Giving a voice to peace in a time of war
By Miyuki Nakajima
Mainichi Shimbun 

December 27, 2001 

Ryuichi Sakamoto hails from Tokyo and is a musician. He has a 
master's degree from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and 
Music. He currently lives in New York. 

Homepage address:
World-famous musician Ryuichi Sakamoto has published an anthology of 
peace wishes spurred by the 9-11 attacks and the subsequent war on 
terrorism, including messages by Yoko Ono and other well-known 
domestic artists. 

Speaking about the book "Hisen" (no war), released Dec. 20, 2001, 
Sakamoto said, "'Don't kill people.' 'Don't kill living things.' 
That's the important thing. Instead of terrorist acts and wars that 
kill, instead of environmental destruction that brings suffering to 
living things -- we have to take these things and change them into 

From its conception to the final draft, the whole project took all 
of a month. The editors put the book together at a frantic speed, 
sending e-mail messages to each other typed in bold letters for 

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 
September 11, a mailing list called "sustainability for peace" came 
into being at the beginning of October, with about ten listed 

At one point, 376 letters per day were being exchanged between 
people who had never met -- all engaged in a heated online 
discussion over the Internet. On September 11, Sakamoto heard about 
the planes and rushed into the streets of Manhattan with a camera in 
hand. President Bush declared the incident an act of war and the 
world rushed headlong toward a retaliation scenario. Dissident 
opinion disappeared from the media. 

"Something is wrong here," thought Sakamoto. On the Internet, 
though, he found numerous essays and columns that expressed a desire 
for a peaceful resolution. Sakamoto and a group of friends who were 
writers, translators, interpreters and environmental activists 
surfed the Web for similar opinions."We'll make a book out of this," 
they decided. They searched for the authors of the messages and, via 
e-mail and international phone calls, requested permission to print 

"What lies behind these acts of terrorism? A handful of people who 
monopolize the world's wealth and march into other lands to augment 
that wealth. Instead of looking at this as a dual between good and 
evil, we have to think seriously about what mankind must do to 
survive. We mustn't hurt people or the environment. We mustn't leave 
the next generation with all of our debts to be paid. The true 
solution begins with knowledge."

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