Hana ni Awan

Meet the flowers

Iha Toshio

This book is an inspiring account of a Hansen's disease survivor who overcame the harsh and cruel societal prejudice. It also serves as a record of a love anthem shared by many neighbors who supported him and lived alongside him.

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Iha Toshio

Born in Okinawa Prefecture in 1943, he began living in a sanatorium for Hansen's disease at the age of 14 and made a full recovery after undergoing treatment at sanatoriums in Okinawa, Kagoshima, and Okayama. In 1969, he entered the Tokyo Colony, a social welfare corporation, and served as executive director of the Tokyo Colony and Zenkoro Incorporated Association for about three years from 1993. In December 1997, he received the 18th Okinawa Times Publishing Culture Award. In December of the same year, he received the 18th Okinawa Times Publishing Culture Award. He has continued to question the literature of leprosy with the publication of Natsu Tsubaki, And. In 2004, he became the president of the Shinshu Okinawa Juku (Okinawa School). Since then, he has been offering special courses on the modern and contemporary history of Okinawa from the basics.

Born in 1943 in Okinawa amidst the fires of the Battle of Okinawa, his life was spared at the age of two. At 14, he developed Hansen's disease. His desk and chair at school were doused with gasoline and set on fire in a corner of the school grounds. The day after his diagnosis, he was forcibly isolated at Okinawa Airaku-en by legal mandate.

In 1960, driven by a thirst for knowledge, he escaped from the sanatorium and left U.S. military-controlled Okinawa for Kagoshima, using a passport. In 1961, he enrolled in the Niirada Classroom of Okayama Prefectural Oku High School, located within the National Nagashima Aisen-en facility. During his studies, he underwent 7 reconstructive surgeries. After graduation, he pursued education at the Tokyo Chuo Labor Institute. In 1969, he joined the Tokyo Colony, a social welfare corporation. From 1993 to three years later, he served as the executive director of the Tokyo Colony and the Zenkoro Association. He retired and transitioned to becoming an author.

In 1997, his debut work " Meet the Flowers " (NHK Publishing) was released. That same year, he received the 18th Okinawa Times Publishing Culture Award. In 2007, "Living with Hansen's Disease" (Iwanami Junior Bunko) was published. He has authored numerous books.

The prejudice and discrimination against Hansen's disease have been strong in society, leaving the socially vulnerable to live with bowed heads and closed mouths, unable to overcome society's stigma. The author has persistently challenged this by asserting that merely living in this manner won't enable them to transcend the societal label. In 2001, individuals whose lives were impacted by misguided social policies filed a lawsuit known as the "Hansen's Disease Unconstitutional Compensation Lawsuit" against the country. The judicial ruling held the government, the House of Representatives, and the House of Councillors accountable, resulting in a victory for the plaintiffs. Consequently, compensation for the damages to their lives was awarded to the affected individuals.

In 2002, with the compensation funds he received, the "Iha Fund, now NPO Culion Rainbow Fund," a scholarship program, was established to support students studying at the School of Health Sciences (SHS) of the Leyte Branch of the University of the Philippines. In 2004, he founded the "Shinshu Okinawa School" and became its headmaster. In 2010, he became a visiting professor at Private (now Public) Nagano University. He continues to be involved in activities related to peace and human rights. In 2019, he relocated to Okinawa.

A book written by Iha Toshio, a recoverer of Leprosy

Hana ni Awan
- Meet the flowers -

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