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Leaving the Island: The Journey of Masayoshi Miyara, a Leprosy Patient

Leaving the Island: The Journey of Masayoshi Miyara, a Leprosy Patient

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The 10-year-old boy left his hometown of Ishigaki Island accompanied by his older brother.
I thought I would be able to go home as soon as I got better.
It was the beginning of a long journey.

Miyara Seikichi, who left the island in 1956, is now 76 years old and lives in Osaka. He is the chairman of the Icho Association, a group of former leprosy sufferers in the Kansai region. He travels around Japan to talk about his experiences as a survivor, aiming to eliminate the discrimination and prejudice against leprosy sufferers that continues to this day.
The history of Hansen's disease is tragic. Patients were called lepers, discriminated against, driven out of their villages, and isolated. In sanatoriums, men were sterilized and pregnant women were forced to have abortions. "We'll be happy if this disease dies."
After recovering, Shokichi worked at a printing company in Osaka. Society was rough. He found a girlfriend, and when she proposed he told her he was a leprosy survivor. "So what?" Those words gave him a new home. He was blessed with two children. Five years after telling his daughter he was a former leprosy patient, he came out publicly in a newspaper article and began his journey as a leprosy storyteller.
This book is the result of a series of long interviews, and is a "long journey" that overlaps the history of the leprosy issue, layered with the author's voice as raw as possible and written "as if to teach me (the author) myself." It is also an ongoing progress report on that journey.

Yoshimasa Uezu

Born in Ishigaki Island in 1952. After graduating from high school, he worked as a newspaper delivery man in Tokyo while attending night school, and then joined the Oya Soichi Library, a library specializing in magazines.
In 1986, he returned to the island and the following year founded Nanzansha, the southernmost publishing company in Japan, with the aim of "conveying the image of Yaeyama, which cannot be lumped together with Japan or Okinawa." He received the Kikuchi Kan Award for "Taketomi Dialect Dictionary." "Monthly Yaima" is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Publisher: Hiroo Sendo Published: February 12, 2021 Format: A5, 240 pages, softcover

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