Eisuke's Little Girl
Eisuke had a university degree in economics and another in mathematics, but his true love was his music. His wife, Isoko, was the granddaughter of Zenjiro Yasuda, the founder of the Yasuda Bank and one of the world's richest men. Zenjiro Yasuda had amassed a personal fortune of more than one billion dollars before his death. The Yasuda family was not happy when Isoko fell in love with a musician.
Eisuke's little girl was born on her grandfather's palatial estate overlooking Tokyo, where 30 servants made sure that everything was perfect. The emperor's compound was located nearby.
When Eisuke's little girl was 4, her brother Keisuke was born. That was the year Japan invaded China and anti-Japanese sentiment began to escalate in the US. When Eisuke's little girl was 8, her country bombed Pearl Harbor and anti-Japanese sentiment peaked at an all-time high. When Eisuke's little girl was 12, they were driven from their home by an all-night air raid that killed 83,000 citizens of Tokyo. The poor villagers in the countryside did not welcome the children with open arms. Eisuke's little girl often begged door-to-door for food for her brother. She became his protector and strength.
“When I saw my younger brother getting weaker and weaker from hunger every day, I thought I must do something to gain his strength back. I asked him, 'What would you like to eat?' He said, 'Ice cream.' So I said, 'Imagine there is a lot of ice cream in a pail. Have as much as you want!' He got excited and looked so happy. We played this imaginary game every day and managed to survive through those difficult times from hunger.”
Not many years after the war was over, Eisuke's little girl wrote a series of poems that had the feel of traditional Japanese Haikus. They were self-published in a little book called Grapefruit.
Stand in the evening light until you
become transparent or until you fall
asleep. – 1961 Summer
Imagine the clouds dripping.
Dig a hole in your garden to
put them in. – 1963 Spring
Eisuke's little girl gave a copy of Grapefruit to a thoughtful man she met in London in 1966. He was a musician like her father and he needed a protector like her brother. The man fell in love with her book. Later he wrote a song about it.
“Well actually that should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song, a lot of it – the lyric, the concept – came from Yoko, but those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution, but it was right out of 'Grapefruit', her book. There's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and that and I have given her credit now long overdue.” – John Lennon, in an interview two days before his death about his biggest hit, Imagine.
Eisuke's little girl worked so hard at sheltering the thoughtful man from the demands of a too-much world that people began to call her the Dragon Lady.
“A sunset can go on for days. You can eat up all the clouds in the sky. You can assemble a painting with a person in the North Pole over a phone, like playing chess. This painting method derives from as far back as the time of the Second World War when we had no food to eat, and my brother and I exchanged menus in the air.”– Yoko Ono
Roy H. Williams