Amphibiology Lectures: The Third Century (No.6)

“Macro” and “Micro” for Haruki Murakami

In the previous three consecutive lectures on the “move” to the Haruki Murakami’s world, I pointed out the differences between circumstance settings which were seen as “macro-cosmos” and “micro-cosmos” caused by generation gap of only three years between him and me.

The difference due to “cosmos” seems to have passed around my and his generations like changing season. It seems that the barometer for our social climate had indicated in the shift from “macroscopic” to “microscopic”.


I, who was born in 20 August 1946, seems to be one of the perfect examples for the first post-war generation.

That is, I was born on 20 August in the nest year of the end of the war. This means that I was born after my father returned alive from the war and my mother was pregnant with me. Then, I was born on the day of five days after the first anniversary day of the war ended. This may be seen the birth of a life as if the symbolic consequence of the postwar generation.

 The life was given in the circumstance when the post-war era just began. In this sense the life originated in the surrounding setting in which the nation was just restating with a tremendous change from its extreme maximum to its extreme minimum, namely, from the war which was the attempt of “gigantic plan” against the whole world to the totally burned down ruins brought by its fierce failure.

If it is assumed that “a man is defined as a product of environment”, the life being held in the womb of my mother might have had some effects inevitably from such an environment, for instance, messy social conditions, bad nutritional and mental status. Also the life was born with such a full length of pregnancy into the post-war society, which just started somehow, and had grown up as a 100 percent pure “post-war” generation.

That was me.


As everyone does, myself is someone who must live with experiencing everything as exactly the first matter and relying upon only such an myself. Such myself does not know how much different from others and how much same to. Thus, for such myself all eacch starts with knowing nothing.

The time when such myself begins to understand the difference with others is in the environment subsequently had, through a variety of experiences with many trials and errors. What an unstable being it is.

In other words, it has reached to a current status with dual influence from the surroundings, namly embryologically before the birth and developmentally after the birth. 

My own consciousness must be a strange matter, because it originated from such a totally empty one whereas it is very tangible one and furious at times.

Rather, there must have been something like an original seed in its embryonic time, although it was not the so-called self-consciousness yet.

In addition, at the literally beginning of the embryological process in which a life was a state of sperm or egg in the form of molecule like DNA or gene, it must have inherited various characteristics from the parents.

Further if you go back to the past in the way that the life of your parents had the same process of yourself and the life of your grandparents had the same one and so on, you must find the tremendously long chain of life which has never break in a tiny moment.

If it is the true, it does not seem to be ungrounded view that my life was the life of anyone else in a previous life like the reincarnation of Buddhist thought, or that my life is eventually connected to the birth of stars and the space.

In this lecture, however, I will not go into the development to those ideas and keeping stay within a limited area rather.


It may be possible that I, who was born as a life at the most end of the chain of life, had any ability to sense – as an interface to a surrounded environment – in its infant or childhood which must have been primitive yet to call it as consciousness.

In particular, it may have sensed basic information as a living thing such as “comfort” or “discomfort” against various matters in surrounding. So it may be a set of natural reactions that one normally approaches actively to the former and distances to the latter.

I tend to think that the “comfort” and “discomfort” were not only critical reactions during developing process. After having grown up, the set of reactions is seen as a unitary action of sense as well which had kept to work together with clear consciousness as a standard scale for decision about matters.

As for the “discomfort”, for instance, a physiological action to avoid it is taken in the extreme environment such as very hot or very cold weather. Further, a non-physiological “discomfort” in particular of being related to social norms is something to have a social meaning rather than to be avoid physically. And then it can be seen as an object to be overcome, in particular it can work as a source of stress in the current situation.

As some readers are already noticed, a boundary is generated around above mentioned matters which a personal issue shifts to a social issue, that is, the distinction between micro and macro issues.

However, there is something which is recognised as an unmanageable matter among those normative social matters even if you try to overcome them. At the beginning it was a target to be overcome but eventually it becomes to be seen irrelevant. A typical example of it was the “discomfort of being Japanese” as discussed earlier.

What I am a Japanese is an obvious matter in any sense. Nonetheless why it had kept to bring me such discomfort endlessly? This had been a heavy and longstanding unresolved question for me.

The question on the “discomfort of being Japanese” had been gradually occupying in my life in a sense. Then over the course of time I had reached to a finding that the original place of the enigma seemed to be the before- and mid-war time of Japan and it is related to an “empty period” and “taboo” of education or of conventional wisdom of all Japanese, in particular connecting to the emperor.

Because of this, the attempt to figure out the enigma and the work to find the answer have made the main structure of this website which has been built up for the last about ten years.

In other words, if there were a mission for my life, it seems to solve the enigma and to find the hidden meaning of that I was born on the day of five days after the first anniversary of the end of the war.

In other words, I had found the mission and involved the solution by sensing the enigma thorough a detecting ability my life has.

One of the outcomes of the work is the notion of “the emperor as double fiction” and a kind of awareness of the modern history of Japan which has been based on the interactive effects with environment and my focus upon the solution of the enigma through the means to translate “Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy” written by David Bergamini spending over eight years.

 I see the interactive relationship between me and surrounding environment as described above as a “macro” relation.


Let’s us going back to the “macro ” and ” micro” surrounding for Haruki Murakami mentioned at the beginning, something which divided between he and I was “the difference in experience of micro-cosmos” namely its “sparseness” for me and its “richness” for him as the foundings up to the previous sessions.

Yet, it can be seen that something which divided between he and I is “the difference in experience of macro-cosmos” in terms of the “mission” given to me as mentioned above.

To be fair to him, such a macroscopic episode was mentioned, for instance, in th0se about the war in his works surely. But, in my eyes, it is secondary and it seems merely one of items of his very diversified eprodes. It also is a part of general knowledge.

In spite of only three-year age difference between he and I, there seemed to be a great shift of times like of two different generations which changed from “macro” to “micro” in their fundamental views of the world.

In particular, to pick up in a somewhat abrupt subject, the so-called Zenkyoto generation [the generation of student riots in the late 1960s], is a clear example of the former in terms of change from “macro” to “micro”. 

I am a contemporary of the Zenkyoto generation and shares many of their views. On the other hand, Haruki Murakami is a generation who clearly separates themselves from this generation.

My generation including Zenkyoto generation demonstrated a clear traits of behavior of the “post-war democracy” as mentioned in the previous lecture.

In other words, as the “post-war-democracy-style” behavior was a positive which was reversed a negative of the tragic war experience, my generation which was reflected by the complexity of the reversal mind – a strong pro-peace mind, inherited reversely the “macro” thinking in the war-time madness.

Then, after us, although it is a small time difference of three years, the “post-war-democracy-style” behavior faded out or was nipped off in the following society as if it were a phantom. And not only that, the Zenkyoto generation also has been accused as if the main perpetrators who reformed themselves to the vanguard of high economic growth which had spread the so-called “my-family-first-ism”. This was, rather, most likely because of the climate change from “macro” to “micro” which covered thickly and totally the Japanese society.


Those eras which have characterised the Japan were, although putting somewhat a very broad classification, the rapid economic growth and following low growth era then followed by the bubble economy which showed the great momentum as if to surpass the U.S. economy. This was the heyday of the Japanese-style capitalist economy; the second largest economy in the world.

When we notice again the climate change from “macro” to “micro” with putting in mind
the above mentioned social background, the age arrived now is flooded with countless products, people are called as consumers, whereas being advocates their individuality, they are only one of them as long as a purchaser of standardised mass-products, and even their thin self-esteem was isolated one being exposed to harsh inter-personal competition since their childhood in the desert like society.

When the era of such economy completed a cycle, the era of stagnation for over 20 years arrived,  and then the economic power also faded, and now a “normal” country with contracting its population is approaching.

If you overlook the trend which my generation has experienced, it is noticed that the difference in the way of life style of individual was not unrelated to such social backgrounds.

In this context, it is clear that the move to the world of Haruki Murakami was identical to the move of these changes of times.

Also, guessing from the finding drawn from the only three years difference, if the difference were ten years or twenty years, how big the outcomes were. It must be tremendous.

As we have found “floating” and “scrupulous” as main traits of Haruki Murakami’s works, the finally reached point of their motif was an unexpectedly “normal” world, or in a sense, it can be called even traditional.

In that connection, although there was the climate change from “macro” to “micro”, the
ultimate goal to be reached was the world with fundamental hope and desire for human being, and which do not change easily due to the shift of times.

So it seems to be the world which shares the both beyond the distinction of “micro” and “macro” in the further dimension.

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