If I had to explain the story in one sentence, it would be this: A brilliant swordsman and former assassin named Himura Kenshin vows never to take another life after the blood bath that ushers in the dawn of Japan's Meiji era, a vow that is tested over and over as he seeks atonement for his past.
So, anyway, I was watching the DVD by myself at home, and the expression "hito o ikasu ken" (sword that gives life) bounced against my ear drum. It crops up many times and in various forms in the story of Ruruouni Kenshin, but this particular time, the expression made me sit up and ponder.
I am usually very willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of a good story. But did that expression even make sense? It could refer to the fact that Kenshin carries around a custom-made sword in which the blade is inverted so that the sharp edge and dull edge are switched. The idea is that Kenshin can knock bad guys out with his sword, but he can't use it to kill. But is not killing someone the same thing as giving someone life?
Actually, it now occurs to me that the expression can also be translated as "sword that spares life," which makes more sense in the context, so maybe I was making a mountain out of a molehill. In any case, it brought to my mind a certain passage in the Bible, and it also gave me an idea for an etegami. The accompanying words are the Japanese version of the following quote:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)