Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Life of a Steadfast, Unworldly Man ~Memorial Service for Iwasaki Matsuo held in Tokyo

On June 24th, a memorial service to remember IWASAKI Matsuo was held at the Space Tampopo Plaza in Tokyo. He was a former Kokuro Tosodan (National Railway Workers’ Union Dismissed Members Group) member and died of cancer in February at the age of 68. Among the 1,047 workers laid off as a result of the division and privatization of Japan’s railway industry in the late 1980s, Iwasaki relocated to Tokyo from Kagoshima, where he was laid off, to work as a full-time organizer for Kokuro Tosodan; in recent years, he was involved in the anti-nuclear movement in his hometown. Two members from Kottaji, a Korean modern folk song group of which Iwasaki was a core member, traveled to Japan for the memorial service where Kottaji singer Park Hyan-Mi captivated the audience with her performance of “Bird,” a song based on a poem by the famous Korean playwright and poet Kim Chi-ha (photo). The jovial atmosphere of the memorial service reflected the exuberance with which Iwasaki lived his life. “Although I was working for the postal service and not the railway industry, Iwasaki and I became instant buddies as fellow laid-off workers,” NAGOYA Tetsuichi said in a speech. “No matter what happened at the top, Iwasaki never wavered.” Then, he added jokingly, “Perhaps the possibility of wavering never even crossed his mind…. He was quite an unworldly person.” His comment drew laughter from the crowd. (MATSUBARA Akira)



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