Yashiro (in Oiso) to Bernard Berenson

Oiso, Feb. 1st

My dear B.B.,

I am very much worried about your health, as I have not heard from you so long. I do hope that you are well. If you were not strong enough to write a letter, please ask Nicky to write your message to me & to my wife Fumi.

Since last Summer I became very strong & am working as energetically as before. Last year about this time your letter arrived me when I was very ill. Your letter was written soon after you had received the report about me & about my health by Katherine Dunham, who came to see me at the hospital. Your letter, which told me “not to lose hope”, arrived me at the right moment, when I was nearly losing hope, really resuscitated me! I am still carrying that letter of yours in my pocket everywhere I go. In that letter you told me to come to I Tatti, again. I think I can call on you sometime this year. As I became healthy enough, I intend to fulfil my old promise to visit Stanford University, California & on the way back I will pass through Europe, which gives me chance to see you at I Tatti. Please be steady and wait till your old pupil from the Far East appears before your eyes in that familiar place I Tatti.

Last fall my book “2000 Years of Japanese Art” appeared in London. To Japan just one specimen copy arrived me. The book is dedicated to my old master BB. It may not have arrived you yet. I will write to my publisher to remind him that the book should immediately be sent to you. The book is beautifully made, I admit, although the colour-reproductions are not, in the average, up to the Japanese standard of reproducing old Eastern paintings, but they are the best that printers abroad, who know very little about the best Eastern paintings in the original, could do. The book was prepared by the London publishers, while I was lying ill at a hospital in Tokyo. So the book is very unsatisfactory for me as the author, because I could not elaborate on it so much as I could wish. Moreover the publisher took too much liberty in arranging my text. For the sake of the “lay-out” of the plates, even the order of the content was sometimes re-arranged & here & there the logical sequences of the text & of the explanatory comments of the plates were put into confusion!! I want to issue the revised edition as soon as possible. Perhaps you can sympathize with me for being very nervous about the book, which was prepared under the worst possible condition of mine. But without modesty, I can say that with many shortcomings it is the best book on Japanese Art so far, & that it will remain so for coming future, if I can elaborate on it, in its revised edition. I do hope that you will read it. The book seems to have been well received by the public, both in Europe & in America, although I have not seen many reviews.

About the Japanese Edition of your “Italian Painters”, it will come out finally before summer, after many many delays, I am both sorry & ashamed to say. Now the final proofs are being read by the translators & by myself. The book is being advertised in Japan among important “coming books”. You must live long enough to see it at least.

In Rome “Accademia del Giappone” is going to be established (at Via Giulia) in one year or so. Confidentially, I think I shall be asked (or rather am actually asked) by the Government to become its first director, if my health allows. If so, I can meet you frequently in Italy. It is possible that I come to Rome sometime this year in order to direct what sort of building should be built symbolizing Japanese Art & scholarship.

I hasten to post this letter.

Yours ever,  

Yuki Yashiro

Both my wife Fumi & my son Akio send their best love to you & to Nicky.