I Am a Man

Takahiro Manome
Nagareyama Nambu Middle School

Hello, everyone. Have you ever belonged to the Brass band club? Maybe some of you here belong to this club. As for me, I have been in the Brass band club playing the trumpet since primary five. Why did I decide to join? The reasons are simple: first, I love music; second I wanted to attract the girls' attention with my cool trumpet sound.

In primary school, about 20% of the club were boys. But what a surprise in junior high school! Only 2 out of 50 members were boys! More than that, no other boys wanted to join the Brass band. Yet, without hesitation, I decided to join. Finally, 3 members out of 75 including me would be boys. But still I had a slight hope that I could be a hero among girls. However, this would be the cause of all my misfortunes.

Girls are kind? That's a lie. Look at the girls in the group! They attack me by gaining great power as a group. If I say a single word, they respond with 10 times more force. I have no choice but to listen to them.

Girls are considerate? That's a lie, too. Often, they expect me to carry heavy instruments, claiming, "Aren't you a boy? Carry this!" Impossible to scream or to ask for their help, I carry heavy instruments for girls everyday.

Girls are beautiful? That's another lie. Sometimes, they attack me with angry words. If you listened to them, you'd be shocked at the language they speak. Imagine when it's directed at me: it's hell. In order to survive, I need to bite my tongue. But I continue to endure it because I love music. To play my trumpet, I'd put up with anything.

Women's control can be detected in other areas: At home, my mother is the law. All the decisions are made by her. Everyday, she says to me, "Study hard!" If I have the time, she commands me to go downstairs and throw out the garbage. Her command is so strong that I can't say what would happen if I said, "NO" to her. My father admits her superiority too. For her, he willingly works as hard as he can.

Girls are delicate and helpless? That's also a big lie. From ancient times, girls have been tough, and have had an iron will, which comes into force whenever they need it, and can be a lot stronger than any man's.

Today we hear the term "Gender free". What is "Gender free"? I think maybe it means men and women are equal in all areas, and we should not say or do anything that gives one person more power or advantage over another person. But in my experience, "gender free" seems to mean free for only one gender: remember all the occasions when girls asked me to lug their instruments, and brazenly said "Aren't you a man?" I can't stand it. Is it so strange for a man to want to help a woman, but also long for a kind word from her? I think the term "Gender free" should not be exclusive for women but should apply to we poor delicate men as well. However even though my experience seems bitter, I'm still hopeful.

To conclude, I want to say this. I am a man! If any girls ask me for help, of course I'll happily help them. But at the same time I want them to be KIND to me. I believe one day, men and women will accept each other fully, and behave naturally in a ladylike or a gentlemanly manner. By using our individual strengths to help each other, we could create a world of harmony. Can you see my idea?

So everyone let me say- now and always- ; I am a man, I love music, and I LOVE GIRLS!

(9th Prize in the 57th Contest, 2005)

(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun

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