Father's toy horses
|Father was born in 1906 in a small village
near Karatsu. 1906 was a Year of Horse, (that
comes round every 12 years). Moreover it
was a Year of Fierce Horse that comes round
once in 60 years. He was always conscious
not to be too fierce, and that, in a result,
made him as gentle as a sheep. He was the
only son among 6 sisters.
Principal, pupils,and village folk.
|His parents went to Korea (at that time,
a part of Japan) with children and lived
there. Father came back to Karatsu by himself
to go to high-school. After graduating, he
went back to Korea to support his family
as a school teacher. He continued to study
by himself to get qualification, and became
a principal of a very small school for Japanese
children in a Korean village.
Sumiko and Hatsushi with Naohiko
|He met Sumiko Tomita in Pusan, Korea, by
an arrangement, and got married. Sumiko,
my mother, was 19 years old. Though they
were poor, they were happy with a son, Naohiko.
But Naohiko died at the age of two, because
there was no doctor near-by.
Mother's grief was deep and she could not
rise for some time, but when she knew she
was going to have another baby, she stopped
crying. My sister Yumi was born in 1941.
Father's departure day to the war.
The baby is me.
|Then the Pacific War started in December,
1941. Father went to the war in 1944, some
months after I was born.
When the war was over in 1945, Mother had
to leave Korea without knowing where Father
was. It was the hardest journey she ever
She tied me on her back (I was 1 year old),
and pulled my sister Yumi's hand ( Yumi was
4). In the other hand she held what little
property she could carry.
We came back to Karatsu to wait for Father
Sometime later, Father came back safely.
Our house and Father at the pine
|My brother Mabumi was born in Karatsu in
Father could not find a job as a teacher
in this small city.
So he started a business. Somehow it went
well, and we had a house in 1950. It was
small, but we were happy.
Camellia and me ( 15)
|Father planted a small camellia tree in the
center of his tiny garden. In spring it bloomed
gorgeous flowers both in red and white on
the same tree.
We children and the camellia grew up together.
Two years before his death.
|After we grew up and left home, they lived
a quiet life. Mother was rather weak in health,
but Father had no trouble at all. I believed
he would live to be 100.
Young camellia tree about 60cm tall.
|On a cold winter day in 1995, Father was
heart-attacked and died. It was all too sudden.
After his death, I could not let Mother live
alone in that house. She was 79. I made her
move close to me.
We had to sell the house. How I wished if
I could move the camellia tree! But our camellia
had grown too big. I had to give it up.
I found some young trees underneath, which
shot from the fallen seeds. I dug them up
and planted here and there in my garden of
The first bud
Mother is now 87 and still living near me.
She forgets everything. She even forgets
that Father is gone. She talks to me as if
she were talking to her husband. I answer
in a way Father might do. Then Mother gets
This March, I found the first bud on one
of the young trees.
I thank God for the blessing.
Mother's treasure, Wooden 'Obidome'
An ornament necessary to fasten
when we wear Kimono
Recently, when I was looking for something,
I happened to find an old wooden Obidome
of camellia which Mother had never shown
me. Then I knew that camellia was my mother's
favorite flower and that Father planted the
tree for Mother. I had thought that Father
liked camellia without any special reason.
Father's hobby was painting.
This picture was sent to
a relative in Japan before the war.
This is the only one that survived.
Of course we do not need any special reason
to love a particular flower. But if we do
have a reason, the flower becomes more heavenly,
What is your special flower?
Please tell me, friends