Wasabi Stories vol.167: “Live With Dignity”


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“Live With Dignity”

Today’s story-teller is female astronaut [W:Chiaki Mukai].

Her brother has trouble with legs. Seeing his brother having the trouble led her to aim to become a doctor in order to help people who suffer from health problems.

She met a great teacher when she was at high school. The teacher was a very strict person who was mastering tea ceremony.

She says, “The teacher used to tell me to live with dignity. These are the words to live by.”



Mukai describes her teacher as a person who can create her own destiny no matter what. She worked as a teacher to support her children on her own after her husband died when she was still young.

The teacher taught Mukai till right before she graduated from university. And finally, she became a doctor; her dream job. She experienced a lot of unexpected hardship as a doctor. For example, she used to have to stay at the hospital for days, she used to have to be with patients’ last moments and so forth.


It was mentally and physically hard for her. But she had remembered the words her teacher said to her and made sure her hair and uniform were always fixed to hide her fatigue.


Six years after she had become a doctor, she reached a turning point when she found an ad for a Japanese astronaut in a paper. She was surprised to know that even an astronaut can be found for job recruitment in a paper these days.

She was torn between applying for it or not, because she had to give up her career as a doctor if she wanted to become an astronaut.

It was hard to make a decision, but she decided to be honest with her own feeling, so she applied for it. And she was selected as an astronaut.

Since she has become an astronaut, she has been on space shuttles and currently, she is using the experience for a research on the human space flight program.


The NIKKEI 12/25/2009 by Chiaki Mukai (astronaut)



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