This is my mother’s story. I can’t write it out fully in detail, so please understand. The names are also pseudonyms.
When my mother was a child, she lived deep in the mountains in Tokushima Prefecture. One day, all of her relatives gathered at her house for an important discussion, so both my mother and her older brother went to bed in the next room early. But, she couldn’t sleep, and she heard her grandfather’s voice coming from the next room.
“Yoko (my mother) is still too young, so Ioki won’t be pleased. We should send Harumi (my mother’s cousin).”
My mother had no idea what they were talking about, but she felt like she’d be saved from something terrible. The next day, Harumi’s parents returned home, their eyes red and swollen.
A week later, they heard that Harumi went up the mountain and had died. My mother’s parents whispered about it to each other before disappearing to her grandfather’s room.
A funeral was quietly held for her, and my mother’s older brother was one of the pallbearers. At the time he said, “The coffin was so light, it was like no-one was inside.”
After that, my mother, her brother and their parents left the village. It was like they were skipping out of town. When my mother remembered what happened, she said, “After we ran out, the rest of our relatives went mad and set out to catch us. We had nowhere to go, so we ran to our small shack up on the mountain. Then Harumi’s father came running towards us with a torch. But when he saw us, he told us to run. My parents bowed their head at him, over and over, and picking me up they ran.”
My mother told me all this when I turned 20. She told me about what happened at the village, but other than that she said she couldn’t say. She’s worried that if this story gets out, the rest of the family will find out where we are. But, these days our family is living a bright and happy existence.
Knowing that my mother had such an experience in her past, it’s amazing that she can live so happily now.