Conflict of ethics

landscape photograph of body of water

Yesterday at the ruins of Koyo high school I came across a thought that stumped me. Once you pass through the old school and through a short gallery, there is a video of the people affected by the disaster (Spoiler alert if you’re going to go there).

One such video is of a firefighter. He spends all night out fighting fires and doesn’t get any sleep. But the toughest part was that since it’s his responsibility to fight fires, it meant he wasn’t able to go searching for his wife. It turns out, the next day his wife’s body was found elsewhere.

I often give the Japanese stick for prioritizing work over family life. But in this case, I’m conflicted. Is this just an isolated case? Or is it just different for the men and women in this line of work? I resolved it with the latter, but you could also argue that it’s just something that someone in that situation would do, without thinking of their family, believing them to be safe, and trusting them to know how to look after themselves.

Either way, this was a good exercise, and I intend to think more on it from now.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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