[Taken from: 「洗脳：地獄の12年からの生遠」(Brainwashed: Return from 12 years of hell) by Tosh1 (X JAPAN)
[translation by: Reiyezerwyre]
[Disclaimer: While every effort is made to be accurate to the intended meaning of the original text, the following is a fan translation and as such may contain errors.]
PROLOGUE: Childhood Days
“Play ball!” My father’s booming call echoes in the vacant lot next to our house.
“Dad, here it comes!” I call back in a powerful voice as I aim for the glove and throw as hard as I can.
“The pitcher throws his first pitch…Strike!”
I loved the sound of that voice.
When the fun is over I sit on the cargo rack of my father’s bike, as he takes me to kindergarten.
“Alright, we’re off!” He says.
“Onwards!” I call out and hold on tightly to his broad back with my small hands.
The invigorating rush as we dash off.
Those twenty minutes on the way to the kindergarten, when I could have ‘daddy’ all to myself, were more important to me than anything else.
On the 10th of October, 1965, I was born in Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture. The youngest of three children.
When I was in my third year of elementary school, my father was suddenly transferred to Chiba City. It was decided that he would move there alone.
In February, wanting to see my father, I once took the train from Tateyama Station, alone even though I was still a child, and rode for two and a half hours to go to him. I took the bus to Tateyama station, went to the ticketing both and while standing on tiptoe I said, “One child’s ticket for Honchiba Station, please.”
‘The local train bound for Chiba is on platform three.” The station master told me.
Clutching tightly onto my ticket so as not to lose it, I quickly walked up the stairs.
The departure bell rang and with that I was off. As the train set off I looked out the window at the sprawling view of the ocean, heart pounding.
I got off at Honchiba Station, quickly walked about twenty minutes and finally arrived at the Chiba City court official residence where my father lived.
“Toshi, I’m glad to see you. Tonight let’s go for hamburger steak, eh?”
We ate hamburger steak at a restaurant that had just opened. That was the only time I ate up everything, even the carrots – which I hated – that were on the piping hot grill plate with the hamburger.
“Toshi, you even ate the carrots, you’re such a good kid.”
It was a time when eating out was still a special thing, so going out to a fashionable restaurant in the city with my father was the greatest thing ever to me.
After that, when I became a high-school student, my father was transferred back to Tateyama.
Almost every day, with an unpracticed hand, my father continued to make meals for me. Watching my father like this, I couldn’t bring myself to ask for him to buy me any of the things I really wanted.
It was then that I started my part-time job delivering newspapers.
Tateyama is a city with a relatively mild climate throughout the year, so the early mornings during the late autumn when I started delivering newspapers could get pretty cold.
I would jump out of bed at 5 a.m., quickly brush my teeth, wash my face, and put a jacket on over my pajamas.
People around town were very early risers. There was even an elderly man who would wait at his front door for me to deliver the newspaper.
“Good morning! Here’s your newspaper!”
“Yes, thank you. Keep up the good work.”
As I finish delivering the newspaper my work gloves would be black. I’d finish deliveries just after 6.30 and head home, where I my father would be standing in the kitchen like always.
“Welcome back! Quickly go wash your hands.”
The same ‘wash your hands’ my father had said ever since I was in kindergarten. Breakfast was ginger pork (shougayaki) and hot miso soup, as well as freshly cooked rice. Once every two days this was the menu. Even so it was delicious.
“Well then, I’ll be off.”
It’s a casual conversation, but things like that made me happy.
On my second day delivering newspapers I found a small shrine. I rode my bike into the grounds. When I stopped I rushed up the stairs, about ten steps. It was still dark and in the quiet grounds I brought my hands together.
“May my father always be healthy.”
From that day on I continued every morning as a daily ritual until I stopped delivering newspapers a year later.
The morning of the 17th of May, 1990, my father couldn’t get out of bed. He was taken to hospital. Unable to move at all, the diagnosis that he’d had a stroke was clear.
He had narrowly escaped death, but unfortunately half of his body was paralyzed and he suffered from aphasia (1) as a result. After that seeing my father just like a child, was a huge shock for me. He may have been unable to speak, but he could honestly express his emotions and soon cried innocently if there was something particularly pleasant.
After my father fell ill I would occasionally return home, just seeing my face my father would cry. When I brought him souvenirs from around the country and overseas he would cry aloud. Seeing my father like that, but able to do anything, I would be filled with a feeling of irritation.
My father loved singing and his singing voice could put professional to shame. His specialties were ‘The Bells of Nagasaki’ (2) and ‘Shanghai Homecoming, my little darling’(3). I remembered those days when his beautiful singing voice soft and full of life moved me.
However, the father right before my eyes had aphasia. He had difficultly speaking let alone singing.
One day, I put a microphone into my father’s right hand which was not disabled – “It will be good for your rehabilitation, so sing.” – and suggested karaoke.
My father smiled and shook his head, but I pestered him. “Come on, sing ‘Sake, Tears, Men and Women’ (4).”
It was a song my father often sang.
Even though my father couldn’t pronounce words properly, I watched him as he happily cried while he gave his all to sing. I was at a loss for words.
From the second verse we sang together.
This would be my father’s last duet.
More than any other singer’s song, it is my father’s singing voice that echoes in my heart even now. Even from now on the song I want to hear the most, but will never get to hear ever again, is my father’s singing.
If I were to say I had a singing teacher, now I think it would have to be my father.
On the 19th of March, 2003, my father died. I never knew about it for a long time.
I never realized the betrayal. Continuing to deceive people over many years. In a sense an act you could say is more cruel than killing a person. Manipulating a person’s heart, repeatedly to no end, that is the horror of ‘brainwashing’.
My brainwashing over the course of twelve years. The truth of all of that is written down here.
(1) Aphasia: an inability to comprehend or formulate language
(2) ‘The Bells of Nagasaki’ 「長崎の鐘 」(Nagasaki no kane): a song first performed by Ichiro Fujiyama, 1949 and later taken on by Yoshie Fujiwara (1949) and Yumi Aikawa (1996). The song The Bells of Nagasaki was inspired by a novel of the same name written by Takashi Nagai in 1949, which describes Nagai’s personal experiences as a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The novel was later adapted into a film, The Bells of Nagasaki, in 1950 and then served as the primary inspiration for the 2016 film, All That Remains.
(3) ‘Shanghai Homecoming, my little darling’「上海帰りのリル」(Shanghai kaeri no riru): a popular song from the 1950s with connections to a film of the same name, 1952.
(4) ‘Sake, Tears, Men and Women’「酒と泪と男と女」(Sake to namida to otoko to onna): a song by Eigo Kawashima, 1975.