Did Edo ancestors have a better life?

“Boohoo, boohoo, life is such a bore!” It must be a living death to be chained to a corporate desk from morning until late evening, five or even six days a week.

And most Japanese salarymen are dragooned into attending their company’s annual summer beer festival, or any other office social event. Keeping up appearances is what it’s all about, playing at petty office politics even when being “entertained” at the company’s expense. Were the ancestors of today’s salarymen better off two centuries ago, laboring in the rice fields or working at some craft? Perhaps.

At least Edo Period farmers could take a long rest during the winter months, visit with neighbors, attend a weeklong matsuri or even go on a pilgrimage to some distant Shinto shrine. No time for such leisure in today’s high-pressured, fast-paced corporate rat race. Look busy, You!

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.