One of Japan’s newspapers called The Asahi Shimbun published an opinion piece this morning where one of their reporters talks about their experience watching former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s funeral procession through the streets of Tokyo after he was gunned down on Friday.
The reporter writes they are reminded of a quote from an essay by Kamo no Chomei during the early 13th century: “The flowing river never stops, and yet the water never stays the same.”
What, I thought, a profoundly perfect way to describe loss.
There have been times in my life where I have wondered how people can go about their day despite a great tragedy, and I think that quote does such a fantastic job explaining the mindset.
Personally, I think the quote can describe the Japanese societal psyche quite well in times of disaster.
I’ve been in Japan during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, devastating typhoons, the pandemic, and now this senseless shooting of a former leader.
Each time, I’ve seen the dark shadows seem to cross the public mind, but people continued as best they could in the circumstances.
Japan has a long history of tragedy on a national scale–mostly natural disasters. I think they have perfected the art of trying to continue moving forward despite devastating circumstances.
I was reading several news sites from abroad describe how the shooting will forever change Japan, and I think perhaps beneath the surface of society here, that might be true to some extent. It won’t be overtly apparent, however.
Personally, though, I think many people here will simply add this tragedy to the list of tragedies kept in the nation’s spirit and keep going anyway.