“Be a world citizen”
From now on, everyone needs to become a world citizen, otherwise they are of no use. Regarding this, I’ll tell you an interesting story. Right after the end of World War II, a veteran came to my place, indignant, and said, “I do not understand why we need to surrender this time. I cannot accept it at all.” I showed absolutely no interest in his talk. Bewildered, he then asked me, “Aren’t you Japanese?” I replied promptly, “I’m not Japanese.” Shocked and trembling, he demanded, “Then what country are you from!” To this, I told him bluntly, “In short, I’m a world citizen.” He went blank and looked lost, then pleaded with me to clarify what I meant until he could fully understand it. Now, I am going to explain what a world citizen is based on the things I told him at that time. *
A well-known tanka poem by the great Emperor Meiji reads as follows: “When we consider all people in the surrounding seas as brothers and sisters, would the waves and winds rise and roar?” This is exactly what it is. If everyone thinks in this way, world peace would arrive even as early as tomorrow. If all humanity were to become as broad-minded as this, all nations in the world would be like one family and there would be no reason for a war to start, would there? Even today, some cling to their isms and ideologies and form their own groups, while others treat those who do not conform to their values as enemies crying out loud, “This is national policy!” or “This is the spirit of our county!” on one hand and “Nationalism should be respected!” and “Our land is the land of gods!” on the other. This kind of self-centered way of thinking will not only lead a country astray but also obstruct world peace. So I say that, at the very least, all of the Japanese population should become world citizens now, as we just signed the peace treaty in San Francisco. The Japanese should discard the narrow-minded, shojo way of thinking and take up a broad-minded, daijo way of thinking. In the coming years, this kind of all-encompassing way of thinking will be the most advanced one, and the world is going to need those who hold such a view. By the way, religion is the same. It is now outdated to differentiate and segregate one’s religion from others, fixating on which religious group, denomination or community one is associated with. I have no intention to boast but, everyone, take a look at our religion. Our religion does not mind at all having contact with other religions and getting to know them. We do not have that kind of a small-minded, petty thinking. In fact, we even take delight in getting to know other religions because our religion preaches peace and aims to bring harmony among humanity and turn the world into one family. We regard any other religion as our fellow and try to move forward with them amicably, joining together hand in hand.
Eiko, vol. 124, October 3, 1951
* Portion omitted for the service.