by Ryosuke Saito
Agape World and I
My involvement with Agape World (AW) has made me realise how much more I have to learn about the pain and sorrow that different people experienced even after the terrible war finished. I now know that true forgiveness can only be brought about when those who seek forgiveness face, sincerely apologise and communicate with those who have the will to be reconciled. AW has not only broadened my perspectives of the past and the future, but also made me, as a Japanese with no first-hand experience of war, start thinking more deeply. AW is unique in that different generations with different backgrounds work for reconciliation, something that cannot be achieved easily.
My experience in AW has strongly influenced my career path. It has taught me the importance of knowing both the history that has been commonly told and that which has been inaccessible. Without AW, I would have remained ignorant of the untold stories of former prisoners of war and their families. AW has enabled me to apologise sincerely for what Japanese soldiers did to POWs and would still be thinking that they had nothing to do with my generation. Without AW
, I would not have experienced the power of reconciliation and need for first-hand communication.
To learn more from different people, language skills are very important. As a High School English teacher I often remember what I have learned from AW, hoping that my students will be the ones who can understand others’ pain and sorrow. I am also trying to grow as an English teacher so that more students will become interested in learning and mastering the language. Language skills will surely help us gain greater insights and contribute to the better understanding of this complex world and hence the creation of a more peaceful society. I can proudly say that my experience with AW has been a cornerstone for my career plan and life philosophy.
I am sure that the activities of AW and pilgrimages for reconciliation will expand even further to help ease bitterness and sorrow among people, get their voices heard and inform more people all over the world.