Yashiro (in Oiso) to Bernard Berenson

No. 1017 Oiso
July 19th

Dear Master,

A few days ago your new book “Sketch for a Self-Portrait” arrived. I have read it immediately with the fervour of a hungered man for food. Before I begin to read it more carefully over again, I write this letter of thanks to you.

The fine mechanism of your mind, how it works with delicate nuances of colours and shades, is told so clearly that it is altogether a revelation, both the great mind which is in you, and the way how it is analysed and explained. It is one of the best human documents I have ever read.

I may wish too much, but can I ask you to write another book in which you tell more details about your life? For those who come after you, such as I am and many others, the more details of your life, for instance, what books inspired you most in your younger days, what paintings opened your eyes, what inspirations you have got from whom, etc. etc. would teach a great deal. Don’t think that I say this, because I am dissatisfied with your book -- no, instead, I really finished reading your book with a sort of religous admiration, too much to be expressed with my English -- but at the same time I cannot help telling you frankly that you have still innumerable precious things in yourself, which you might give to posterity for their education. They are your own experiences in the course of your studies in life. I am quite sure that all those details do not interest you to write down, but those life-experiences of a great man, told in concrete details, are really the spiritual food for those who follow the footsteps of that great man. So please think of leaving behind you “Memoirs” or “Reminiscences”, which if you yourself do not care to write, please dictate them to some others, so that they can write down and transmit to posterity.

It is already some time since I received your last letter. I am very very grateful to you to mention me to various people from America, some of whom wrote to me. Most of all Prof. John Coolidge, Director of Fogg Museum wrote to me twice. He wishes to have me at the Fogg, and really there is no place so welcome to me as the Fogg. But his second letter, which he wrote after he reached home, said that the circumstances of the Fogg did not seem to allow him to attain his idea very quickly. Well, everything depend upon heaven! I have learned to be patient and accept what destiny bids. Meanwhile in Japan I am elected to be member of the Board (of five members) in charge of all the national treasures, national monuments & museums in the country. It is a very high position but I don’t know if I shall enjoy the work, which would take much of my time.

I am a very bad letter writer. And also my English has become very bad. Please ask Miss Mariano to read these ugly scribbles to you, which however contain my best wishes to you. 

Yours ever,

Yuki Yashiro