“Drying her eyes, Mother said to Totto-chan very slowly, “You’re Japanese and Masao-chan comes from a country called Korea. But he’s a child, just like you. So, Totto-chan, dear, don’t ever think of people as different. Don’t think, ‘That person’s a Japanese, or this person’s a Korean.’ Be nice to Masao-chan. It’s so sad that some people think other people aren’t nice just because they’re Koreans.”
― Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window
Be nice to Masao-chan. How nice it would be if everyone does that?
She liked to joke that she had thick skin – an armour crafted over many years – thanks to all those who had treated her as an Other. Many times, she had moved and every time, she was mocked. They sniggered when she couldn’t speak their language; they taunted when she spoke it with an accent. They smirked when she was slower in her studies; they called her a fraud when she did better than them. She did care but she kept her tears deep inside. She would not shatter, like a flower vase dropping on the ground. Their contempt, she took as encouragement to spur on her to greater heights. Because she knew, one day, she would prove them wrong. She was no different from them – except she had a bigger heart.