by Yuki Kamino
I understood Anne Allison’s way of thinking about “jiko sekinin” in this way. She says that with high economic growth, our level of life has improved a lot and Japanese people gradually put more emphasis on making money to live better. Family roles are also divided, as fathers go to a company, mothers do housework for their family, and even children have a role in that they have to go to school. In this change of society, a lot of Japanese think it ideal to succeed at school, get a secure job and find a good marriage partner. This course to better life is important to be independent and it is also an important status for Japanese people. As Allison says, this is becoming stronger in today’s atmosphere, but while some are able to walk this course, there are another who are thrown out from there. Those people feel difficulty in life (ikizurasa) and tend to become “hikikomori”.
The good points of “jiko sekinin” is that to be independent, people make a lot of effort. Thanks to their big effort, our level of life has largely improved and we are one of the developed countries. Moreover, as today is called a competitive society, we have a mutual influence on each other, so we have much expectation in the future still more.
While a competitive society give us benefits, it also brings a gap between rich people who are good at accepting themselves to the society and people who are not good at it. I think this is a result of “jiko sekinin”.
I feel that Japanese society has a model in how to be a good person or live better life is written, and a lot of Japanese believe it and are eager to follow it. I think because of the model, some successful people look down on others, and those others more and more feel “ikizurasa”.
In my opinion, we should get out of the model. Of course we have to be independent, but I think the new way can be different, depending on people. I was very surprised at the story of Chihara. He is a very famous comedian who appears in a lot of TV programs. If people know only his past that he did not go to school and confined himself in his room … they could have a bad impression of him. However, we know he makes us happy through TV, and he is loved and respected by many people. No one makes fun of him.
As we can see from the story of Chihara, there is not only one way to success. I believe we should have our own course to be independent.