Reminiscence of Shibuya 1929-1938
a new book by JSFC member Yumi Hosono (McDonald)
(Note added 7/3/2015: Yumi has completed her English
translation and it is available for purchase at:
JSFC member Yumi McDonald has returned from Japan with
her husband Jim who had been on assignment there for the last two
years. Yumi has self-published a book in Japanese which is described
below. A copy in Japanese will be at the International Education
Center in the Greenwich Japanese School for reference. Yumi's book
will no doubt get more attention as a movie about Hachiko has just
been released. The movie and book were independently produced.
"This book describes the early Showa period my mother
and her family lived in. It is based upon my momís recollections as
told to me. The inspiration for this book started when we recently
found many old 620 negatives and some glass plate negatives that my
grandfather took more than 70 years ago. After we printed them, my
mother started to recall her childhood during the 1920ís and 30ís
very clearly. The story as told by her is vivid and it brings the
exciting early Showa period of Tokyo back to life.
There is a well known story that occurred in the
early Showa period in Japan that involved an Akita dog named
Hachiko. Every day Hachiko accompanied his master, Professor Ueno,
to Shibuya station and returned in the evening to greet his master.
After his masterís death, Hachiko continued the daily tradition,
touching the hearts of the populace. When I heard that my mother
used to regularly see the famous dog Hachiko waiting for his master
at Shibuya station everyday, I began to feel close to Hachiko.
Hachiko had one bent ear which made a lasting impression on my
mother as she thought it made him look sad. This book is a memoir of
that period in Tokyo.
I also write about daily life during that period
including the architecture, fashion, social events, popular trends,
international affairs and the internal and external influence that
molded a unique period of Japanese history.
Life in Taiwan, which was then under Japanese
occupation, and in the French, Turkish, and Tartar foreign
communities in Tokyo is also mentioned. My grandfather was an
officer who worked for Turkish embassy in Tokyo for several years.
He spoke Chinese, French, and Turkish. My grandparents had many
foreign friends back in 1930ís and many Asian students stayed at
Most of the photos in the book were taken by my
grandfather. I have also added others that I borrowed from museums
or institutions. In some cases, I was able photograph items that
miraculously survived the horrific Tokyo fire bombings of the war
that reduced my motherís familyís assets to ashes.
I will be grateful if you enjoy reading this
recollection of early Showa life in Tokyo. In terms of the number of
years it was not so long ago yet it represents a period that seems
to starkly contrast to today."
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