I was watching a while ago a TV news program in which there was a view of Tehran after the air raid by Iraq, and the camera was panning, and the panning camera came to one spot, and for a fleeting second it stopped. And it stopped there long enough for me to spot a copy of Dostoevsky in that devastation.

That glimpse of the copy of Dostoevsky had a great impact on me. It brought back a memory from when I was a boy of 17. I had just gotten to know Dostoevsky’s work, and I was crazy about him. I had just finished reading the first volume of The Brothers Karamazov. And I was on my way to the library to get the second volume of that book, and it was that morning when I heard on the news that war was declared between my country and the United States. Of course, that was big news for both the United States and Japan—but I was much more concerned about whether or not the copy of Volume Two of The Brothers Karamazov was still at the library, whether someone else had already checked it out. I was very concerned about that.