February, 2003 

This page is written monthly by Harumi Okochi,
and sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at ou
r previous issues.


Family Crest

110th Anniversary of Yoyokaku
\Mitsushima on My Mind\

@It is 110 years since our great grandfather Masataro Okochi settled here and started Yoyokaku.
@At that time this place was not Karatsu, but Mitsushima Village. Mitsushima was a village that developed on the sandbank of the river Matuura. The waves of Karatsu bay also helped to pile the sand. The river and the sea worked together to form this beautiful small village surrounded with water. Mitsushima was also called Mizu-shima, that means water island.
@Since Mitsushima was the only port in this area, it prospered so much shipping out coal from the near-bye mines. Japanese Imperial Navy was the biggest customer at that time of Meiji Era.
@That was why Masataro came here and started his business.
@Later, railways came, and there opened a new port in the western part of Karatsu, where sea was deeper and big ships could directly come alongside the piers. The glory of Mitsushima Port was gone, but Mitsushima remained as the gateway to and from Fukuoka, with the railway station Higashi-Karatsu.

@This small web-page is to commemorate Yoyokaku and the Okochi Family, which somehow have survived several wars, many typhoons, economical ups and downs, bad lucks in business, and a few human tragedies.

@So, please meet our ancestors.
The First Generation Meiji - Taisho Eras
Mitsushima village and the Matuura Bridge.
Island Takashima, and small Torishima.
The left hill is Manto-san, where Karatsu castle was once, and is again now.
Masataro Okochi
Born in Kitahata Village as the first son of Motohei and Matsu Okochi.
Moved to Mitsushima in 1893 and started the business.
He was successful and bought the lands of the both sides of Yoyokaku and expanded the property.
He renovated the buildings into their present forms in 1912-1913.
Tae Okochi
Born in Ishishi Village as the first daughter of Tashiro and Kamu Yamasaki.
Wife of Masataro.
Mother of Masao.
After the deaths of Masataro and Masao, she managed Yoyokaku in spite of her age.
She educated her granddaughter Mitsuyo strictly.
The garden of Yoyokaku about 100 years ago.
One snowy day.
The Second Generation Taisho Era
Masao Okochi
Born in Kitahata Village as the first son of Masataro and Tae.
Moved to Mitsushima with his parents, leaving his younger brother Sota in the village. (Sota reserved the mountains and the forest of cedars of the family's property.)
Masao was elected as a member of the village council and later a member of the county council.
Worked for the consolidation of Karatsu Town and Mitsushima Village.
Died at 47 of age.
Ine Okochi
Born in Karatsu Town as the first daughter of Yonetaro and Misa Tsutsumi.
Got married to Masao when she was 16.
Gave birth to Mitsuyo when she was 17, and five years later had another daughter. The girl lived only ten days, and Ine also died some time later.
She was beautiful, said the older people of the relatives.
One of the buildings of Taisho Era Yoyokaku.
This has not been changed except the windows and the roof tiles.
At Masao's funeral, hundreds of village people walked in a line to see Masao off.
Mitsuyo, the daughter, wore pure white silk mourning kimono, just like the one which brides wear these days.
The Third Generation Showa Era
Mitsuyo Okochi
Born as the first child of Masao and Ine Okochi.
When Mitsuyo was 5, Mother died. Father got remarried.
Grandmother Tae brought her up.
Mitsuyo married Hitoshi Nagai and had 5 boys and 1 girl. Many people in town say that she was so beautiful. Grandmother let her learn Noh, Tea ceremony, flower arrangement, etc.
She died at 45.
Hitoshi Okochi
Born in Yobuko Village as the first son of Isogoro and Gen Nagai.
Studied commerce in a college in Nagoya.
He was the successor of Nagai Family, but he left his house to pursue his romance with Mitsuyo Okochi.
He was the strict chief of the Army veterans of the district.
He was a fan of Sumo and was always a champion himself.
Isogoro and Gen Nagai
Parents of Hitoshi Okochi.
Isogoro owned a Sake brewery in Yobuko Village.
Since the first son Hitoshi left the house, the second son succeeded the household.
The Forth Generation Showa - Heisei Eras

Akihiko (Den) Okochi
Born in 1934 as the third son of Hitoshi and Mitsuyo Okochi. The eldest brother was a bureaucrat, and the second brother did not want to take over the business. So Akihiko trained himself at Fujiya Hotel in Hakone and succeeded Yoyokaku.

Harumi Okochi
Born in 1944 as the second daughter of Hatsushi and Sumiko Yamaguchi. Sumiko is 86 years old, and lives nearby.
Harumi is the narrator of the history of Okochi family today.
But the pine tree before us, about 200 years old, might be the true story teller.
Masayasu Okochi and Naho Okochi
Masayasu was born in 1972.
Married Naho Hayashi in 2000.
Masayasu works for a bank in Fukuoka.
The fifth generation?
To be, or not to be.That is the question.
One snowy day in early 2003.
Mitsushima is now called Higashi (east) Karatsu. But I prefer the old name, because names of the lands tell us the history.

One fine winter day.
The left water is the sea, and the right water is the river.Two waters meet in front.
This photo was taken from the top of the castle hill.
Mitsushima has been always beautiful, and will be forever.
Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi
Proprietress of Ryokan Yoyokaku

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