19 December 2014

News of “The Japanese Man” — A Mystery No More


I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from a person who had googled "Meher Baba Japan" and as a result read my post “The Japanese Mystery Man,” about a hitherto unknown person who met Meher Baba at the 1954 “Three Incredible Weeks” gathering and was recorded as “K. Hitaker” in the Baba books. My correspondent identified him as Professor Kazuteru Hitaka, who, I learned, has been called “a well-known figure in Japanese intellectual circles.” I don’t know his academic field, but he translated Bertrand Russell’s works into Japanese and corresponded with Russell under the name “Ikki” Hitaka.

The professor was a passionate worker for world peace, genuinely believing that people of all cultures, nationalities, races, and religions could live together in harmony (which Meher Baba has predicted will become a reality). He was a member of  the World Federalist Movement, formed in 1947 to advocate a global federalist system with the motivation of preventing a third world war. (See “World Federalist Movement,” Wikipedia, where it is interesting to read about the history of world government movements, with a prominent role played by feminists, and a 1947 meeting of five small world federalist groups from Asheville, NC, a city where today many Baba-lovers live, not to mention feminists.) The Movement survives today in the form of the Institute for Global Policy, founded in 1983.

Professor Hitaka was one of 50 Japanese participants at a World Peace Prayer gathering of 150 Christians in China in July 17, 1990:

“Professor Kazuteru Hitaka of the United Church of Christ in Japan called for societal reconstruction, the creation of a new human community and for everyone to work against the barriers of religious prejudice and racial discrimination.” (UCAN, Union of Catholic Asian News)

Writing of Bertrand Russell, Trevor Leggett, an author of books on Eastern philosophy and a specialist in Japanese culture,  said:

 “… all his life, at times of deep emotion, [Russell] had been terrifyingly overwhelmed by what he himself called 'a Satanic mysticism'. He believed that Joseph Conrad was familiar with the experience and this attracted him strongly to the author of Heart of Darkness.

“For a view from the sidelines, there is the book by Kazuteru Hitaka [Ningen Baatorando Rasseru (The Man Bertrand Russell), 1970]. Professor Hitaka, a well-known figure in Japanese intellectual circles and President of the Bertrand Russell Society of Japan, translated a number of Russell's writings, and worked with him for various causes (noting the dislike of Japan as of the USA). He says that Russell loved humanity and was, in the Chinese phrase, 'a seeker of the Way for men to live'. But he was furiously prejudiced against religion (especially in a robe). His gibes at the religious faith of Socrates and Galileo are instances. He had had some semi-mystical experiences, but later was haunted by a sort of demon of doom, more real to him than a bad dream. He tried to meet the attacks with courage, but Hitaka cites a number of passages showing how it could cast him into deepest depression and despair.” 
(From Trevor Leggett, Realization of the Supreme Self: The Bhagavad Gītā Yogas [1995], p. 103)

The only two works by Kazuteru Hitaka that I was able to find were the one cited by Leggett and one other:

  • Ningen Baatorando Rasseru (The Man Bertrand Russell). Tokyo: Kodansha, 1970.
  • Russell's Peace Appeals, edited with notes by Tsutomu Makino and Kazuteru Hitaka. Tokyo: Eichosha's New Current Books, 1967. This is edition is in both English and Japanese.

Jim Hastings has found some further titles (see Comments), including translations of the Dalai Lama's work. There is a Japanese Wikipedia page as well.

Hitaka at Meherabad in 1954. Displayed by permission.
Full image of Hitaka greeting Baba at Meher Nazar Publications.

“When it is recognized that there are no claims greater than the claim of the universal divine life which, without exception, includes everyone and everything, love will not only establish peace, harmony and happiness in social, national and international spheres, but it will shine in its own purity and beauty.”

                  —Meher Baba (“The New Humanity” discourse)


Anonymous said...

Here is the Wikipedia Japanese site with Hitaka's info. A Japanese translator would be great. -babaelf


Kendra Crossen Burroughs said...

That link turns out to say that the page is "in the midst of compilation" and has not been written yet and "Presently there is no item of this name in Wikipedia."

James M. Hastings said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James M. Hastings said...

The WorldCat database lists more than a dozen works by him, though with the last name spelled Hidaka. Most are translations of or books about Russell, but in the late 1970s he also translated two books by the Dalai Lama.

All quotes of Meher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust unless otherwise indicated. Writings by Kendra are © Kendra Crossen Burroughs unless otherwise noted.