On a sunny Saturday in May, Victoria's journey for a memorial service was to a secluded homestead hidden behind an almost invisible, narrow road.
Upon arriving at the house and speaking with the family, she was intrigued by an aged photograph of a man dressed in traditional yukata sitting rigidly next to a baby snuggled among blankets next to the altar.
When asked, the family expressed they were unfamiliar with the photograph, but assumed the photo had been placed to pay respects to the man.
A quick search among the other photographs revealed a photograph of the same man, only much older. Unusual to have two photos of an unfamiliar relative on the same altar, Victoria and the family investigated the first photograph to discover unsettling aspects which had missed at first glance.
The man in the photograph seemed healthy, but there were folded paper cranes on display in the background; suggesting someone close had been ill. Inspecting further, the baby had its arms tied securely, which led to one conclusion:
The baby in the photograph was dead.
A wander to the family cemetery revealed the baby had been the eldest son, and the loss would have been crushing in order for the family to spend a small fortune for a photograph in memory.
Image: The lost first son.
(27th May, 2017 Victoria Yoshimura, Shonenji Temple, Takachiho)
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