NYK Line (Nippon Yusen K.K.).
American Hatoba (Wharf), Kobe, c. 1910.
“After all the necessary documentation and procedures had been fulfilled, I had to face yet another major problem – it was the simple matter of the 150 yen fare for the passage to Peru. Professor Umehara knew I was a penniless student and had, from the beginning, consoled and encouraged me by say, ‘Don’t worry about the travel expenses. If it is only that, something can be done’ … I was in the impossible position of not even having 50 yen in cash. I was at a loss as to what to do.
“Once again, Professor Umehara came to my aid. Saying that it was his parting gift, the professor gave me the extremely sum of 100 yen. Without a doubt, such an amount was equal to about two months of his salary. Tears of gratitude came to my eyes. Later, I also received a total of 300 yen from our school and its alumni association as a tradition o-senbetsu, or ‘parting gift.’
“… With their support, I was able to pay the steamship passage. I then had only to await the day of departure.
“That day, April 7, 1930, finally arrived. At the pier along Yokohama Harbor about 250 of our classmates, carrying the school flag before them, came to send off Uchimura and me … gave us a magnificent send-off. Many times, they dedicated to us rousing cheers of ‘Banzai! ‘
“Eventually, the ship began to move away from the pier and streamers that I held together in great sheaf began to break away, one by one. It seemed, as each of the tapes broke away, my motherland became a step further away.
“Tears rushed to my eyes. I felt as if something was striking at my breast. The people who had come to see us off slowly became smaller in the distance and I repeatedly called out, ‘Sayonara! Sayonara! ‘ as tears choked off my voice.
“Overwhelming sadness filled me, for I knew that I might never again set foot in my motherland. In this manner, we embarked on our voyage to Peru.”
– Adios to Tears, by Seiichi Higashide, 1993