Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.513

オリンピックに奪われた命―円谷幸吉、三十年目の新証言 (小学館文庫)

オリンピックに奪われた命―円谷幸吉、三十年目の新証言 (小学館文庫)

This morning, we heard the news that Japan is going to host the next Summer Olympic Games. We have received many `congratulations' e-mails, domo arigatou gozaimasu!

From now on, not only the atheletes but all Tokyo citizens and the whole nation of Japan will do our best for the safe and joyful event. We really like to thank everyone for choosing Tokyo for the next Olympic Games.


This is the second time Olympics in Tokyo. I was only five years old at the time of the first Olympics in Tokyo, so I barely remember anything.

However. we have been told many times- this first Olympic was the real epoch-making thing for Japane and it meant so much.

It was the first Olympic in Asia, and among the country of colored races. It was the time of recovery from the WWII. Hosting Olympic games meant the real recovery as a country for Japan.

Japan could obtain some gold medals in the games(USA got the best, and the Soviet Union got the next, Japan was the third).  Today I like to write about the one medalist of that time. He has been a legend in many ways. 

The athelete's name is  Kokichi Tsuburaya

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dkichi_Tsuburaya (Koukichi Tsuburaya)


He obtained a bronze medal with marathon. He belonged to the Japanese Self-Defence Forces. He originally was a runner of long distance but only 7 months before the Olympic Games, he was made to change to Marathon runner and became a member of Japan team as a runner of 10000m and marathon. He won the sixth prize with 10000m (this was the first time for Japanese atheletics). He won the third with marathon and got the bronze medal. 

Japanese flag has been raised by his winning in the natinal track field.

He was a second runner when he came into the field, but the third runner beat him at the end near the goal. Kokichi's father told him, not to look back when he ran and Kokichi, being frighteningly naive, never looked back, so he could never become a tactic runner, it has been told this was the reason of his lost.

He had been expected to get gold medal in the Olympics in Mexico but the headmaster of the Self Defence Forces atheletic school left. He understood and supported Kokichi but Kokichi lost this prescious supporter. The next headmaster never treated him as an athelete, so Kokichi had hard time for practice. Also he was against Kokichi's engagement and broke off this engagement. Kokichi had a back trouble-and it became worse-that made him impossible to run finally.

He had been known as a hardworker, well-mannered, having a strong sense of responsibility. He accused himself so much. He tended to do overwork because of his character.

In January of the year of the Olympics in Mexco, he killed himself in his room. He was only 27 years old. His farewell note moved all Japanese. Yes, he was very young.


Dear Father and Mother,

The grated yam from you tasted so good. The dried persimmon and rice cake were so good too.

Dear my brother Toshio and the wife, the sushi from you was very good.

Dear my brother Katsumi and the wife, the wine and the apples from you were so good.

Dear my brother Iwao and the wife, the vagil rice and the pickles from you were so good.

Dear my brother Kikuo and the wife, the grape drink you gave me were very good. Thank you very much for doing my laundry too.

Dear my brother Kozo and the wife, thank you for the ride. The squid dish was so good.

Dear my brother Masao, thank you for your consideration, I am so sorry to have bothered you.

Dear Yukio, Hideo, Mikio, Toshiko, Hideko, Ryosuke, Takahisa, Miyoko, Yukie, Mitsue, Akira, Yoshiaki, Keiko, Kouei, Yu, Ki, Masatsugi, please become good grown ups.


Dear Father and Mother, I am so tired and cannot run any more. Please forgive me.

I have given you restless worries, I am so sorry.

I wanted to live aside by you.


Why he had to kill himself?  Because of being too responsible? He could not bare the pressure? His farewell note is too poignant to read. He was only a young boy, trying to respond the high expectations of the whole Japan. 

The times have changed, and it might be hard to understand about the athelete like him, but he will never been forgotton.


*You can see many photos of him in this blog.