I commend the efforts of Sokichi Sugimura (June 3 article, “Bad public manners irk Bushido proponent“) to promote better manners and harmony on the streets and trains. However, I find his associating young people with irresponsibility for hogging priority seats, blocking doorways and applying makeup somewhat arrogant and misinformed.
Tokyo’s “Do It At Home” campaign also illustrates prejudice against young people, depicting them as inconsiderate slobs, loudmouths or, heaven forbid, a makeup applier, while a bespectacled salaryman looks on. The bespectacled salaryman, or rather any man or woman regardless of age, is just as likely to hog or block. Some urinate and spit openly on the street. Others read sexually explicit material on the train. Sexually charged advertisements sometimes make it into the women’s carriage, or are plainly visible to young children.
In these instances, someone is being inconvenienced, irritated or made uncomfortable. Surely, a woman applying makeup on the train is the least troublesome of these acts. In fact, I’m often in awe of any woman who can apply mascara without stabbing herself in the eye when the train lurches.
I hope Sugimura is also aware that those who require priority seating may not always have wrinkles, an enlarged belly or crutches. Not all disabilities and pregnancies are obvious, and people should not be so quick to pass judgment.
Rather than single out a particular group for being perpetrators of bad manners, I hope Sugimura realizes that the success of improved public morality requires the involvement of all groups and the education of both young and old to set examples for those around them.