Wasabi Stories vol.179: “Remembering the Tough Time…”


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“Remembering the Tough Time…”

Today’s story-teller is former prime minister [W:Morihiro Hosokawa]. The story was about the time when he became a journalist after he graduated from university.

He thought it was the best to become a journalist first to gain deeper knowledge and become a politician in the future. So he joined Asahi Shinbun Company, one of the major newspaper publishers.

First, he was assigned to Kagoshima branch. The new employee’s work was so called ‘satsumawari’; visiting police departments such as prefectural police department and city department at 7 am and after 1 am for getting information.


Hosokawa lived in a boarding house with a clear hierarchy. As a new employee, he had to cook breakfast for seniors and he cooked mixed food with leftovers for himself. Eating salad out of basin was common practice. Sleeping on a futon (Japanese-style bedding) was taken as over-extravagant item for a new employee, so seniors did not let him sleep on it. Suffering with lack of sleep, he sometimes fell asleep leaning against a wall in front of his seniors. After living in such condition, he became to be able to sleep in any kind of environment and he gained confidence that he could live in any place.

Then, he was transferred to the headquarters office in Tokyo. His newsbeat was downtown Tokyo like Asakusa district. At that time, there were many riots between day laborers which was called‘Sanya Sodo’in the district. It said that riots happened when Giants, one of the most popular Japanese Major Leagues, lost three games in a row. So journalists including Hosokawa used to gather at the Asakusa Police Department and get ready for going into action when Giants lost three games in a row. He recalls that once he put on long johns with a belly band and tabi socks, and painted his face black with charcoal in order to camouflage himself for getting a scoop.

However, his camouflage was not perfect. He was found by a labor shark. He run off and hid himself into a yard of a home and got bitten by a dog.


Hosokawa says, “In Asakusa, I used to be widely known. I could enter strip joints, casinos and so forth by just saying ‘hi’. The atmosphere, human empathy and unique taste of downtown are unforgettable for me.”



The NIKKEI 01/10/2010 by Morihiro Hosokawa (former prime minister)



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