Japanese society can be hard to navigate for somebody who feels different from the norm but from one generation to the next, things seems to be taking a turn for the better.
The nail that sticks out gets hammered down
In Japan, you can take the train cosplaying your favorite character, opt for rainbow colors in your hair or wear a ton of Lolita accessories and barely raise an eyebrow. But when it really comes to showing who you are —your personality, your beliefs, your individuality — differing from social norms can be tough in a country where conformity is still the rule.
A sign of change
Picking up her kid from school, Twitter user @ncc170116 was pleasantly surprised when she read the school’s “November’s Health News” bulletin pinned on the information board.
— ncc1701 (@ncc170116) November 17, 2018
= I came across this poster at my child’s school. I would never have seen anything like this when I was growing up. I think it’s great that this poster is not exclusive to the LGBT community. Certainly, we still live in times when there are so many issues, but just reading something like this may save someone.
A life-saving reminder
The bulletin was created by the Juniors’ Visual Journal, a company in charge of publishing educational papers and teaching materials for school bulletin boards across the country. They typically publish information about health issues and news from the government.
The topic of the month is “A world where everyone can be themselves“ and invites children, but also parents, to be kind and open-minded.
“As appearance and personality differ from one person to the next, each person’s sexuality is also different,” reads the text. The illustrations on the left and top right teach that children should feel okay to be themselves and that they should not think “boys must like sport” or “girls must act in a certain way.”
A last illustration, on the bottom right, invites pupils not to speak ill of other children.
How to express that something is “impossible” in Japanese
あり得なかった the past tense of the adjective ありえない, is a good expression to have in your toolkit to talk about an impossible or unthinkable action or situation.
The word comes from ある (there is) and 得る (can) which gives ありえる or ありうる.
It’s a verb rarely used which indicates that it is possible for something to happen. Its negative form ありえない is often employed to strongly express that something is inconceivable.
A common example used in the dictionary is:
紛争のない人間社会はありえない = There can be no human society without conflict
The notice resonated with a lot of users, who wanted to have similar information bulletins in their kids schools as well. For many people, it was a positive sign that Japanese society is moving forward to becoming more inclusive. At the very least, it’s welcome news in an age where conservatism and discrimination are dominating the narrative.
|我が子||wagako||one’s (own) child|
|通う||kayou||go to, attend|
|貼る||haru||to put, to stick|
|小学生||shougakusei||elementary school student|
|の頃||no koro||at the time, when|
|限定して||gentei shite||limited to|
|今でも||ima demo||even now|
|色々||iro iro||various, diverse|
|救われる||sukuwareru||to be rescued|
|だろうな||darou na||express the speaker’s degree of certainty|
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