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What Japan is fighting for
What Japan is fighting for
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It was clearly at a loss. The path it had followed up to that point seemed suddenly lost in darkness. It was useless to turn back. It was impossible to scan its way ahead. There was hardly any promise for the future. There was something wrong with each moment that people counted as they breathed the stifling air. The clouds that hung low over the horizon of the nation shut out the very light which is helpful in hours of uncertainty and difficulty.
The mountain, often symbolic of repose and patience, more often suggests a barrier, a mark of opposition, a symbol of trial and hardship. But to the imagination of the Japanese nation which has come through a period of trial, a period at least of two decades, in which it was brought under the increasing weight of foreign pressure and opposition and suspicion, mountains can only mean a symbol of trial and difficulty. This imagery is particularly clear when mountains are painted or seen in somber shadows, barren, steep, threatening. A painter depicting Japan prior to the Manchurian incident of 1931, or through the years or the China conflict, might have shown her in the form of a figure groping its way through the shadow of towering mountains. Clouds over mountains are symbolic of a new day at its beginning. Clouds capping high peaks catch the first grey light of dawn. The first sign of day is thrown on the clouds. As the light turns from grey to roseate hue the somber clouds must sail away to clear the way for the full light of the sun. As the clouds roll out of vision, the mountains merge from shadow into light. Robed in the brilliance of daylight, the mountains that appeared full of ominous portents through the night take on a new character and significance. The mountains become symbols of strength. Those peaks which inspired fears bespeak
hope and courage with the progress of day.
The whole conception of clouds over mountains. from our point of view, is happily illustrative of the year that has just dawned. It is the first day of the year in which Japan is fully prepared to assume leadership in the construction of a new order over East Asia. It will of course be the first and one of the many years in which the Japanese nation will be called on to carry the great responsibility it has assumed. For no construction of true worth can be achieved without heavy costs in labor and time. The new year holds in stock Herculean labors such as this nation has never experienced in its career. But this year is one of hope and courage. There is always hope in construction; and there can be no construction without courage. And the message of hope that this nation can give on this first day of the new year must bring light into many lives of East Asia which, because surrounded by shadowy mountains, have remained for the most part a land of shadows. The light that is caught on the clouds over mountains this day, heralds the sun that must flood Asia in all its glory:
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