Mar 02, 2022
We pray for Peace in the Land of Ukraine
One of the picture books that I cherish is titled “The Mitten”("Tebukuro"). It was published in Japan by Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers in 1965, and is based on a Ukrainian folktale. It has been loved and read in Japan for more than half a century, so you may have memories of having read or listened to it as a child. Evgenii Mikhailovich Rachev, the author of this picture book, studied at the Design Department of the Kiev Art University.
The story goes like this. An old man and a puppy were walking in the forest. The old man drops one of his mittens. A mouse gets into the mitten and decides to live in it. Then a frog comes and asks to be included. After that, a rabbit, a fox, a boar, a wolf, and finally a bear enter the mitten, and even though the little mitten is about to burst, everyone gradually makes room for each other, sharing the warmth of the mitten.
Historically, Ukraine has been tossed about between various ethnic groups and nations. I believe that the picture book "Tebukuro" depicts the ideal society of the Ukrainian people, where everyone is not excluded but given a place to belong and live together.
Today, the situation in Ukraine is the exact opposite of that ideal. I heard the tears and cries of the children of Ukraine in the midst of their fear. Their precious lives are being taken away.
Last spring, Rikkyo University issued the "Rikkyo University Declaration of Human Dignity," and we position real collaborative action by all the students, faculty and staff who make up Rikkyo University as this university's most important task.
In it, we state as follows,
The word "dignity" is derived from "dignitas" in Latin, which has the original meaning of "having a value in its existence". The existence of all living things created by God has value, and that value must never be diminished. That is the core doctrine of Christianity that has been the principle for Rikkyo University since its foundation.
War and the use of forces are the most serious forms of violence against the ultimate dignity of the human person. We pray, hope and demand that all fighting cease immediately and that the safety of the people of Ukraine and a peaceful society be restored as soon as possible.
President Renta Nishihara
Nov 30, 2023