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Coming-of-age young adults should have courage, take steps forward

The Yomiuri ShimbunIn a time when the future is uncertain, what can I do as a newly fledged adult? How can I make the best use of my characteristics? We hope young adults give thought to these questions on this day of celebration.

Today is Coming-of-Age Day. Those who were born in 1996, totaling 1.23 million, have joined the grown-up world. Many of them probably will renew old friendships at coming-of-age ceremonies held in their hometowns.

In Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture, where 1,500 homes and buildings were destroyed or severely damaged from the Kumamoto Earthquake in April last year, such a ceremony was held on Jan. 3. Two people representing the coming-of-age young adults there expressed their pledge, saying, “Having pride in being born and raised in this village, we’d like to contribute to society.”

One of the two, Ayumi Goto, devotes herself daily to caring for elderly people at a facility in the village as a nursing care worker. She looked inspired, saying, “I realized afresh that what I should do is right here.”

As society is becoming increasingly globalized, it is essential to have human resources who have broad perspectives and are capable of playing active roles across the world. Young people who don’t pay attention to the world abroad are criticized by more than a few people for being “inward-looking.”

But there are a number of important things toward which young people can have passion, even right where they stand. Through the job you choose, you can make people around you feel pleased. It is possible for that chain of joy to grow and even change the systems of society.

Hiroki Komazaki, who had been running an information technology start-up company when he was a university student, at the age of 24 launched a new dispatch service for taking care of sick children.

Start from where you stand

An acquaintance of his had become unemployed as there was no facility where the person’s sick child could be left in care. Hearing about the hardship, Komazaki strongly felt a societal contradiction. This experience led him to jump into the childcare industry that he previously had nothing to do with.

Now 37, Komazaki makes various proposals on such matters as child-rearing and social security to a government task force panel.

There is a growing number of young people who boldly try businesses in such fields as vitalization of local areas and child-rearing support, based on their actual experiences. We can feel assured by these youth. These kinds of activities, conducted with youthful power, in a bottom-up style, energize society.

Ikimonogakari, a three-member pop group, recently announced they would suspend their band activities. The group started with live performances on the streets of Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, and for the past 10 years since they made their major-label debut, brought smiles through music not only to young people, but also to children and elderly people.

The group members also continued to put their energies into friendly exchanges with their fans in their hometown area, their starting point.

When announcing the suspension of activities, the group called it a “declaration of being free to pasture,” meaning each member would pursue solo activities for a while. The reason for the suspension also is a positive one as they said it is “for expanding further each of our futures.”

Making a step forward will pave the way for another new path. Even if you fail, you can start all over again. It is important that you have courage and take a step forward.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 9, 2017)Speech



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