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To Eat by Yoko Ono
Published in Asahi Graphic magazine in 1974. Translated from Japanese.

When vegetarians say it is a crime to eat animals or it is bad for the body and so on, it is unbearably amusing. How could they say something like that? I don't understand things like it is a crime to kill whales and it is OK to kill cows. It is not strange at all when there is a man who lives by only drinking gasoline or a woman who lives by only eating glass. I think that it is natural for one to eat what one wants by all means for that moment and it is good for the health too. If one wants to eat glass by any means, he might as well eat it desperately. It is not a big deal even if the blood comes out a little bit, and if you want to eat that much, I think the throat would naturally open a bit to accept the glass.

I think it is fantastic to eat flowers that one has watered every day and fed love and energy or eat a dead pig that one has loved. Because one likes it, one eats it. To eat is the highest expression of love. If I die and the one whom I love eats me, I think that that would be my ultimate happiness. There was a story in China a long time ago about eating a Saint's flesh, and I think everything you love to eat is Saint's flesh.

To eat is to make the food become a part of your body, so it is important. If we eat the slaughtered meat, the bile that came out of the suffering is absorbed to our body with the meat and becomes a part of us. On the other hand, when we eat the things we do not like, the bile comes out from the body and no matter what we eat, everything turns acidic.

Then I wonder where did we go wrong? Humans who have become accustomed not to eat what they like, but to eat compulsively what they do not like so much or hate. Humans who have kept eating what society and/or their parents made them geath bearing to the best of their capacity. I think such humans will resort to violence. I have pity on the human race so much. It also runs to the lifestyle of modern people who do not have courage to confront a loved one in person and associate suitably with people whom they do not like so much with using flattery. Humans are getting perverted. I think it starts with eating what they do not like. And our hearts do not know it, but our bodies know it. Therefore, every time impossibility is piled up, the shoulders are getting squared, the back is getting rounded, and the mouth is getting bent.

No matter what we do, let's have courage to eat what we like at that moment. People may laugh at me if I say let's have that much love and sympathy for our bodies, but this is what I am persuading myself to do.


Images and translations contributed by Mikihiko Hori. Photos of Yoko Ono © Kishin Sinoyama Go back