| "Hello, Harumi-san, I just dropped in to say hello."
Mr. Jacques Mayol always surprises
me with a sudden appearance.
We have known each other for only eight
but it seems to me that Mr. Mayol thinks
we've been friends for more than 60
Why does he think so? That is what
I am writing
First of all, just to make sure, I
will briefly introduce this world-renowned
"homo delphinus" . You will probably
remember the movie titled "The Big Blue"(Le
Grand Bleu). The movie was based upon a book
written by Jacques Mayol. He was the diver
who dived over 100 meters deep without air
first in man's history. He is now working
vigorously in many fields concerning about
the nature, sea, dolphins and whales, etc.
He is thinking about the possibility of human
being to go back to the sea. We could call
him a sea-philosopher.
Well, there are so many fans of Mr.
Mayol, and they know about him much more
than I do. So, I will write here only about
Mr. Mayol in Karatsu, present and past.
Jacques was born in Shanghai in 1927
as the second son of a French architect.
At that time there was an ocean liner between
Shanghai and Nagasaki. Jacques's family used
to come to Nagasaki and spend their summer
holidays at Niji-no-Matsubara Pine Forest
in Karatsu. He was 6 years old when he learned
how to dive in the shallow water of the beach
, and also when he met his first dolphin
at Nanatsugama Seven Caves. There were some
wooden hotels for Westerners in Niji-no-Matsubara,
and one of them called Azumaya Hotel was
the one Jacques's family stayed at. The son
of the owner of the hotel was a good friend
of his and they together enjoyed thoroughly
the shining days of their boyhood. But the
latter half of the 1930's was the days when
dark clouds of Japanese militarism got away
every western thing from Japan. Jacques's
family did not come to Karatsu after that
Many years later, in 1971, when Jacques
achieved his amazing world-record of 76 meters
of free-diving, he visited Karatsu again.
He tried to collect the fragments of his
recollections of his happy childhood. Then
he met some people, not his old friends because
it was too late, but new friends-to-be for
the days to come after 20 more years. Among
them was Atsushi Takashima, a young diver
who admired Jacques but did not dare to talk
to him at that time.
Twenty years passed and Jacques visited
once again to make a TV program for NHK.
Here, we met for the first time, and here
again Atsushi Takashima met him.
Atsushi is now a famous professional diver
and marine-photographer, and each time Jacques
comes to Karatsu it is Atsushi who shows
him around, goes to the sea together, and
Jacques and I tried to find some clue
of his lost memories. I telephoned, looked
for the old newspapers, asked many questions
of older people. I also translated for him
when necessary. Such co-study made me feel
that I had shared his cherished memories
for so long a time, even though I was not
yet born when Jacques was in Karatsu.
Since that time, he kept coming back to my
I listen to his angry voice about how
people are ruining the sea, why human being
should pay respect to the nature.
He promised me that he would dive 74
meters deep next year, because he will be
74 years "young" then. I am sure
he will do that. You must watch up, too!
Jacques Mayol loves Karatsu "dolphinately", and we Karatsu citizen love him whalely, too. The Mayor of Karatsu calls Mr. Mayol
"The Messenger from the Sea" with
much respect. Mayor has put a dolphin shape
on a public building near Karatsu Station.
It is very cute. I hope you will sometimes
visit Karatsu and see the dolphin sign and
understand what it means.
Thank you for visiting my web-site,
and I also remain dolphinately yours,
|Official Site of Jacques Mayol
| Mail to Harumi Okochi