Thursday, March 01, 2012

The reason for resilience.

Talk given by Ken Mogi at TED Long Beach on 29th February, 2012, 10 days before the 1st anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of 2011.

twitter: @kenmogi

On March 11th 2011, a massive earthquake hit Eastern Japan. About 30 minutes later, devastating waves of tsunami came ashore across the Tohoku area. It was a natural disaster of a scale unprecedented in the remembered history of Japan. Scientists later confirmed that it had been an event once in a thousand years. Then the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima followed, casting shadows over people’s lives and hearts. It was a “black swan” event that even experts had failed to predict. The tsunami swept cars, houses, to the utter despair of those looking on in disbelief. Children cried, while their parents could do nothing but to comfort them. Tens of thousands of people lost their loved ones, their cherished homes, and their long-held ways of life.

In memory of the people who lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami, I would like to dedicate here a moment of silence.

Almost immediately after the disaster, recovery efforts started. People around the world were impressed by the resilience of the Japanese people, who never forgot smiles on their faces, despite the incredible difficulties encountered in the wake of a disaster.

Here I would like to share with you a philosophy behind the resilience of Japanese people. Among Japanese fishermen, there is a saying that “under the board, there is hell.” Once the Mother Nature rages, there is nothing you can do about it. Despite the risks, a fisherman ventures off into the ocean, to do his best to make a living.

This old proverb is true for all of us. As the world becomes small, we are facing newly emerging oceans of contingencies. Just like the Japanese fishermen, we don’t give up. We proceed, with smiles on our faces. In fact, we can even say that risks and uncertainties are the mothers of hope and wisdom.

Here I have a flag, given to me by a fisherman in Kamaishi, who has been personally affected by the tsunami. In order to cheer us up, I swing here the Japanese fisherman’s flag. Under the board, there is hell. That’s why we all hope to build peace and prosperity on our humble boat, through our resilience and hard work. And that’s why we are all here today. Thank you very much.


orlandojpn said...

Simple, deep, profound - just like som many wonderful Japanese people.

orlandojpn said...

Simple, profund and endearing - just like so many Japanese people

nnaoyan said...

It was really a great speech, making us feel not only humble but brave and positive. We have to keep challenging even nobody knows what lies ahead as we have at least the minimum obligation to pass the society to the next generation.

Tsumabenicho said...

I appreciate your hard work.
Impressive speech and performance!

The plot is specific and the subject agrees with philosophy of life. I imagine the audience was deeply interested in the saying "under the board, there is hell". It also reminds us of the mother ship that is the earth.

Your vigorous action will surely encourage the whole world.

Nugatuna said...

thanks for sharing this! :)

(ma)gog said...

I am ashamed of myself for not having done anything helpful for those who are still suffering from the last year's disaster, just but praying. As a Japanese myself, although I was not there when it actually happened, emotionally I shared grief and deep sorrow and desperation with the people of my own country, without being able to look forward to expecting new future at all. There are still unimaginable amount of problems to be solved, and it is difficult for me to say something encouraging though I know it is important to believe in our power to face this reality and to step forward, especially at this most vulnerable and confusing time not only in Japan but in human history as well.
I respect your continuous effort to be active and to play an important role as an opinion leader to give the people of our time hope and courage.

izumi said...

Hell of our earth ... from here a ray of hope springs...thank you very much for your strong and vigorous activity.