Tokyo – It’s strangely cool on this summer day. I go out that looks like June and, heading towards the station, I expect to run into yet another short political rally in view of tomorrow’s elections. All is silent however. It was decided so, out of respect for what happened. There was one last night too, all the same as usual except for the unusual presence of four policemen: blue uniforms, earphones, truncheons at the waist, eyes that looked disoriented at passers-by.
It is the morning of waking up, the one in which it takes that extra second to ask oneself if it really happened, if it really happened. Shinzo Abe he was shot dead. The assessment of a politician needs time, yet for Abe that time did not exist. On television, since dawn, the news space has only one face: Abe as a child, a young man to collect his father’s political heritage, then the first meeting, a smiling girl – his wife – who ever since was next door. Even the last journey is escorted by the figure of this woman bent over, with the mask pressed to her face, which slips on the road that leads Nara goes up towards Tokyoin the machine that transports the body.
The tributes all over Japan
Since last night there are various places where people pay homage to the politician, to the man, to the victim of a hateful attack. In Yamaguchi, for example, where for the first time Shinzo Abe was elected, chosen by the people who gave birth to his dazzling career as a politician; to Nara, next to the station where he was murdered and where a banquet was set up where people, in an orderly line, wait their turn to lay a bouquet of flowers and pray a prayer; in Shibuya (Tokyo), in front of the house where he lived with his wife, where instead, perhaps precisely in view of the arrival of Abe’s body, the police did not set up any banquet for flowers this morning, they apologize, return every offer explaining : “We only receive your emotion with gratitude”, as if to say that it is the thought that counts. And the thought is unanimous, just as even after many hours the predominant feeling is disbelief.
Japan does not believe in emotion as the best key to gaining understanding of things. Here you distance yourself, as if from something that is too close to your face, and therefore you need to move it away to be able to see it clearly. For this reason, some, even those interviewed on the street, prefer not to say anything; almost all of them repeat the shock, others are overwhelmed by it, so much so that during an interview with a young woman their voice breaks: “Why resolve dissent with violence? How is this possible?”. An elderly man, who witnessed the war, exclaims “It is unforgivable to kill to solve things”. It is a meek people, and after almost twenty years of life in Japan, I know for sure that it is calm that wins, trust in people. He continues to think so even when at a press conference the head of the police of Nara, in tears, apologizes for a defense of the former premier which has proved insufficient. Somewhere I tell myself that one of the things I have learned here is that trust is more responsible than pressure and that this incident paradoxically confirms the climate of security that reigns in Japan.
Marc Augè wrote that if there is something that anthropologists have managed to establish it is that in all societies, misfortune always requires an explanation, that nothing is more terrifying and intolerable than absolute contingency. However, the idea of a murderous madness does not reassure. “So close to my house, such a murder,” sighs a man of Nara. “Frankly I’m afraid”.