94 year-old Yamashiro from Ie is still an active farmer
July 31, 2014 Yukito Kinjo Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo
On a severely hot day at a field in Nishieue, Ie Village, an elderly person works silently to plant shima rakkyo. Yoshio Yamashiro from Nishieue is 94 years old, born in 1920. He has weak hearing, but he is robust with a straight back and lots of stamina. He is a cheerful old man who drives a car around the village.
On April 16, 1945 when the U.S. military landed on Ie Island, Yoshio (24 years old at that time) was helping courtesy for a leader of the unit of the Japanese Imperial Army. Having lost his first daughter and friends in the war, he does not talk much about it. Every year, on April 21, the day the war ended at the village, a peace memorial service is carried out at the war memorial. Representing the Village’s War-Bereaved Association, Yamashiro will offer flowers to fallen comrades.
As well as farming, Yamashiro takes care of his 94-year-old wife Midori, and does housekeeping such as cooking, laundry, and cleaning.
To plant shima rakkyo, Yamashiro bends over to put seeds deeply in the soil by hand. This work has put strain on his back. A couple of days ago, he came up with an idea to use a pipe for planting. Hanging a seed-bag on his waist, he dropped seeds down the tube. Then he drove a tractor over the area to cover the seeds with soil. He said with a confidence, “Many people become confined to their beds at my age. It’s only me who does farming.”
Nishieue Ward Leader Kunio Chinen said, “Every time I see him, he is giving water or does weeding at his field. He is such a hard worker. I wish young people to follow that.”
Yamashiro in a kubagasa and usual work clothes said with a smile on his face, “It is a lot of work to take care of this entire field. It will take until tomorrow to finish.”
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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