Владимир Антонов

Философ, культуролог, публицист. Окончил философский факультет МГУ им.М.В.Ломоносова. Доктор философских наук, профессор, заслуженный деятель науки РФ. Член Союза журналистов России. Лауреат (3-е место, 2010) Всероссийского конкурса в области политико-публицистических работ, победитель (2015) Всероссийского конкурса «Национальная идентичность России: кто мы и кем хотим быть». За заслуги в укреплении духовных и культурных связей между народами в 2010 г. удостоен государственной награды РФ — медали ордена «За заслуги перед Отечеством» II степени. Являюсь автором более 260 научных и свыше 160 публицистических работ, в том числе 50 публикаций по вопросам политики и общества, истории и культуры Японии. В последние годы всё чаще стал обращаться к художественному слову. Одним из свидетельств этого является выход в 2015 г. книги «Мечты, погребенные в атомном пепле». Она включает в себя цикл рассказов, посвященных памяти хиросимских детей – безвинных жертв атомной бомбардировки.

A philosopher, a culturologist, and a publicist, I graduated from the Department of Philosophy of Moscow State University. I am a PhD in Philosophy, Professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Member of the Union of journalists of Russia, winner (3rd place, 2010) of the all-Russian competition in the field of political and journalistic works, the winner (2015) of the all-Russian competition «The National Identity of Russia: who we are and who we want to be». For the merits in strengthening spiritual and cultural ties between the peoples I was awarded the state award of the Russian Federation — medal of the order «For merits before Fatherland» II degree in 2010. I am the author of more than 260 scientific works, over 160 journalistic works, including 50 publications on politics, society, history and culture of Japan. In recent years, I increasingly began to turn to the artistic expression. One indication of this is the release of the book «Dreams, buried in nuclear ash» in 2015. The book contains a series of stories dedicated to the memory of the Hiroshima children – innocent victims of the atomic bombing.

Jiro The Skier

 For the third year, eight-year-old Jiro Nakamura was studying at the six-year compulsory education elementary school, which had been introduced in Japan in 1907. However, he did not want to be considered small. Evidently, it was not for nothing. The boy even outwardly stood out from his equals in age: he was physically more vigorous and bigger than everyone else. He was also unusually smart. Of course, for that reason, he did not fit in well with the intellectually-cognitive portrait of a third-grader of that time.

Jiro was really very clever and intellectually curious. His peers were struck by his precocious imagination. In addition, he was very sensitive For that reason, from time to time, his imagination was full of some bright boyish impressions, full of life-giving juices. But most of all, Jiro liked to dream. His dreams revealed his true nature. They brought the boy’s imagination to the highest level of flight.

Sometimes, Jiro lost himself in dreams so much that he sunk into reverie. Because of that, he would sometimes “ask” for a merciful comment by the always benevolent and smiling alphabet teacher Mitiko Watanabe.

Already in the first grade, he had successfully completed the “kanji” syllabarium in its two types – katakana and hiragana – including a total of 50 alphabetic characters. But in the next grade, when he began to study hieroglyphs, sometimes peculiar, for that matter, extraordinary imaginative-conceptual associations, began to emerge… Thus, for example, he gave the hieroglyphs, referring to the concept of the “human being”, a simple, but specific, imaginative interpretation. His perception portrayed this as a skiing athlete. Accordingly, the hieroglyphs meaning “to walk”, “to run” and “to drive” were totalised and perceived as “speed skiing”. But Jiro did not want to explain why this happened specifically with these hieroglyphs – neither to his teacher nor his classmates. This was his deepest secret, that he did not want to share with anyone since, a little over a year and a half ago, his father Takashi Nakamura was called up for military service.

His father communicated in a few short letters, received at home and read aloud by Jiro’s mother after studying for one year at some flying school, subsequently becoming a military pilot, and starting to fly as part of the air squadron deployed at Okinawa, over the the vastness of the ocean, defending Japan’s southern borders. However, after that, his letters suddenly stopped coming. For this reason, Jiro’s mother and grandmother were completely unaware of what was happening with him and whether he was still alive. They did not even know if he was alive, or where and how he was serving in the war.

Jiro lived in Hiroshima, relatively close to the centre, about one-third of a ri from it. It was late autumn in 1944. Only the colourfulness of the mountaintops and adjacent hills, covered with fully stocked woods, with their golden-purple-red, orange-purple with violet-blue play of colours, made it obvious that it was autumn. In the lowlands, it was still like summer: everything around was living and green. Depending on its species, the dense greenery of the trees differed only by the shades of colours. That said, autumn also made itself known by its dry climate and bright sunny days. There was no sign of the moist stuffy heat, caused by the long summer warm rains.


…Jiro always nervously recalled two unforgettable conversations he had with his father just before he was called up for military service. He clearly remembered when his father had beautifully painted on a sheet of white paper, showing his son skis, ski poles, and a running and jumping skier. He had methodically explained what a ski track and ski-jump were with the help of some pre-prepared drawings. In order to permanently imprint the image and information Jiro had just received, the father read him something about skiing from newspaper and magazine articles, which he had chosen and carefully preserved for many years. He also showed him several photos of skiers, carefully cut out of old newspapers.

Therefore, when he got the chance, Jiro would replay his father’s words of advice in his mind again and again:

“My son, Jiro-chang, my future is you. I see your great future connected with sport. You need to choose an unusual sport for our region like skiing and ski jumping. Once the war is over and I return home to Hiroshima, our family will need to move north to “snow country” – to Sapporo, Hokkaido. We’ll choose skis according to professional advice and buy them for you. We will find and sign up for ski classes with an experienced coach-sensei, and you will practice hard under his leadership. You will maximally improve your respiratory apparatus and motor system for endurance. …That is, you will simultaneously become the chief ski racer and main ski jumper of post-war Japan. You must become the Japanese version of Turrifu Hauga [referring to Norway’s Thorlief Haug]”.

Thanks to this emotionally coloured story, Jiro remembered this name very well. That’s why Jiro would always, as if imagining his father’s own voice, mentioned this name with respect and enthusiasm, but would naturally would pronounce the name “Turrifu Hauga!” with his Japanese accent.

…Then came the new year for 1945. Early in the morning on the first of January, while half asleep, Jiro heard that his grandmother was upset and grumbling: “

There’s something wrong with the weather. Everything is white with snow as far as you can see. Such heavy snowfall. I don’t recall such weather ever before, even from my childhood. Obviously such a white colour is never good. What happened to the heavens?”

Such grumbling completely woke Jiro up. He stood on the tatami with a light springy hop, he put on the geta quickly, and shuffled on the chaori. Then he moved aside the inner and outer doors-shoujis and ran outside. Of course, there was a thick covering of the flaky, moist snow everywhere. Out of sheer joy, Jiro began to loudly cry like a baby, “

What a miracle! Snow!.. Snow!.. Snow!.. Grandmother, thank you for accidentally waking me up. This is great! This is a good sign. I believe in it! And my dream will certainly come true. I will become a skier.”

Jiro fell back on the snow with a yell and began to roll around on it, turning from one side to the other. The fluffy snowflakes, with their light cold, pleasantly froze his hands and face. Jiro felt exalted, as in a fairy tale. His imagination took him somewhere to the snow pinnacles of the mountains, and he imagined that he was a skier flying.

In late January, the grandmother’s doom-laden prognosis was confirmed. The family received a notice that the father had been “killed in action”. His plane crashed during a regular flight somewhere over the southern islands of Japan. Of course, the terrible news about his father’s death was kept from Jiro…

But he expected and believed that, in the near future, his father would return home to great joy. Jiro imagined how happy he would be meeting him and rushing to put his arms around him.

He continued to dream about the time he would become a famous skier, recognised not only throughout Japan but worldwide. He dreamed about this day after day. His childhood aspiration turned into some kind of fervent but sweet desire, into some ungovernable but wanted ardour for what he thought would inevitably happen in the future, where he had the opportunities to achieve brilliant sporting success and great sporting fame. It gave him the sense of a happy future. For this reason, the beating frequency of his small heart noticeably increased.

On the morning of August 6, 1945, Jiro woke up unexpectedly early. He was awakened either by morning’s stuffy heat or by a restless sleep. He was trembling. He immediately understood that he was a little bit scared by his dream. Then Jiro, consecutively rummaging through his dreams, calmed himself down, considering it as the good and prophetic sign.

In his dream, Jiro saw himself rising towards the heaven as a skier. He was literally floating above clouds that were as white as sparkling snow. The plumes below were wonderfully smooth, going down a ski track. It was exactly the same as his father had drawn it. Jiro had just pushed off with his ski poles, pulling up with a wide slope, climbing higher and higher. When he looked back at the passed track, the earth was so far away that he became scared. But Jiro did not want to stop, and moreover fall behind. He was only looking forward to the sky, where he already heard his father’s familiar and kind call.

This was… the last dream of his very short life. A life that was like a shiny sparkle of some long-distance star.

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