ついに読破! Finally Read Them All!

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去年の夏日本に行った時、Virgoさんが貸してくれた長編小説、山崎豊子の「沈まぬ太陽」五巻をついに読み終えました。

内容もよく知らないまま読み始め、正直最初はあまりページが進みませんでした。あるサラリーマンが、自分の意志に反して労働組合長をやるはめになり、正しいことをしたつもりでも、そこで経営陣に目をつけられたばかりに、海外の僻地を10年もたらい回しにされる話です。

「うーん、布団の中でちょっと読むには、重すぎるし気が滅入るなぁ。読むのやめようか。」と何度も思いました。ところが不思議なことに、そのたびに読まなきゃならないと思ってしまうのです。そして読み進めるうちに、愕然として来ました。「どうやらこれは限りなく現実に近い話なんだ。。。」

国営会社として出発し、日本のナショナル・フラッグ・キャリアとして君臨してきた大手航空会社、そして、話はその会社が1985年に起こした、航空史上最大の墜落事故の話になっていきます。520人もの命が一瞬にして奪われたあの事故です。墜落現場での遺体捜索、遺体安置所で血眼で肉親を捜す遺族の様子。あまりにも生々しい描写に目を背けたくなる半面、またもや読まなくてはいけない衝動にかられ、一字一句漏らさず読みました。

ところが肝心のその航空会社、事故の反省など外面だけの話で、内情は幹部、関係官僚、政治家たちが自分の利益のために会社を食い物にしていて、身の毛もよだつような有様だったのです。経営改革のために、政府の要請で外部から敏腕会長が送り込まれ、主人公もその直属の部下として抜擢されました。しかし、新会長は結局そういう連中に追い出されてしまい、主人公も再び苦しい立場に追いやられるのです。

これでもかこれでもかと、腐敗した内情を突きつけられて、読む方も拷問を受けているようでした。「正直者が馬鹿を見る」とはこのことか、、、真面目に生きるのが虚しく思えたり。それでも主人公は妥協せず、筋を通そうとするのです。こんなに読み応えのある小説にはそうそうお目にかかれません。

そして現実の世界では、年初、日本航空が本当に経営破綻してしまいました。あの墜落事故からちょうど四半世紀にあたる年にです。これ以上の皮肉があるだろうか、、、この小説が書かれたのは約10年前、その時にはもうこの日が来るのは避けられない状況にあったんですね。

執筆に当たり、著者は数百人の人に取材をしたと言われています。その正義感に脱帽するとともに、いろいろな嫌がらせを受けながらも発行に踏み切った出版社にも感動しました。何度も寝不足になったけど、その価値十分にあり。本当に読んでよかったです。Virgoさん、こんな素晴しい本を貸して下さってありがとうございました。 夏には必ずお返ししますね〜(^o^)/。

Finally Read Them All! 
 
I finally read all the five volumes of a novel, “Shizumanu Taiyo (The Sun That Does Not Set)” written by Toyoko Yamasaki.  When I went to Japan last summer, Virgo-san kindly let me borrow the books.
 
I started reading without knowing much what the story was about.  To be honest, my reading pace was rather slow at first.  It was a story about a businessman who against his will had to head the company’s union.  Although he thought he had done what was right, he had drawn hostile attention from the executives and was transferred around from one foreign remote area to another for 10 years.
 
“Hmm.  The theme is too heavy for short reading in bed and a bit depressing.” Although I almost gave up many times, somehow, every time, the novel made me think I had to keep going.  As I moved on, there was an appalling discovery.  “This is a story that is as close to the truth as it could ever be....”
 
This major airline started as a state-owned company.  It had reigned as Japan’s national flag carrier and the story developed into the 1985 plane crash, the worst accident in the airline history, that took the lives of 520 people all at once. Searching bodies at the crash site.  Families frantically looking for the bodies of their beloved ones at a make-shift morgue...  The description was so real that I almost turned my eyes away from the book.  However, again, I felt the urge that I must keep going and I did without missing one phrase or even a word.
 
Inside the airline in question, however, turned out to be full of chilling secrets.  While its sincere remorse about the crash was only an appearance, executives, related bureaucrats and politicians were ripping off the company just for their own personal interests.  A highly competent chairman was sent from outside on government call for management reforms and the main character businessman was chosen to work directly to him.  After all, however, the new chairman was kicked out by those greedy goblins and the businessman was again to be pushed in a miserable plight. 
 
Exposed to seemingly never-ending corruption stories inside the compnay, I even felt being tortured.  “Honesty does not pay.”  Is this what the novel is about?  Being earnest seemed meaningless.  Still, however, the main character kept his uncompromising stance and lived his own way.  It was like a once in a lifetime chance to encounter a book like this which is well worth reading. 
 
Then, in reality, Japan Airlines had actually failed.  It happened early this year, exactly a quarter-century after the crash.  Is there a more irony than this?  It was about 10 years ago when this novel was written.  I realize things were already unfixable at that time and the company had set its course to failure since then.
 
To write this novel, it is said that the author had interviewed a few hundreds of people, which I was so impressed with.  The publisher, too, despite numerous harassment that they had received, did not give up putting out the book.  Although I spent a number of days like a ghost from lack of sleep, it was no doubt worth it.  I’m so glad that I read it.  Thank you, Virgo-san, for lending me such a wonderful novel!!  You will have the books back this summer!!(^o^)/
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2010-05-19 03:40