An Essay by Prof. Hiroi Published in the 6/4/18 Edition of the Kyoto Shimbun Newspaper as Part of its "Contemporary Words" Series
An essay by Prof. Yoshinori Hiroi, entitled “Is a ‘Science of Nothingness’ Possible?” pointed out how reconstructing a view of life and death is becoming urgently necessary at this time when the number of deaths per year will increase until 2040 as a result of the “super-aging society”. He also discussed how more cross-sectional research in the fields of science, the humanities and society is needed by referring to an interpretation of one of Basho’s works and by referring to knowledge of modern physics, such as the “energy of nothingness”
Contemporary Words “Is a ‘Science of Nothingness’ Possible?”
Prof. Yoshinori Hiroi
This might sound “inauspicious”, but Japan is currently experiencing a surge in the number of deaths. In post-war Japan, the number of deaths per year stayed around 700,000. However, the number began to increase after 1980, and exceeded 1million after 2000. It is predicted that, as a result of a super-aging society, the annual death toll will peak at 1.67 million around 2040.
I consider re-constructing “a view of life and death” to be a core theme, not to mention our big social issues of end-of-life care and “dying alone”.
As for a view on life and death, one of Basho’s haikus comes to my mind: Deep silence/ the shrill of cicadas/ seeps into rocks…
Excerpt from Kyoto Shimbun Newspaper, 6/4/18