Recently on Twitter, Sumito Ōwara, the creator of "Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!", faced an accusation in a comment, claiming that he was derisively dismissing political correctness. Disturbed by the notion that even a single individual perceived him in this light, Ōwara took to Twitter with an extensive post, wherein he not only elucidated his views on political correctness and its resonance with his creations, but also delved into his perspectives on physical and mental disabilities, as well as gender identity.
Beginning with a glimpse into his personal history with disabilities, Ōwara aimed to contextualize his broader beliefs.
"This is a narrative of humanity. I stand as a person with disabilities. My mother, a physically disabled individual with a missing leg, and my sister, who was suspected of developmental disabilities from an early age and underwent hospital visits for it. Following my sister, my father received a diagnosis of developmental disabilities and ADHD, securing a disability certificate.
Several years after these occurrences within my family (around my high school years), I, someone who struggled with writing kanji, reading, and math, was issued a disability certificate due to my learning disabilities. Thus, every member of my family acquired their own disability certificates."
He attended schools that were both average and diverse, encompassing students from various nationalities. However, his school life proved arduous.
"The school was a melting pot of diversity. I emitted a considerable amount of negative energy and reciprocated it as well, I believe. I faced bullying and encountered difficulties keeping pace with certain subjects, resulting in instances of class avoidance."
It was during his early school days that he confronted his gender identity for the first time.
"Even though I was a boy, I found pleasure in endearing things like hamsters and stuffed animals. Yet, during elementary school, a girl told me for the first time, 'Those things are meant for girls.' To this day, I sense the instability of my gender identity, coupled with a modest connection to my gender. I primarily identify as male due to the male nature of my body."
Much of what he experienced during his formative years now resonates within "Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!".
"Whether connected to my upbringing or not, since middle and high school, I gravitated towards unconventional character types and unexpected plot developments, favoring them over predictable narratives and characters conforming to familiar roles. Now, in my self-drawn stories, I adhere to this approach. I intermingle the realism I've perceived instead of conforming to conventional norms. The central characters carry their own complexities, and the school environment thrives with individuals from diverse backgrounds."
However, while this yields an inclusive narrative, Ōwara isn't deliberately propelling an agenda or striving for political correctness.
"I choose to tread this path not in response to societal demands for politically correct expression, but due to my own experiences. Simultaneously, I believe that my generation considers such inclusive expressions as ordinary. Our aim as humans, advocating for political correctness in expression, ultimately converges towards a harmonious state where mutual respect flourishes sans political motivations. I perceive that my generation is naturally evolving along this trajectory. My intent isn't to refute political correctness with this declaration."
Having previously expressed a sentiment akin to this, Ōwara was castigated for seemingly ridiculing political correctness, serving as the catalyst for his comprehensive response.
"The criticism I encountered likely misconstrued my statement as, 'I dismiss the need for political correctness. I'm well-versed in diversity.' Yet, my true intent is the exact opposite. I've encountered tweets like these before: 'The author of Eizouken, though I can't recall the specifics, seemed to be mocking something. I won't be purchasing Eizouken,' or 'The author ridicules feminism.'
These reactions left me disheartened. My life's journey hasn't been one where I could deride any gender, nationality, or disability. I've endeavored to fathom the lives of numerous individuals beyond my personal perspective. For over two decades, I've dedicated my life to deepening my comprehension through juxtaposition and comparison. Hence, my writing remains fixated on the 'human experience.'"
Summing up his sentiments, Ōwara concluded with a succinct declaration.
"I endeavor to live my life in a manner that refrains from callous laughter at the expense of anyone."