Contributed by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
In a previous article, I wrote about humanity’s looming troubles. But, as I have said, I am optimistic. I share with you an inspiring story of a young girl’s special accomplishment —one of many she had — giving all of us hope.
Beate Serota was just 22, a graduate from Mills college in Oakland, at the end of the war with Japan in 1945. She was fluent in Japanese. (She was also fluent in Russian, English, German, French, and Italian.) She was desperate to reunite with her parents, stranded in the devastated Tokyo, where she had left them just before the war — off to complete college in the US.
Her father, an immigrant from Russia by way of Austria, was employed as an important pianist in the imperial college of Japan. Beate Serota managed to get employment as an interpreter in General McArthur’s staff. She — together with two young lawyers —were assigned by him to write the new constitution of the defeated Japan! She and the two lawyers, by working day and night, did a brilliant job in a few days, insuring dignity and equality for the Japanese women in the years to come, Previously, the women were treated like hired serfs. Japan for centuries was a tribal country of warriors, full of Shoguns and Samurais. Regularly were swords cutting each others heads or, if one felt slighted, kneeling and opening their belly with a sharp knife — they called the “Honored act” Seppuku, known in America as Harakiri.
Japan under her new constitution outlawed war, prospered as a peaceful civilized enterprising nation, and has been in peace now for seventy long years. Beate Serota — now Beate Gordon — went on to accomplish much in arts and cultural international understanding. She died 1n 2012 worried about peace and women’s rights — for good reason. Recently, the current Chieftain in Japan — who still considers the previous carnage of the past, as great Glories — tried to change her constitution so japan would be able to again start wars! Fortunately, his effort was defeated by the sophisticated citizens of his country.
The lessons of the story: A single brilliant and good-faith person can make a mind-boggling difference.
The second lesson; War is neither necessary nor inevitable.
Finally, the third; Citizens do not buy foolishness as often as in the past. As for Beate Serota-Gordon; She did find her parents alive and well. She lived a long, happy, and accomplished life with her beloved husband who himself died a few months before she did.
When at home in a quiet moment, think about it. I have reflected upon this amazing true story, myself.
Copyright © 2015 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD