Earthquake and Empathy

Hello Everyone,

The impact map.

On Monday we had a shocking event. An earthquake shook northern Osaka, and we felt it all the way south in Wakayama. It was a scary moment because all the cell phones in the teachers room broadcast the warning at the same time. Fortunately, there was no damage at our school.

Later that day, the principal called all the teachers to the teachers room and told us that students would go home early. The train lines were delayed or stopped, so it was better for students to leave sooner rather than later to get home safely.

After refresh time, Mr. Kamioka made the announcement to all the classrooms. I was very unhappy to hear some classes cheering. I felt like some students didn’t understand how serious the situation was.

An elementary school in Osaka.

The students who cheered were only thinking about themselves. “I get to go home early.” “I don’t have to study this afternoon.” “I have some free time.”

Did you think about how serious the situation was? Did you stop to think about the problems other people were having? Did you wonder “I hope everyone is ok!” or did you just think about going home?

Part of growing up is having empathy for other people. Empathy is imagining how other people feel in a situation. In 2016 there were many earthquakes in Kumamoto that caused a lot of damage, including our sister school Kumamoto Shin-ai. Many teachers and students here worked hard to collect money to help them. I am sure that when Shin-ai students in Kumamoto heard about the earthquake on Monday, they imagined how they felt before, and had empathy for us.

So the next time there is a problem, don’t only think of yourself, but also imagine how other people are affected by it. And when we have an earthquake, or a typhoon, understand that this is not a good thing. There will be some damage. Someone may be hurt or even die. And don’t cheer a terrible event just because you can go home 2 hours early. That is selfish and childish, and I expect better.