When Hachiko was waiting at Shibuya Station
a new book by JSFC member Yumi McDonald
JSFC member Yumi McDonald has just returned from Japan
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
"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
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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