Yashiro (in Oiso) to Bernard Berenson

[letterhead: The Institute of Art Research / Ueno Park, Tokio/ Telephone, Shitaya 3487]
No. 1017 Oiso
Kanagawa-Ken, Japan

Dec. 12th

Dear B.B.,

It is already a long time since I wrote my last letter to you. Sometime ago I saw in the American Journal “Time” an article on you, which I read with great interest. The photographs of I Tatti, of you and Miss Mariano touched my heart very deeply. They made me feel, as if I were with you walking up and down among cypresses and flowers of that beautiful garden, which is so familiar to me. I am very happy to know how you look like, old but healthy, and the garden as quiet and beautiful as before. How I want to call on you there and to repeat my studious days, long past, over again in my memory.

I thank you very very much for your effort to find for me a post in some American institutions. Sometime ago, Mr. Upham Pope wrote to me indirectly about the possibility of inviting me to join his Asian Institute at New York. But later I was told that his fund is not enough to have me at the present moment. A few days ago I got a letter from Mr. John Coolidge, Director of the Fogg Museum, which he wrote at Portofino near Genoa, after seeing you at I Tatti. He very kindly tells me that he has plans to enlarge Fogg and that, in case his plans be realized, he would think about me. Although he says that he does not know when, yet the letter pleased me very very much, because it gave me some hope for the future and also because it is the outcome of your kind talk to him on my behalf and of his own good feeling for me. I pray to heaven that the day of realization would come soon.

Indeed, as you say in your last letter, many American universities are extending Far Eastern studies, but for the moment they are mostly more concerned with practical questions, as geography, economics, politics, religion etc. than with art and culture, and my chance seems still slight, unfortunately. By this time, with the nation’s fate, I have learned patience enough. My happiness is that I can still have a hope for the future, with your kind considerations for me & those of my foreign friends.

Is not your new book published in English yet? I am very anxious to read it. Please send it to me, when the English edition is issued.

In my last letter I think I told you that there is a possibility of myself being elected to be Director of National Museum in Tokyo. It is gone now. About half a year ago the military government of the American Army thought that I am the best person to be Director and I was about to be elected. Then the American army seems to have changed its plan and gave back the internal administration to Japanese hands. Indeed in the early part of August the American officials in charge of art-administration in this country have all gone back. Then in October the election was done without American influences and so a new director was elected. He is the ex-Education Minister of the Cabinet, a scholar of Political Economy, a very nice man, a great friend of mine, politically influential, as his career shows, but a man who has almost nothing to do with art, except his taste for Japanese colour prints of the eighteenth century. Japan is really such a country! You would understand how unhappy I am in such a country, and how little chance I have here.

Still my present life is not a very unhappy one. Thank heaven, I have income enough to make a modest living as a hermit-like scholar, writing articles & books now and then. My family are healthy, and they are all devoted to me. But before I die, I want to do something to the history of Eastern Paintings, especially Chinese, something like what you have done to Italian Painting.

I have not written to Auriti for a long time either. I am ashamed for it. I shall write soon.

Please receive my best love to you. My wife, son & daughter all join me in sending their love to you, although they don’t know you yet.

Yours always,

Yukio Yashiro

Please remember me to Miss Mariano.