Thoughts: Kure Revisited

                                 by Fred Morgan 


In 1945 a young soldier arrived in Kure with the Signal Regiment, he was 21 years of age. From 1946 and onwards he frequently went to the Kure House canteen, and soon became friendly with a beautiful young Japanese girl named Jean. They became close friends, but he was never able to pluck up the courage he needed to ask her to marry him. So, three years after his arrival, in 1948 he left suddenly as news of his mothers death reached him. This left his father looking after his five year old sister. He left Japan saying that he would return. This promise was not possible to keep, so he and Jean corresponded for several years. Eventually the two met partners and married their partners, Jean moving to Brisbane, Australia.


In 2005 the soldier returned to Kure. Hoping to find her sister, Aki and he set off in search of her. He discovered that Aki had married an English soldier. In 2006 he returned again and whilst talking to members of the party, he mentioned his friendship with the typist, Jean, from Kure House who he had met and never forgotten. Upon hearing this the lady spoke up announcing that it was her sister! “I was absolutely amazed!” He said. He told them that Jean had a sister named Aki and the lady said “That’s me!” She told him Jean spoke of a young man called Frank san. He replied “That’s me!” Jean’s (Aki's) husband and daughter spent time talking that same evening and shared some of the letters he had received from Jean over the years. And so after 60 years fate had completed its circle.


Frank-san was his nickname when he was in Japan all those years ago as there were too many men with the name Fred so we were given nicknames to distinguish us from one another.  Unfortunately Frank-san knew from Aki that Jean had died some time ago. It is a chance in a million for them to meet after all those years thinking that there were thousands of soldiers were stationed in Kure.


★ From John Francombe’s comment


The explanation is that when they were at school in Hawaii, the two sisters were given the same name, Jean, by their English class teachers.  They were not in the same class.  Hatsumi was two years older than Akie. (You may not know that they were both born in Hawaii and came to  Japan, with the rest of their family, in               Tomiko and Jean Francombe reading

1941, when Akie was twelve years old.)  Later,      Fred's Letters from Jean (Hatsumi)

as they grew older, both kept their English names of Jean.  My Jean, that is Akie, had the name added officially to her records and she came to England, now exactly 50 years ago, with this name on her passport. 


Hatsumi also kept her name Jean and took it to Australia with her when she married Cecil Rosenstengel.  


#119  Parkway Vol.21 No.5  January - March 2007



1945年、若い兵士が通信連隊と共に呉に到着しました。彼は21歳でした。 1946年、彼は頻繁に呉ハウスの食堂に行くようになり、美しく若い日本人女性ジーンと知り合いました。二人は親しくなりましたが、結婚を申し込む勇気は出ませんでした。3年後の1948年、突然、母親が死んだとの知らせが届きました。5歳の妹の面倒を父親ひとりで見ることになったのです。日本に必ず戻ると言って彼は帰国しました。しかし、この約束は守られることはありませんでした。その後、しばらく手紙のやり取りが続きましたが、結局はそれぞれの伴侶を見つけ、ジーンはオーストラリアのブリスベンに移りました。


2005年、その兵士は呉に戻ってきて、彼女の妹、アキを見つけようと探し始めます。そしてアキが英国の兵士と結婚していたことを知りました。そして 2006年、再び呉に戻ってきます。パーティーの席で忘れられない呉ハウスのタイピスト、ジーンとの交際について話し始めました。すると、この話を聞いてた女性が、それは自分の姉だと言います! 驚いて、ジーンにはアキという妹がいた、と話すと、その女性が「それは私です!」。一方、その女性が、ジーンはフランクさんと呼ぶ若い男の人のことを話していたと話すと、「それは私だ!」と彼。その夜、ジーン(アキ)の夫と娘のトミコも話に加わり、長年にわたってジーンから届いた手紙を一緒に見ました。60年後、運命は巡り戻ってきたのです。





この二人の姉妹はハワイの学校に通っていたとき、クラスは違いましたが、英語クラスの教師から同じ名前「ジーン」をつけてもらっていました。 ハツミはアキエより2歳年上です。 (二人はハワイで生まれで、1941年、アキエが12歳の時、一家で日本に来ました。その後も、二人とも「ジーン」の英語名を使い続けました。私のジーン、つまりアキエは、その名前を正式に登録して、イギリスにやってきました。そして、50年後の今、パスポートにはジーンという名前が書かれてます。ハツミも同じく、セシル・ローゼンステンゲルと結婚した時、ジーンという名でオーストラリアに行きました。