My grandfather was born and raised in Tokamachi, Niigata prefecture. Tokamachi is famous for its heavy snowfall area in the north of Japan.
He came to Tokyo by himself when he was young.
World war II began.
He was sent to Manchuria, China.
Back then, there were many otters in Manchuria and people were having trouble getting rid of them.
My grandfather was inspired to sell the otter skin as an oil filter to the military.
He said that using this would greatly improve the quality of the oil, and sold a large amount of otter skin to the military, making lots of money.
Then he was relocated to Borneo during the war.
There were a lot of palm trees on that southern island.
My grandfather was inspired to make ropes from coconuts and sell it to the army.
This rope is sturdy and of good quality, and it was an additional success in the business by selling the rope to the army.
After some time, the war was over.
He got married and had two sons, my father and uncle.
He did various businesses and started many companies. Sometimes it didn’t succeed, but he didn’t give up.
When he made an art gallery in Ginza, my father (his son) married my mother.
The total expenses in building a big house in Yokohama were shared equally by my grandfather and father. It’s a two-family house.
Then I was born. The first grandchild.
When I was little, my father went to work as an office worker, and my grandfather went to work at an art gallery in Ginza. I still remember that in his study, he was using a typewriter to write letters to friends overseas.
My grandfather sold Japanese silkscreen art prints overseas, especially to American customers, and was a pioneer to this field.
He was awarded as an honored citizen in Baltimore, Maryland.
When he was on a business trip abroad, he left the hanko seal with his subordinate and when he returned, that was the time the company was hijacked.
Still, he didn’t give up and opened an art gallery after moving to my grandmother’s hometown, Sendai. That was also successful.
He spent the last years in Sendai.
I still love and miss him…