2. Monsters 1/2

In the afternoon, late May, 2004.
The memorial concert by Czek Philharmonic Orchestra was held in the renovated Kanematsu Auditorium of Hitotsubashi University in Kunitachi City.
This auditorium had been accepted as a good acoustic hall before by the world's leading musicians like Vladimir Ashkenazy, a conductor, and Takahiro Sonoda, a pianist, but nearly 80 years had passed since its completion in Showa 2 (1927).
During the time the auditorium had gotten decrepit to the extreme and was far from the comfortable use, so a large-scale reconstruction was performed in order to make it come to life fundamentally.
Considering it is designated as a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property, the works were proceeded with a main emphasis on a better space and acoustics as well as the originality.
The construction finished this March after one year.

Goroji Suga enjoyed the concert with Eriko Fukami.
The first half was Bartok's "Romanian Folk Dance Music" and Dvorak's "Piano Concerto." The second half after intermission was Smetana's "My Country."
All of the musics full of folk color were excellent in the brand-new hall. Surely all sounds of string, piano and orchestra were filled with real live pleasure and left the best reverberations.

In the intermission Eriko looks unsolved returning the seat. She says, "This hall is strange. I know this building is Romanesque in style all right, but there are so many sculptures and relieves of monster-like animals. They are more fierce-looking than those in cathedrals and monasteries in Italy."
Her eyes are rather shining probably because her knowledge of art history aroused her attention.
"They are decorated on both sides of the stage, at the balcony, on the rear wall, ....., many. Small monsters are clinging even to the chandeliers."
She talks one-sidedly with no care of Suga's reaction.
"The relieves of monsters on the stage and at the balcony are lined side by side. They seem to be in order of eto." (Eto is the twelve zodiac signs in Chinese astrology.)
Eriko's murmur was interrupted by the second-half program.

Though this auditorium has been familiar to Suga since more than 60 years ago, he has not paid any special attention to it.
But Eriko's surprise is agreeable to him. Making appropriate response, another flash crossed his mind.

After the concert, it was still bright with mild wind outside.
They turned around on the grass square and looked at the brick-colored Kanamatsu Auditorium glowing in the blue sky.
They got closer to the facade, on which in the upper center four round patterns are fixed.
Suga says, "The above pattern a little larger is our school badge. We call it Mercury."
In the badge, two snakes are winding around the stick with a handle of a bird's wing on top. The stick is said to be what was carried by Mercury, the God of Commerce in Roman Mythology, hence the badge name.
The three round relieves lined side by side below the Mercury badge are the comical signs of strange animals.
"From the left, the Vermilion Bird, the White Tiger and the Azure Dragon," says Suga. All of them look funny with fierce faces.

Closely watching, Eriko says,
"While the upper Mercury of your talk can be said as Western style, the lower three animals are Chinese style for sure. Why? ... The right side is a dragon, I see. But the left looks like a chicken. Is the center a lion? It looks more like a stone guardian dog."
Suga: "When you were talking about monsters in the hall, these badges flashed into my mind."
Eriko: "This auditorium is strange, both in and out. Mercury may be OK because it is a school badge, but the lower three relieves are all caricatures of monsters. Moreover they are totally different from those in the hall. I can easily imagine the monsters outside and inside were made by different artists with different ideas. But, ..., the whole monsters don't seem to be mere decorations. They all seem to have been made attempting something else important. They look wicked and also seem to be guardian deities of the auditorium."
Suga: "Do you think so too?"

-----
Suga calls Ryohei Tsubune to Josui-kaikan Hall at Tokyo-Takebashi once or twice a month. Every time he has some clear purpose like a meeting or an introduction.
He has a different purpose today. It is in the middle of June.
In the lounge on the 14th floor, with a glass of Super Nikka whisky on the rock, Suga talks to Tsubune, his junior.
"What do you know about the monsters in Kanematsu Auditorium?"
The junior anwers drinking coffee for now.
"Yeah, the monsters. I remember I read some article about the monsters in HQ (Hitotsubashi Quarterly) before. Honestly I knew it for the first time. I entered Kanematsu Auditorium only at the entrance ceremony and the graduation ceremony..."
"Isn't this what you mention?", says Suga taking a magazine out of the briefcase. It is the first issue one year ago. The opening article is;

Mystery of Kanematsu Auditorium
Lecturer: Mr. Nobutake Kaida,
Professor of Tokyo University

"I only glanced through it....."
Tsubune is puzzled and makes an excuse. Letting it pass, Suga moves on to his main subject.
Suga: "I went to the concert at Kanematsu Auditorium the other day with Eriko-san. As an artist, she gave me some hint and I investigated a little."
Tsubune knows Eriko Fukami and her relationship with Suga well.
Suga: "I am more interested in the four round relieves on the facade rather than the monsters in the auditorium Mr. Kaida is humorously talking about in this article."
Tsubune: "So what, sir?"
Suga: "I may be getting into it."
He shows a wicked smile and takes a sip of Super Nikka on-the-rock.
Tsubune: "They are familiar badges in the Kunitachi campus. Mercury of the school badge and the three strange animals..."
Suga: "I spent all my life in the boat club as a cox during the college days, as you know. I remember the substantial support of Shishin-kai (Four-Gods Group) of the graduates for funds and everything then. I joined the group after the Pacific War and tried to be helpful as a board member."
Tsubune: "Yes, I know, sir. You have been doing it even until now."
Tsubune sips coffee for a while.
Suga: "I have been considering the four badges on the facade as Shishin (the Four Chinese Gods). I mean, the upper Mercury is Gembu (the Black Turtle entwined together with a Snake, though different from the pattern of the school badge), and the other three are Suzaku (the Vermilion Bird), Byakko (the White Tiger) and Seiryu (the Azure Dragon). It is just for fun that Suzaku looks like a chicken..."
Tsubune: "What? ..."
Suga: "See, the four pillars on the sumo ring of Grand Sumo Tournament. They are Four Chinese Gods."
Tsubune: "Are they? I just remember the four pillars there. In my understanding they are now replaced by the slung-up ceiling at Ryogoku National Sport Hall."
Suga: "Yes, now instead of pillars, the four tassels of blue, red, white and black are hanging from the ceiling at the four corners up the sumo ring. The blue tassel is Seiryu (the Azure Dragon), the red is Suzaku (the Vermilion Bird), the white is Byakko (the White Tiger) and the black is Gembu ( the Black Turtle with the Snake). They are the guardians for each direction of East, West, North and South."
Tsubune: "I see. I may have heard about it somewhere. But what's that have to do with it?"
Suga: "According to Eriko-san, the badge of Seiryu looks like komainu (a stone guardian dog). This idea leads to the Byakko of Shishin (the White Tiger of the Four Gods), doesn't it?"
Tsubune: "??"

Suga: "Another thing, though it is not referred to in HQ..."
The senior continues his talk swaying the on-the-rock glass.
Suga: "I think the monsters in and out Kanematsu Auditorium are largely classified into three kinds. Eriko-san agrees to this idea. Let's view closely the numerous monsters of both inside and outside the auditorium. First of all, I want to point out the monsters like seen at any Romanesque-style buildings in Europe. Most of them are on its outside walls, the numbers of which are comparatively few, but not few literally."
The senior is enjoying Tsubune's earnest look.
Suga: "Next is the numerous monsters inside the auditorium. Their considerable numbers are said to have been created by Dr. Chuta Itoh himself."
Tsubune: "Dr. Itoh?"
Suga: "Yes, he is the designer of Kanematsu Auditorium. Chuta is said to have drawn cartoons from childhood to death, and all were those of monsters and ghosts. It seems he expressed his real ability to Kanematsu Auditorium. Professor Kaida places the emphasis of his speech on it, saying 'This auditorium is a compilation of Chuta's hobby'. I agree with him about the compilation, but..."
The senior contiues his talk frowningly.
Suga: "On the other hand, he doesn't mention what Kanematsu Auditorium is. Why? You see, we call it the Hall of Freedom and Autonomy. Mr. Kaida does not make an in-depth remark about what this building means....."
Tsubune: "I agree....."
The junior gave an ambiguous answer.

Suga, an elderly senior, puts a hard-cover book on the table. Saying Eriko ordered it for him, he continues.
"This, edited by Prof. Kaida, is full of monsters and ghosts drawn by Chuta. I lend it to you. Read it."
Tsubune: "Thanks. I'll study Dr. Chuta Itoh."
Suga gets back to the original topic.
"What I want to talk to you about is not the monsters either inside the auditorium or on the walls outside. I am sticking to another monsters, the four relieved badges on the upper facade."
Saying it, he points at the 2-meter-wide photo frame of the auditorium on the wall right at the side. The four round relieves can be seen.

Suga: "Aren't they obviously different from the monsters in the book or the other two kinds I just mentioned? I mean, the design, fundamentally. The upper Mercury, our school badge, is Western-style. Two snakes wind around the stick with a bird wing on top. The two hanging C's are the capital letters of Commercial College, as you know well."
The senior makes sure of the junior's understanding, sips the on-the-rock whisky and moves his talk to next. Tsubune is tasting the same on-the-rock now
Suga: "On the contrary, the lower three monsters are the relieves of Chinese-style, which have a peculiar comical taste respectively, not saying insincere."

Tsubune is listening to the senior, looking at the large photo on the wall with the eyes of consent.
Suga: "Well now, who created the lower three and why did he/they have the idea of such caricatures? And more, they are magnificently decorated at the most outstanding place of the proud auditorium under the name of 'Designed by Chuta Itoh'. This situation makes me more and more suspicious."

The senior controls his breathing with a mild look. Then to the junior leaning forward,
"Actually I feel more uneasy about something else. So, I would like you to go along with me for a while. I want to investigate it in my own way. I don't expect any treasure coming out though."
His unusual joke slips out.
Eriko Fukami seems to cooperate with him. Ordering another on-the-rock, the senior gives an embarrassed smile, saying her knowledge on art is encouraging.
Tsubune: "I would like to, but..."
He gets nervous for a moment since he has been listening to the senior as if it has nothing to do with him. He now understands his senior's interest should never be only by intense curiosity.

The reason why Tsubune does not feel motivated is he lacks an attachment to the alma mater. This is the only distrust of following his senior Suga.
He is willing to sing the school songs in a loud voice, but he doesn't feel like burning.
"What is the love for alma mater? It is very difficult to deal with, but is it rooted in pride or in ties like under one roof?"
Tsubune is empty.

He admits he is common for the consideration of his family and his hometown, and also his country Japan based on the stay overseas for a couple of years.
However when it comes to the school and the company, he doesn't have any special consideration. He is unabe to be familiar either with school spirit or with loyalty to the company. His elementary and middle schools bring out in him the nostalgia in his old days, and the school songs and some then teachers make him feel nostalgic. But that's all about, much less the love for the university.
In fact it's clear in his memory that Hitotsubashi University was not what he had aimed at. He really wanted to enter the English Faculty of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
During the middle school days he learned English at a private school. It was the trigger for his absorption in English and he was always the best in every competition of English in the high school days. As a matter of fact, all school teachers involved recommended him to aim at the said university.
But the obstacle was listening ability. As a boy in a local town he never had any chance to talk to an English-speaking foreigner. He only studied it with the radio. But it was helpless to him.
He failed thoroughly in the dictation test, which gave the worst influence to other subjects. The entrance examination ended at his wit's end.

He learned English conversation under the American missionary in an adjacent town preparing for the next year.
He eagerly wanted to enter whatever university it was, because he would have to do it with his younger brother the next year if by chance he failed in his aim. So, he applied also to three other universities this time, and the Social Faculty of Hitotsubashi University was one of them.
The English dictation test of Hitotsubashi was easy for Tsubune. He passed the examination as he had expected. And at the time he made up his mind to enter Hitotsubashi University, not taking the examination of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, accepting the praise of the teachers in this high school days. In fact he was exhausted his power then.
That is one of the main reasons he does not stick to his alma mater.
Besides during the university days, he did not put himself into the academic study, nor was related to any sport or extracarricular activities. The entrance into a university might have been his purpose in conclusion. Before entering the university, he had wanted to be a teacher or a professor related to English. However he did not aim at getting even the teacher's licence through the courses of Hitotsubashi University.
The only benefit during the days was he made friends with several classmates. The relationship with them has been lasting until now. But he had not attended anything like an alumni meeting yet until he met Goroji Suga.

-----
This Suga's request is not so pleasant to such a man Tsubune.
Considering it the cooperation in some investigation to solve a riddle, he sits up straight and faces the senior with a docile look.
Tsubune: "How are you going to proceed it?"
Suga regards the junior's question of slow reaction as an acceptance and goes on the talk.
Suga: "The completion ceremony of the whole Kunitachi Campus of what we now call Hitotsubashi University was held in Showa 6 (1931)."
Suga opens the chronological table made by himself.
Tsubune: "I see, the completion of Kanematsu Auditorium was in 1927 (Showa 2) and the clock tower library and the school buildings were completed after three years. And so as you say, the ceremony of the relocation to Kunitachi Campus was in 1931 (Showa 6)."
Their gears likely came to mesh.

Suga: "The difference of the completion dates of the buildings has its own meaning... The whole buildings of 'our school' at Kanda were broken down by the Great Kanto Earthquake late Taisho Period (in September, 1923). After that 'our school' moved to Kunitachi. The school name then was Tokyo Commercial College, as you know well."
The word 'our school' sounds a little odd to Tsubune in mind, but the senior sitting face to face is one of the very few people Tsubune accepts. He casually makes appropiate response.
Suga: "Our university is now government-run all right, but as you know it has a severe history since the foundation as a private school of commerce. Too different from premier high schools and imperial universities in the historic aspects of birth and growth, it had been treated as an outsider by the Government and about to be closed again and again. The earthquake occurred at such a time. The fund raising for the restoration was almost impossible, and the Government was icy."
Suga sips the on-the-rock and continues to talk.
"Not caring about this hard situation, why and how did it move from Kanda Campus in the downtown Tokyo far away west to the wilderness of Musashino? Wouldn't you like to know more deeply? ... The four relieved badges on the upper facade seem to pose a riddle to us."

2-1 Reading: 31'20"
If the above does not open by chance, Reading: 31:20
< 1. Old Cox 3 2. Monsters 2 >
2. Monsters
1 2
Frontcover @  8. Birth of College
1. Old Cox  9. Great Earthquake
2. Monsters  10. To Musashino
3. Begin to Search  11. Okura Museum
4. Chase  12. Architect
5. Shibusawa  13. Romanesque
6. Dawn  14. Four God Statues
7. Shinyu Case  15. Then
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