We often take for granted the pressure society puts on our students. While unburdened by the responsibilities of professional work, students are nonetheless put under intense strain to perform. This is complicated by the fact that, statistically speaking, students typically do not have stable access to income. For the lucky ones, they are able to rely on their parents, but for those least fortunate even eating might be a struggle.
One man making a difference for those students is 67 year old Sadahiro Inoue.
He is a Kyoto resident and owner of a popular restaurant part of the franchise called Gyouza no Ousho.
Inoue started his philanthropy with a simple philosophy.
“Today, people think it’s enough to only take care of their own kids, and that it’s okay to ignore everyone else’s. But I take care of other people’s children, too. By doing this, I hope that someday someone will look after my children, and that the world will become a better place,” Inoue said, according to an interview by the Japanese language news site Bengo4.
Inoue’s story has a touching beginning.
“When I was younger, there was a time when I didn’t have money for food,” Inoue said according to Bengo4. However, the random kindness of a complete stranger eased his burden.
“Shall we have dinner together?” Inoue quoted the stranger according to Bengo 4. Once the meal was done, the stranger paid and asked nothing in return.
This chance encounter inspired Inoue, 23 years old at the time, to find ways to repay this debt of kindness. Since that time, and for over 35 years, Ueno has been feeding struggling students.
What would you do for a free meal?
The offer is simple; any student can come in and eat their fill of any kind of food on the menu, so long as they also agree to wash dishes for 30 minutes once they’re done. While some might see that as a bit extortionary, Inoue is not so strict.
“They do not have to actually wash the dishes,” Inoue told Bengo4. Instead, the important thing to Inoue is that students are willing to work hard for their meal. Inoue asks nothing more from them, and is instead content that he has done someone a good turn.
And the students are extremely grateful.
“After graduation, some students who are working towards becoming doctors will say, ‘sir, whenever you need help, I’ll look after you free of charge,’” Inoue said with a laugh. “But their thanks is not necessary.”
Rarely do we see this type of generosity in the world, and I am sure that students the world over appreciate Inoue’s kindness.