I have recently seen the movie Green Book, which paints the friendship of an African American pianist and his Italian American driver and won several Academy Awards in 2019 including Best Picture. I know that opinions regarding the movie differ greatly, but I found it a film that will undeniably elicit reactions from its audience, partly due to its visual beauty. There is a theme that runs through the film like a thread: “Dignity”. One scene in particular, in which the pianist Don Shirley utters the following line, has left a deep impression on me:
“You never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity.”
The line also brought to mind a song by one of my favorite artists – “Dignity” by Deacon Blue.
The song is about a young, hard-working man. He lives a quiet, humble life for many years, with seemingly nothing to set him apart. But in truth, he is saving up his money, and plans to buy a yacht and sail up and down the coast and around the world. He says he is “gonna call her Dignity.” The song draws the earnest man and his secret ambitions like a short-story. With its lyrics and its emotional melody, the song has become part of British pop music history.
There is something else that comes to mind when I think of the word “Dignity.” It is the workers at our factory in Aizu. Even during everyday, trivial conversations, I am often reminded and surprised at the pride and ambition they have regarding their work. Aizu people will rarely talk about their work or the products they create, no matter how proud they feel about them. But if a fraction of their dignity is felt in the products they manufacture and send across the oceans (usually by plane, so perhaps “across the sky” would be more accurate…) into so many countries of the world, then there could be no greater joy for me, who feels lucky to work in the same company with them.