MAY 28, 1953
TOKYO , Wednesday— Princess Chichibu whom we visited yesterday went to the Friends school in Washington while her father and mother, Ambassador and Mrs. Matsudaira, were stationed in Washington. It has evidently been possible for the Princess to be closer in touch with the people of Japan than is a possibility for the rest of the Royal Family.
Her husband was ill for many years and they lived and had a farm apparently at the foot of Mt. Fuji . She came to know many of the farmers around and the people of Japan had a great admiration for the care and devotion she lavished on her husband during his long illness. As a result, I am told, when her husband died she received more than 5000 letters of condolence. She moved to a little house nearer Tokyo with a very small garden after the Prince's death. Nevertheless she served up strawberries which she had grown herself and she showed us her strawberry patch and explained that here one can have strawberries all the year round. She had overfertilized these strawberries so the foliage was too heavy, she said, but the strawberries she served us were delicious. Straw matting was laid in between the plants to keep the weeds down and wire fence was around the patch to keep the dogs out, she explained.
They told me her farmer friends come to see her about every two or three weeks to talk over their problems and she hopes someday to go back to her old home.
She talked to me about the development of Girl Guides which is the equivalent of the Girl Scouts and also of the Four H Clubs which were established during the Occupation and which she feels will do much for the young people on the farm.
We were served black tea, English fashion, first, dainty sandwiches and cakes, then a dish of strawberries with whipped cream. Later everyone was given a bowl of green Japanese tea and it was explained to me that this was always given to every guest when they were making a business call.
Madame Saito was there on our arrival and a little later Madame Takaki, Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress, came in. She told me that it used to be the custom of Japan when you were going away, to call on all your friends and relatives to say goodbye and each place you had to drink a cup of this green tea which is taken here without sugar or lemon. But she said at the end of your visit you had a lot more tea than you really needed in one afternoon.
The photographers are even more ever present here than in the U.S . Two followed us up the mountain and sat waiting at Mr. and Mrs. Griffith's house the afternoon of our arrival and one of them appeared at dawn the next morning but we were not aware of him until breakfast time when he sent me in a little drawing of himself with a camera and one of me with an umbrella which meant to be an invitation to come outside for a photograph! Mr. Matsumoto went out and told him that Sunday one should not have to be bothered by the press and he rather meekly retired but when we got to Princess Chichibu's there they were in full strength and, in spite of the fact that she told me she did not appear in public, she did consent to have a photograph taken with our whole party out in the garden.
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Tokyo (Japan)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 28, 1953
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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