What do you think about this title 'do jusitice with Smile'?
This is a phrase in a novel "Justice and Smile" written by Osamu Dazai, Japanese famous writer.
So, in this article, I will introduce Dazai, his novel "Justice and smile", and my favorite phrases in the novel.
About Osamu Dazai
He was born in 1909 and committed suicide in 1948. He wrote a lot of novels during and after WW2 although he attempted suicide many times and suffered from drug addiction.
His style varies from serious to humorous and from long to short. He was interested in Christianity and the Bible, so he often referred to them in his works and so too "Justice and smile".
"Justice and Smile"
This novel, published in 1942, was literature in diary form and can be freely read online now.(図書カード：正義と微笑)
The title is derived from a passage in the novel.
'Do justice with smile!' I was able to come up with a good motto. I'll write down and put it on a wall. Oh, no. I'm about to make a bad mistake. I'm about to put it on a wall to inform others of it. I may be a hypocrite. I must be careful about my behavior.
The reason a hero,Susumu, thinks he may be a hypocrite is that his motto occurs to him when he copies from the Bible, Matthew 6 Fasting, to his notebook.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6 NIV - Giving to the Needy - “Be careful not - Bible Gateway
Susumu, sixteen years old student, starts to write his diary. He expresses in his diary mixed emotions, self-hatred, admiration, embarrassment, sorrow, unpleasantment, anger and so on.
He leads a restless life with the exam to "ichikou"(first higher school) near at hand. After all, he fails the ichikou exam and is bitterly disappointed.
Failing the exam, he decides to try to realize his long-cherished dream to be an actor. His elder brother's advice also helps his determination.
with support from Tsuda, a teacher of Susumu's brother, he meets a great dramatist, who he thinks is a master.
His master tells him to make a career by himself, so Susumu follows master's word and undergoes an oral exam of "shunjuza" (a professional touring theatrical company).
Finally, he pass the exam and become an actor in the making. And this novel ends.
I would like to quote two maxims from "Justice and Smile". One is Susumu's teacher's words at his last class. The other is Susumu's words after he becomes an actor.
This is a situation where Mr. Kuroda, a junior high school teacher, says goodbye to his students including Susumu after his last class.
Now, we must say goodbye. A relationship between teacher and student is actually vain and irresponsible. Once a teacher retires, then they seldom worry about each other. You're not responsible for that, but teachers are. In fact, there are too many stupid teachers. They are so immature that I can't distinguish men and women. I really must apologize to you for telling such a thing, but I can't endure the atmosphere at teacher's room any more. They are all fool and egoistic and don't love their students at all. I have been doing my best there for two years, but I can no more. Before they fire me, I quit my job.
This is my last class. I will never see you again, but from now on, even if we are apart, let's study harder and harder. Studying is significant to us. There are some people who think algebra and geometry worthless after graduating from school, but that's a serious mistake. We must study botany, zoology, physics, chemistry, and other subjects as long as time allows us. It is seemingly worthless study in your everyday lives that cultivate your personality. There's no need to be proud of your knowledge. After studying, you may forget all about it. Remembering does not count. What count is being cultivated through studying. Culture does not mean one's ability to remember many formulae and words, but means one's state of open-mind, that is, keeping love in your hearts. People who was a lazy student become egoists in the end. You may forget all just after you study it. However, even if you forget what you study, there is a handful of gold at the bottom of your trained heart left. This is the most significant. And you should not hurry to directly and forcibly make use of what you study. Slowly, cultivate yourself. That's all what I wanted to tell you. We can no longer spend time studying in this classroom together, but I will never forget your names. I would be very happy if you remember me sometime. Our class ends all too soon, but I think parting should be simple. In conclusion, may all of you be healthy.
When I read this for the first time, I was awaken to the truth by this maxim. In those days, the entrance exam to university was near at hand, and I lost motivation to study. So, this saying encouraged me. Now I fully understand the significance of study. Studying is living. Both consist of accumulation of the past. Endeavor here and now has great effect on the future.
Simple and honest
This is the last scene of this novel, where Susumu thinks about himself and his future.
Now I know all I have to do is endeavor to live a life earnestly. From now on, I'll act simply and honestly and tell that I don't know if there is something I don't know and that I can't do that if there is something I can't do. To my surprise, life seems simple when I stop putting on airs. I'll build a house on a rock.
Susumu's determination is simple but very powerful. The last phrase "build a house on a rock" may be related a proverb "three years on a cold stone". This proverb means if you sit on a cold stone for three years, the stone will become warm, that is, endurance could lead to success. In Susumu's case, not sitting on a stone for three years but building a house on a rock. This represents his strong belief.
So far, I introduce "Justice and Smile" and my favorite maxims. I would like you to read it. It will surely encourage you, or at least provoke some thoughts about life, study, dream, and so on.
My translation skill is very poor and I think there may be misspelled words and inappropriate expressions in this article. I'll be glad if you give me comments about something wrong in this article you notice.
Thank you for reading!