is still active. But a little further down, people of our generation have almost dropped out. When it comes to the next generation, it will be a much younger generation. When it comes to the people who represent the present, there are no people who come to us.
● Front behind New York
——Why is Japanese design becoming more interesting now?
Asaba: In many ways, Japan is packed with things. The United States may be a little slack due to the continued boom. I'm thinking of putting in a pry next time.
Of course, there may be new generations who are active out of our reach. And New York isn't the place where once-successful people keep doing the same thing. I think many people succeed when they are young and take the next step in their lives elsewhere. On the contrary, if you are Japanese, you will continue to design for the rest of your life if you are a designer.
It may be a difference in the way of thinking about the profession of designers in New York and Japan. Yusaku Kamekura was active until the end. Ikko Tanaka is already 70 years old, but he is still active. Looking at those seniors, I wonder if I can continue for another 20 years.
There are many lone wolves in Japanese designers. Like New York, it's hard for architects and designers to work together or collaborate with people from other disciplines. I think this is a problem where Japanese art management is not solid.
——How do you see the characteristics of Japanese design?
Asaba: I think it's interesting that the handmade feeling still remains. The touch of the designer himself remains. I think Japanese design is more tactile. It is also in the sense of the tactile sensation that you see with your eyes.
No matter what I use, I wish I could make something interesting in the end, but I realize that it is much more interesting to make it by hand.
Today's New York design is so computerized that it doesn't smell or feel.
It may be that Japanese design has begun to develop another world away from the time when it was chasing New York. Now, the design unique to Japan has finally been created. In that sense, I feel more familiar with Chinese culture than with the United States. There is a word "that's the front of the back", but the "front of the back" of Japan, which was facing the United States, is probably China.
——The world of characters that Mr. Asaba is developing is also in that flow, isn't it?
Asaba: Typography comes from Europe and America. In the case of Japan, Chinese characters are the base, so the influence of Chinese culture cannot be overlooked. In the old days, I also didn't like to use kanji and hiragana. The design in New York would have been beautiful. The word "New York" and the logotype "NY" looked cool. Chinese characters are cooler now. I think our identity is also around that.
According to artist ROCKY, who is also introduced at the beginning of this book, the notable photographer who "bred up in the United States and has a Japanese body" is him, TETSU. Most recently, it is said that his work was dropped at a high price in Sazabi. It may be obvious, but he doesn't speak Japanese. However, the gap with the appearance that I see is so remarkable that I am worried that I am an "American with a Japanese body". This interview started from such a mysterious impression.
● My identity is very complicated
American Japanese. I'm happy to have both now
——First of all, I would like to ask you about your identity. How do you understand your identity? Also, do you have any ideals or preconceptions about your identity?
TETSU (T): About yourself? Or about my job? ——About both. T: Well, this is a very complicated thing.
——I'm very interested in this, so please let us know.
T: Even if you say American, for example, Japanese American, African, Puerto Rican ... aren't they? I think of myself as an "American Japanese". I was born in the United States and received an American education, but my family is Japanese. I'm happy to have both. There are advantages to each. Being Japanese and American is very good for me.
——When did you realize the advantage of having attribution to both?
T: When I was a kid, it wasn't an advantage. I was born in 1940, but World War II began in 1941. Being Japanese at the time was rather a disadvantage. Our family spent three years in a concentration camp in Colorado. The concentration camp was in the desert, fenced, guarded by soldiers, and had no freedom. After all, we were prisoners of war. At that time, the Japanese were the enemy of Americans. But now, Japan's economy is growing, relations with the United States are improving, and Japan and the United States are friends and allies. So now it's an advantage. Japanese culture is recognized as a very sophisticated and wonderful culture, and the Japanese people are smart and diligent. In other words, it may or may not be advantageous depending on the situation.
——I think many Japanese Americans had a hard time going to concentration camps under the circumstances of World War II. Did you have an identity conflict at that time?
T: It was hard to be Japanese in America in the 50's when I was a teenager. There were still a lot of problems with Japan. Many Americans were still angry and indignant. The sons of many people were killed in action. But during World War II, Japanese-American soldiers fought very bravely for America in Europe. That helped make Japanese Americans more acceptable to Americans.
——It is famous that Japanese soldiers showed loyalty to the United States. They are brave and hard fighting to prove that they are Americans.
T: That's right. Even if their parents and siblings were imprisoned. It's ironic.
——It would have been very painful to have to prove your identity on the battlefield ...
T: All I had to prove was that I grew up in the United States. By the time I grew up, the war was over, but I think I tried to be more successful because my family was Japanese.
——The effort is also for your identity, isn't it? Tracing the roots of our ancestors ...
T: That's recent. I first went to Japan when I was 50 years old. Because it was 10 years ago. I had traveled all over the world, including India and South America, but I had never been to Japan.
——Is there any reason for that?
T: Well, maybe it's because of the jumbled emotions that come from my childhood experience and my own personal history. So I think I hesitated to go to Japan. My sister who died recently never went to Japan.
● When I first went to Japan, I was very excited. Relatives are like my father, and even their gestures are similar. I was so excited to be with them that I wanted to take a picture.
——Did you learn Japanese from your parents?
T: My father and mother always spoke Japanese at home. They were born in California, but they grew up in Japan and were educated in Japan. And since they came back to America as adults, their culture was mostly Japanese. That's why I'm a third generation, but I'm close to a second generation. When I first went to Japan, I was very excited. His father was dead, but his brother and sister lived in Japan. It was a lot of fun to meet them. They look like their fathers, even their gestures. They also look at me and say, "Hey, you look like your father." I think I had the same experience as I did by finding the image of my father. It was very nice. I don't speak much Japanese, but being with them made me very excited and wanted to take a picture as a work. Until then, my photography theme was New York, Europe, and my wife, an American.
——When did you come to Japan again this year?
T: Yes, it's about a month. I also want to go to Yamaguchi, Nara, Kyoto, and of course Tokyo. I want to see Japan more and more.
——What are your plans for a solo exhibition in Japan?
T: Maybe someday. The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum bought my work, so it's possible. I might do it when I get older (laughs).
——I'm looking forward to it. You look very young, don't you?
T: Most of the artists I know are still young. I still feel like I'm in my thirties. Of course, the body is definitely changing. For example, when my back hurts, it takes time to heal. But my heart hasn't changed. I'm excited when I go to work and I still love photography as much as I did when I started.
——When did you start photography?
T: When I was 25 years old. I was almost self-taught.
——Why did you try to become a photographer?
T: My friends had a big influence. I grew up in Chicago. When the war was over and we were released from the concentration camps, we could go wherever we wanted. So my dad decided to go to Chicago. One of my Chicago friends was a photographer and I really liked what he was doing, especially the development of photos. It seemed beautiful. So I started taking pictures myself and had my own darkroom. That was 35 years ago. I still love photography and enjoy it as much as I do.
I still like to go to the darkroom. Some photographers are addicted to digital these days, but digital and analog are completely different fields. I love analog photography. When you enter the darkroom, it feels like magic. You can feel like you are meditating in your own home, where you are accustomed to living.
——Can you take color photos?
T: I take pictures from time to time, but most of them are monochrome. I like that better.
● When my father died, I decided to take a picture of an old Japanese man. The wrinkled face of the old man is wonderful. I want to shoot it pop
——By the way, did you have a family tree?
T: My uncle Kiyoshi was very interested in the family tree as a family spirit, and he and his daughter did a lot of research. They put together the records and photos and gave me a homemade book.
——I think that such a family tree is also a proof and record of one identity.
T: That's right.
——I think we Japanese haven't really thought about identity very much. Especially when I'm only in Japan, it's a monoethnic society, and people tend to think that they have the same values and ideas, and it's hard to face situations where they notice or have to think.
T: I think it's all about social conventions, race, and language. From an American perspective, it may be that all Japanese look alike. ——But if you give an example like you or tell a story with you today, I think it will trigger you to think about your identity. Who you really are, this may be overlooked, but people are similar compared to America. Therefore, through this project, we are trying to get the Japanese to know. Of course, being only in Japan makes it difficult to start thinking about who you are. But I think.
T: I would be happy if that happened. I was also able to find some of my identity in Japan. And I think I have to keep thinking
——Do you continue to shoot Japanese people?
T: Yeah. When my father died, I was interested in filming an old Japanese man. The wrinkled face of the old man is wonderful. I wanted to take that face up.
——You also take a picture of boxing, right?
T: That's right. Boxing is more sculptural. ——Are you boxing yourself?
——Why did you start to get interested in boxing?
T: I like boxing skills. I like how to use my body and it's very beautiful and exciting.
——Do you also shoot famous boxers?
T: No. Now I'm interested in young Bronx people, such as Puerto Ricans and black people who are working hard to get better. Someone who hasn't been very successful. The process of becoming a champion is interesting. I'm not very interested in people who have succeeded. I also like the faces of people in the gym. Old or poor. The face of a person in an expensive health club has no personality. The people in the gym are great subjects that are intriguing to me.
TOM is DOYLE He is an executive of a medium-sized company called PARTNERS. He has a number of large clients and is involved in CI and book design for bookstores that are often seen in New York. I was planning to do an interview and post it here because of my design work. However, he was invited to his house because of that, and was deeply impressed with his way of thinking about his family, and the plan was changed drastically. What impressed me was that, as you can see, his family was a multi-ethnic family.
● About John and Sam.
——What impresses and interests us is that you are adopting. What's more, you're trying to teach the children their true homeland and identity. Can you explain in your words why you are doing this and why you think it is important?
Tom: Good. We didn't know what kind of family we would be in the process of adopting. With John, I became a family of two Americans and one Japanese. I was planning to raise other children in the future, so I thought it was important for John to have himself firmly. As John grows up, he doesn't seem to be confused by "Is he white or Asian, American or Japanese?"
My family was of German descent and my grandfather and grandmother spoke German, but I couldn't incorporate it into my life. Lynn grew up in Norwegian and Irish customs. So, although we are not Japanese, we decided to incorporate Japanese customs a little because our family is Japanese. If he doesn't put in John's heart that he is Japanese, he can't grow forever. In every respect, he finds himself always and always Japanese. So Rin was hard. It's a completely different culture. We made a special effort to get used to the Japanese tradition. I read a lot of books, played a little in Japanese, and created an environment where I could feel Japan naturally. It cost me money. I'm doing the same for Sam now.
——You ’re Korean, right?
Tom: That's right.
——Does she also go to Korean school?
Tom: I hope it's the right year.
——It's interesting to incorporate Japanese religion.
Tom: We just want the house to feel mixed. It's neither American nor Japanese, I just want to stay as a family. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of this ... and so on.
——Are you studying Japanese?
Tom: No. I have no time.
——Have you been to Japan many times?
Tom: No. Our dream is to travel unplanned for about a month someday. Japan and probably South Korea. Not only go to sightseeing spots, but also meet friends and spend time.
——It's difficult for Japanese people to be so open, so it's very nice from our point of view. I think what you are doing will encourage many people.
Tom: Not everything is great in American culture. Not all are as diverse as New York and San Francisco.
● Am I Japanese? American?
Tom: Certainly Japan is a very single society. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. Lynn grew up in Konistica, Connecticut, and both are very single societies, at least a couple of decades ago. It may have changed a bit now, but where I grew up was all white and all the same.
I think I met my Japanese friend for the first time after I entered university. Until then, I don't think I had met any Asian people other than the Chinese restaurant in town. There weren't many blacks, at least in my neighborhood, blacks and whites lived in different parts of the town. This is true America, so we've been in a mixed family like we are now since we moved here.
We just want to make a special effort so that our children experience things like us and don't feel unusual. Don't let your children feel unpleasant family or unpleasant society. Especially for children, the problem of adoption is waiting a little further. That alone will be hard enough. When it comes to teenagers ...
Linn: When I was sending John to school on Friday ... John, do you remember what I said back then? The story of whether John is American or Japanese.
Yuta: I already know.
Linn: That's right. But he asked me, "Am I an American, am I a Japanese?"
Yuta: I'm Japanese and American.
Linn: That's right. He is both. And he was trying to understand why he could be both. I think this is a topic that both children and adults have to deal with at various levels. You'll hear different things year by year.
Tom: Lin's family and my family now live in Connecticut, but when I go there, it's kind of very eye-catching. Because we are a very rare family. But New York is a big city, so it's not uncommon. We have a villa, but it still feels a little when we go there. The villa is in New Jersey, but it's still a bit isolated, where we're a very unusual family, and when we go to the lake we say, "That family, Asian, even though my parents are German. I have two children. "
Rin and I also learned a lot. By welcoming John and Sam into our lives, we have come to think a lot. For example, as children grow up, we learn about new cultures together, try to learn new languages, and so on. So it was good for us too. To spread human love as an individual.
Linn: We've been married for almost 20 years now, but it hasn't been easy for our husbands to maintain their position since we welcomed our children. I used to be able to do something while doing other things, but now I'm more likely to act together. This is difficult, but it's also fun. It was very easy to get adopted. I wanted a child and I wanted a family, so it seemed natural to have an adopted child. Frankly, when I adopted, I had no choice but to accept it because the creators chose us. It was very easy. It was an open application.
——What do you think about your identity? How do you understand it again? What does the word identity mean to you? I know it's a difficult question.
Tom: Lynn used the term "open application" earlier, do you know this idea? In the olden days, women with babies who couldn't be raised went to orphanages to leave their babies, and the orphanages were looking for parents to raise. Nowadays, with open adoption, both the birth and the upbringing families meet. There is no shame. That was the case with John. I will tell you that the end of the story will be the answer to your question. John's mother was a young Japanese studying abroad in the United States and was pregnant. She was supposed to go back to Japan, but she couldn't bring her child home. Because he couldn't be well educated, everyone knew him, and so on. She can't be herself, but John wanted to be in America. So she went to an adoption agency. We had once applied for adoption, so it was a good combination. We met there and John was just born and in the hospital, but sat in a small room with his birth mother and father and had a very awkward and formal conversation. They are trying to hand over their children to raise them as our sons. Then we talked about what we wanted for John, one of which was self-confidence. I think identity is this. It's about understanding who you are. We are happy with that. "I'm okay", I can reach my goals, I don't feel embarrassed, I don't care what others think, regardless of who I am, where I came from, and so on. Well, if I have the feeling that I have humor-it's very important these days ... And move forward. That was the purpose.
Tom: Self-esteem, self-confidence, the same thing. Courage and the freedom to be what you want to be, not what society creates. I think this is a big problem. It's not easy.
——It's not easy, especially in Japan.
Tom: That may be true.
● Toward a society where children can become what they want to be
——Let me talk a little more about the essence of life. The next question is about your life. What is the most important thing in your life, except for your family? What are your important values?
Tom: Lin and I have just recently set up a public school in this town and are still involved. I've been working on it for the past four or five years. This is a small addition other than family and work. There is nothing more than this. We strongly feel that our dedication to community and education is truly valuable to us.
Especially in places like this town where upper and middle class people send their children to private schools and lower class people to public schools, education gives them opportunities. Public schools may not be very good. In the sense of opportunity. Due to the implicit rules of society, children who do not have the money to attend private school will be attending public school and may not be given the opportunity to be given for the rest of their lives.
So Lin and I have devoted ourselves to helping this school over the last few years to give our children the opportunity to be what they want to be. So family, work, values, community dedication, and education are important. Rin's mother is an educator, Rin is a teacher, my mother is a teacher, and my grandmother is a teacher ... Without realizing it, we know that education is an important part of who we are.
Linn: What's happening at school isn't just economic separation, it's also racial separation. Middle-class and upper-class people tend to be white. So schools are separated by race and economy. The schools we helped establish are public schools for everyone, so the students are more mixed. Both racial and economic. The area we live in is very diverse. Nevertheless, when it comes time to send a child to school, John is the only non-white child in kindergarten. That shouldn't be good.
Tom: Same is true for Sam. Now she's only three years old, so she goes to a private kindergarten in the morning. Sam is the only Asian there. Linn: There is also Herbert.
Tom: Herbert is Chinese. There are only white people and two Asians. There are no blacks. This is a typical private school. Only white people.
Yuta: I'm not white. It's pink.
●モーゼス・キングとニューヨークの摩天楼 1920〜30年には、ニューヨークのビルは絵はがきとなって、たくさん売られていました。それまでは考えられないことでしたが、単なるビルが観光名所になっていたのです。 柴山さんが集められたはがきは、20世紀前半に、モーゼス・キングというガイドブックの出版社盛んにやっていたもので、この人は、アメリカの摩天楼を広く世界に紹介した功績もあるのですが、やたらにたくさんの絵はがきも出していて、摩天楼がいかに大事かを唱えていて、その中には、実際にはできていないビルまでたくさん描かれていました。 そのイメージというのが、全く、未来のイメージで、1920年代というのに、空にはヘリコプターが飛んでいますし、人力飛行機のようなものも飛んでいたりします。まさにSFシーンのようです。 『メトロポリス』☆という人造人間が出てくる有名な映画がありますが、モーゼス・キングが発信したニューヨークのイメージは、まさにそんなイメージでした。 その中でも、一番象徴的なのは、建物と建物とを上で繋ぐハイウェイが流れているところです。もちろんそんなものはまだ無いわけですが、高架道を通る高速道路のイメージは、ヨーロッパではなく、ニューヨークからこのように生まれてきたのです。その後、ニューヨークのハイウェイは、実際にニューヨークと田舎を繋ぐ、非常に大きな動脈になるわけですが……。
●天国と地獄としての、未来イメージ モーゼス・キングのような人を中心に、摩天楼が世界に抱かせた未来イメージとは、ひとつは、空中へ空中へと伸びていく無限の発展性のイメージです。 「アメリカンゴシック」とよく言いますが、神と近づくために高い尖塔を建てたヨーロッパのゴシック建築と同じように、天に伸びるようなビルを沢山造っていくことは、ユートピアと地獄の図を思い描かせました。ビルの上と下は、天国と地獄の非常に大きなメタファーになっています。20世紀風に言いますと、建物の下は地獄で上は天国の状態になってしまうのです。そこには、階級などによるヨーロッパとは違った別の、上下による階層的な格差のある世界がありました。 上の方は非常に快適な空間になり、街をみんな見下ろせるような世界。ユートピア、未来の世界、下は労働者が働いていて、暗く、貧しい世界です。 下は労働者が働いていて貧民窟があるというのを人々を怖がられました。というのは、こんな建物を小さな所に集中すると、建物の足下の方の路面は光が射さない、暗い場所になってしまうからです。 そういった風景は『メトロポリス』の映画まさにそのままで、ご覧になれば分かりますが、ビルの上の方には社長が住んでいて、屋上はこの世の楽園のようになっていて、裸の女の子が遊び、社長の息子が迷い込むと、裸の女の子と水浴をしたりしています。ところが、地下で働いている労働者の娘がそこに迷い込んでくるというストーリーです。 まさにこの絵が人に抱かせたニューヨークは、そのイメージなのです。あれが20世紀の未来のイメージだと人々が思っていたのです。
● この時代からもうすこし後になると、夜のシーンが多くなってきて、夜の風景でスーパーマンが飛んでいるようなビルの風景になってきます。 この、20世紀の本当のニューヨークの姿がイメージとして、現れるのは、クライスラービルからになります。
あらまた ひろし 1947年東京生まれ。幻想文学研究家、路上観察学会会員。慶應義塾大学法学部卒業。コンピューター・プログラマーとして会社員生活を送った後、著述家となる。英米幻想文学、神秘学、幻想科学、紀伝小説、博物学、図像学、産業考古学、路上観察額、南洋楽園学など、現大文明の「忘れもの」に光りをあててきた。