The morning of January 13th 2017, Hawaii residents and visitors got emergency alert on their smartphones, “A ballistic missile threat is inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill”.
First of all, my husband screamed when he read that a missile was heading inbound to Hawaii. My U.S. mainland friend who lives in Hawaii called his family to say “I love you”. Many visitors in hotels also called their families to say “I love you”. A video that has gone viral; shows a man telling his daughter to go underground through a street manhole. A Japanese tweeted, “College Security guards are leading people into buildings immediately. The U.S. is a country that responds well with crisis management.” A local news article told how people were panicking. Also, one blogger wrote that she evacuated to a supermarket (The supermarket is located a basement-like area) also many people evacuated there too. The staff in the supermarket said “If something happens, you can eat the food here.”
On the other hand, there have been actual missiles launched by North Korea heading towards the Japan Sea. None of the missiles have ever hit Japanese soil, instead they flew over Japan or dropped into the Japanese sea sometimes very near to actual land. Each time this happens, Japanese people get an emergency alert called J-Alert, which has been set off many times. Many people have been afraid, but also, many people have also tweeted:
“J-Alert is so annoying. It’s too loud.”
“J-Alert woke me up. It sucks.”
“Even though J-Alert warned that North Korea launched a missile, my company sent me message; “Come to work as usual”.
This is Japan… Even with an inbound missile, we have to work. We are really shachiku”.
On the website called Quora, the word “Shachiku” in Japaneses has been explained by Mr. Kazuhiro Ogura as follows,
”The word Sha-chiku is recently coined word from two words kai-SHA???, a company), and ka-CHIKU???, a cattle).It means, a person who overworks very hard for a low wage, is exploited by his company but is still blindly loyal to his company. “Shachiku” is used sarcastically towards the “Blind-loyal employee or the exploiting-company”
(Link of Quora: https://www.quora.com/Japanese-language-What-does-Shachiku-mean)
I wondered why the reactions towards the inbounding missile were so different between people in Hawaii and people in Japan. I have asked my Japanese friends their thoughts,
“I live in Hokkaido. We experience J-Alert 2 times before. We didn’t know what to do, so we looked for safest places in the house. But then, we gave up because if the missile drop near our neighborhood, we can’t do anything. There is no shelter or strong building to evacuate to.”
“We have gotten to used to J-alert. Because it has gone off too many times.”
“Maybe because we know that North Korea’s missile launches are to only intimidate, they don’t really mean hit in Japan. Also, we are too used to the alert. When we got the J-alert for the earthquake, nobody took any action.”
“I think because Hawaii is small island. Japanese people don’t think a missile will drop on their heads.”
They all had their points. I’m glad my friends gave me various opinions. The false alert was awful, but we had chance to prepare for REAL alert. My family discussed where should meet if our house collapsed and if our phones didn’t work. Also, we were reminded that we should have water and canned food for emergencies.
Local news asked Hawaii governor and Mr. Miyagi who is veteran why the false alert happened and whose fault it was. Mr.Miyagi immediately answered “It’s my responsibility, so it’s my fault.” Many people complimented Mr.Miyagi. People commented on KHON2 News FB page: