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As we observe the condition of modern society, we cannot but feel there are many deplorable things happening in Japan, about which we are informed daily by press and radio. Aside from the war, we can mention corrupt practices of public officials, murders, robberies, thefts, fraud, shoplifting, suicides both on individual and family levels, problems of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases, shortages of food, shortages of housing, tight money situations, and high taxes. Good news is as scarce as the stars at dawn.
You may wonder why our country has become as bad as this, wonder where the cause lies. There must be various reasons for such a situation, but we may say that it lies in moral deterioration; it shows how low the level of man's moral sense has sunk.
Recently, this has become a matter of concern and interest among the thinking classes, including people in educational fields. They believe one reason for this trend is that the liberal ideas which have sprung up since World War II have gone too far. I have heard they have come to the conclusion that for the present the only thing to do is to revive and stress education and lessons on morals and ethics, and for that purpose they are meeting together and holding council among themselves.
It seems strange to me that in such a situation they don't seek the answer in religion. However, it may be natural for them to ignore this area, for the old religions have little power and most of the new ones appear to be false or full of superstitions. Thus, they cannot find any basic solution, as you all know.
In this state of affairs, I am advancing a concrete plan which will contribute toward the solution of the problem from a different angle. What l am referring to is the area of recreation for the general public.
It is nothing new to state how importam it is in any age to supply the general public with good entertainment. However, in today's society there is too much that is of a vulgar, unrefined nature. There is nothing wrong with entertainment such as theatrical performances, motion pictures, sports, and games of go, mahjong and pinball, it is true. But I believe entertainment on still higher levels is especially important.
From this point of view, I think that the Prototypes of Paradise on Earth which we are constructing in Hakone and Atami will satisfactorily fill the need. As I have often written, these are to be ideal paradises in which natural beauty and man-made beauty are combined. They are the materialization of a superb concept which is beyond anything anyone ever planned before. I don't mean to sound boastful; it is just that everybody who has visited them speaks of our miniature paradises in the highest terms of praise. They say, even at the present stage when neither of the two is even half completed, that whoever enters one of these places feels gloriously intoxicated by the atmosphere, which is so different from the everyday, misery-filled world that visitors forget everything else and feel that they are raised above the clouds.
The Hakone miniature paradise is close to completion, but since it is comparatively small in scale let me write a little about the Atami miniature paradise, which is now under construction at full speed. In the garden, which covers an area of about twenty-five acres on rolling hills, we are planting flowering trees and bushes, such as plums, cherries and azaleas, mixing them with evergreen trees. We are also preparing gardens for the planting of many varieties of flowers so that they will make a splendid show of colors in spring. Toward the sea, the place commands a spectacular overall view of Sagami Bay.
With these, I don't think it is too much to say that Atami will be an ideal prototype. Moreover, the location of this miniature paradise is the best in the area, and we are going to build a superlative art museum to give l grace to what is already beautiful. When that is finished, this paradise will inevitably become an object of admiration for all the citizens of world, both within and outside of Japan.
Thus, once people visit this paradise, their hearts and minds will be cleansed, hearts and minds which have been soiled by the low vibrations of the material world; they will regain the freshness of their spiritual beings which have become almost completely dried up, and so they will become renewed and vigorous in spirit. As a result, they will not only be able to do their work more efficiently but their moral sense will naturally be elevated also. The contribution these miniature paradises can make toward the betterment of man's mind will be, I believe, of no ordinary degree.
January 1st, 1952
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