The article “Number of people in Japan aged 90 and above tops 2 million for first time” (in the Sept. 19 edition) made me ponder the relationship of young people and seniors.

I am happy to learn 7.7 million people aged 65 or older had jobs last year (11.9 percent of all employed people), and many seniors enjoy traveling as well as hobbies. They are very active.

On the other hand, how about young people today in general? I am afraid young people today spend too much time on cellphones. I know, of course, that cellphones are necessary tools for their daily life and learning, therefore they spend a lot of time on them. However, I would like to ask them, isn’t it important and necessary to use some of your time for talking with seniors face to face and listening to their actual life stories and opinions?

Have you (young people) ever tried to listen to the life stories of your grandmother, grandfather or seniors in your community? If you ask them various questions, I am sure they would willingly tell you their actual experiences, such as childhood days, school days, your family, your birth, various rains and winds of life, tragedies of war, views of today’s world … limitless stories from their library of experience.

Then you will start understanding the history related to you, and realize that you haven’t suddenly appeared in this world, that rather you are the fruit of a long-complicated history. This kind of understanding obtained through elders would be a positive influence on your life today and tomorrow.

The story of my grandmother that I heard when I was younger was recorded very vividly in my heart and still guides me in my thought and way of life. She always taught me not only in her words but also through everyday actions to “be kind to and help those around you in any situation.”

There is the old African proverb: “When an old man dies, a library burns down.”


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.

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