[轉載] 村上春樹出席耶路撒冷文學獎頒獎典禮講稿

作者: Norman (空轉) 看板: persist
標題: [轉載] 村上春樹出席耶路撒冷文學獎頒獎典禮講稿
時間: Sun Mar 1 22:49:48 2009




「Always on the side of the egg 永遠站在雞蛋的一側」

Good evening. I have come to Jerusalem today as a novelist, which is to say
as a professional spinner of lies.

Of course, novelists are not the only ones who tell lies. Politicians do it,
too, as we all know. Diplomats and generals tell their own kinds of lies on
occasion, as do used car salesmen, butchers and builders. The lies of
novelists differ from others, however, in that no one criticizes the novelist
as immoral for telling lies. Indeed, the bigger and better his lies and the
more ingeniously he creates them, the more he is likely to be praised by the
public and the critics. Why should that be?

My answer would be this: namely, that by telling skilful lies–which is to
say, by making up fictions that appear to be true–the novelist can bring a
truth out to a new place and shine a new light on it. In most cases, it is
virtually impossible to grasp a truth in its original form and depict it
accurately. This is why we try to grab its tail by luring the truth from its
hiding place, transferring it to a fictional location, and replacing it with
a fictional form. In order to accomplish this, however, we first have to
clarify where the truth-lies within us, within ourselves. This is an
important qualification for making up good lies.

Today, however, I have no intention of lying. I will try to be as honest as I
can. There are only a few days in the year when I do not engage in telling
lies, and today happens to be one of them.

So let me tell you the truth. In Japan a fair number of people advised me not
to come here to accept the Jerusalem Prize. Some even warned me they would
instigate a boycott of my books if I came. The reason for this, of course,
was the fierce fighting that was raging in Gaza. The U.N. reported that more
than a thousand people had lost their lives in the blockaded city of Gaza,
many of them unarmed citizens–children and old people.

Any number of times after receiving notice of the award, I asked myself
whether traveling to Israel at a time like this and accepting a literary
prize was the proper thing to do, whether this would create the impression
that I supported one side in the conflict, that I endorsed the policies of a
nation that chose to unleash its overwhelming military power. Neither, of
course, do I wish to see my books subjected to a boycott.

Finally, however, after careful consideration, I made up my mind to come
here. One reason for my decision was that all too many people advised me not
to do it. Perhaps, like many other novelists, I tend to do the exact opposite
of what I am told. If people are telling me– and especially if they are
warning me– “Don’t go there,” “Don’t do that,” I tend to want to “go
there” and “do that”. It’s in my nature, you might say, as a novelist.
Novelists are a special breed. They cannot genuinely trust anything they have
not seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands.

And that is why I am here. I chose to come here rather than stay away. I
chose to see for myself rather than not to see. I chose to speak to you
rather than to say nothing.

Please do allow me to deliver a message, one very personal message. It is
something that I always keep in mind while I am writing fiction. I have never
gone so far as to write it on a piece of paper and paste it to the wall:
rather, it is carved into the wall of my mind, and it goes something like

“Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always
stand on the side of the egg.”

Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand
with the egg. Someone else will have to decide what is right and what is
wrong; perhaps time or history will do it. But if there were a novelist who,
for whatever reason, wrote works standing with the wall, of what value would
such works be?

What is the meaning of this metaphor? In some cases, it is all too simple and
clear. Bombers and tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are that
high wall. The eggs are the unarmed civilians who are crushed and burned and
shot by them. This is one meaning of the metaphor.

But this is not all. It carries a deeper meaning. Think of it this way. Each
of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul
enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of
you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high,
solid wall. The wall has a name: it is “The System.” The System is supposed
to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it
begins to kill us and cause us to kill others–coldly, efficiently,

I have only one reason to write novels, and that is to bring the dignity of
the individual soul to the surface and shine a light upon it. The purpose of
a story is to sound an alarm, to keep a light trained on the System in order
to prevent it from tangling our souls in its web and demeaning them. I truly
believe it is the novelist’s job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of
each individual soul by writing stories–stories of life and death, stories
of love, stories that make people cry and quake with fear and shake with
laughter. This is why we go on, day after day, concocting fictions with utter

My father passed away last year at the age of ninety. He was a retired
teacher and a part-time Buddhist priest. When he was in graduate school in
Kyoto, he was drafted into the army and sent to fight in China. As a child
born after the war, I used to see him every morning before breakfast offering
up long, deeply-felt prayers at the small Buddhist altar in our house. One
time I asked him why he did this, and he told me he was praying for the
people who had died in the battlefield. He was praying for all the people who
died, he said, both ally and enemy alike. Staring at his back as he knelt at
the altar, I seemed to feel the shadow of death hovering around him.

My father died, and with him he took his memories, memories that I can never
know. But the presence of death that lurked about him remains in my own
memory. It is one of the few things I carry on from him, and one of the most

I have only one thing I hope to convey to you today. We are all human beings,
individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, and we are all
fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called The System. To all appearances,
we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong–and too cold.
If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our
believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others’
souls and from our believing in the warmth we gain by joining souls together.

Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible, living
soul. The System has no such thing. We must not allow the System to exploit
us. We must not allow the System to take on a life of its own. The System did
not make us: we made the System.

That is all I have to say to you.

I am grateful to have been awarded the Jerusalem Prize. I am grateful that my
books are being read by people in many parts of the world. And I would like
to express my gratitude to the readers in Israel. You are the biggest reason
why I am here. And I hope we are sharing something, something very
meaningful. And I am glad to have had the opportunity to speak to you here

Thank you very much.


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