A teacher at a high school in Osaka (in Japan) uses One Piece as an example to explain civil rights with his students. Using the character in the series named Chopper, a short reindeer like character, Akitoshi Maekawa taught his students that people who’ve been ostracized because of their external appearances can easily grow out through friendship.
It’s been two years since Maekawa began using One Piece in his Global Civil Rights; he uses the story of the meeting between the two characters Hiluluk and Chopper. In Eicheiro Oda’s manga, Chopper was born with a blue nose and he used to be bullied by the other reindeers because of it. But Chopper then ate the Hito Hito Fruit which granted him the ability to be half-human and can now talk with humans. But even though he could now speak with the humans they treated him as a monster and shot at him. A man named Hiluluk came and helped Chopper, they became good friends. Maekawa says, “Chopper Was Isolated for a long time, but he’s able to become friends with Hiluluk, and so he grows to accept himself little by little.”
Maekawa’s students were currently learning about both the South African apartheid and the American civil rights movements and were incredibly surprised when they realized the connection of these historical events and Chopper’s situation. After using Chopper as an example for civil rights issues, Maekawa had his students write about what group in society Chopper represents in modern society. They all believed him to be similar with black people who have faced racial discrimination, people forced to be homeless, bullying victims, and handicapped people.
Personally, I believe One Piece can teach several morals to all age groups. Especially to children, it teaches them the importance of dreams and that you should always work hard to achieve them no matter the obstacle. It also teaches the importance of friendship, to always be there for a friend in need when their going through some hard times. In general One Piece to some is just an anime they watch for entertainment, but for people like me it can also be a learning experience.
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