Boys! Throw away your knives and pick up some books!少年よ、ナイフを捨てよ、本を取れ!


On the evening of June 18, 1960, when I was 18 years old, I stabbed to death a gang member I was fighting with and I was arrested the next day on June 19.

As a result of that, I was sentenced to 7 years and I was sent to Iwakuni Juvenile Penitentiary.

However, only 10 days after arriving at the facility, I had a fight with my cell-mate in which I caused serious injuries to his face and head that required 16 stitches.

As a result of that, I went to trial and was given an additional sentence of 6 months.

In addition, I was thrown into a prison cell with my hands in handcuffs and I was given the strictest punishment, “solitary confinement,” which lasted two months.

All day long, I was forced to continually repeat sitting “seiza” (sitting upright with your legs folded under you) for one hour and then sitting at ease for 30 minutes at the guards’ commands.

In my single prison cell, I experienced unspeakable mental anguish as I shivered in the dreadful cold.

While I was in my cell with no one to talk to and nothing to do, I looked back on my past and thought fondly of the days when I was in elementary and junior high school and I realized how wonderful it was to have studying or work to do and I also realized how important the existence of other people was.

As I remembered seeing my father’s tears for the first time in the interviewing room of the juvenile detention center, I felt that I had to respond to his deep paternal love for me.

As I thought of and mourned over the victim that I had stabbed to death, I wished that we had met as “friends” who loved and helped each other rather than meeting as a “murderer” and a “victim.”

After I got out of prison, as I changed jobs such as working as a truck and taxi driver, an interpreter, an English conversation instructor and running an English cram school, my three English autobiographies were adopted and used as teaching materials by some high schools and universities and I began to be invited to give lectures as well.
1995年4月、月刊英字新聞The Seto Inland Timesを創刊し、テレビ、新聞、雑誌などの取り上げるところとなった。
In April 1995, I launched the monthly English newspaper “The Seto Inland Times” and it got mentioned on TV and in newspapers and magazines.

I think that living in “freedom” is far and away more important for people than making money and fortunes.)

We have to cherish our one chance at life, cherish the people that we are fortunate enough to meet and it is important to experience as many things as we can and to enjoy life.


Our teens and twenties are supposed to be the best times of our short lives, but I celebrated “Coming-of-Age Day” in a prison cell in a juvenile penitentiary with my hands in handcuffs.


It is a terribly sad thing to spend your treasured youth in a prison.

The English studies, which I began in my prison cell, brought about a great change in my life, which had had no joy in it whatsoever.

It changed my outlook on life completely even though I had dropped out of junior high school and I had hated studying and working.

I was very ecstatic with the continuous changes in myself from the new knowledge gained by reading books.
Even while I was sent from prison to prison from Iwakuni Juvenile Penitentiary to Yamaguchi Prison to Tottori Prison, I continued to study English on my own.

I was 18 years old when I was arrested and I was just two months short of being 26 years old when I was released on parole.

At that time, Japan began to be in a situation in which there was a high frequency of incidents of people being stabbed to death by knife-wielding youths.


Now, as a father of two children, I can just imagine the pain and sadness of parents who have worked hard to raise children who then end up being killed or end up becoming murderers.

I have had a life full of regrets and ups and downs, but my habit of reading books and studying English gave me something to live for and led me to experience happiness.

The wonderful feeling of achievement that I experienced after my small(and continuous) efforts which were aimed toward the goal of “English language acquisition” and other people’s appreciation of the results of my efforts were the source of my confidence and desire to work harder and harder.

You young people, who are bored with life and want more excitement, throw away your knives and pick up some books!
That is where you’ll find a brand new world.

The present is a result of the past.


Change your ways!

If you do, your future will definitely get better as a result.

If you resort to violence or escape from reality by sniffing thinner or taking stimulants, you will suffer the consequences your entire life.


I didn’t study when I was in school, but through reading books, my world, which was boring and uninteresting, was changed into a “thrilling and exciting world”.

I discovered a completely new world in the English grammar books I opened in the prison cell.

The excitement and joy that are achieved by learning cannot be replaced by anything.

The knowledge that is accumulated through reading books becomes a treasure that cannot be taken away from you by other people and will never run out no matter how much it is used.

If you do not like school, you don’t have to go, but it is important to have the ability to understand others and to make yourself understood to others.

This ability is more important than academic abilities.

“Education” does not merely mean going to school.

It does not mean attending one of the best universities and bragging about it to people, either.

The basic purpose of education is acquire the ability to “communicate with other people”.

No matter where you are, no matter how old you are, you can always re-educate yourself by reading books.

We all have “happiness” and “unhappiness” inside of us.

The question for each one of us is which one of the two we are going to get rid of.


You should not blame your problems on society, school or your parents.

Anyone, anytime, anywhere, can become happy on their own.

Studying and work are “enjoyable” things.
Studies or work that we do of our own choice, even if they are accompanied by pain, will be rewarded through the wonderful results of the sense of “achievement,” “self-confidence” and “ability.”

A person who has “curiosity” and tries new things is a person that is happy.

A person who has fallen into the trap of having no “intellectual curiosity” and who has “stopped thinking” is just the same as someone who is dead.

A person who has never experienced pain or trouble can never become happy.

Happiness does not mean never having felt any pain from the start, it is a person who has pain and who reduces that pain a little through their own efforts.

Only a person who has suffered with illness can truly know the value of good health and only people who have suffered from hunger can truly know the taste of food.

To a person who was as completely ignorant as I was, one book was exactly the same to me as “food to a starving person.”

I was rescued by reading books.

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