10月9日(火)に、スピーチコンテストを実施しました。東北沢にある松蔭学園イングリッシュスクールの校長先生であるキーリ先生を審査員としてお招きしてのコンテストでしたが、スピーチをする生徒のレベルの差が小さく、審査に困ったとコメントしていました。夏休み前から何度も練習を重ね、この日のために頑張ってきた生徒たちの発表はどれも完成度が高く、興味深いスピーチの内容でした。以下優勝者の発表原稿を紹介します。

 Necessary things for us

  Hello. I’d like to talk about our daily lives.  I try to think about how to lead our better lives.  These days, Japan has tried to build a new society, where everyone can work without dissatisfaction.  This Japanese policy is called “Hatarakikata kaikaku (働き方改革)”.  Of course, in this society, it has been easier for women to work in companies, but I think some traditions or religions put heavy rules on us.  Women especially are restricted by a variety of traditions, rules, and similar things.  Following such old traditions is important, but sometimes we must change rules to keep up with the times.

  For example, I’ll talk about some actual examples.  Do you know the sumo wrestling affair?  This happened in Kyoto last April.  The mayor of Maizuru City suddenly fainted in the sumo ring, and several nearby people rushed in.  One of them was a woman, a nurse, who only tried to take emergency measures.  However, there is a strict rule in sumo wrestling, that women must not enter the ring.  As you may know, a heartless announcement was made, forcing the woman to get out of the ring.  How do you feel about this affair?  She only tried to save the mayor.  At that time, I think that the people there should have thought about what was most important.  Which was more important, to maintain the tradition or save someone’s life?  The Sumo Association thought the tradition was more important than the person’s life.

  The Sumo tradition has a long history.  I didn’t know much about it, so I went to the Internet to find out about Sumo history.  Sumo originated, long ago, in “Kanjin Sumo (勧進相撲)”, in shrines or temples.  This Japanese word “Kanjin” means to collect donation money for repairing and rebuilding shrines or temples; thus, the early Sumo was deeply connected to religion.  In addition, at that time, many saw women as foul, in the sense of ‘dirty’.  In Japanese, we call it “Kegare (穢れ)”, and this idea was based on the religion in Japan.  That’s why women were banned from entering the sacred Sumo ring.  As I said, in those days Sumo had much to do with religion, so these traditions were not unusual for people at that time.  However, time went on.  Things began to change.  Sumo wrestling is no longer held for rebuilding shrines or temples.  Furthermore, one of the roles of Sumo is to entertain many spectators.  Compared to the old days, modern Sumo has less to do with religion.  Therefore, for most Japanese people at present, it’s rather strange to insist on maintaining these kinds of rules, as I said before.

   And so, I’ll move on to the next example.  Japanese people think that men should work and women should take care of housework.  This is a fixed idea(固定観念).  In my opinion fixed ideas are like traditions or old rules because these ideas don’t have reasons at all.  Although it depends on the kind of jobs, there are fewer women workers.  Women have babies, so women have to take maternity leave.  Almost all the people think women can’t work enough by these fixed ideas.  For those reasons, women don’t get important posts in Japan, compared with other countries.

    It’s important to maintain rules and traditions, to be sure.  However, it is only when there are important reasons for the rules or traditions that we should respect them.  Otherwise, in my opinion, we don’t need to obey the rules.  We must advance beyond these things in our actions. Especially when we face emergencies, we must make more appropriate decisions.

   Japan is a very safe country.  Thus, we high school students rarely face real emergencies.  But if I should face such an urgent situation, I want to be someone who makes better decisions.  I don’t want to stick to meaningless and empty rules.  I think we should try to make better decisions, even if we are in difficult situations.