stories

When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter2 (all)

"Are you saying that the Shogun came back to normal?" asked the chief-of-staff, fat like a businessman, sticking his head to the room. He looked around, frowning at the disorder.
"Well, perfectly normal, I would say," said Shimada, a doctor, with serious wrinkles between his brows. He sat on the floor face to face with Kinjiro. "He remembers everything that happened before his breakdown. Also he seems to be recalling more and more about what happened while he was ill, although gradually. For example he knew my name."
"But he didn't seem to know mine," said Kanasugi, the nurse, behind him, staring at Kinjiro through her glasses with a nasty look.
Kinjiro slowly looked back at the chief-of-staff and bowed. "I suppose you are the chief-of-staff. Even though I wasn't in my right mind, I knew I owed you a great deal for your kindness. Please do come in."
"Hmmm" Looking suspiciously at Kinjiro, the chief-of-staff entered the room and sat down on the tatami mat.
"Complete recovery? Is such a thing possible?" The chief-of-staff asked Shimada, rudely scrutinizing Kinjiro. "Can a patient suffering from mental illness for almost fifty years recover completely'?"
"Indeed it is possible," Shimada said nonchalantly. "His major symptom was megalomania. Now it turned out to be clear that it was the manic state of what Krepelin recently identified as manic-depressive psychosis. Krepelin regarded mania and depression as the two sides of one single disorder. He reasoned that these two states alternate at regular intervals in one patient. In applying his theory to this patient, I can say that he is now in a transitional period from mania to depression, an interim of sanity.
"What... what is that?" Kinjiro slid on his knees toward Shimada. "What kind of disease is megalomania? What kind of madman was I?"
"Do you want to know?" The doctor gave him a sly look.
"No!" cried the chief-of-staff. "Don't tell him about his symptoms."
"Right. Don't tell a patient about his disorder. It's the ABC of psychiatry." Kanasugi showed off a smattering of psychiatry in a loud voice, eyes glittering.
"I'm no longer a patient," he shouted back at the chiefof-staff, but suddenly froze in thought. He went limp and muttered, "So, you want to say that all madmen claim they are sane, don't you?"
The chief-of-staff nodded slowly. It seemed that both he and the nurse wanted to believe, for some reason or other, that Kinjiro was still insane.
"Then how much do you remember," asked Shimada, "about the time when you were still in your right mind?"
Kinjiro took a deep breath and started talking, his eyes closed. "I was a bright child. I began my studies at the age of nine and within four or five years I could read the Nine Chinese Classics. I was the kind of child who hated being behind others. While I was young, I was already arrogant and proud of my intelligence. Kids in the neighborhood hated me for that reason. When others did not recognize my talent, I got angry. By the time I was nineteen I was already a competent comb-craftsman. In fact I was already an expert. I presume everybody acknowledged that. But that made me even more arrogant. I suppose I thought I was the center of the universe. Nobody liked me for that reason, and my business started to suffer. So I took to drinking. One day I was drunk and got into a fight with a friend of mine. I got him injured. As a result I was sent to jail. I believe that was when I was twenty-two or three."
"Do you remember the time when you got separated from your wife?" The doctor interrupted.
"Yes, it was about a year after I got out of jail, half a year into the marriage. My wife ran away. She was probably disgusted with me. But memory gets blurred around this time." Kinjiro held his head in both hands.
Shimada looked at the chief-of-staff's face. "What do you think? There is no other way than to diagnose him normal, I suppose. He is capable of self-criticism. He is also aware of what might have caused his insanity. We cannot call him insane."
The chief-of-staff sulked with a glum look.
"Your memory is accurate. The memory that your memory got blurry around the time of separation from your wife is also accurate. Because the direct cause of your disorder lies in the separation." Shimada began to speak to Kinjiro face to face, "You did not want to admit that even your wife didn't want to recognize you. And that's why you began to live in the world of delusions. In other words you escaped into insanity. In that world, you were..."
"A shogun, you mean?" said Kinjiro, looking up at the ceremonious uniforms on the wall.
"Yes." The doctor nodded.
"What kind of things did I do?" asked Kinjiro, trembling. "What kind of bizarre things?"
"I'll tell you." The doctor smirked. Suddenly for some reason, his eyes started to shine. "A rickshaw driver named Shokichi was waiting for his customer at Shinsakashita in Uenosakuragi-cho. And there you showed up and asked him the way to Shinsakashita. Shokichi said laughing, 'You fool, you are in Shinsakashita. ' And you cried back, 'How dare you call me a fool? What's so funny? Is that how to give directions to a stranger?' And you punched him. He punched you back. The two of you started a fight. And all of a sudden you declared solemnly in a stentorian voice, 'Who do you think I am? I am Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Shogun Ashihara, descended nine generations from the Emperor Kammu. How dare a mere lout like you fight back. You maggot. I'll destroy you with my gaze.' So crying you glowered at the man. A man named Otokichi Nakazawa intervened and you bit his stomach. Finally you were arrested by the police."
Kinjiro again held his head in his hands and asked, groaning, "And then I was brought to the hospital, right?"
"Not yet," answered the doctor with a grin. "This time you were let free in your brother Ezo 's custody and the case was settled by your payment of 30 sen for the medical bill. But several days later you showed up at a telephone relay station in Senju."
"What did I do?" asked Kinjiro in a faint voice, making himself small.
"You started to shout. You said, 'I am Fujiwara no Moromi, appointed by the Emperor to be the Grand Minister of the Left of the Fox Deity Temple decorated with the First Order of Merit and Senior First Rank. Today, urgent business requires that I phone Li Hung-Chang in China...' You said all this, rolling your eyes."
"And they sent me to the hospital?" said Kinjiro twisting in agony.
"Not yet. Not yet," said the doctor sneering at him, his lips like a half moon. He rocked his body as if about to jump. "You repeatedly stormed into each ministry, every one of them. One day you broke into the Imperial Palace, of all places, and demanded military funds claiming that you were Ashihara Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, ordained by the Emperor to conquer Korea. On another occasion you trespassed on the Central Meteorological Observatory climbing the fense in broad daylight; I guess you like high places. The list goes on. I could go on forever. Ha, hahahaha, hahaha, haha, ha." The doctor stood up and began hopping back and forth. He continued, eyes bulging, "All these incidents were reported in the newspapers. You became a hero all over Tokyo, or rather, all over Japan. Ahahahahahahaha."
"I made it into the newspapers?" Kinjiro moaned again. "Shame on me! And they still didn't send me to a hospital?"
"Exactly. You were finally sent to a hospital because you caused a certain scandal which further enhanced your reputation as a madman. Heehee, heehee, heehee."
"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?"
"Just a minute" Checking Shimada's attack with a gesture, the chief-of-staff faced Kinjiro again. "I'm second to none in my desire to see you live here comfortably just as before. From your perspective, too, if you stay here you can afford a certain amount of luxury by charging reporters for interviews."
"What? Charging them for interviews?" Kinjiro looked up. "Was I getting money from newspaper reporters?"
"That's right. Mr. Shogun." Kanasugi spoke rapidly. "We charged them from fifty sen to one yen for each interview, and two to three yen if they wanted your picture. One reporter gave us as much as five yen."
"A fortune!" Kinjiro was stunned. "Five yen can buy you a koku of rice."
"Well, prices are higher now. For three yen you can buy a geisha for a night. Oh, my goodness! What did I say?" Kanasugi blushed in a flurry and continued hastily. "Mr. Shogun always handed the money over to me telling me to use it for the other patients. The reporters called him greedy because he squeezed interview fees out of them. But he was extremely generous to us."
Again using the same gesture, the chief-of-staff restrained the nurse, who kept talking with her body leaning forward. He said to Kinjiro, "I would like you to stay at this hospital. But on one..." He cast his eyes down and hesitated. "Condition... I would like you to be your former self, to be Shogun Ashihara."
"What? What?" Shimada reddened in fury. "That means forcing a patient who's come back to normal to fake insanity."
"No, I'm not necessarily forcing him."
Shimada cried shaking a finger at the chief-of-staff, "It's nothing other than forcing. You are threatening to throw him out of the hospital unless he pretends to be insane. That's a violation of human rights." The chief-of-staff turned red and leaned forward slightly. "Now I'm convinced. I suspected you were a communist."
"He is speaking for Mr. Shogun's good." The nurse turned upon the doctor. "How dare you defy the chief-of-staff."
"Shut up! For the good of the Shogun? The truth is it's for your own good!" The doctor rose and screamed. "All you want is the money from the reporters. You, too, bitch! You've been hoarding kickback from the poor madman'"
The nurse shrieked hysterically exposing the red inside her mouth. "When did I get kickback from him? I never spent even a penny on myself. All the money I got from him went to the hospital for the good of all the patients. For the good of the entire hospital!" She burst out crying. "That's too much, too cruel."
"Hey, you! Watch what you are saying," the chief-ofstaff, too, began to shout standing up on his feet. "The money for your research comes from the interviewing fees. You know that very well, don't you'?"
"Each time Shogun Ashihara made a story, they also printed your name as a commentator on his disorder. You've been taking advantage of the madman for your own publicity!" The doctor cried at the top of his voice. "You have no professional conscience as a doctor. What's important to you is your title. That's what you are clinging to."
"You've finally said it," the chief-of-staff shouted back. "You are jealous of me, because they printed only my name, not yours, even though you were the doctor in charge. That got on your nerves. And that's why you find fault with whatever I do."
"Shut up!" Shimada yelled in a frenzy and jumped at the chief-of-staff.
The chief-of-staff began to strangle his opponent, yelling. The nurse kept weeping.
"Stop! Please stop!" Kinjiro covered his ears with his hands to block out the intolerable noise. "My head is ringing. Help! The noise is driving me mad!"