Yashiro (in Oiso) to Bernard Berenson

1017 Oiso, Kanagawa Ken, Japan.
Dec. 1st

My dear B.B.,

Thank you very much for your letter of Nov. 25th. I should have written to you long ago, but early in autumn, that is to say, on Sept. 8th, a great family misfortune fell on us; our only daughter, Yoko, 22 years old, the joy and pride of her parents died after a very short illness, and we are altogether dazed by the blow! and have not recovered yet. My wife is crying all the time & I cannot leave her alone in our lonely house!

It is only the passage of time, which is a natural cure for our pain; we are regaining our energy little by little.

This is the reason why I have been silent to you so long. Now I must begin my work again.

I am very glad to know that you are well and healthy. I want to see you again very much! You ask me about Namio Egami’s Die Alte Zivilisation Nordeurasiens, Kyoto, 1948. I know the book & also the author, who is a good scholar. The book is fully illustrated but it is only published in Japanese language. I do not know, whether that book can be found at bookshops -- such scholarly works, which are printed only very few, disappear from bookshops very quickly. I shall try to find it & send it to you.

The Japanese translation of the Italian Painters is making a progress, not very quickly but steadily by four translators, under my supervision. The illustrations printed by Phaidon press arrived here already. Our custom officers insisted to tax these imported prints, but by my own repeated explanations, they made exceptions and allowed us to get the prints without tax! Our custom-officers proved themselves reasonable for the first time, as far as I know! A great success for the Japanese edition!

For the Japanese edition, I am writing the Introduction, which would be in effect “Berenson and the Italian Painting”. This is necessary, because our countrymen know so little about Italian Painting & therefore even about BB’s famous studies of Italian Painting. Can I ask you to write a short preface to the Japanese Edition, which I will translate and put at the beginning of the book? Please mention in the Preface that I am your pupil, who studied

(to be followed in the next letter)

[second aerogram]

With you the history & criticism of Italian Painting from 1921 to 1924 for the first time & who came look to I Tatti very often since then as his native place, spiritually speaking, etc. I am quite sure that the Japanese translation to be made by those four scholars, who are very highly respected in Japan for serious studies, would produce a very deep impression on our scholars of art and also on our lovers of art.

There is a possibility of my visiting Europe again sometime next year. An exhibition of Japanese art would be brought to Europe in near future, probably in 1956 & to France, England, Holland & Italy, & I think I shall have to visit those countries, in order to make preparations beforehand. If I come to Europe, of course I shall call on you at I Tatti as the greatest desire of my heart.

Sometime ago my old friend Georges Salles of the Louvre came to Tokyo. He brought an Exhibition of French art to Tokyo, which was a very great success. We talked about you a great deal & finally we wrote to you a postcard which you must have received. It is very nice to meet old friends.

Under separate cover, -- no! by parcel post, I send you a copy of my work on the Annunciation in Art, which was published in Japan many years ago & reprinted again. It is my study on the artistic development of that fascinating subject. As a study it is still very inadequate because staying in Japan it is impossible to get necessary materials and also to get up-to-date informations about the materials, which I have used. I really wish that I can stay in Europe for sometime & rewrite the book in English, making it up to date. So please don’t be too critical on the book, but rather take it as a token of my love for Italian art.

As I came to the end of this letter paper, I say good bye to you, praying for your health & happiness.

Yours ever,

Yukio Yashiro