There is a highly unique “job” in my nation, whose title and description is defined in our current Constitution. The role is the symbol of the State, and the one and only duty is to serve as the symbol of unity of the people. The “job” expects the individual in position to stand by and empathize with the people at all times, but disallows being influential politically in any way, in words or in action.
The individual who presently holds this “job” is the first to take the position since the establishment of our current Constitution, which took place nearly seventy years ago in deep reflection over the events that got carried out in the name of his predecessor. He has interpreted the “job” title and description to mean to “first and foremost…pray for peace and happiness of all the people.”(*) He prides himself in humbly but happily taking on the role, and has always poured his entire body and soul in fulfilling it.
So it must have been excruciatingly difficult for him to admit his diminishing capability to perform the “job” to the perfectionistic standards he has set for himself. Ever since he took on the “job,” he has “spent [his] days searching for and contemplating on what would be the ideal way to be.”(*) It must have been extremely tormenting for him to find himself drifting further away from his ideal.
Then, it may have been very natural and logical for him to arrive at the conclusion that it would be best for him to step down and pass the “job” onto his successor, whom he now sees fitter and better suited than him to fulfill it. “As one who has inherited a long tradition, [he has] always felt a deep sense of responsibility to continue in this tradition. At the same time, in a nation and in a world which are constantly changing, [he has] continued to think…about how [he and his family] can put its traditions to good use in the present age and [exist actively within the] society, responding to the expectations of the people.”(*)
Today, he sent out a message to the people – an exceptionally rare deed by him – on his thoughts about performing the “job” of the symbol of the State
Maybe because of the rules which place restrictions on the “job,” he is not allowed to make a point (and a good one at that, I believe) directly about how he wishes the “job” to change with changing times.
Maybe the problem and its inevitable consequences would have been left ignored for many more years, had he not made his point indirectly today.
Maybe the issue will finally receive the attention it deserves, now that it has come out in the open so sensationally.
This was the only way he could go about.
He made his point clearly without making it unnecessarily and excessively political.
It is now up to us to not let the problem be reduced down to an isolated issue applying only to him, but instead to make it a comprehensive consideration for what would be the ideal way for the “job” to be performed and the tradition to be passed on.
And most of all, we must care for the body and soul he has poured in, and think about how we can best show our appreciation for a truly devoted “job” he has done to stand by and empathize with us.
Our current Constitution, with regards to this “job,” is one rule I do not foresee any changes being made any time soon. But if the “job,” in order to continue to exist as a tradition, requires being performed by an individual best fit and suited to take it on, then I think we need to find peaceful and democratic means to bring about changes in related rules long overdue.
I hope we act swiftly, so that by the time we welcome the new era, we will have completed reviews of all old rules requiring changes, and the “job” will be performed in its purest form defined in the Constitution at its ideal standards, in response to the expectations of the people.
No one, not even the skeptics, can deny how selflessly he has performed the “job” to the best he could to set a good example for his successors… I think it is time we stood by and empathized with him, for once.
(*) Excerpts from the “job”-holder’s message to the people today; official translation, except where italic font is used to indicate my translation