"Do you know who Satake Otojiro is?"
(A Story of a Great Hometown Hero from Takeshima district in Shimanto City.)
In any cities and towns, you hear about a person who has led an admirable life.
As in Shimanto City, there have lived many great local figures as well.
Let me introduce one of them to you. He was born in Takeshima district.
As you drive down to Shimoda harbor from the city of Nakamura, just by the entrance to Takeshima (Fig.1),
you will find a sign that reads "The birthplace of Satake Otojiro", made and put up by the Takeshima elementary school students (Fig.2).
You will also find a great memorial monument erected in honor of Otojiro's birthplace, approximately 75 meters away from the sign. The monument is standing in the yard of the current land owner, Mr. Miyamura (Fig.3).
Satake Otojiro was born 150 years ago, as the 4th son of the Miyamura family, but later, at the age of 7, was adopted by the Satake family in Nakamura.
Soon after that, his adoptive parents got divorced, and Otojiro took that as a tragic burden, and spent many days depressed.
When he was 13, his biological parents pitied him so much that they decided to bring him back to their home, telling him that they would let him go to school. Even though he had to be in the same class as other children 6 years younger than him, as a first grader, Otojiro really enjoyed the days, being able to study with other children at school.
But, when he was 15 years old, his father thought it was time for Otojiro to start leaning agricultural work instead and took him out of school. Otojiro was devastated by his father's decision and was very sad that he could no longer study at school. His passion to study was taken away. This was an obvious blow to Otojiro, and it led his physical wellness to deteriorate.
After debating for some time, Otojiro decided to ask God for advice, and visited Takeshima Shrine/竹島神社(Fig.5).
On the 3rd night after praying for 3 straight days, he had a dream. In his dream, he opened the door to the place where God was supposed to be and found no one in there. "What does this mean?", he wondered. Then he realized the message behind it. "God would want me not to turn to him for everything, but to study on my own and find ways myself."
When Otojiro was 18, his father, after watching him getting weaker and weaker, decided to allow Otojiro to go back to school and study. Delighted by this, Otojiro studied ever harder. He became a teacher and taught at a local elementary school, and at the age of 23, he went to Tokyo to teach at another school.
However, his ambition to become a devoting person to the young children grew and decided to enter a medical school. He got his medical license when he was 29. After working at a hospital for a year, he opened his own practice in Kanagawa prefecture(Fig.6).
He would not collect money from the poor, and he always valued and respected the people in need.
One day, a patient came to his hospital with a small child. She needed immediate attention and needed to be hospitalized. But she hesitated to stay in the hospital, because she had no one to take care of her child. Otojiro felt badly for her and decided to take the child and take care of him while she was in the hospital. Thus, Otojiro not only healed the sick, but took care of anyone in need of assistance.
In the course of time, Otojiro quit his job at the hospital, and dedicated himself to building a child care facility, "Kamakura Hoiku-En/鎌倉保育園".(Fig.7)
There, he was devoted to care for the underprivileged, especially the young children. At times when he took in children, he welcomed them to his family, and treated them as his own. This is the greatest distinction of his Hoiku-En/保育園 from other child care facilities.
As the number of children at his facility grew, the biggest problem for Otojiro was a financial one. But, he was not in the hole for long, for many distinguished people of his time, including Itagaki Taisuke, Ito Hirobumi and others, who had been moved by Otojiro's passionate approach to child care, helped him out.
Not only in his own country, but also in China, Korea and Taiwan, Otojiro made great efforts in helping children.
Otojiro passed away at the age of 76, 74 years ago, and his request to be buried next to his parents was honored by his relatives. As he wished, he now rests in a grave built next to his parents'(Fig.8).
Otojiro was honored by the national government with the recognition for his efforts in bringing up children in need. The memorial monument was constructed in his honor to praise him for his achievement. Even after he died, his work and effort still live on and passed down through generations.
You can't choose where you are born.
Where you were born may not be where you wanted to be born in.
However, if you work hard enough for what you really want in your life,
there will be a way in front of you.