Table Speech

Initiation Speech

July 30, 2008

Mr. Hiroyuki Kamano,
Mr. Shoshu Hirai

“The Koizumi Reforms that Woke the Peaceful Dream”

Mr. Hiroyuki Kamano,
Kamano Sogo Law Offices

 Recently, triggered by the comment ”With respect to the increase in the number of lawyers, in order to maintain the level of quality, we must slow the pace of increase in lawyers”, made by the Chairman of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), the legal industry population issue became a current affairs topic.
 The Koizumi administration decided on a Judicial System Reform Promotion Plan built on the pillars of the “introduction of a jury system, establishment of a law terrace and the new creation of graduate law schools”. A plan calling for bar examination qualifiers to reach 3,000 by the year 2010 was promoted and in reality, the number of candidates to pass the bar examination totaled 2,099 in 2007. This is double the number of 1,183 just 5 years before. In the 2008 examination, the problem arose in which a large number of candidates who had completed the training course at the Legal Training and Research Institute of Japan failed to pass the bar examination.
 Under the above conditions, in the election of the JFBA Chairman held in February of this year, a candidate who opposed the judicial law reforms was elected, garnering 43% of overall support. This was a shock to supporters of the reforms. The policy of the JFBA also changed to “There is no change in the policy toward increasing membership, but a slowing in pace of increase in new lawyers is sought to maintain the level of quality”.
In the United States, it is taken for granted that the users bear the responsibility of picking a quality lawyer, but in Japanese legal circles, the idea remains strong that in order to maintain the quality level of lawyers, it is important to examine the pace of increase.
 The goal of the Judicial System Reform Committee is to achieve 50,000 lawyers. The JFBA’s concern is the unlimited increase even after the 50,000 lawyer goal is reached. It is difficult to identify just how many lawyers are appropriate in Japanese society as a whole. In cities, there are increasing numbers of cases of young lawyers having no guarantee to work, and to borrow a small space in the corner of a senior colleague’s office to become independent even being registered with the bar association. On the other hand, in the local areas, the issue of the lack of lawyers has not been resolved.
A judicial infrastructure that enables the rule of law to reach all corners of the country is needed. The increase in judicial personnel is essential. However, social losses arising as the byproduct of such increase must be avoided. It is necessary for Japanese legal society to lend an ear to external opinions and make objective proposals and recommendations.

“Sanyutei Encho, the God of Rakugo”

Mr. Shoshu Hirai,
Chief Priest,

 At Zenshoan, where I am the chief priest, every August the atmosphere is different from other Zen temples. The grave of Sanyutei Ensho is located at this temple and during the month of August, in commemoration of the late Encho’s legacy, a collection of pictures of ghosts left behind by him is exhibited. During this period, a ceremonial Rakugo is also performed.
 Sanyutei Encho was one of the very top of the Rakugo performers known as “Great Encho, god of Rakugo and/or Great Masters”, who were active from the middle of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. Because there are no records of his actual voices or pictures, imagination has further stimulated and heightened Encho’s fame. His greatness was in his ability to tell one new story after another. Among the Rakugo stories that Encho created, there are many that are being told even to this day. His “Bunshichi-Mottoi, Kaidan Botan-Lantern, and Shiobara Taskue” are particularly famous.
 Since 1870 (during the Meiji Era), stories by Encho were published in shorthand transcription technique books and serialized in newspapers, and this further increased his fame. People who were not able to attend Encho’s performances were able to enjoy his work by reading his stories. Furthermore, the way in which Encho told a story also influenced, to no small degree, the literature of the time.
 Why Encho collected pictures of ghosts is not clear. It is likely that he wanted to use them as references for his performances. Ghost pictures clearly portray the forms and shapes of spiritual apparitions. These pictures are so real, that they almost make you want to believe in ghosts. What do you think?
 In Buddhism, ”If one thinks it exists, then it exists; if one thinks it does not exist, then, it does not exist”. Ghosts, even if they appear in a fixed location, cannot be seen by everyone; depending on who sees the ghost, its form and shape are different.
 Ghosts are a product of human “feelings hidden in the heart” and “deep beliefs in the heart”. There are some who say that ghosts are apparitions of those with strong passions, who left this world with unfinished business in life. I think that we see ghosts as reflections of our own guilt.