From Flood to Big River

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06

FOREWORD

08

TREATY OF SHIMONOSEKI

10

INCREMENTALISM / THE FIRST PHASE

22

DOKA / INTEGRATION / THE SECOND PHASE

26

KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / THE THIRD PHASE

44

LIFE UNDER BOMBS

54

POST WAR

62

EPILOGUE

64

PHOTOS


FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

FOREWORD

6

A bridge built by my great grandfather for people to commute more easily between the two lands, Erlin and Xihu. Completed in 1930.


FOREWORD

Taiwan was under the Japanese colonial rule between 1895-1945. This history is little known in other countries. Even in Japan, the general curriculum does not mention too much about this colonization. However, the Japanese colonial rule has had a great influence on multiple aspects in Taiwanese people and is a rather crucial period to the Taiwanese history. My paternal grandparents lived through that time, which played a big role in their childhood and has culturally shaped their minds. As a result, it has also indirectly affected the later generations as well. Nevertheless, even though people in my generation have learned about the history at school and that most of their grandparents have in-person experiences of the Japanese colonization, we barely talk about the influence on us with each other because we haven’t been really able to relate to what our grandparents went through. Therefore, I created this book to learn more about my grandparents and to encourage the readers to explore the history as well. By interviewing my grandmother, I was able to collect stories that are more personal and inclusive. This book will tell some stories happened during the Japanese colonial period through my grandmother’s perspective out of many other experiences out there.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

TREATY OF SHIMONOSEKI 下関条約

8

The Shunpanrō hall, where the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed.


TREATY OF SHIMONOSEKI / APRIL 17, 1895

APRIL 17, 1895 Taiwan was a part of Qing dynasty China until 1895. In 1894, China lost the First-Sino Japanese War to the Empire of Japan. Taiwan was later on ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki, signed on April 17th, 1895. Taiwan was under the Japanese rule since then until WWII ended. This colonization can be divided into three phases: “Incrementalism” (1895-1915), Dōka: “Integration” (19151937), and Kōminka: “Subjects of the Emperor” (1937-1945).

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

漸進 INCREME 主義 NTALISM

10

Taiwan Sōtokufu, headquarter of the Government-General of Taiwan that governed Taiwan under Japanese rule. Built in 1895.


INCREMENTALISM / 1895-1915

THE FIRST PHASE / 1895-1915 From a biological perspective, Incrementalism, the natives could not be completely assimilated. Thus, Taiwan would never be governed exactly the same way as the Home Islands but would be governed under a whole new set of laws. Taiwan was Japan’s first overseas colony, and Japan was eager to prove that they could “break away from Asia and merge into the Western powers”, so they started from bringing modernization (Westernization) into Taiwan. As a result, during the first phase of the ruling, Japan made a great effort on the urban planning and public works like banks, railways, dams, power plants, hospitals, and schools, etc. Hygiene concepts, time sense, judicial system were introduced into Taiwan. The government also got rid of the “Three Vices” in Taiwanese society.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

POLICE FORCE The policemen in the Japanese rule period were very powerful and were in charge of almost everything. They were the ones maintaining social order. However, they were excessively involved in the life of civilians, which led to people having great fear of the police.

There were many anti-Japanese movements in the beginning of the colonization.

The resistance were all later on suppressed by the police force.

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INCREMENTALISM / 1895-1915

There was a propaganda poster made during the colonization that depicts the police as a buddha involved in all kinds of tasks, mainly the six: traffic control, ideological repression, criminal apprehension, disease prevention, Taiwanese aboriginal land distribution, and rescue and aid.

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The policemen were always armed with a saber that looks like the samurai sword.

Grandma said that the policemen were so intimidating.

Economy inflation and food scarcity are some of the problems at wartimes. Everything was expensive and food was rationed.

Grandma’s father would put extra rice in a distilled water bottles.


Everyone was scared of the police and would want to run away as far as possible when seeing them.

Then he would hide them in the well, so the police wouldn’t find it if they come checking.


FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

EDUCATION The Japanese government established three kinds of schools: Shōgakkō (School for Japanese), Kōgakkō (School for Taiwanese), and Bandō Kyōikusho (School for Taiwanese aborigines). Yet compulsory education didn’t begin until 1910.

When grandma’s mother was a kid (in the 1890s), someone would beat the gong and walk around in the neighborhood, telling kids that “You’ll get pencils if you go to school!”

Back then, people could go to school for free. My great grandmother went and finished primary school.

She got pencils.

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INCREMENTALISM / 1895-1915

THE THREE VICES OPIUM / Opium addiction was a serious

social problem in Taiwan. Shortly after taking over Taiwan in 1895, Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi ordered that opium should be banned in Taiwan as soon as possible in the first phase of the colonization.

QUEUE / Queue was the hairstyle for men

prior to the Qing dynasty China. The hair on top of the scalp is grown long and is often braided, while the front portion of the head is shaved. There weren’t exactly laws that specifically banned queues, but the popularity of queues decreased with the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911.

FOOT BINDING / Foot binding was a

practice fashionable in Ming and Qing dynasty China. Girls’ feet were wrapped in tight bandages at age 6 or earlier and for the rest of their lives. This practice was considered to be barbaric, so it was formally banned in 1915 by the Japanese government. My great grandmother had her feet bound, but people stopped doing so in my grandmother’s generation.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

RAILWAYS Railways throughout the whole island of Taiwan were established in 1908 for wood transport and traveling.

Japanese noticed a strange phenomena in Taiwan.

Whenever the train pulled in the station, Taiwanese laborers would start splashing water on the train.

They thought the train was a kind of metal buffalo.


Taiwanese buffaloes that pull carts are sensitive to heat, so the carters would splash water to cool the buffaloes down.

Therefore, the laborers were trying to cool down the metal buffalo.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

ARCHITECTURE Apart from the public works, the government also tried to rebuild residential buildings with European architecture style, encouraging people to use wood for the construction.

Most of the Taiwanese dwellings back then were made of mud and hay.

With the emergence of wood frame constructions, fire safety awareness began to be promoted as well.

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There was a teahouse near the place my grandma lived as a kid.

Musicians would sing and play the erhu (a Chinese instrument) in the teahouse at night.

Grandma would fall asleep to the music.

Apart from the sound of erhu, there was always someone clapping with two pieces of wood and walking around in the neighborhood, yelling �Beware of fire!�.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

DOKA/ INTE GRATION

内地延長 主義

22

The dorm of Taichu Senior High. It was the first high school that Taiwanese could enter. Established in 1915.


DOKA / INTEGRATION / 1915-1937

THE SECOND PHASE / 1915-1937 When WWI ended, nationalism and the ideas of self-determination amongst the colonial natives started to grow. As a result, colonial governments throughout the world began to make greater concessions to natives. Japan decided to pursue a policy of integration (dōka), which Taiwan would be viewed as an extension of the Home Islands, and Taiwanese people would be educated to understand their roles and responsibilities as Japanese subjects. To achieve dōka, the government started with some changes like forming local self-governments, encouraging marriage between Japanese and Taiwanese, and allowing Taiwanese who were able to speak Japanese to enter shōgakkō (school for Japanese).

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

BIRTHDAYS My grandparents were born during the second phase of the colonization, but what influenced them the most was the third phase, Kōminka: “Subjects of the Emperor”, when they started receiving Japanese primary education.

Grandma was born on January 5th, 1932.

She is the 8th of the 9 children, so her nickname was “Hachi”, which means 8 in Japanese.

Her father was a doctor. Patients would go to their house to receive treatments.

24


DOKA / INTEGRATION / 1915-1937

Grandpa was born on January 12th, 1932.

He was the 4th of the 8 children.

His father ran business and engaged in trade.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

Kominka/ Subjects of the Emperor

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皇 民 化 教 育

My grandmother (7th grade) and her schoolmates on the stairs of a Shintoism shrine.


KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

THE THIRD PHASE / 1937-1945 The last part of the ruling, Kōminka: Subjects of the Emperor, began as the eruption of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 (China vs. Japan) and ended in 1945. Resources and materials were needed from Taiwan in the war effort, so the government aimed to fully assimilate the Taiwanese as members of Japanese society. The Kōminka movement strongly encouraged locals to speak the Japanese language, wear Japanese clothing, live in Japanese-style houses, and convert to Shintoism (traditional Japanese religion), building “Japanese spirit” and Japanese identity amongst the populace.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

CLOTHING The Japanese colonization changed the clothing style in Taiwanese society. As the Japanese government abolished the Qing dynasty dress code in Taiwan, traditional Chinese style wear was reformed and replaced by Japanese and Western style clothing.

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BEFORE THE JAPANESE RULE


KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

DURING THE JAPANESE RULE

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

JAPANESE SPEAKING FAMILY A Japanese Speaking Family (JSF) was something Taiwanese people could apply to become if the whole family were able to speak Japanese and adopted Japanese names.

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The JSF would receive a certificate, a medal and a door sign that says “Japanese Speaking Family”.


KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

Moreover, they would have more benefits like access to better and higher education.

More government job opportunities.

Double or triple shares of material quotas.

Grandpa’s family applied for JSF because they were businessmen and had to deal with the government.

And his father also wanted to work in the government.

So it was easier to just become “Japanese”. 31


FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

Grandpa’s family also adopted Japanese names.

They changed their last name, “Hung”, which means flood in Chinese, to “Ookawa”, big river in Japanese.

Grandpa’s Japanese full name was Ookawa Takeshi. 32


KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

Hachi’s family didn’t apply for JSF because her father was a doctor, who didn’t have to deal with the government.

Her father also insisted that “We’re Taiwanese! We shouldn’t change our names!”.

However, even though they weren’t a JSF, they were still able to speak Japanese.

They would speak Taiwanese at home, Japanese in public.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

HACHI’S SCHOOL LIFE Hachi went to kindergarten for 2 years. The teachers were all very kind, and most of them were Taiwanese. They spoke Taiwanese in kindergarten. In 1939, Hachi entered elementary school at the age of 7. The teachers were all Japanese. It was a fully Japanese education. Other languages were forbidden at school.

The elementary school Hachi entered was a kogakko (school for Taiwanese).

Even though the majority of the students were Taiwanese, they all communicated in Japanese.

Because they were not allowed to speak Taiwanese at school.

34


LIFE UNDER BOMBS / 1944-1945

Hachi used to wear dresses with geta (traditional Japanese footwear).

At school, they would wear uniforms, which was also a culture brought in by Japan.

The geta made a lot of noise when walking.

During wartime, there was a shortage for everything. Hachi would go to school barefoot because she didn’t want her school shoes to get worn out.

The shoes were made out of aircraft tires. They stank when taken off.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

Hachi’s mother would wake up at 5am every school day to make lunch bento for Hachi and her siblings to take to school.

There were some veggies, half of an egg, and rice with a pickled plum, which has antibacterial properties.

This is a typical patriotic Japanese bento called Hinomaru bento. Hinomaru means “circle of the sun” in Japanese. The Hinomaru bento looks like the Japanese flag.

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KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

Almost everyone had Hinomaru bento at school.

Students would either bring the bento themselves or had their families deliver it.

The bentos delivered by the families would be put on the window ledge with student names written on slips of paper.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

To make Taiwanese more patriotic to Japan, the government made Taiwanese people convert to Shintoism (Japanese religion).

Every month, Hachi would wake up early even before the sunrise...

and climbed dozens of stone steps to get to the shrine and pray.

The school told them to do so. Everyone at school was obedient, so they did what they were told.

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KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

PACIFIC WAR The Pacific War started on 7th/8th December, 1941. It was the theater of WWII that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was the war of Japan fighting against the Western Allies along with an ongoing war in China. The Pacific War was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.

Due to the Pacific War and Taiwan being a colony of Japan, the history and geography classes Hachi took were either about Japan or other countries in the Pacific war zone.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

At school, Hachi also helped make Senninbari for soldiers.

Senninbari means “thousand people stitches” in Japanese.

It’s a soldier's good luck belt (sash) with a thousand red stitches embroidered by a thousand different women.

Japanese soldiers would wear them under the uniform in the battlefields.

40


KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

The teachers Hachi had before 5th grade were female and were all very nice.

But after 5th grade, it was only male teachers, who were very strict.

In grade 5 and 6, students were forced to do marching training because it was at wartime.

Everyone had to carry a certain weight of rocks and walked 12.5 miles.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

ENTERING MIDDLE SCHOOL Hachi and Takeshi entered middle/high school in 1944 when they were about 12.

Takeshi went to a boy boarding school called Taichu Senior High School.

42

Hachi went to a girls’ school, the Shoka Girls’ Senior High School, in her hometown.


KOMINKA / SUBJECTS OF THE EMPEROR / 1937-1945

In Takeshi’s school, the daily routine was strictly scheduled.

Someone would play the trumpet before bedtime as well as a wake up call.

Freshmen needed to bring soaps and scrub the upperclassmen’s backs in shower.

Every freshman cried under their blankets the first night.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

LIFE UNDER

BOMBS

44

A Taiwanese countryside, Xinying, under a bombing attack. Picture captured from the US aircraft.


LIFE UNDER BOMBS / 1944-1945

1944-1945 As a colony of Japan during WWII, Taiwan ended up being one of the Allies’ bombing targets. US Naval F6F Hellcats, the American fighter aircrafts, began attacking Taiwan on Oct 12, 1944, and the bombing continued into 1945.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

During 1944-1945, when Hachi and Takeshi started middle school, there were frequent air raids...

It led to constant evacuations.

People barely went to school.

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LIFE UNDER BOMBS / 1944-1945

After the air raid, Hachi went home.

Her house was bombed.

Bomb debris was everywhere.

It was a mess.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

US FLYERS Before the bombing attacks, the US aircrafts scattered flyers, which were in Japanese and Chinese. The content was about how the main targets being armory factories, train stations, harbours, military camps and places that were important to the Japanese government. It explained that Taiwanese people were not the target and asked civilians to stay away from the places they planned to bomb. However, residential buildings still ended up getting mistakenly bombed as well, and numerous civilians were killed and injured.

48


LIFE UNDER BOMBS / 1944-1945

People were afraid to pick up the flyers because they were from the enemy.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

MASS MOBILIZATION It was a mobilization of society’s resource during this period. As the subjects of the Emperor, every Taiwanese had to put in war efforts.

Takeshi had to do manual labor for the construction of the airfield.

Hachi had to go to the mountain and plow the field to grow potatoes and yams.

They were the main food source.

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LIFE UNDER BOMBS / 1944-1945

Taiwanese men were also enlisted to fight for Japan.

Some Taiwanese volunteered because it was patriotic to do so. They wanted to join the army so bad that they would write a self recommendation letter with a splash of blood on it to show their determination.

However, not everyone wanted join the war.

Some of Hachi’s neighbors were called up for the war

But they never came back...

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

In 1944, a friend of Hachi’s brother’s was recruited as a Kamikaze pilot.

52


LIFE UNDER BOMBS / 1944-1945

Kamikaze were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Unit of military aviators who initiated suicide attacks.

Kamikaze attacks managed to hit Allied naval vessels.

Fortunately, the war ended before his mission.

As for Hachi’s brothers, they were able to avoid the enlistment.

Their father asked his friend to let them work in the armory factory as their military service.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

POST WAR

54

People celebrating the retrocession of Taiwan.


POST WAR / 1945

1945 WWII ended as Japan surrendered on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945. Taiwan was then returned to the Republic of China on October 25th, 1945. Taiwan was the defeated nation but became one of the victorious countries overnight.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

As the war ended, Hachi was happy about it.

She thought she would finally be able to do things she couldn’t do during the war.

She could eat chocolate...

or have the lights on.

Hachi’s parents were glad that the war ended as well.

But at the same time, they worried that whether the future would actually be better under the new authority... 56


POST WAR / 1945

Taiwanese people were happy that they would no longer be secondary citizens under the colonialism. People gathered in the harbour to welcome the new soldiers.

However, the new autjority turned out to be unorganized.

The whole situation was a total chaos.

Corruption, robbery and theft happened a lot.

Civilians were even robbed by the new soldiers.


FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

Hachi went back to school after the war.

Japanese was banned by the new government, and Mandarin Chinese became the official language. Therefore, everyone had to learn Mandarin Chinese from scratch.

It was challenging since the students had been speaking only Japanese and Taiwanese for years.

And Chinese class was just learning the alphabet, which was boring.

Everyone dozed off in class.

Hachi didn’t want to talk anymore because no one could communicate.


POST WAR / 1945

The new teachers spoke Chinese in different dialects and accents.

In fact, they weren’t even official teachers but just Chinese soldiers who had to replace the previous faculties.

What’s worse, they were very vulgar and dirty.

They would spit on the ground.

Hachi didn’t like it at all.

She missed the Japanese education.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

One late night, someone banged on the door of Hachi’s house.

It turned out to be her older brother and two sisters who just came back from Japan.

Three of them went studying in mainland Japan during the colonization.

They just showed up all of a sudden, looking exhausted.

Before coming back to Taiwan, they weren’t able to call or mail. No one knew if they were alive or not.

60

Hachi went to answer, thinking it must have been her father’s patient.


POST WAR / 1945

When they heard about Japan losing the war, they got on the ship to Taiwan right away. They were afraid that they might not have been able to make it back if they missed the ship.

Each of them brought only one backpack. They packed only clothes and left all their books in Japan.

They spent about one week at sea, and there was no light on the ship. 61


FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

Epilogue

62


EPILOGUE

The Japanese culture was rooted so deeply in my grandparents’ minds that they still spoke Japanese even until now. A lot of Taiwanese in my grandparents’ generation grew up in a mix of two cultures, being raised in Taiwanese families and receiving Japanese education. However, they were still considered as inferior citizens by Japanese. After the Japanese government left Taiwan, people were later on forced to learn Mandarin Chinese. Taken over by new governments again and again, some people would have the identity crisis of whether they were Taiwanese, Japanese or even Chinese? What my grandparents went through might be something difficult for my generation to relate to, especially the war and colonialism experiences. Even though I was born and raised on the same island as my grandparents, I can barely picture their life in Taiwan 80 years ago. Thus, hearing about their childhood was something unimaginable. I hope that younger Taiwanese generation would want to learn more about their families and ask their grandparents, who lived through the Japanese colonization, about their stories because the history is something inseparable in their life and is what made the Taiwanese society the way it is now.

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

HACHI’S FAMILY

Hachi’s mother

Hachi’s father

Hachi (2nd from right) with her sister (right) and cousins

Hachi (right, standing) on a family field trip

Hachi (left) and her cousin

Hachi (2nd from right, standing) with her family and siblingsin-law on her father’s 60s birthday (1948)

64


PHOTOS

HACHI AS A STUDENT

15 year old Kindergarten

Primary school

12/13 year old Hachi (front row, 2nd from left) with her classmates and her Japanese teacher

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FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

TAKESHI AND HIS FAMILY

3 year old Takeshi (left) in a yukata (summer kimono)

12/13 year old Takeshi in his uniform

Takeshi (left) and his family

66


PHOTOS

Teenage Takeshi and his father Takeshi’s father

5 year old Takeshi and his parents in Sun Moon Lake (one of the top 10 attractions in Taiwan). Taiwanese aborigines in the back. 67


FROM FLOOD TO BIG RIVER

Takeshi’s house, built in European style. The house was also used as their family run store.

Takeshi’s uncle in Japanese clothing

68

The uncle’s family


PHOTOS

Takeshi and Hachi’s wedding on January 2nd, 1956, in the yard of Takeshi’s house.

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F R O M F LO O D TO B I G R I V E R

洪 水 から 大 き な 川 へ






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