Junior high school teacher returns to Iriomote after eight years

Junior high school teacher returns to Iriomote after eight years

On April 1, holding the one-way ticket, Shoko Kimura looks forward to working on Iriomote Island again.


April 6, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

“I’m back at last,” said Shoko Kimura, who had been hoping to work on Iriomote Island. This was where she was first assigned as a fledgling junior high school teacher and on April 1, after a gap of eight years, she arrived at her post at Iriomote Junior High School. When she was transferred from the school to another post she was presented with a one-way ticket from Ishigaki to Iriomote by the local people and she kept it for eight years. “I definitely wanted to go back to Iriomote and am very much looking forward to seeing the people on the island again.”

Eight years ago, she began her career working as a temporary second-grade teacher at Funaura Junior High School in Iriomote. The term of her employment was only for one year, but she made a significant contribution, integrating herself in the community and joining in youth activities. When she received the notification of personnel changes, she tearfully implored the principal to be allowed to stay at the school.

When she left the island, members of youth association expressed their hope that she would come back again by giving her a one-way ticket back to Iriomote. She kept the ticket in her wallet and, taking advantage of the system for working in remote regions, after completing her training as a new teacher she requested to be posted to Iriomote.

She said, “I wonder if the ticket is still valid. I wasn’t able to do much for the people on the island last time I was there, so I really want to try to return their kindness this time.”

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato and Mark Ealey)

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