stories

When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter 2 - page 4

"You are saying I did something more on top of all that? Kinjiro threw his head back for an instant and then curled up on the tatami floor, his head between his hands. He screamed, "What kind of terrible thing did I do?"
"In July of the fourteenth year of Meiji, the Emperor Meiji took a trip to Tohoku." Casting a sadistic smile at Kinjiro, the doctor lowered his voice. "You stepped forward in front of the procession and began to express your thanks to the Emperor for appointing you Generalissimo for the Subjugation of Barbarians. Hee, heeheeheeheeheehee, heeheehee."
"Ah, Ahhhhh." Kinjiro tore his hair. "What an act of irreverence!"
"Then they confined you to Tokyo Lunatic Asylum in Hongomukogaok a, the direct ancestor of this hospital." The doctor walked round the room joyfully. "Your case was diagnosed as mental disorder marked by delusions'. You were in a state of depression before the outbreak of your disorder. Expansive delusions appeared after you became manic; that is to say, in your case mental disorder is severe during the manic state. Now you are back to a depressive state, which means you are back to normal. In your case the cycle between the two states, depressive and manic, is approximately forty five years. Quite long. The length of this cycle varies from person to person. For example, I have a manic-depressive personality; the cycle in my case is approximately as short as one hour. Wahahahahaha." He jumped up and down as though possessed by a fox and landed on his buttocks directly in front of Kinjiro, looked into his face and said, "Do you want to know what happened after you were hospitalized?"
"Did I do anything serious?" Kinjiro stared anxiously at Shimada. "But no matter what I did, I guess the public didn't know what I did inside the hospital. Right?"
"On the contrary," said the doctor, shaking his head. "By then Shogun Ashihara became a national celebrity. Almost everyday newspaper reporters came to the hospital and wrote stories about you. You were perfect material for small boxed columns. Whenever there was news in the political world or some international conflict, reporters crowded into the hospital to hear your off-the-wall analyses and critiques."
"Even today we were expecting a reporter from the Tokyo Daily." Kanasugi pouted in discontent. "I had to turn him away saying the shogun was sick."
"That's too bad." The chief-of-staff made a glum look. "They are always very generous with interview fees. They did a good job in publicizing this hospital, too."
"Now that the shogun is back to normal, I guess they'll stop coming to interview him." Kanasugi looked at Kinjiro reproachfully. "Our budget is going to be tight from now on. The interview fees made things easy for us." She sighed deeply on purpose.
"Also from now on our hospital will get less media exposure," said the chief-of-staff sadly. "So far getting fundings from the city has been relatively easy, because the shogun was frequently in the papers." He inched toward Kinjiro on his knees and spoke to him in politely, "Mr. Ashihara. This is a city hospital. Since we are funded by the city, regulations require all patients fully recovered to leave the hospital. I will have to ask you to do the same."
"What?" Shimada rebuked the chief-of-staff in a violent tone. "Do you mean to throw this seventy-two year old man, with no relatives mercilessly out into the street during such a severe economic recession?"