「わたしはなぜ『JTE』を作ったのか」Why I created JTE

村上龍 Ryu Murakami


I was born in the town of Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, near the southwestern tip of Japan, in 1952—seven years after the end of World War II. Sasebo, like many Japanese cities and towns, had suffered extensive damage during the war. Houses and factories had been destroyed in the air raids, and food and other goods were still in short supply.

Like the rest of Japan, our town was quite poor. We children played in neighborhood fields and empty lots, but we didn’t have much in the way of toys. This wasn’t because our parents wouldn’t buy us any, but because store-bought toys simply didn’t exist. Returning to the neighborhood as an adult, I revisited one of the empty lots, and it gave me a chill to think that we used to play in such a place. At one edge of the lot was a cliff with about a ten-meter drop and no fence or wall guarding it. Remembering how we used to run around playing hide-and-seek there, or imitating pro wrestlers, I couldn’t help wondering how it was that none of us ever tumbled over that cliff.