Inku
When Hachiko was waiting at Shibuya Station

a new book by JSFC member Yumi McDonald

    JSFC member Yumi McDonald has just 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 is currently working on the English translation. 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 mom’s 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 1920’s and 30’s 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 master’s 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 1930’s and many Asian students stayed at their house.
     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 mother’s family’s 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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