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MUSINGS / Sept. 1, 2018

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Sept. 1 issue.

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The hachimaki towel or cloth headband is wrapped in much mystery. A haniwa wearing a hachimaki was unearthed in Wakayama, so some theories put the origin of hachimaki back to the Kofun tumulus period (ca 300-ca 710). However, there seem to be no detailed explanations for what purpose the hachimaki was created.

I heard this story from a person who is well versed in folklore, so maybe because of this, I felt reassured when I saw a man who has a clear purpose for his hachimaki. For this man, using the hachimaki is to soak up sweat or to fire himself up. I’m talking about Haruo Obata, the man who rescued a little boy who got lost in a mountain forest this summer.

We said goodbye to August yesterday. There was good news and bad news last month and many people must recall the rescue of 2-year-old Yoshiki Fujimoto as a miraculous tale.

When even his family almost gave up on finding him alive after three days and three nights, Obata emerged, climbed a mountain, and called out, “Yoshi-kun, Yoshi-kun.” And he heard a child’s voice. Obata must have taken these actions because he believed Yoshiki was alive. Once out of the hospital, a wide-eyed Yoshiki was embraced in his mother’s arms.

Obata quickly became famous as a “disaster volunteer.” He hops around the nation with his hachimaki twisted and tied around his head. I would like to meet him, but we have to try hard so that he wouldn’t have to come rescue us. Today is Disaster Prevention Day. Let us do everything possible to prepare for any disaster.Speech

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