May 5th is Children’s Day in Japan. Since ancient times, it has been customary to wish children healthy growth by decorating the kabuto worn by samurai.
Last year, after the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I felt that it would be anachronistic to display anything related to the battle out of consideration for political correctness. Therefore, I had some hesitation about whether or not to display the kabuto.
This year, however, I hung the kabuto in my living room.
It is not that I have become numb to the war. The psychological resistance to displaying things that are warlike still remains in me. But instead of valuing such a superficial sense of justice, I want to value the fact that this kabuto has been passed down in the Okaden family from generation to generation.
This kabuto was given to me by my grandmother when I was born. It is not very big, but it is a magnificent thing, so I think she spent a lot of money on it. That must be why my grandmother was so happy when I was born. And now the kabuto has been passed down to her son Takeh. It has been 49 years since the kabuto arrived in the Okaden family. Here is the family’s love for each other that has lasted for half a century.
And this headpiece will be passed on again when Takeh has a child and it is a boy.
We live in a modern society surrounded by disposable products. There are few things that are “received from the previous generation and passed on to the next. Kabuto is one of the few people who can act as a baton in the intergenerational relay.
Last year, the baton was displayed on the highest shelf in the house. This was because Takeh, a one-year-old who can now walk, was expected to show interest in the kabuto and touch it.
This year it was proudly placed in a place where he could reach it. Yet he did not try to touch the kabuto at all. This is a sign that he has learned self-control. This is where I can see his growth.
The reason he exercises self-control by not touching the headpiece is probably because the kabuto is also displayed in the kindergarten. The teacher must have repeatedly told the children who tried to touch it, “Don’t touch it. I think that is how he learned not to touch the kabuto.