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Hiroi and the Life of the Artisan

In this interview segment, Hiroi-sensei describes the life of a woodworking artisan and the difficulty of maintaining Japanese traditional arts in the modern world.

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Paula Curtis: What are some of the biggest difficulties you have encountered working as an artisan?

Hiroi Michiaki: The most difficult thing… it’s nothing but difficult things, right? (laughs) There’s nothing that’s easy. Saying which one is most difficult– it’s all difficult. On the other hand, the thing that makes me most happy is when people who buy my tops enjoy them. If they go “Woooow!” I’m so happy. Other than that, every day I’m suffering. (grins)

Paula: (laughs) Those, well, difficult things, of course you said there are a lot of them, but did they change a lot over time? What was difficult–doing business? Selling them?

Hiroi: Well, the difficulty of being an artisan, the more you do it the more difficult it becomes. Other than that, selling them, I’m bad at selling them. So, yeah, I’m always at a loss.

Paula: Do you feel that artisanal professions are in danger of dying out? Why do you think that is?

Hiroi: Ah! Yes. This is the thing that troubles me most. Umm… why it is that Japan takes artisans for granted. If there are no artisans, I don’t think that they can even established Japan’s large businesses, but for some reason artisans are looked down upon and taken for granted. Umm…  people in administration also think little of artisans and don’t support us. I’m not saying we want [more] support, but I think we want them to value us more.

But Japan right now is developing only this one [type of] skill, and maybe the bottom, you’d call it, artisans are definitely at the very bottom [of those priorities]. Artisans make things [to be used], and at this time [those things] are made in great quantities, so large companies are established. And if those artisans gradually disappear, someone will say “Let’s [make] this thing,” and they probably won’t be able to. So there are a lot of artisans of different occupations, but in any case I want those people who are artisans to be valued more. That’s my wish.

Paula: Do you have a lot of apprentices compared to the past?

Hiroi: Ahh, yeah. So, um, this is, well, as for why apprentices increased, it’s because I was doing traditional kokeshi, umm… and there were a number of people doing kokeshi. So there were a lot of people who gathered to do that. And I was painting kokeshi, and selling them, selling them to collectors, and people were saying difficult things to me like “that’s wrong,” “this is wrong,” and I was very troubled, but I did my best at it, and became able to [make them] to a certain extent.

My name was published in kokeshi books, too. And at that time, I realized, “Ahh, in my home there was something even more precious than kokeshi.” There were a lot of kokeshi makers, and they would definitely survive [in the future], but the Edo tops of my family, there was only one house [that made those] in all of Japan. All of the world. The ones who inherited that were only me and my younger brother. Kokeshi [makers] weren’t like us, who were only one family, there were had hundreds, thousands. I realized that it would be impossible to revive it and leave it behind [after we died]. So I thought to myself that I had to increase our apprentices. And young heirs to kokeshi maker families… they came to me, and those young people said “Can’t we make a living not just doing the kokeshi from before?” and “I want you to teach me other things.”

At that time, there was another person here like Maeda-kun whom I was teaching. He was the son of a kokeshi maker, someone from Obara Onsen, he was someone famous, and this was his child. He was named Yūsuke, Honda Yūsuke. That was in Shiroishi, and the young sons of the kokeshi makers of the Yajirō [style] lineage came together and I had seven [apprentices]. And since Yūsuke said “I’m learning [Edo top making] right now at this place,” everyone else said they wanted to, too. And so they [all] came saying, “Will you teach us?” It was like asking if it’s true and going “It’s true!” And he was saying “Come with me everyone!” Those seven came to Shiroishi and I ended up teaching them.

Well then, my goods are different from kokeshi, and there’s a lot of different kinds, and you have to want to enjoy yourself, so first it was like “If you come to my home, it’s not work, it’s more like fun.” And everyone was like “Whaaat!” and was really surprised. Heh heh heh. One person really took that seriously and messed around and found a girlfriend and got married. Haha.

Now, for kokeshi, the Yajirō line is the best one, but he couldn’t really make tops well. He’d been learning for almost half a year but couldn’t make them. And kokeshi, well, his parents were kokeshi makers, so, first, first it was best for him to do kokeshi [instead of tops]. So he put all his efforts into kokeshi. And everyone else was doing tops. And of course I wondered if their parents were angry, if they were complaining. I thought, “I’m teaching their precious heirs unnecessary things!” Surely they must have been mad. But their parents all came and said “Please take care of them,” and bowed their heads to me. All seven. Contrary to it all, I was the surprised one. “Ahh this is serious,” I thought, and put my all into teaching them. I think usually one person can remember about a hundred types [of tops].

Paula: Umm, about these artisanal occupations disappearing, what do you think should be done about that? So that they become more popular?

Hiroi: Ahh. Yeah.

Paula: Do you think there’s anything that can be done?

Hiroi: I think it would be really good if they were popular. It’s regrettable that in Japan there’s not a system for that. Like I said before, if important people would take note of us artisans, wouldn’t a bit more traditional things and skills survive? And young people becoming artisans–you know there’s quite a lot of young people who want to become artisans But the world of artisans is difficult. And artisans are quite stubborn. And people are scared of that popular image, that they can’t get used to that [sort of life]. Heh heh heh. there are quite a lot of people who say “I really want to do that…” So I thought [it would be good if] it was easier for those people to become accustomed to it. I thought [to myself] “I want to teach them.” Umm… last year, a year and a half ago, in Sendai, our Craft Village, we wanted to do successor training, so the city gave us money. And five young people came.

And, ah– the city gave us wages. And we got quite a bit of money as an honorarium, too. It went on for a year and a half and it ended in March of this year. In the end those who stayed on were one person with Kotake-san, and Maeda-kun here with me, and another person, Misa-chan, a girl. Three of them were left. I think that if something like that [program] went on a little longer we’d have more young people come. And if they did it without such strict conditions. This time around, the conditions weren’t so tough, and that was good. Five people came and three stayed. I think that’s a huge success.

And doing something like that again, not just with the city, but with the prefecture, the country, if they did that, I think the number of young successors really go up. And, well, among the same artisans, places with money, they can steadily support young people themselves. Places like mine that don’t have any money, because of that people like Maeda-kun are doing part-time jobs but also want to learn, so they come [to us]. I think people like that can become the real thing. So I think that if [the government] extended its hand more to places like that, more young people could be trained, and I feel like Japan, too, would be a richer place for it.

廣井先生と職人としての生き方

廣井先生が木工職人の生活と現代社会で日本の伝統工芸や芸術を伝え守っていくことの難しさを語っている。

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ポーラ・カーティス:あのう、そしてまぁ職人としての生活にはあのう、一番難しいことが何だと思いますでしょうか。

廣井道顕:一番難しいこと・・・難しいことばっかりだな。(laughs)簡単なのっつうのはないですね。どれが一番難しいって言われると、全部難しいね。一番、逆に嬉しいのが、お客さんとか、買ってもらった人が喜んでくれる。ワァァってやってくれっと、ものすごく嬉しい。後は毎日苦しんでいます。(grins)

ポーラ:(laughs) その、まぁあの難しいことが、もちろん、多いと、おっしゃいましたが、まぁあの時間とともに、ま、多少変化しましたか。何が難しいか、あのその、ビジネスとか、売るのとか。

廣井:まぁ職人として難しさは、やればやるほど難しくなってくのね。あと、売る、売るのは苦手なんだよね。だからね、うん、損ばっかりしてんのね。

ポーラ:で、あの職人の、あの職業がだんだん消えつつあると思いますでしょうか。それはなぜだと思いますか。

廣井:あぁ!そう。これが一番、あのう困ったことだなと思って、あのう・・・なぜか日本は職人て言うと軽く見られるんですよね。で職人がいないと、あのう、日本の大企業だって成り立たないはずなんだけども、なぜか職人は、馬鹿にされるしね、軽く見られるし。あのう・・・行政の方でも職人は軽く見て、何の援助もしてくれないしね。援助が欲しくて言うんではないけど、もっと大事にして欲しいなと思うのね。

だって日本が今こんだけ技術が発達してんだってその底辺ていうか、一番下には職人が必ずいるんですよね。職人がモノを作って、それを今度機会で大量に作ってって。であの、大企業が成り立って。で、その職人がだんだんいなくなってくれば、あのう何か今度やろうつったって何もたぶんできなくなると思うんですよね。だから、職業は、色々職人もあるけども、もうとにかくその職人っていう人をもっと大事にしてほしいなあと。まぁ希望ですけどね。

ポーラ:ではあのう、現在は、昔と比べると、弟子が多かったですか。

廣井:あぁ、うん。だからね。あのう、これはね、なんで弟子を多くしたかというと、あのう伝統こけしをやって、うんん・・・あの、こけしやっている人も何人もいたし。だからそれを集めてる人もいっぱいいたんですけれども。で、こけし描いてて、で売って、あのう収集している人に売って、どうのこうの、あれがダメだの、これがダメだのと、難しいこと言われて、うんと悩んで、でも一生懸命やって、ある程度できるようになって。まぁ本なんかでも、

こけしの本とか必ず名前が載るようになって。でそん時にね、気が付いたんですよ。『あぁ、うちにはこけしよりもっと大事なものがあった』って。こけしはいっぱいこけし屋さんがいて、完全に残っているけど、うちの江戸独楽はうち一軒なんですよね。日本中で。ということは世界中で。それを引き継いだのは俺と弟の二人だけで。日本では、でうちの場合は、あの、こけしみたく一つだけではなくて、何百何千って数があるものですから。一人でそれを再現して残しておくっていうことが不可能だなってのが気付いて。これは弟子をいっぱい増やさなきゃならないと思って。そんであのう、こけし屋さんの、若い跡取りを・・・あのううちに来たんですよ、あのう、これから先こけしだけでは、生活していかれなくなるんでねえかっていうことで他のことも覚えたいんだって、若いのが。

あの時ね、うちであのう、一人、あのう今の前田くんみたく一人あのう、教えてやってたのがいたのね。それがあのこけし屋さんの息子で、あの小原温泉の、人なんですけど、これも有名な人なんですけど、その人の子供で。雄介、本多雄介っていう。それがあのう、白石で、あのう、弥治郎系のこけし屋さんの息子たちの、子供たちの若い人の集まり、で七人いるんだって。で、その雄介が『今自分はこういう所でこういうもの習ってんだ』っていう話をしたらば、みんなそういうの覚えたいなっていうことになったって。で『教えてくれるか』って来たから。本当かってったら『本当だ』って言うのね。で、『みんな連れて来い』っつって。でそん時七人、白石から来たんですよ。では、教えてやったっていうことになって。

でまぁ、うちの品物はこけしと違って、種類がいっぱいあるし、遊び心がいっぱいなきゃならないので、まず『うちに来るんだったら真面目になってないで遊びな』っつったの。したっけ『えええ!』なんてみんなビックリして。へへへ。で、一人、本気になって遊んで、彼女見つけて結婚して。へへ。

今、こけしでは弥治郎で一番ぐらいになってるね。でそいつ、こ、独楽できなかったのね。まだあのう習い始めて半年だかって言うんで、ほとんど独楽できなくて。ほんで、こけし、ま親がこけし屋さんだから、で、まず、でまずこけしやったらいいでねえかっつうことで。で、こけし一生懸命やって。他の人たちはみんな独楽やって。したらみんな親たちにてっきり『怒られるかな、文句言われっかなあ』と思って『大事な、跡取り息子に余計なこと教えた!』なんて怒られるんじゃないかと思ってたら、みんな親たちが来て「宜しくお願いします」ってここでね、みんな頭ついてったね。七人とも。これには、逆にこっちの方でビックリしちゃって。『あぁこれ本気なんだな』と思って、ほんで一生懸命教えてやって。で、大体一人でもう百種類ぐらいは覚えたんのじゃないのかなと思うんですけどね。

ポーラ:あのう、まぁこの職人の職業がその、あのう消えつつある問題についてですが、どうすればいいと思いますでしょうか。あのう、そのまあ、人気があるように。

廣井:あぁ。そうね。

ポーラ:何かできますか。

廣井: そういうのがあると本当いいんですけどねえ。残念なことに日本にはまだそういう制度ないし。もうちょっと、偉い人がさっきも言ったように職人に、えぇ、こう、目を向けてくれれば、少しは、伝統的なものとか、技術が、残るんじゃないかな。で、若い人も、職人に、結構職人になりたい若い人いるんですよね。でも、職人の世界って難しい。で職人っていうのは頑固でなかなか。こう、馴染めないっていう、そっちのイメージの方が多くて恐ろしがってね、へへへ。なかなか『やりたくてもなぁ・・・』っていう人結構多いんですよね。だから、そういう人たちにね、もっとこう、スムーズに馴染んでもらって。育てたいな、と思っていたんですけど。ええと、去年ね、ええと一年半、仙台市で、この工芸の里で、後継者の育成をしようっていうことで市の、市がお金を出してくれて。で五人、入れたんですね若い人を。

で、あー、市で給料を出してくれて。ほんで教える方も、謝礼金として結構なお金、もらったんですけど。一年半続けて、で今年の三月でそれ終了したんですけど。んで結果的に残ったのが、うんと、小竹さんのとこに一人、うちに前田くんいるし、もう一人あのう、みさちゃんって女の子がいるんですけど。三人残ったんですけど。で、そういうことをもう少し続けてやってくれれば、もっと若い人が来ると思うんですけどね。で、あまりこう難しい条件、つけないでやってくれって言うんですけど。で今回はね、そんな難しい条件でなくても良かったし。で五人来て、ま結果三人残ることになったんですけど。大成功でないかなと思うんですけどね。

でこういうことを、こう繰り返し、市ばかりでなくてね、県とか国で、やってくれれば、若い後継者が日本中で結構増えると思うんですけどね。でまあ、同じ職人でもほら、うんとお金のある、所はね、自分の所でどんどん若手を育てることできるけど。我々みたいにお金のないのはね、それこそ前田くんでもみたくアルバイトをしながら、でも習いたいっつうんで来てた。そういう人たちあの、ホンモノになれると思うんですよね。だから、そういうところにね、もうちょっとこう、手を差し出てくれれば、もっと若手育てられて、日本も、もうちょっと豊かになれるような気がするんですけどね。

Janell’s Missionary Work

In this post, our conversation delves deeper into Janell’s duties and thoughts on her work as a Christian missionary in Japan. Jan discusses the Christian population of her college, and how some of her American friends had misconceptions about the goals of her mission.

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This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity and theme. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Janell can be found here [forthcoming].

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Janell Landis: But anyway, I had the English classes in the YWCA where some of my friends from Miyagi were a part of that. I had people who would ask me as a blue-eyed American my opinion of Japan, to give a speech on that, and I didn’t have blue eyes [laughs] but anyway. It was a women’s group or I actually talked to all Japan women somewhere, sometime. But, those were not as frequent as everyday teaching in school.

But, then I had some very interesting groups coming to my home, once a month. And we made–that was later in my life. We made decorations for all kinds of things, Christmas and et cetera. That group was a group of women who were on the staff of the college. And uh, the school was, for me, was a family. It really was, and these were all my little girls [laughs].

But, I was not asked to start the Christian work, I was just in it in a program that had been founded years before and carried on. When the missionaries had to do the leading for this program or that. But I was just fitting into what the Japanese wanted and needed, and um, I didn’t have to institute anything on my own, but I was able to if I wanted to branch out. So, there was a freedom there that we missionaries from America were given. It was a Japanese church that was, it’s still one percent of the population. It doesn’t get larger. But it’s a faithful part. And I have a prayer calendar I read everyday, and the list has got a lot of social welfare programs, like a home for mothers or babies, or a home or elderly or children and the challenged and so on.

Malina Suity: Were many of your students Christian?

Janell: What?

Malina: Were all of your students Christian, or many of them?

Janell: Oh no no no. No no. I remember the college used to have each year a fair, a celebration once a year that the students themselves took a survey of the students and less than one percent were Christian. But when they took this survey about 10 percent of the students said they would prefer Christianity to Buddhism or Shinto. Now, that wasn’t something they did every year. But that indicated, I always felt that there was a back up much higher than one percent, but many that could not become members. Couldn’t be baptized. And a lot of women when they married, married into their husband’s family. And she was, I can’t say a slave, but she was an underling of the mother and law and sometimes they were not able. I remember occasionally at our church that I attended a woman seventy-four years old finally could get out of the house and come to church.

And there was people like that, men and women who… I remember the story of a man who went to church in a completely far away neighborhood so nobody would know he was a Christian in his neighborhood. And when he died they didn’t know what to do. Um, but if…if um–I also remember one of my Christian men friends. His parents, when he became a Christian, his parents became Christians too and they severed their relationship with their cemetery, their Buddhist cemetery. Now, to give up their Buddhist cemetery was a real step, because that was a normal thing for you to be buried in that cemetery. But they chose to drop that and go into a Christian cemetery. So that was real conversion.

But my job was not particularly to count the heads that I baptized. If I ever write a book about myself I’m going to  write it called it “Heartbeats and Headcounts” because I would come home and the people would say, “How many people did you bring to the Church?” or something. You know, people who always think of mission work as conversion. Our mission work was to share life with people and I learned more from my life there than I was ever able to teach. And anybody that became a Christian became because they themselves made the decision. I can’t make a decision for them.

But with that opportunity of having variety in my life, there was a real good chance to meet a lot of people, not just from Japan, but that…people from India and Thailand. That came to Japan for work or training. The rural institute down in uh North of Tokyo, they’re very close to Utsunomiya, big city. That was especially founded by a Japanese Christian to serve community leaders from a lot of Asian countries. Now it includes people from Africa and South America. And we were able to visit there and I could take students there when they’d have a special program. So, there was a lot of freedom that made it possible to…uh, I didn’t feel restricted by school rules or…as long as you didn’t lead the students astray [laughs] into a wicked life. Why, you had a lot of freedom. 

Malina: What was your first job in Japan?

Janell: Excuse me?

Malina: Your first job in Japan?

Janell: The first job in, that was from 1953 all the way to about ‘85. My job was working in Miyagi Gakuin College and Junior and Senior high. There were several years where I was assigned to the Junior and Senior High and attended their faculty meetings. The rest of the time I was on the faculty of the college and the junior college, teaching English as a second language. That was my first job and my last job in that school.

But then the last ten years of my life in Japan were in connection with the Tohoku, that’s Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima prefectures that were Tohoku conference. The prefectures north of us were in the Ou conference. But the Tohoku conference, and I visited churches with puppets and I had English bible classes with members, youth and older. I also worked with the YWCA. They had some wonderful women who were interested in reading the Bible in English. And um, so there were opportunities for visiting kindergartens. And recently, with that tsunami there were some of the kindergartens in the area around the sea that I don’t know if they’re still there. I lost contact with those churches after I came back here in ‘95. But I was visiting some of those churches’ kindergartens. And, um they weren’t very big. The churches themselves didn’t have that many members, but that was part of my program in the last ten years of my life in Japan. I was on the train a lot and in the car.

Jan, the Feminist

In this post, Jan discusses how she developed as a feminist, her desire to share her point of view with her students, and her unique position as an unmarried American woman in Japan.

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Malina Suity: [1:00:42]: When you were working as a teacher at Miyagi, what were your–did you have any particular duties other than just teaching classes? What were your classes like?

Janell Landis: Um, well. The classes were, as I said, were sometimes with junior high school girls. And that was about fifty kids in one room and reviewing the English studies that they had with their Japanese teachers. They had me twice a week and the other teachers every day. And so it was back up for the Japanese teachers, and then that was true in senior high too. In college, I was given an opportunity with the juniors and seniors to have these elective courses. And then I attempted to really concentrate on some of the issues that women would face. And that’s when my feminist years developed. And I saw some of the girls develop too. And one of them ended up being, working on the wonderful program north of Tokyo that was involved with educating workers from other Asian countries and for commuting to work and so on. [1:02:09]

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Malina [1:09:50] You mentioned your development as a feminist and working with women’s issues. Can you describe your experience as a woman in postwar Japan?

Janell: Yes. Uh, it was, my own conversion was when I was going with a group of people from New Jersey to what they called the God Box. To a Riverside area where the national church of these mainline denominations was located. And I went into a drug store while we were waiting for the car and I bought the first magazine of Ms. and that changed my life. And I didn’t see…what was your question again?

Malina: Um

Janell: I’m ready to get off of it.

Malina: It’s uh, being a woman in Japan.

Janell [1:10:58]: Oh, a woman in Japan. Well, because of that conversion in the States when I went back. I had the privilege in some of these elective classes to show what women were doing in other countries or so on. So, I myself branched out. But I had a reaction of one of my female Japanese teachers, she thought I was degrading the men. And uh, like I was anti-man. And that really hurt me in a way. I didn’t ever feel like I would, that I would, ever degrade my fellow men that were working on the faculty. I was cautioned then, to be careful not to be too demanding.

But um, like I said, being a single woman. I was my own self and I think I got a little bit different treatment than a wife would. And she would have opportunities that I didn’t have. But I never begrudged the difference. Each of us is given a walk and we have to walk our walk, own walk. We can’t imitate somebody else’s trot, but uh. I never felt…well let’s see I can’t say never. There were times when being a woman in postwar Japan might have been more difficult. But, being an American woman, being a single woman. [laughs] I had some freedoms that my Japanese women didn’t have. I was always–In the first years when things weren’t as progressive, I never got invited to the weddings. But after how many years there, it was like, if they had the American teacher there that was a real special thing. I got took to so many weddings and their parties. But, it was rarely that we were in the weddings. Many of them were held in a Shinto temple, but we were having the wedding parties in these big hotels or these big wedding parlors. And they’d spend a fortune and give everyone a present and so on. But I, in the latter years, I was one of the people they called. [1:14:02]

For more information on Ms. Magazine and the impact it had on women like Jan, read this oral history from New York Magazine.

Photograph of Janell and English Department staff at Miyagi Gakuin via Janell Landis.

 

フェミニスト、ジャネル・ランディス

ジャネルがフェミニストとして成長する過程や、生徒たちにジャネル自身の意見を共有したいという強い思い、そして日本に住む未婚のアメリカ人女性という立場について語っている。

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マリナ・スーティ:宮城で教師として働いていたとき、あなたは―、ただ授業を持つ以外に特別な仕事はありましたか?授業はどんな感じでしたか?

ジャネル・ランディス:そうねぇ。授業は、まぁさっき言ったけれど、時には女子中学生に教えることもあったの。15人くらいの子たちが一つの部屋に集まって、日本人の先生がやっていたような英語の勉強をしていたの。私は週2回教えていて、他の先生は毎日。だから私は日本人教師の補助みたいなものだったし、高校の授業でも同じだった。大学では、1、2年生の選択科目を教える機会が与えられたの。だから女性が向き合わなければならない問題について専念して教えようと考えたわ。私がフェミニストとして開花した時期だった。学生の中にも何人かフェミニストとして成長した子がいて。中でも1人、東京でアジアの国から出稼ぎに来ている労働者への教育を支援するような素晴らしい活動をするようになった子がいたわ。

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マリナ:先ほどフェミニストとして成長したことや女性が向き合う問題について触れましたね。戦後の日本においてご自身が女性として経験したことを教えてもらえますか?

ジャネル:いいわよ。そう、あれは、ニュージャージー州から来た人たちとニューヨークのゴッド・ボックス※を何て呼ぶかってことについて話していたときだったわ。主だった宗派の教会があるリバーサイド地域へ向かったときね。 車を待っている間に私は薬屋さんに寄って、初出版の『Ms.』という雑誌を買ったのだけど、それが私の人生を変えたの。当時は分からなかったけど…質問はなんだったかしら?

マリナ:あのう…

ジャネル:話戻しましょうね。

マリナ:えっと、女性として日本で生活することについて。

ジャネル:あぁ、日本で暮らす女性。そうね。アメリカに戻ったときにした会話があったからだったわね。選択科目のいくつかで、他の国では女性がどんなことをしているのかとか色々と教える機会に恵まれたの。それで、私自身の考えも広がったわ。でも、ある日本人の女性教師から、私が男性を卑下しているって反発があったの。私が、まぁ、反男性主義者みたいな。本当に傷ついたわ。そんなこと考えたこともなかったのよ、私が、そんな、一緒に頑張って働いている男性たちを見下すようなことをしようだなんて。その時に、あまり、きついフェミニストにならないように気を付けないと、って思った。

でもそうね、さっき言ったけど、独身女性として。私は私自身でいることができたし、誰かの奥さんっていうのとはちょっと違った扱いをされたわね。きっと誰かの奥さんだったら独身の私が得られなかった経験があったんでしょうね。でもその違いを嫉ましく思ったことはなかった。人はそれぞれの道が用意されてて、自分自身の道を歩まないといけないんだもの。他の人の道を真似して歩んだりできないんだから。でも、まぁ。私は絶対に…まぁ、絶対になんて言えないのよね。戦後の日本で女性として生きることは時に困難なことだったかもしれないわ。でも、アメリカ人女性として、独身女性として。私は日本人の女友達よりも自由だったわね。私はいつも– まだ世の中が積極的に進歩しているとは言えなかった最初の数年間、誰も私を結婚式に招待しなかった。でも歳月が過ぎれば、アメリカ人の先生がいることがすごく特別なことみたいな扱いになった。結婚式やらパーティーにたくさん呼ばれるようになった。でも、結婚式自体に行くことは滅多になかった。ほとんどが神道の寺社で執り行われたけど、結婚式のパーティーは大きなホテルとか式場でやってたから。大枚をはたいて披露宴をして、みんなにプレゼントを配ったりしてた。でも私は、何年経っても、呼ばれる側の人間だった。

※ゴッド・ボックス: ニューヨーク州、マンハッタンのリバーサイド通りにある19階建てのオフィスビルで、アメリカにある主だった教会や宗教関連の非営利団体がオフィスを置いているため通称ゴッド・ボックスと呼ばれている

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ジャネルのようなアメリカの女性たちに大きな影響を与えたMs.誌の誕生についてはこちらのNew York Magazineに載るオーラルヒストリーの特集をご覧ください。

以上の写真はジャネル・ランディス(右)と宮城学院女子大学英文学部の事務員です。