The article “Japan still has much to learn from Martin Luther King’s nonviolent struggle” in the Jan. 15 edition) made me ponder Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence.

In Japan a lot of people know of King and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, including some famous passages: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” “I have a dream that one day … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.” “And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.”

This speech can never lose its power to drive people to strive for creating a world without discrimination. King’s nonviolent approach still means an active form of protesting, accepting even physical attack without retaliation. It appeals powerfully to people’s souls.

The aim of nonviolence is not to defeat the opponent. It seeks “understanding and friendship.” If we use violent means to resolve disagreements, there will never be a true solution, since violence perpetuates hatred.

Nobody is born to discriminate or hate. We must be courageous enough to challenge our learned nature through the power of nonviolence. Isn’t it now time for us to start learning to live our lives based on the power of compassion and nonviolence at this crucial time in humankind’s history?

Each country in the world is expected to be a great nation. Yes, we can and should learn a lot more from this great man of peace.


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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