祈りの言葉 2019年/上野 エイ子

水俣病患者・遺族代表 「祈りの言葉」
Minamata Disease Patient and Bereaved Family Representative’s “Words of Prayer” 

死んでしまった良子 お前は今でも寝たままなの 目は見えるの 手足は動くの
母は もう一度 逢いたい 見たい
死んでしまった良子 この世でお前は何も見えなかった
歩いているの それとも走っているの
死んでしまった良子 お前は母ちゃんと呼べなかった
つらかったろう 淋しかったろう

My dear Ryoko, my dead daughter. Are you still sleeping?
I wonder if you can see, if your arms and legs will move.
As I am your mother, I want to see you again with my own eyes.
My Ryoko, you couldn’t see anything in this world.
Are you walking now? Are you running now?
My poor Ryoko, you couldn’t call me Momma.
It must have been hard for you.
You must have been lonely.
As your mother, I want to apologize to you from the bottom of my heart.

昭和36年3月、私の生きる希望であった娘 良子は亡くなりました。たった2年半の短い生涯でした。
私は、親も兄弟も、そして、夫も我が子も、みんなみんな水俣病で亡くしました。昭和33年8月の終わりごろの夕方でした。いつものように、漁に行って網を引き上げている夫 忠市さんの手が急に震えだしたのです。

In March 1961, my daughter Ryoko, who was my hope for life, passed away. It was a short life of only two and a half years. After Ryoko died, the disease she had suffered from turned out to be fetal Minamata disease. At that time, the cause of the disease was unknown and it was called a strange disease whose patients were accepted by no doctors or facilities. The patients and their family members were helpless, just waiting to die.
I lost my parents, my brothers, my husband, my children, to Minamata disease. The Minamata disease took everyone away from me.
It was an evening around the end of August 1958.  My husband Tadashi’s hands suddenly began to shake, while fishing and pulling up the net.
From this moment on, fierce battle against Minamata disease began. Since I was in the last month of pregnancy, my husband and I were waiting for the birth of our child, talking about the future, saying, “Let’s work hard and buy a house.”

でも、夫は、発病からたった13日でもがき苦しみながら死んでいきました。夫を亡くした私は、悲しみに暮れる間もなく6日後には、娘 良子が生まれました。「オギャー」と元気に生まれた娘を見て、私はうれし泣きに泣きました。「元気に育ってくれるよう、父の分まで長生きしてね」と願う私でした。

However, my husband died in agony only 13 days after the onset of the disease. Six days later, my daughter Ryoko was born. I cried with joy when I saw my daughter born with a healthy “ogaa” sound. I said, “I hope you grow up to be healthy and live a long life for her father”.
Who would have thought that my daughter would be born with Minamata disease? I went to many hospitals, asking for treatment. But no doctor knew what to do. The same tests were repeated over and over again and I was at my wit’s end. Ryoko remained unable to hear or speak.
One night in March 1961, Ryoko started rattling and clenching her teeth, her eyes black and white, suffering from violent convulsions. “Don’t die. Don’t you die!” I almost screamed to my daughter, who couldn’t hear me, and hurried to the hospital. But the next morning, Ryoko passed away. I was devastated at the loss of my husband and my daughter.

良子が胎児性水俣病だったと分かったのは解剖から4か月後のことでした。 「一度でいいから、母ちゃんと呼んでほしかった。」私は、水俣にいるのがつらく、水俣から逃げ出したこともありました。それでも、死んだ良子のことが気がかりで水俣に帰ってきました。

That’s when it happened. The doctor asked me for help saying, “Please allow us to do an autopsy,since we don’t know how your daughter died. . Please help us for the sake of other children.” I didn’t want my daughter dissected, nevertheless they kept asking me for permission for an autopsy. Finally, I had no choice but agree to do it.
There are no words to express the sadness I felt that day when I carried Ryoko home on my back. She was lighter in weight after the dissection.
It was four months after the autopsy that they found out that Ryoko had fetal Minamata disease. “I wanted her to call me Mom just once.” It was hard for me to stay in Minamata, and I ran away from Minamata. Even so, I came back because I was worried about Ryoko, who had died.
After returning to Minamata, I heard that a welfare facility for Minamata disease patients, Meisuien, was being built. I thought I wanted to work at Meisuien, where Ryoko might have been admitted if she had been still alive. I worked at Meisuien until I retired, taking care of the people who were suffering from Minamata disease, just like Ryoko.


have been living my life with a heart for the precious lives that died in Minamata disease and for Yoshiko who passed away in my place, step by step, enduring the painful sorrow of losing my family to Minamata disease, and overcoming my anger and hatred.
But I have never forgotten the discrimination we suffered and the words that caused us pain.
I am not the only one. Minamata disease patients and their families, even when they were in physical pain, in agony, or wandering in the depths of despair, they have continued walk forward to appeal as much as they can that such a tragedy should not be repeated again.
I will be 92 years old. soon. I would like to make a request to everyone here. Please never let the sacrifice of the lives of the many people who died from Minamata disease be in vain. Please promise me that you will take good care of nature so that you will not have to go through the painful and sad experience like I did. Please don’t forget about Minamata disease.

Lastly, Tadashi, Ryoko, please rest in peace. I will be coming to you soon. Looking forward to seeing you again, I will live my life to the fullest for now.

October 19, 2019

患者・遺族代表  上野 エイ子
Eiko Ueno,
Representative of Minamata Disease Patients and Bereaved Families

Reference Minamata City Minamata Disease Museum Website
翻訳 水俣インパクト  translated by minamata impact


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