28 Oct Syoji Iiyama
In November, Syoji Iilyama, a retired eccentric Japanese businessman will receive the Order of the Sacred Treasure, a medal bestowed by the Emperor for Syoji’s work when he was 23 as a volunteer probation officer who rehabilitated 2.5 times as many convicted felons as did other probation officers.
Most probation officers do their job and represent the system from which felons have revolted. They are not role models, an example to felons of an attractive socially responsible lifestyle. Their job is to monitor released felons and remind them of the stick that awaits them if they behave out of line.
While I have no direct knowledge as to what made Syoji so successful as a probation officer, I suspect it was simply showing up as he is: an eccentric who lives outside of social boundaries (like the felons), yet has a wonderful life without harming others (though I’m sure he’s annoyed many people in an effort to entertain them and himself and/or wake them up); someone who has realized the purpose of life; an exemplary life that is available to all, including felons who can be awakened to realize their past choices are not who they are and that they could live like him if they choose to do so.