Visiting Jakushu Itteki Bunko


Places to visit

Last weekend, I went to Jakushu Itteki Bunko, where is in Oi Town, Fukui Prefecture.
Jakushu Itteki Bunko is a facility which the late author Tsutomu Mizukami who was born in the Oi Town, built. His thought on the facility was described in his own words on its brochure.
The following is a part of it.
“I have not graduated from even the village elementary school, because I left for Kyoto when I was ten years old. There was no light in my house, so I couldn’t read books.
Recently the books I possess have been increased, so I decided to build a small library in the village where I was born and open it up to boys who want to read but cannot like the old me. Books should be read by many people. Pick up something out of one of the books and create your life.”


Entering the main building, you can watch an interview video of Mizukami before death.
In the video, Mizukami said, “I was born as the second of five brothers and we were always fighting. When my mother grilled one mackerel, I was given the fish meat but my youngest brother was given only the fishbone, so we got into a fight. Moreover, my mother had not eaten at all. She was just watching the fire grilled the mackerel with an empty stomach.
I was very poor so I feel grateful I have anything now. I appreciate that I can put on my socks. Because I was always barefooted. “


What might his mother was thinking when she grilled the mackerel?
Tsutomu Mizukami had grown seeing the way his mother raised him.
If he hadn’t had the mother and he wasn’t poor, probably Mizukami literature would not have been born.


*Remarks : Jakushu means the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
Itteki means a drop.
Bunko means a library.


The theater gate of Jakushu Itteki Bunko


The entrance


There was a photo of Mizukami at the entrance in the Wheelchair Theater on the premises.


The stage of the Wheelchair Theater and a bamboo forest.
There was another photo which Mizukami sitting on the floor.
I was filled with deep emotions as Mizukami was really sitting there.


When I walked out of the theater, I spotted a tiny autumn scene.


A thatched house in the garden


The modest sized garden to stroll.
It is the garden which has beauty in nature blended in with the surroundings.


In the main building, the special exhibition of a painter, Sunao Watanabe, who was born
in Oi Town too and passed away at the age of 86 years old in this past August, was holding. He drew many book covers and illustrations of the books of Mizukami.
Sunao Watanabe kept painting simply and honestly while charcoal making and deliver mails.
I can imagine that Mizukami and he found some subjects in common and became close immediately.


Also, the Bamboo Doll Hall is a sight to see. The sixty bamboo dolls which play Mizukami literature literally were alive there. They had a strong presence just being decorated, so what will happen if they are moved on stage? I am sure that it will be breathed life into them beyond dolls.


After taking a look-around, I took a quick break at a rest place, Rokkakudo (hexagonal hall). They brought me barley tea. You can order noodles and coffee.


The place where Itteki Buko is located was once the rice fields where Mizukami’s mother had to do heavy labor. And there is the site of his birthplace at a short distance from there, which no buildings remain and there is only bamboo grove. If I visit it again, I would like to go out there. (H.S)