The book I ordered from the U.K finally arrived. With this, I wanted to consolidate some of the information I’d dug up on the internet and hopefully find some fresh leads of the Japanese family that our rich pearl dealer Mr. J married into. Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the story so far.
Alas, the book about Mr. J and his Foundation, although confirming a lot of what I thought, does not bring much new information to the table. I scoured the index for any Japanese names and read through the opening chapters about his life. The remainder of the book is focussed entirely on the Foundation’s growth and achievements. I am very disappointed that Mr. J’s personal life and business in Japan was neglected. The book says absolutely nothing about the family he married into, save for one clue which I already had – that his wife was the daughter of a consulate official. It did contain a picture though, as you can see above. It matches the one found in the house, so there’s no remaining doubt that we’ve solved the mystery of his identity.
Anyway, here are the useful points, verbatim from the book. I’ve changed the names to initials where necessary.
And it was to Japan that the twenty-nine year old Mr. J went in 1947. … Mr. J remained based in Japan for the rest of his remaining life. He embraced Japanese culture and mastered Japanese business. He learnt the language. And in 1950 he married Miss. S.K, whom he had first met some fourteen years earlier. (She was the daughter of a Japanese consular official). And, in time, he built up one of the largest cultured pearl dealerships in the world. It was an impressive achievement, and one grown from modest beginnings.
So with this, we know for sure when he left for Japan, when he married and who his wife was. Good stuff.
The uncle who ran the jewellery business died early in 1948, and Mr. J … made the bold decision to move to Japan, to set up his own there in the pearl trade. It was a decision that in time – and after much hard work – paid rich dividends.
Mr. J, however, was never a blinkered slave to commerce. He was a man of diverse interests. He loved horse racing and enjoyed the arts. He was well read, retaining always a special admiration for the genius of Shakespeare. And although he remained based in Tokyo, he and his wife (they had no children) travelled extensively in Europe, America and Asia.
A bit of new information here. We learn just a touch about Mr. J and his interests. Also, we confirm that he had no descendants and travelled *with* his wife abroad extensively. This is important because there was speculation on the Japanese message boards that his wife may have been largely neglected and confined to the Hotel Okura. Of course, she still may well have been in her day-to-day life – we can’t yet be sure – but this book says she at least went on trips with him.
Mr. J … died unexpectedly in New York in 1991.
Mr A.G … became an ‘independent director’ of five or six companies, both listed and private, amongst them Mr. J’s international pearl-trading business. … But with Mr. J’s death, matters became more urgent and concentrated. Mr. J, during his life, had provided that all his resources should – at his death – pass to the Foundation, and Mr. G found himself charged with the business of seeing this carried out. It was a huge undertaking.
‘The first task,’ Mr. G recalled, ‘was to gather in the money: to track it down and to recover it.’ Although Mr. J had in fact sold his original company to its long-serving Swiss manager at the end of the 1980s, he had continued to trade and deal independently as a sole trader. By the time of this death his interests and his assets were once more scattered over five continents, The process of recovering the J fortune took the best part of three years to complete, but in the end was almost entirely successful. The was only one bad debt, in Hong Kong.
Finally, we confirm the date of Mr. J’s death and also the location. New York..? That’s a surprise to me. And even moreso that it was ‘unexpected’. Perhaps a heart attack?
Also of interest to me are the words ‘all his resources should – at the time of death – pass to the Foundation’. What does this mean? Did Mr. J abandon his family and in-laws and donate his entire fortune to the Foundation he created? Is this the cause of the summer retreat/K-house falling into disrepair and becoming a haikyo? What became of his widow and her family after he died?
Questions, questions. We cannot say for sure that he left them with nothing. Perhaps his donations to them were omitted from the book for brevity or because of their personal nature. One thing is on my mind though. Does this somehow connect to the ominous words of Kaede-san, the Japanese blogger who first wrote about the Royal House?
But because there was no information on the internet, I went to the library to research. While there, I felt that I’d learned something I’d prefer not to have known.
He has since removed the pages he posted about the haikyo, which is strange. But here’s the link for posterity anyway. Perhaps he learned that the family were thrown into disarray from Mr. J’s sudden death and loss of financial support..? It’s still just a theory.
Well then, now all that remains is the mammoth task of figuring out just who the K family were and what happened to their house. Hmm…