祈りの言葉2006年/浜元 二徳

水俣病患者・遺族代表 「祈りの言葉」
Minamata Disease Patient and Bereaved Family Representative’s “Words of Prayer”


As 50 years have passed since the official confirmation, I would like to express my heartfelt prayers on behalf of the bereaved families of the patients for the victims.


We used to live peacefully here in Minamata, but now we have become Minamata disease patients. Needless to say, it is obvious that this disease was caused by Chisso’s harmful wastewater.
At the patient’s home, they lost their workers and their way of income was cut off. they were plagued by prejudice and discrimination, and their mental and physical plight was unspeakable. In addition, the patients and their families have suffered from prejudice and discrimination. They have lived through unspeakable hardships, both mentally and physically.
I lost both my parents to Minamata disease. My father died insane at Kumamoto University Hospital. To determine the cause of the disease, my father’s body was autopsied after his death. My mother passed away after spending four years of bedridden life. I was still very young at that time, and I still felt like I missed my parents, so it was really hard for me.
I don’t want to let pollution like Minamata disease happen again, so I am working as a storyteller at the Minamata Disease Museum to share this hellish experience with as many people as possible.

当時の市民の視線はそれはそれは冷たいもので、 「なんか!おまえどんが、傷んだ魚ば食べたくせん、チッソは悪なか!」と原因であるチッソよりも、私たちが悪いように扱われた気がします。

In 1959, as our daily lives became more and more difficult, we were forced to sit in front of Chisso’s main gate to demand that the company’s responsibility be clarified and that we be compensated for our lives.
The people around us at the time were very cold. “What the hell? You’re the ones who ate the bad fish. It’s not Chisso’s fault!” I think we, the patients, were treated as something more wrong than the Chisso that caused the disease.
We were treated as such for a long time, and it took a long time for the government to recognize our disease as pollution.
During this time, patients and their families lived hidden in storage rooms and barns to avoid attention, and those with worsening symptoms were taken to mental hospitals. Especially the parents with the children of marriageable age were keeping their illnesses secret.  


In 1972, with the encouragement of my teachers, I attended the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Sweden as a patient of Minamata disease and appealed the misery of pollution to the people of the world with my whole body.
Now, half a century after the outbreak of Minamata disease, patients are suffering from the worsening of the disease and aging, and are taking their lives one after another.
Many of the fetal patients, who were exposed to mercury, the cause of Minamata disease, in their mothers’ wombs are now 50 years old. They have been unable to either fall in love or get married, and have struggled to survive so far. Some of the patients are here to attend, but there are several others who are too ill to attend. It’s a very tragic thing. I feel so sorry for them.
I am also worried because I can clearly see that my condition is getting worse every day. I have to ask for help in everything I do, and I barely survive.


I wish I could escape the pain and weight of pollution, even if only for a moment, but that is beyond my reach. But there is only one salvation. Unlike in the past, I am warmly encouraged by the people around me. The peace and comfort of my old life has returned. In this situation, I am very disappointed that the problem still cannot be solved.
I believe that this is where we all need to start over again. If today’s children will not only listen to our stories, but also grow up in their own lives to value nature and life, to understand the pain of others, and to create a society, I believe that the pain of the victims of Minamata disease will be repaid.

May 1, 2006
患者遺族代表 浜元 二徳
Nintoku Hamamoto,

Representative of Minamata Disease Patients and Bereaved Families

Reference Minamata City Minamata Disease Museum Website
翻訳 水俣インパクト  translated by minamata impact


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