Fumihito Ikeda's Laboratory


Developing Give&Take analysis

It was little difficult for our students to analyze Give&Take relations in Moomin story, because they were troubled with finding what a character could took at the end of the story. They thought too difficult to find it. They tended to think abstractly. But I would like them to think more easily and find concrete things. It is equal to a difference of a character's conditions between the start and the end that what the character can take. For example, in "Moominsummer madness", a park keeper could emit light from his whole body, because he was surrounded by many Hattyfatteners who take a charge. So they could take a body which emit light. It is easy to find it. Rather, it is more difficult and important to think its meaning, that is, what is it a metaphor of? Let's think about the previous example. What does a body which emit light mean? At the beginning of this story, the park keeper had robbed freedom from the others by setting up many billboards of forbidding. In other words, he could shine by robbing lights from others. So he could shine by himself when he interacted with moomins. In this way, I would like to develop this method from the viewpoint of changes of a character's situation.


A new method for sociology

There are many kinds of method for sociology, such as Transaction Analysis, Ethnomethod, Dramaturgy, and so on. Most of all of them relate to interaction with others, of course. Well then, why do we interact with others? I think it is because we want to something by interactions. Moomin story is just the story that each character gets something he/she wants through interaction with others. Furthermore, the story teaches us that if we want to get something from others, we must give something that the others really want. The teaching is so called "Give & Take" relation. Our social relations will not continue for long time, if we continue to give something to others, or to take something from others. It is important to maintain the balance between gives and takes. So I think the relation can be used to analyze our social relations. We can know whether our social relations work good or not by examining our Give & Take relations. However, there is one problem here, that is, we can not see the real relations if we only see what we or others want, because what we want doesn't equal to what we really need. What we want is more concrete than what we need. We often don't find what we really need, although we know what we want. For example, suppose we want a glass of water. In this case, we need to quench our thirst with something, but we don't need just water. A glass of water is an example of something to quench our thirst. In other words, what we want is a metaphor of what we need, because metaphors are a kind of rhetoric which express some abstract ideas by using the more concrete ideas.


Moominpapans memoarer: What is "just living"?

Moominpappa, who escaped from an abandoned Moomin children's home which an aunt Hemulen runs, got an acquaintance with Fredrikson who wanted to be an great inventor. He was the Moominpappa's first friend who listen his talks at the end of them and ask an intelligent question for him. Through Fredrikson, Moominpappa made friends with Raddjur and Joxal. Raddjur is the future father of Sniff and Joxal is the future father of Snaffkin. One day, Moomipappa claimed Fredrikson that Joxal was too lazy and idle. Then Fredrikson reproved Moominpappa for the judgement and said "we just think on only important things for us. You want to become, I want to make, Raddjur wants to have, but Joxar is just living." However Moominpappa couldn't understand "just living" at all and thought that it is lazy to just live. But I think just living is more difficult than wanting to become, make and have.


How to get people to do things

I reread "How to get people to do things" by Robert Conklin. The first time to read it was more than ten years ago. I have been strongly impressed that we could not make people to do something only by logic, rather we needed emotional persuasion. And now, I want to read it again. I don't know why, but I strengthen my mind to be gentle for others, because, "The more we give of anything, the more we shall get back" as written in the Bible. People's reaction to me is decided by my attitude to them, so if we hope that people are gentle to me, we must be gentle for them.
By the way, we are struggling to analyze "Trollkarens Hatt (Finn family Moomintroll)" in Moomin class. In this story, a wizard appears. He have searched the King of ruby all over the world for more than four hundreds years. At last he found it in Moomin valley, but it have been already owned by other people. He begged them for it, but they denied. Then he began to grant the Moomin valley's hopes by his magic. At last, the King of ruby's owners wish the Queen of ruby and give it for the wizard. He can use his magic for other people's hopes but cannot it by himself.
This story also tells "The more we give of anything, the more we shall get back". I wander my students can be aware of the message?


Trollkarens Hatt, it's charm of contrast

From today's Moomin class, we will take up "Trollkarens Hatt", that I have started to be completely absorbed in solving Moomin stories' secrets. The key to the secrets is "contrast". This work is inlaid with many contrasts which all relate with a silk hat of a wizard who is eager to get the king of ruby. After all, his magic is very contrast. He can change his body into everything, but he cannot change another people into something. He can grant other people's requests, but cannot his own request. Furthermore, his silk hat changes something which is in it into a controversial one. In the last scene, he grant all Moomins' requests one after another, the requests are controversial, i.e. requests for only oneself v.s. for completely other people. After all, people who could resolve such opposition as egoistic or altruistic become happy. It's very philosophical story.