You know, wouldn't it be better if only your sincere father, who is out of sight, understood your loneliness, even if you didn't want others to understand? Don't you think so? Loneliness is for everyone. Heed My Plea, Osamu Dazai
Osamu Dazai’s Heed My Plea is an adaptation of the betrayal of Judas in the New Testament. Judas tries to sell out his beloved teacher, Jesus Christ. Dazai recounted this story as naturally as a spider spewing thread and had Michiko write to her. Judas’ indecision and instability are described as if he were Dazai’s alter ego. Judas is a symbol of a traitor, but Dazai wrote a series of stories about his own experiences after Judas, changing his works many times.
A long time ago, when I was painting, my teacher once asked me: “Where do you see yourself as finished?
What is completion, that is certainly a question and answer for art. First of all, is it just for me? Is it when it is recognised by society? If it is only for yourself, at worst it is good, even if it is not very good. How much do you want something, how much do you want an audience, do you want applause, do you want a lot of friends, or do you want something that God decides? Completion was something I couldn’t describe in one word, but I gradually realised it would be like the end of Goethe’s Faust. Good and evil try to go somewhere, but time does not. Especially when we awaken from the darkness at a single light, The one who captures human life, both in bad and good times, is beautiful. Time, you are beautiful”. True perfection is like these words.
The restoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper was completed between 1977 and 1999. Originally, Judas at the Last Supper, painted by the artist before da Vinci, was seated opposite Jesus. Why did da Vinci paint him at the end of the row? As can be seen in the restored painting, only Judas is covered by a shadow, but the others were also painted in such a position that they would be swallowed by the shadow if they moved even slightly. It seems that Da Vinci did not adopt a good/bad dualism, but a Buddhist good/bad non-duality. His values have something in common with those of Machiavelli and Bacon during the decline of philosophy in the 16th century; St Bernardino of Siena, a 15th century Franciscan preacher, argued that usury was morally wrong but bankers were necessary for development. Goethe’s Satan in Faust, based on the Book of Job, was also completed in the 16th century. Faust’s Satan followed human psychology and slowly seduced Dr Faust, for example by giving him rejuvenation rather than the misery of Job. Philosophy, too, was not as conceptual as German mysticism, but a rational philosophy was born.
Spending on art guaranteed eternal salvation, while at the same time satisfying people’s vanity, as the rich flaunted their wealth and sensibilities.
Osamu Dazai’s Heed My Plea is an adaptation of the story of Judas selling Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, but there is a story in Dazai’s work that is very similar in structure to Heed My Plea. ”A Tale of Honorable Poverty” is an adaptation of a Qing Chinese ghost story in which Dazai figuratively describes the problem of “worldliness and anti-worldliness” and writes about being an artist and living as a human being at the same time. The story is set in the Edo period (1603-1868), when Sainosuke Mayama, a chrysanthemum enthusiast, takes in Saburo Tohmoto and his sister and brother Kie. Saburo was a master chrysanthemum grower. He suggested they sell the chrysanthemums to earn money for rice and salt, but Sainosuke, who was a man of poverty, said it was a disgrace to sell his beloved flowers to earn money for rice and salt. The sisters sell the chrysanthemums for money, and Sainosuke eventually marries Kie. He tries to live a pure and poor life, but in reality he discovers that he is only compromising his lifestyle. Villas grew in size and luxury. was not only ashamed of selling them, but also jealous that Saburo was far better at growing chrysanthemums than he was. Finally, at the end of the film, Saburo disappears as smoke, so we know that he is a chrysanthemum spirit. He then realises that he deeply loves Kie, who has not disappeared.
The year in which Heed My Plea was published was the same year as Tale of Honourable Poverty, 1940. The Grapes of Wrath, also released that year, depicted the monster that is capitalism, but the film version adapted the setting to the times with a new message. It was that ‘the people will live on’.
The Disney company released Pinocchio and Fantasia, which did not do well in the US at the time of their release.（Pinocchio） The Disney version of Pinocchio said that the fairies would give Pinocchio ‘good and evil’ before taking him away. It referred to little Jiminy Cricket as ‘good’ and did not mention evil, because that is the society Pinocchio will experience. The little good did not prevent Pinocchio from being forgotten and tempted. It is ‘evil’ that calls out to Pinocchio, without being evil, and teaches him the horror of not being innocent and of following in silence. Coincidentally, Dazai’s work seems to fit the theme of these works. It is not only through the power of Jiminy Cricket that this Pinocchio saves Zeppetto from the whale, but also through spontaneity. This ‘goodness’ of spontaneity and action is the eternal ideal, but because it is not as glamorous as his previous work, Snow White, it did not sell well enough to drive the company into the red, even during the war. It seems that this sequence of events is the eternal challenge of humanity.
Judas in Heed My Plea is placed in the West as a symbol of the traitor. The story is an adaptation of the Judas passages in the Gospels, but is characterised by a narrative in which Judas seems to have possessed Dazai. The language is familiar, without small words, but there is no waste. The “that man” with whom Judas is obsessed is Jesus Christ. So there is tension in every word. Similarly famous for its Gospel script is Oscar Wilde’s Salome. It is a play, but it too shows the sacred in the light of the evil mind of man. As long as we don’t know how much light there is in that sacred thing, as long as we don’t know what it means, we are swallowed up by the laconic lines of human desire, and we cannot see it, and we can only see it as mere egoism and indulgence. It is not that there is anything wrong with indulgence, but that sanctity also descends on the satanically writhing. (Bataille-esque) It depends on the point of view from which it is presented: if it is only done away with satanically, it is only a monster called Satan. What makes him human is the contrast of ‘light’. This is the light and shadow that everyone can see, as in Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Just as shadows sometimes imitate light in painting techniques, Salome desires the kiss of a divine being, breaking a Catholic taboo. It was not an all-encompassing love, but thoughts became as sharp as a sword. After obtaining John’s head, Salome is executed for breaking a taboo. Dazai’s Judas was not a play like Salome, but like a rakugo. Most rakugo do not often write deeply about the inner life of a human being, as in the famous ‘Manjuu Scary’. In Salome, the part where she is executed after the death of Jokanaan was added, but there is no suicide scene in Dazai’s Judas. The fact that the writer, who is even nicknamed Dazai when it comes to suicide, did not subject Judas to the desire for suicide for the sake of a holy existence, and that he had him tread on several invisible codes within the Bible, is something that deserves attention as a deep psychological experience.
Osamu Dazai was also a drug addict who sent out screaming postcards asking to borrow back issues of Bible Knowledge, which was then in short supply. He was more interested in Christianity than any other religion. Although he was not baptised, he was aware that he was seen by the Lord, his Father, and that his sins were recorded. From a young age he tried to kill himself with calmotine (sleeping pills), and instead of seeking salvation, he looked at the defilement of his own heart by comparing himself with the commandments. Osamu Dazai, often described as one of the three worst writers in Japan, was extremely unaware that he had to support his family with the money he earned, as his wife Michiko Tsushima describes in her memoirs. He also committed adultery and took no responsibility for picking up stray dogs. Nevertheless, his behaviour and conflicting emotions made him write, sometimes sincerely and sometimes as if he were speaking for someone else. Psychologists may want to call these states symptoms, but that is what makes them artists. Susceptibility cannot wait while people search for a basis for their ‘being’, and if it waits, it will die. In fact, even today, we do not live in a society where it is comfortable to have sensitivity at the level of the so-called gifted. Those who dislike Dazai say that this ‘Heed My Plea’ is also superficial. Contradictions are not deep, and religion is hardly a speciality. Perhaps the clergy would also call Dazai’s interpretation of Judas shallow. The reason I’m looking at it is because Judas betrayed and sold Jesus because of this level of malice. There was no elaborate plan.
In the Gospels, Job is portrayed most negatively in John 6:70. Have I not chosen the twelve of you? But one of them is a Satan’. Although it is in John and Luke that Judas is mentioned as Satan in the Gospels, the four Gospels recorded in the Bible are presented from different perspectives, and a deeper understanding is created by trying to integrate them, even though they are multifaceted. Dazai’s Judas was not a particularly wicked or advanced Satan who could negotiate with the God who had set his eyes on Job and Faust. He saw that the real Jesus knew he was doomed to betray him. The Satanic nature that Dazai captured was not something that brought about a high level of destruction, but an existence that gradually stirred up destiny in a way very similar to the contradictions that humans possess. Dazai’s Judas expresses the contradictory duality that every human being has.
Osamu Dazai also recounted his own experiences many times in adaptations, his wife’s memoirs, the diary of a lover who had a heart attack, and the writings of his teacher Masuji Ibushi, but the interpretation of the negative aspects of Dazai Osamu cannot be unified, and the same applies to Judas. The warning that things get bigger with emotions that we all have, rather than crimes like cunning and intelligent criminals, is a necessary fragility for a religion.
Heed My Plea” is a quote from Matthew 23:25: “You are clean outside the cup and the plate, but inside you are satisfied with greed and riches.There are many crimes in this world that cannot be punished. In response to this, Dazai’s Judas seemed confused.
He wanted the reward, but he also wanted Jesus’ love. Judas expected great powers from the Messiah. But no.What Jesus does is only good for the poor. Thirty pieces of silver are worth the same as a slave in the Old Testament. A more competent and clever betrayer could have gained even greater riches. But Judas could not. That his little folly remains as a warning at the end of the Gospel is not far from the essence of Dazai’s adaptation. What was Judas’s punishment at the time? Judas had committed no crime according to the law of the time. And yet, He committed suicide. That alone should be enough to know what Jesus was like.
In A Tale of Honourable Poverty, the author’s own resistance to labor is expressed. At the same time, there is a search for a sacredness that cannot be converted into wages. Do people really want to labour? Have you ever thought about that? It is also true that people want to seek the sacred, not just to turn everything into recognition or money. But the Bible is also a book about labour. It is labour that has not progressed far enough to be called history. People have been working since Cain and Abel. That is why people had expectations of the labour of Jesus. Self-empowerment is not easy to achieve. It is man who cannot defy gravity, but what is the possibility of rising above it? This should be the original love. Dazai’s Judas wanted his soul to rise, but he lost that love for a measly sum because he could not defy gravity.
–I just believe in its beauty. There is no one in the world as beautiful as he is. I really love his beauty. That’s all. I don’t think of any reward…Heed My Plea Osamu Dazai
Every human being is well-intentioned. There is a heart that weeps for what is truly sacred. I still believe that it is a not fairy tale, that our choices and judgements confuse us. Jesus Christ believes this human potential, but he also knows，If you betray me……the reality that it would have been better if he had never been born (Matthew 26:24). I don’t have to ask for proof of how I take these words, or why literature is the way it is, and I can write without looking at my audience. It should have been light in the beginning. As in Genesis – as in the beginning of the first chapter of John’s Gospel – but Satan always makes himself seem worthless with a sense of reality. We must reflect on this, but to think ourselves worthless is to deny creation. To what do we have to turn to love ourselves? How can we find ourselves in communion with God, beyond self-love?
The movement of the soul is like gravity: it is always falling. Sometimes gravity cuts the thread of salvation. Repentance and forgiveness are important for the Christian, but his or her mind does not always perceive him or herself as all that he or she is. It is not easy to catch oneself in a way that does not miss this self-contradiction. For writers, writing about their experiences is confessional. The actual confession is never questioned as to whether it really happened. Once you start telling the story, the ritual begins. The person is judged on everything he or she says, even if what he or she says is a false or untrue accusation. When the manuscript becomes the confessional, there will be times when it is not set in stone. Feelings that are not well expressed in words are adapted, and facts are written so that they can be put into words. There is no priest there to listen, so you will always be brought up by fate. Even if you say in a word that you want to have a heart to heart with someone, you won’t find such a partner quickly.Multiple women. committed suicide with Dazai. The destiny you are drawn to cannot be managed by planning alone. Confessors are always admonished to make amends to the outside world, but there are two paths for a literary artist: Satanism or conversion. Both can hopefully become art. For Dr Faust, who was serious, it became satanic. Goethe would have understood. The French Villon, used in Dazai’s work Villon’s Wife, was a womaniser to the point of theft. There is something that cannot be right only when words that should be pure try to take shape, when they seek perfection. In ‘A Tale of Honourable Poverty’, A man who did not like selling chrysanthemums doubted myself purity.
Having loved Jesus, Judas lost sight of his own love and laughed like a clown. If Dazai had written a convincing personality, even a little, either psychologically, philosophically or with beautiful poetry, he would not have become Judas. All we know is that Dazai kept writing, despite the uncomfortable situation. If he really understood himself so well in the confessional, he could probably say bad things about Dazai. That is exactly what I would do, like throwing stones.
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