Japanese literature has a rich tradition in the philosophy of life. The genre of Rokyoku, in which important events and life histories of famous persons are recounted in a dramatic and engaging way, provides a particularly resonant medium for the appreciation of life.
Torazo Hirosawa (1899-1964) is a universally recognized genius in the genre of Rokyoku (musical and dramatic recounting of the life of historical figures). Torazo's mastery resides in the organic combination of the tragic and the comic.
Torazo's legendary performance of the Life of Jirocho Shimizu (1820-1893), a gangster and political activist at the same time, is full of heart-wringing drama of life and death. A particularly poignant phrase is "A fool can be cured only when he dies."
(To be continued tomorrow)