Delving into the Intangibles


   Frailty, thy name is woman  
     
 

We are in a state of emergency caused by the coronavirus. In this new world, everything is felt acutely, standing out with different faces. In forced self-confinement, relationships with your children, partners, and parents become brutally exposed. As for me, I have begun reexamining my relationships with others, my connections with society, and exactly where I stand. With all the tangible aspects of our daily lives and economic activities subject to restrictions, why not treat this pandemic as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to search out life’s intangibles? There is no need to waste time doing nothing every day.

I've never met them in person, but as far as I can tell through the media, the way German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike have behaved during this crisis has been admirable: women risking their lives to lead the way from the top. When something big happens right in front of us, and we are feeling desperate, that is the moment for women to come to the fore. Shakespeare had Hamlet say, "Frailty, thy name is woman,” but in a case such as this, we women cannot afford to be weak, even if we want to be. I have a sense that when reality confronts a woman, it makes her stronger.

To take just one example: in Fukushima, when the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear triple-disaster struck, the power of women in action was remarkable. A woman’s strength enables her to keep going, searching out milk for the baby, gathering groceries, caring for the elderly. I can safely say it is a feet-on-the-ground kind of strength. There was no romantic idealism or empty theory after Fukushima, only the challenges of a harsh reality. It is said that, at such times, men are the first to disperse to the red lanterns to relieve their misery at drinking parties. When all the tangibles are swept away, and there's nothing left, a man can be unexpectedly weak. This phenomenon may also reflect the different roles that men and women are born into.

I have formed a solid opinion derived from my experiences at work and through living with my family. My idea is that if men demonstrate their abilities as generalists and women demonstrate their abilities as specialists, the world can be made to fall into place. Men have the ability to take a bird's-eye view of society and respond to a problem as a whole. The ability to analyze through physical evidence and scientific data in an intangible world is inherent to them. A woman cannot beat the power of a man to lead––even more so if the man has charisma.

As for women's ability, in doing one thing with sincerity and patience "Thou art strong.” That is exactly the point. They are well suited to the professions of lawyer, doctor, educator, et cetera. The ability given to a woman produces results and leads to peace of mind and trust, which is why it is accepted in the world.

Women are stronger. They survived the post-war period; they have been made even stronger because of natural disasters or man-made disasters brought on by human greed, and this time by Covid-19. Shakespeare's words, "Frailty, thy name is woman," may reflect the male desire, but they do not apply at this difficult moment in time. Rather, I wish men would demonstrate leadership skills and guide the world more effectively, lest people say, "Frailty, thy name is man.” I hope it happens, especially in the present situation. Then we would not hesitate to say, "Strength, thy name is man".

I can hardly wait to see which of the world's male leaders show their strength to us.

 
                                                        K.Yamakawa