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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

A Japanese Blossom, an electronic edition

by Onoto Watanna [Watanna, Onoto, 1879-1954]

date: 1906
source publisher: Harper & Brothers
collection: Genre Fiction

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THREE more days the little party remained in Tokio. Then, tired out, happy, and loaded down with purchases, they returned to their home. There they found the long-looked-for letter from the soldier. It had come during their absence.

He had not written sooner because the soldiers had been forbidden to write to their families during a certain period of operations. He hoped that his letter would reach them in time to make their Christmas and New Year season happy. His letter ran:

"As I write, I am a happy man, despite the many things of which I am deprived. | | 191 page image : 191     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM First, I am a servant in a glorious cause. Who could choose a nobler way to die? It is with cheerfulness that we soldiers bear the enforced hardships. Indeed, we scarcely feel them, so buoyed up are we by our cause. But I have still another reason for happiness at this time. I am with my boy Gozo at last, and if the fates but permit, we shall never separate again. I have told him about you all, and his letter to you will reach you with my own. The experiences he has been through since leaving his father's home have made a man of him. And it is with a man's deep understanding that he asks your pardon. But he speaks for himself.

I cannot send you gifts this year, my children and my wife, but my prayers and blessings are for you always. Tell Billy I cannot send him the Russian buttons for which he asks. I think he would understand if he were here. Let him imagine the kind of man who would cut away a trifling souvenir from the body of a dead enemy. Tell the boys also that I do not doubt their zeal to serve Japan, but that it is not likely we shall need | | 192 page image : 192     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM their services. Their French friend had better revise his thoughts.

"I read many times the letters from my little girls. Tell Plum Blossom so well have I kissed the spot she indicated in her letter that there is a little hole there now. Tell my little Yankee girl, too, that not only have I lent her Bible to Gozo, but it is the common property of the little band of Christians in our regiment. There are fifteen of us in all. It will give Marion pleasure to know that her gift to me passes from hand to hand, and fifteen loyal soldiers of Ten-shi-sama unconsciously bless her each day they read.

"Take care of my house for me, my children, and my wife. Encourage my boys in thoughts of patriotism. Remember that always I think of you, and that is happiness enough."

The letter from Gozo was brief, but his step-mother read it greedily. It was written in the English language.

| | 193 page image : 193     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM

--I know not to express myself good in your language. How I can find words begging your pardon? Put my rudeness to you down to my ignorance. I am more old to-day and through my honored father's words I am now acquainted with your respected character. I shall never have pleasure to look upon your honorable face, for I have given my insignificant life to my Emperor, yet I write begging for your affection.

"Also I humbly asking that you will continue to show kindness to my little brothers and sisters, whom though they be unworthy, I am very sick to see. Sometimes I think all night long of that little Juji brother. Pray excuse each foolish emotion. I beg remain,

Your filial step-son forever, "KURUKAWA GOZO."
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