Wasabi Stories vol.241: “Knowing Who You Are is More Important Than Having Desire For Improvement”

coffee breakToday’s story-teller is screenwriter Sugako Hashida.

Hashida is famous for writing ‘Oshin’, a TV drama that captured hearts of people in Japan.

Her story is about ‘Oshin’.


‘Oshin’ is a TV drama broadcast about 27 years ago. The broadcast received an average viewer rating of more thant 50%. A lot of viewers were moved how Oshin, the main character, endure the poverty and hardships.

The message Hashida wanted to send to viewers through the TV drama was not aesthetics of patience but to question what the true richness is.

In her words, the messages are; “Japan does not need any more economic affuluence”, “Keep your expectations realistic”.

Nobody understood her messages since it was right before the economic bubble.

However, Hashida says that the messages she was sending through ‘Oshin’ is coming under review since there are a lot of depressing news such as depression and the world is becoming savage these days.

Then what she thinks that it is important to learn the weakness for Japanese people and society these days

You hear depression, deflation, job-scarce a lot. However, Japan is still a rich country.

Since Hashida experienced the poverty during the war, she is thankful for being able to eat every day. So she says that thinking that you cannot live a rich life without a certain amount of annual income, having a house or a car shows you are just swayed by false richness.

Certainly she does not deny having desire for improvement or advancement. These desires require for human growth. On the other hand, it is a poor lifestyle to ask for too much without realizing who you are and make all sorts of complains.

As she continues, she suggests ‘to be a minor person’.

What does it mean? Well, she says that her life has been ‘a minor one’. She had never been a head of a class and she was always a substitute player in the club when she was a student.

She failed in the best university in Japan, Tokyo University’s entrance exam. And she was not accepted as a screenwriter when she was working for Shochiku.

Having such experiences, Hashida has never tried to do things in a blind effort. She has tried to learn who she is and she chose best things for herself.


Hashida says, “You have a better and happier life when you are satisfied with who you are than striving for making the big time.”


It was Hashida’s column with these impressive words.


The NIKKEI 10/20/2010 by Sugako Hashida (screenwriter)


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