Zaitsu was born in a family of a landlord in Kumamoto. The family owned a lot of land but the condition of dominion had completely changed after the war.
They lost it all and had no choice but to move to another place. In the new place, at the agricultural high school he went, he was bullied by the students as a son of a landlord from another place.
Not only physically attacking him, but the students also stole his school fee that his mother worked hard and saved. And they just ignored him when he begged them to return the money.
He spend days getting depressed. One day, Takahashi, his English teacher who returned from Manchuria, suddenly invited him to go stepping on wheat with him.
They went to a wheat field and started stepping on wheat.
After a while, Takahashi broke their silence.
Takahashi said, “You must be experiencing a bad time now. But you have to fight it. A bullied person grows stronger when he gets over the bad time. Take a look at the wheat. The downtrodden wheat grow stronger.”
Zaitsu had tears come into his eyes while he was listening to Takahashi’s words.
And Takahashi told him, “Stay positive no matter what happens to you.” Takahashi did not mean to be funny to make people laugh by staying positive, but he meant that he should have courage to hang in and survive.
Yet, he was getting bullied. However, he found his niche in theatrical performance when he was in high school.
However, he enjoyed little luck in the beginning of his career. When he was going to move to Tokyo and sign up for a theater company after graduating from high school, the company broke up.
He spent the first 13 years working in a restaurant as a dish washer, working as a construction workforce and so forth to gain his bread.
It was tough, but what Takahashi told him in the wheat field encouraged him to hang tough.
Zaitsu says, “Takahashi’s words, the downtrodden wheat grows stronger and produce better crop, touched my heart. I would like children to know that a person who overcome difficulties grow as a better person. I believe that staying positive is the best weapon that the God created for us.”
The NIKKEI 03/12/2010 by Ichiro Zaitsu (actor)
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