Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The title is the main 'word' (because there's probably a more official term that I don't know) of my wife's family's Buddhist flavor. It is a word that draws a guttural groan from my smiling lips each time I hear it.

I'm all for freedom of religion. I have my beliefs and others are welcome to theirs. What I cannot tolerate is for any person to force their beliefs upon others to the degree that grown men and women must chant because their father commands it - especially when these people have expressed a clear contrarian position to that of the Alpha Male.

九州男児(きゅうしゅうだんじ)is how we refer to these men here in the South of Japan. Men more correctly identified as boys on a standardized word-association test. The infuriatingly smug way they say 'shall we begin?' as though everyone is looking forward to the moment with the same anxious anticipation barring a torrent of glee from spilling forward as water from an ancient dam.

No one is looking forward to it. Trust.

I don't take part in these pointless rituals because I have my own way to wander of course, but I can't even respect the act because the feet do not follow the mouth. They preach a cleansing of the soul through meditation and reverence for our ancestors and the creators of this world and all the life in it. They chant for an hour at a time scrubbing away at a day full of impolite words and actions heaped one upon another like peasants stacking bricks of mud around themselves and calling the atrocity 'home'.

九州男児 ー the category of the generation prior you hope dies off with the last living example. There's a word in every language.

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