My Thoughts about Shinzo Abe 3


Watching the scene of ex-prime minister Abe's private funeral

So many were gathering in the temple in the central Tokyo and so many shouted their thank you & gratitude to Abe

I think last time this level of farewell gathering and grief happened in Japan and among Japanese was 1989 when the Emperor passed away

And today it was announced that the state funeral for Abe will take place this autumn

This is the 2nd time to have a state funeral for the prime minister

6 days has passed, yet still it doesn't feel real

The fact that Abe no longer exists itself is something surreal and hard to believe

Reading several English articles that try to analyse

About Abe and also why so many Japanese are saddened by his death

But I feel they all are missing the real reason

The reason for this overwhelming sadness and devastation among Japanese is very simple:

Many Japanese are familiar with his face and felt emotional connection in the fundamental level

Most of Japanese don't have any interest in politics, so a lot of them don't know about Abe's policies or statements

But they were seeing his face for a really long time and it inevitably brought familiarity and closeness

Abe was prime minister from 2006 to 2007, and from 2012 to 2020, also he was a politician since 1993

Even in my life, since my childhood, I have seen his face everywhere, on TV, newspaper, magazines, internet, also in every corner in the town there was his poster

Such a familiar figure suddenly disappeared

It brings this grief and sorrow on a large scale among Japanese

When Abe resigned as prime minister in 2020 due to health reasons, an American reporter asked their correspondence in Tokyo, "Is Abe such a charismatic person?"

A correspondence answered, "He is likeable rather than charismatic"

I thought "Likeable" is such an appropriate word to describe Abe

From this word, "a leader", we tend to imagine a strong man who is apparently very confident, most probably physically strong, and who can insist his statements no matter where it is and when it is

But I think such a kind of person is not considered very favourable among Japanese, due to cultural reasons

For the Japanese, being likeable is more important that being charismatic

Being approachable is more important than being confident

Showing a smile is more important than keeping a hard face

And Abe was exactly such a person, at least in front of Japanese people

He was a long-serving country leader, but very much likeable and very much relatable with us, ordinary Japanese citizens

Some part of my mind thinks this incident strangely well fits my image of Abe

Abe always brings me a sense of "sorry"

I felt sorry, when Abe couldn't resolve the issues with Russia, because this was his strong wishes, which he succeeded from his grandfather and father

I felt sorry, when Abe couldn't change the Japanese Constitution, because this was the biggest ambition in his life

I felt sorry, when Abe had to postpone 2020s Tokyo Olympics, because attending this world's biggest event as a prime minister, a top person of the host country, is such honour

I felt sorry, when Abe had to resign due to worsening his health condition, because he apparently looked very sick

And this time....., a dominant feeling of my mind is still sadness and void, but some other part of my mind feels sorry

Because Abe was still 67 years old, his health condition was getting better, he looked far more energetic than before, and I know there were still many things he wanted to do in the rest of his life, not only in the area of politics, but also with his family and his personal life

When seeing this overall incident, I can't stop feeling human is still just animal

Contrast between Abe and a man who took Abe's life away is so apparent

Abe was in the highest position in the country

As an ex-PM, he still held a huge influence on the current government and current PM

He was liked, loved, respected and admired not only by his people but also by many people outside Japan

But even such a person can be defeated and destroyed so easily by 41-year-old jobless man who basically has nothing in his life

It really does feel like human is still no difference from animals

Even if we sugarcoat ourselves with so many layers, such as "position" or "fame" or "honour" or "dignity" or "money" or "influence", we are still mortal and our life is still very ephemeral

But exactly because we are mortal, we can feel sadness and empathy for those who have to leave this world

Exactly because everything is ephemeral, we can appreciate this present moment

Exactly because this present moment in front of us never ever repeats again, we can make an effort for, the better and can feel a sense of joy from it

If everything continues forever, only absolute boredom and unbearable laziness are left