Yashiro (in Oiso) to Bernard Berenson

1017 Oiso, Kanagawa ken, Japan

16th April, 1951

My dear B.B.,

Last December I underwent a surgical operation. The operation itself was successful, but the complete healing takes so much time. I stayed full two months at a hot spring, which finally cured me -- not completely yet, but almost. I began to move about ten days ago, thank heaven, & came back home.

Meanwhile, that is, while I was away from home, your books, Caravaggio & Echi e Reflessioni, which you so kindly sent me, have arrived, to my great delight. Now my Italian is very poor, but with dictionary & also with the help of my friend, who knows Italian, I am reading some parts from them. I am ashamed to say I have not studied Caravaggio, but he seems to be very very interesting, & your new treatment of his art would certainly inspire me. I thank you very much for your gift of books.

Sometime ago a Japanese scholar Mr. Fukumatsu Miwa came to see me and after telling me how he began to write to you and how you very kindly answered him, he asked me to help him in translating your works into Japanese & also to write a preface to his translation, when it is published. I was only too glad to comply with his requests, because I know him to be a conscientious young scholar . Moreover he is the son-in-law of my great friend Mr. Kojima, who, alas, died last year, & who once called on you about twenty years ago. I am happy to think that a good Japanese translation of your works would come out. I shall help Miwa as much as I can to make his translation accurate & good.

Kenneth Clark wrote me sometime ago & told me that he would try to find post for me in England. He also told me how he called on you in Italy, which was a great news to me. Kenneth & I were used to call on you at I Tatti very often together & his description of you & of Florence reminded me of our happy days in Italy about twenty years ago. Kenneth sent me his book “Landscape into Art”, which interested me very very much. All these years I have only published books in Japanese & have nothing to send either to you or to Kenneth. I am ashamed.

About a week ago Oswald Sirén came to Tokyo. He came to Japan to prepare a new edition for his big book on Chinese painting. This is not a good time to see private collections.

Now it seems that the whole world is in a poor condition! All my friends abroad kindly tell me that I am the best person to write History of Eastern Arts with an international point of view & also with a direct knowledge of Eastern cultures & languages, yet my desire to go abroad & work on that subject, seems to be difficult to be realized, although these friends of mine, and you especially, who are so influential, are helping me. I must leave to be patient and take things with philosophy.

I have not written to Auriti for a long long time. I hope he is well. It is just possible that I may come to Italy in early Autumn. My official duty as Commissioner of National Museums & National Treasures would be a little freer in Autumn, & I might be able to go abroad for a short trip in order to see art-administrations & Museum administrations in Italy & France, etc. I am not interested at all in administration, but I shall welcome the chance to go to Europe, if only to call on you. Also I may give lectures at Tucci’s Institute, if I go to Europe at all. Nothing is certain yet, but I am looking forward to it. Meanwhile, hoping that you are well, & enjoying the beautiful sun of Spring in Italy now,

I remain,

Yours ever sincere pupil,

Yukio Yashiro