Regarding Jim Makin’s March 10 letter, “Compassion for real people“: I’m not sure I agree with Makin that the fatalism of novelist Ayako Sono (cited in Michael Hoffman’s March 3 article, “Solution to bullying lies in ‘resetting’ culprits”) is the natural byproduct of religion. While, in the case of Sono, social evils like bullying may provide the rationale for her personal Christian struggle with a fallen humanity, I would suspect that, for many Christians, her thinking is a deformation of Christian ideals.

Certainly the Christian philosopher Paul Ricoeur, having coined the term “just institutions,” would have opposed her version of religion. Either way, there is no doubt that her idea is extremely pernicious to society and ought to be condemned.

Hoffman, in his contention with respect to Sono, that it is unrealistic to work to improve institutions, comes out looking just as bad. Plus, he makes matters worse by trotting out the old canard that the Japanese cannot change and would, therefore, do better to just endure. I don’t think that they can stop the people who are working hard every day to create just institutions.

It is difficult to displace the entrenched forces of the status quo, and Sono and Hoffman make it all the harder.

brett gross

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.