Reading the Air: hospitals


Otto-chan, father-to-all, and his wife oka-chan, mother to all, decided to make their life’s mission building hospitals in the Yokohama area because post-war care for the elderly was so poor. They had watched their parents decline and die in dark poorly equipped hospitals, their conditions misdiagnosed, nursing care sparse and food inedible, and conditions cramped beyond belief. They both agreed that they would not end up like that, so otto-chan bought land and applied for grants to construct hospitals, and oka-chan, already qualified as a general nurse, went on to train as a nurse tutor so she could teach nursing to their own hospital nurses.

Otto-chan was the youngest of a family of 6, given the name Rokuro, 6th child. His elder siblings said he could never do what he intended, but he did! The first hospital for the elderly was built to coincide with Oka-chan’s graduation as a nurse tutor. She was the main advisor at the internal planning stage, and became the chief nurse.

Then the second hospital was built and the siblings came begging for jobs such was the success of his Japanese hospital¬†venture. Finally there were 4 hospitals, all functioning efficiently and profitably. The partners’ dream has been realized against all odds, so as they got older they could sit back and feel satisfied that patients receiving care in their hospitals, often hospice-style care for terminal conditions, could be certain of the best possible care. Gradually, otto-chan’s siblings and their progeny took over the administration of all the hospitals and the founders could retire.

Then otto-chan became sick with terminal cancer and of course was admitted to his own hospital, the first, his favourite. His room was large, well lit, and well equipped. The second generation of nurses trained by oka-chan cared for him brilliantly day and night, and after two months of excellent nursing, of correct diagnoses, of the finest organic food, he died.

Oka-chan is still healthy 10 years on and receives excellent medical care and surveillance. They were both incredible pioneers in high quality, affordable, private health care in a country that still does not have a national health care system.

hospital care


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