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2014年4月 4日 (金)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:若者のサポート、誰が? /東京

March 30, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Are troubled youths supposed to support themselves?
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:若者のサポート、誰が? /東京

The trial of a 36-year-old man arrested for sending threatening letters to organizers of events related to the popular manga series, "Kuroko no basuke" (Kuroko's basketball), and to bookstores selling the manga, has begun. I was shocked by the graveness of the lengthy statement the defendant wrote (which is now posted online) -- part of which he read out loud in court.

"My life is filthy, hideous and miserable," he writes. His mother told him that he had an "ugly face" and his father hit him. He was bullied in elementary school, but no adults took up the matter. Eventually he began to feel that he had been "punished since birth" and suffered a lonely life plagued by a sense of inferiority.

The man does not go into detail about his later life, but he went on to a local preparatory high school. Still, he's "never earned more than 2 million yen a year" and describes himself as a member of "the lowest rung of losers." He says that in seeking relief from his suffering, he decided to kill himself after exacting revenge on whatever "it" was that was punishing him. That was when he zeroed in on the author of the successful manga, "Kuroko no basuke."

Of course, actions that strike fear among the public should not be condoned, no matter what the reason. But for now, let's try to divorce the man from his actions. From what I can tell from his statement, the defendant possesses a delicate sensitivity and an abundance of knowledge. In that sense there was no need for him to feel inferior, and he could have been expected to take advantage of those strengths to find work and make friends.

But why couldn't he? Because he never experienced his parents or any other adult telling him that he had his strengths and that he was going to be OK. When you grow up without any praise or acceptance, you ultimately become unable to trust even yourself. You end up deciding that you are a loser who has no way of redeeming yourself and must live in despair.

At the Olympics and Japan's national high school tournaments, young interviewees are always saying things like, "I'd like to thank my family for supporting me." Meanwhile, there are youth who have been rejected both at home and at school, and wonder why they were born in the first place. In times past, adults looked out for other people's children, inviting them in for a chat if they seemed troubled -- but not anymore.

Whose job is it to support children and youth who are growing up in a loveless environment? Are we so cruel as to insist that these young people stick it out on their own?

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年03月25日 地方版


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« 武器輸出緩和―平和主義が崩れていく | トップページ | 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:春、一念発起 整理整頓を /東京 »