- SHOHA HIDAI    Calligrapher of the line full of light -




In 1914, Yasuko (Shoha) was born in Yokohama, as the oldest daughter of Father, Giichi Yamamasu and Mother, Mariko.
In this photograph, at the left end Mariko Yamamasu, in the center Yasuko, and at the right end Giich were showed. A girl whom Yasuko was holding in her arms was Kazuko, daughter of Nankoku and Yasuko.

1. Father, Giichi Yamamasu

THE BIBLICAL STUDY The chief editor: Kanzo Uchimura

“THE BIBLICAL STUDY”The chief editor: Kanzo Uchimura

Her father, Giichi (1882-1959) was from Kurayoshi-machi( now Kurayoshi-city), Kume District in Tottori Prefecture. In 1900, he entered the national Tokyo Shosen Gakko (Tokyo Mercantile Marine School, the forerun passengers of Tokyo University of Mercantile Marine and now Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, integrated with Tokyo University of Fisheries) at Ecchujima in Tokyo. In this year, he read “ THE BIBLICAL STUDY” , the first biblical journal in Japan published by Kanzo Uchimura, and he was deeply moved to be a devout Christian, becoming Kanzo’s pupil. On Sundays he went to Kanzo’s house at Tsunohazu of Shinjuku from the school dormitory at Ecchujima on foot. He belonged to the first Society of Christian Friendship organized in 1905. After graduating from Tokyo Shosen Gakko, Giichi obtained a job with Toyo Kisen (Oriental Steamship Company), chiefly plying on the North-America line, and there he worked as the captain of ships carrying both cargo and passengers on foreign routes. Kanzo Uchimura moved to Kashiwagi of Yodobashi and set up Imai Biblical Auditorium (its name from Shotaro Imai who was dead of an illness) in 1907. Giichi walked to Imai Auditorium frequently.

In 1921, Diary of Kanzo Uchimura

Friday, March 11 Half-fair and fine day of no winds
At noon, I went to Yokohama after a long time. Friends met to me and treated me to lunch. Captain Yamamasu showed us the German steamship ‘Kap Finister’ transferred to our country lately. The ship was a so-called modern floating palace. It was built by means of applying all knowledge to pursue corporal pleasure. It was a so-called good example of European civilization. It was obvious enough to indicate that not only Germany but also the whole civilized country exhausted all their strength for increasing pleasure. And I had to remark that there was the source of world wars in this point. We left this ship for Captain Yamamasu’s ‘Hayomaru’ of Toyo Kisen. This was a newly-built freighter, which had just gone out from the dockyard and had no decorations. I held the prayer meeting with the party of four friends. We prayed, “God bless the ship and its captain”. Going ashore again, we saw the new school building of Kanto Gakuin at the hills leading to Nogeyama Mountain.
The school had been run by Baptist Church in the U.S., and I was amazed that its scale was large and its equipment was perfect. Its principal was Yu Sakata, Bachelor of Arts, one of old Party of Kashiwagi, and its vice-principal and a couple of teachers were my friends with the same faith.
Thus both the steamship captain and the school principal were my friends with the same faith; so I felt that the sea and the land were gradually going into my possession.

2.Mother, Mariko and Isaburo Yamada

Isaburo Yamada

This is a photograph of Isaburo Yamada gripping the control stick of the airship.

Yasuko's mother, Mariko (1891-1969) was from Wakayama-city in Wakayama Prefecture and Mariko was born in a samurai-class family of the Kisyu han (clan). Yasuko’s grandfather, Isaburo Yamada (1863-1913) was renowned for completing the first airship and succeeding in the first flight of the domestic airship in Japan, 1910. Isaburo had witnessed the shipwreck of English Normanton carrying both cargo and passengers, and he had already invented the rubber life buoys and taken out the patent for lifesaving equipment. He also started to investigate balloons and invented the cylindrical captive balloon for the first time in Japan, 1900. He died at the age of 51 in 1913.

3.Yamamasu family and Kanzo Uchimura

Yamamasu family and Kanzo Uchimura

At the left end, Yasuko and at the upper right, Masanobu.

In 1892, Isaburo came up to Tokyo and established the balloon factory (currently, The Weather Balloon Mfg. Co., Ltd.) at Osaki. Both Giichi Yamamasu and Mariko frequented Kanzo’s house as earnest Christians, and then they married. They had the firstborn daughter in 1914. Kanzo Uchimura named the baby ‘Yasuko’.

Four children were born between Giichi and Mariko ; the eldest daughter, Yasuko ( Shoha Hidai, calligrapher), the firstborn son, Masanobu ( Professor of hydro-engineering in Kanto Gakuin University, died in 2003), the second daughter, Katsuko (1919-1925, died from tumbling down the stairs in her childhood) and the third daughter, Emiko ( Professor of psychology in Ferris Jogakuin University, died in 2010). Yamamasu family was the family of earnest and pious Christians. Mariko organized the biblical lecture at Imai Auditorium in a central role, and two sisters, Yasuko and Emiko served cakes to children, and Masanobu who was Dai Ichi Kotogakko (First Higher School, Japan) student at that time talked about the Bible’s story to gathering children. In 1930, Kanzo Uchimura died. Mariko attended Kanzo on his deathbed among his pupils ( five days ago). After his death, when Kanzo’s house and Imai Auditorium at Kashiwagi were due to be removed owing to the city planning of Tokyo, Giichi purchased Kanzo’s house and removed it to Hayama. Imai Auditorium was removed to Nakane in Meguro Ward, and Sunday Gathering continued there.

After Father, Giichi retired from the captain of Toyo Kisen, he worked for the pilot of Yokohama Port and played an active part as the person of influence in the Yokohama harbor and shipping world.


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