Dr. Kazuko’s Speech for October 19 at the Tibet Gala honoring Dr Kazuko H. Tatsumura

November 4th, 2016 by admin

Tashi Delek! It was 1971, I found an old, interesting photo in National Geographic, titled Folk Opera of Tibet.  As I was very much involved in discovering unknown world treasures of performing arts, and introducing them to the West, I decided to explore. I went to Dharamsala Where I met for the first time 14th Dalai Lama.  I was totally ignorant about Tibet and even who he was, the circumstance of his exile to India. At the first meeting, He actually could not believe that this little Japanese woman was promising to introduce the Tibetan Opera to the West. He just said quietly “perhaps when you go back to New York, your superior will be against you”. But when I shouted “But I am the superior,” he loudly laughed and said he was very happy. We met several times then, and became good friends till today. Of course he became my teacher for life. This was my first encounter with Tibetans, and was one of the turning point in my life. I got to know many Tibetans since and deeply involved myself with them.

The Life in Dharamsala those days reminded me of my life in Japan right after the War. We had nothing but we helped each other and we were happy. In Dharamsala I stayed in the old summer house of an English man in perhaps a maid room and slept on the floor.  I ate with Tibetans and drank Tibetan Butter teas. We worked hard every day with artists of the Opera. Stories were long and some tedious. But I had to produce the show suitable to western audiences!

Three months tour was arranged by my office including all over Europe, Canada and USA.  This tour turned out to be a disaster.  Everywhere we went, the events were interfered and pressured by the Chinese Government, and, local producers cancelled shows one after another. I had no more money.  Eventually, I sent them to stay in Tibet village in Switzerland, by giving each $4 per day! By fearing the US visas will be cancelled, I tricked the Chinese and USA Immigration and had the group come VIA Canada through Niagara Falls by foot, way before their planned arrival in JFK. The Hunter Collage performances were huge success and hailed very highly by NY Times. This was the first time Tibetan came to this country being recognized as Tibetans

Many Tibetans have the life attitude that “Others before Self” This comes naturally even to a 3 years old girl at the Manjushree Orphanage in Himalaya. I asked the director if he has already taught her, He replied” No.”  When I go to Manjushree, I am constantly reminded of this nature of Tibetans and often I am in tears by seeing such natural interactions among children, and children with other sentient beings around them. Maybe is this in Their DNA? Or maybe due to a long chains of their reincarnations? I don’t know.  The Dalai Lama says that every human is actually born with this caring feeling for others. But we lose it later. This character must be preserved, which means Tibetan and Tibet way of thinking, of culture must be preserved, for our healthy planet and for peaceful world. Why do we all work so hard for Tibetans? Because we all know this in our heart, I think.

Yesterday, I went to a lecture at Japan Society about IBM Watson, “Power of Artificial Intelligence” It was amazing to learn that “Artificial Intelligence” is taking over and controlling our lives in every aspect, Car driving, Health issues, Cancer, Alzheimer, Autism .etc. Even our emotions.  At the end, I asked “What about Compassion “and He replied “For THIS, I have to leave it up to the humans”.  I think Compassion is the ultimate purpose for Humans from our birth till perhaps end of our Lives. The Universe made it this way for only Humans. We therefore must work hard and preserve this.

Today I receive humbly this highest honor supposedly to have done much for Tibetan people.   I am so lucky for all opportunities given, but I feel have not done nearly enough.  I send my deep gratitude to the HH Dalai Lama, Board directors of Tibet Fund, and all other Tibetans who has taught me Thank you, and Thuk Je Che!   With deep gratitude and Compasion, Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura 10/19 2016