Laurie Toby Edison


Women of Japan 日本の女性

The Models’ Words モデルの言葉


熊本礼子 KUMAMOTO Reiko

Now that I am over 50, I have a strong wish to live my life into the future without causing problems for my two children. It has been 25 years that I have lived without a husband, and for my children without a father. When the children were young, all I did was work, but I feel that it was not I who raised my children, rather it was my children who raised me. That doesn’t mean that my children haven’t been able to become independent or that I haven’t been able to let go of them. Being not too close and not too far may be the right distance from each other. When my children were small, I felt that they were such darlings that I listened first and foremost to their wishes.

A mother (a Japanese woman) must have infinite patience and can only silently watch what her children do and say. There is no need to nag them. It should be enough to scold them only at crucial times. These days I think that if I am to wish for my children’s future happiness, as their mother I must learn how to live a healthy life on my own!!

No matter how old they become, one’s children are always one’s children. When I face painful and trying times, it is my children who come first to mind. I wonder if they are well.

To me, my children are my educators. As one who was born and who grew up in discriminatory surroundings, I feel fortunate that I do not resent the discrimination or the fact of having been born and raised under discrimination. The side who is discriminated against and the side who discriminates—I am able to think I was fortunate to have known both viewpoints.

I love my mother very deeply. At 83 she is obstinate and has become strong-willed, but I still love her. Will my children love me so profoundly no matter how old I become? Just as I will always love my daughter deeply . . . .

translation by Beth Cary