written on 19th February 2017
posted by Yoichi SUZUKI
After I attended the workshop on storytelling in IMPACT National Conference 2017, Washington University in St.Louis, I felt strange feeling.
During the workshop, the participants had the practice of storytelling. We were encouraged to write the story including the issue we focus and 3 values we regard as important.
Then, we had the time to share.
Some students kindly shared their stories. Each story has their contexts and feeling.
Then, the full of empathy is coming to the room.
Although I learned a lot of things from this workshop, I just want to share two things regarding with the differences between Japan and America.
Storytelling in public space
I'm always surprised that American people can share their stories with others although the facilitator ensured safe space well.
Even though we can do too in Japan with time, American can do in short time. In United States, there are several opportunities to tell stories such as church, mosque, or school, and the role model of storytelling like TV, Speech or some art like the spoken word.
However, it is not easy to talk about social and political issues in public space in Japan. Even though we have best friends, it is not easy to tell about our story regarding with social injustice. It seems too much private.
People in Japan including me is generally not good at expression of our emotions. Then, we tend to speak logically instead of emotionally.
I think expressing the emotion and telling stories easily (compared with Japan) is one of American Advantages.
At the workshop of storytelling, I've realized that most participants, (or American Society generally,) shared these values such as community, respect, fair and so on and it is easy to feel empathy.
If people does not share the value, it is not easy to get the empathy.
On 21st January 2017, there was the Women's March in Washington DC and other cities.
Some American Residents in Japan and their friends also organized the march in Tokyo. Although they lived outside of US, they organized.
I've realized that they totally had these value in their mind.
Yes, I think common values also help American society to make better.
About Yoichi SUZUKI
Yoichi SUZUKI, Co-president of Wake Up Japan.
He tried to commit suicide at his teenage. Then, he started to think why we live.
During university life, he is really energetic on Model United Nations. He was president of Japan Model United Nations Society. in 2008, he committed to political engagement that promotes young people to show the vision towards G8 Summit.
After the graduation of his University, he went to Malaysia and helped to educate high school and undergraduate students on sustainability for 2 months.
Then, he came back to Japan and started to work as Campaigns Officer in Oxfam Japan. His job is to import/integrate Western Social Change model to Japanese context through community and youth engagement program.
He had the opportunities to visit and organize workshop in Australia, Germany, South Korea and United States to see the society and its social activism.
He also joined Powershift Japan as co-founder, the platform of young people to demand climate justice and sustainable future in 2014 and started Wake Up Japan, the platform to promote active citizenship and social justice through dialogue in 2016, along with his Oxfam working.