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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Election: Views From Japan

Ayako Takahashi and Kazuki Matsuura

Ayako Takahashi and Kazuki Matsuura

Japanese students reflect on Donald Trump

David DeCosse

Ayako Takahashi and Kazuki Matsuura

At Sophia University, I am teaching a class called Christianity and Politics. We discussed the election of Donald Trump and I asked two students – Ayako Takahashi and Daigo Sugiyama– if they would share some of their reflections on the blog of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. They kindly provided the text included below. Ayako is a sophomore from Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo. Daigo is a senior at Sophia who has lived for five years in the United States (in New Jersey and San Diego). 

Ayako Takahashi

I could not get enough information about [Donald Trump’s] real character, ‘who he is.’ I watched some Japanese TV programs which featured the American presidential election, but those TV programs showed only several statements that framed Trump’s strong character. 

I heard many of the American media supported Hillary Clinton and criticized Donald Trump, however, in the end Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential Election proved that the media’s conjectures were wrong. I am really curious about why the media were wrong in the conjectures. 

I still could not understand why many women supported Trump although his sexual remarks were revealed in public and why Hillary Clinton could not get more female supporters although she was famous for supporting women’s rights. 

As a Japanese citizen, I think the victory of Donald Trump brought Japan a precious opportunity to consider deeply the national defense of Japan. Japanese needs to think carefully about the future of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and all Japanese citizens need to pay attention to how Japanese government react to Donald Trump’s diplomacy. 

I have recently felt that our planet is changing at a somewhat very deep level. There are many earthquakes in Japan and I am very worried about my country. Maybe my idea is exaggerated, but I think people all around the world have to cooperate with each other in order to deal with the fluctuation on a global scale. It is time to cooperate with each other and to face problems on a global scale.

Daigo Sugiyama


I was following the elections closely that day, and was absolutely livid about Donald Trump's victory. Even if we don't include his personal shortcomings that he has had in the past, his victory meant that it is now acceptable to be racist and sexist in the US, now that the president (or the image that people have of him) is exactly those things. The fallout of the elections is catastrophic on minorities, as there have already been cases of discrimination towards them since the elections. In fact, I do not even think that Trump being elected was the cause of the division in the United States.

When I lived in the US, I was welcomed into the community, despite being an Asian kid who couldn't speak any English at all. I had always loved the country for its openness to difference. I just cannot fathom how a country like that could end up in the state that it is in right now. 

Now, all I can do is hope that everything that he had said during his campaign was a necessary evil in order to get him into presidency, and he actually turns out to be a great president. All fingers and toes crossed.

David DeCosse is director of campus ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.  He is spending the semester at Sophia University as part of the Center's Global Jesuit Ethics Outreach I

Dec 8, 2016

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