Japan’s 83-Year Old Schoolgirl Touches Netizens’ Hearts

While it is often the case that a nation’s news will be dominated by stories of crime and controversy, from time to time a story appears that reminds us just how wonderful life can be.

Kaminakabeppu Chie felt that the she hadn’t been able to study all she’d wanted as a child in wartime Japan, so she decided to go back to school, entering high school in 2010. Now, at the age of 83, she is not only studying as hard as she can, but is also a member of the school’s softball club, waiting on the bench during the championship finals with the glove her teammates gave her.

This heartwarming story has captured netizen’s hearts, and soon became one of the Yomiuri Shimbun’s most read articles.

From Yomiuri Shimbun:

83-Year Old High School Girl, On The Bench For The Prefectural Softball Final

On June 23, 83-year old Kaminakabeppu Chie (from Arima, Miyamae ward, Kawasaki), a part-time fourth-year student at Takatsu Municipal High School in Kawasaki, will be on the bench for the Kanagawa Prefecture Part-Time High School Softball Championship finals.

Scheduled to appear as a runner wearing a no. 12 shirt, she is fired up and ready for the match, “I’ll go all out to support the team”. Her favourite phrase is “life is my job”. She is full of enthusiasm, saying “What am I going to do all huddled up at home? I’ll give anything a shot!”.

Born in Soo, Kagoshima Prefecture, she graduated from the locality’s Jinjo Higher Elementary School. She has two children, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. When Kaminakabeppu had been in elementary school, there had been no time to study what she wanted because of practising the bucket relay to prepare for air raids, training with the naginata swords, and farm work [all of which were part of the war effort in Japan]. When she turned 76, she began to want to learn English. After discussing it with the Miyamae ward office, they recommended that she take night-classes at Nishinakahara Municipal Junior High school in Kanagawa, and she went to the school for three years.

Wanting to study more, in April 2010 Kaminakabeppu entered high school. She revises what she has learned at school without fail, telling us that “It’s difficult for me to understand things immediately like the youngsters do. I want to get the sense that I did it myself, and so I always go over my work”.

From time to time, her homeroom teacher, Nakashima Katsumi (45), brought home-made bread and snacks to the softball club, for which he is also the adviser. Last autumn, she was scouted by Nakashima to join the club. Called “Chie” by her teammates, she is loved by everyone for being the mood-maker. The club meets at 9pm for just under one hour. Kaminakabeppu helps with collecting balls and so on, but sometimes she also puts on the glove that was given to her by her teammates, catching the ball and fielding knocks.

She participates in the softball club three times per week, returning home at just past 11pm. Though on these nights she will frequently not get to bed until past midnight because she has to go over her school work, she gets up at just past 8:30am. She keeps herself busy, since she is also affiliated with the calligraphy club and the flower arranging club, saying “Every day is just so enjoyable for me”.

Her first appearance in a public match was on May 19. By the 4th round of matches, her team had a huge lead of 11 — 1, and so her teacher, Nakashima, arranged for her to play left defense in the 5th round. The ball didn’t come her way, but she speaks fondly of the experience, “I was so excited I think I reduced my life expectancy by three years!”

Comments from Twitter:

オレンジ:

She’s amazing! When I read the article closely, I realised she was born in the same town as me!

法水:

This is such a good story…

みよん:

I think she’s such a wonderful person, this really made me smile.

mami:

83-year old grandma high school girl. Studies films, plays softball. She also has a sense of humor! She’s enchanting ^ ^

JNZ ヽ( ・▽・ )ノ ラァーン♪:

I guess she doesn’t think much of it RT @keystone3103: Life really is magnificent. RT @bladerunner1982: 83-year old high school girl on the bench for prefectural softball match. That’s just amazing in so many ways.

Satoo_chan:

I’m glad she’s in such good spirits~ I’m envious of her (:;) RT @superkabu

己戸春策:

This grandma is the coolest. It would be good if those hate speech groups would go back to school and learn something this time.

長光宏輔:

This grandma is too cute for words (・ω・)ノ

ポンピィ:

83-year old high school girl, on the bench for the prefectural softball championship “She participates in the softball club three times per week, returning home at just past 11pm. Though on these nights she will frequently not get to bed until past midnight because she has to go over her school work, she gets up at just past 8:30am.” — I could never do this. Amazing, amazing. Respect.

hiroshi_kiss:

Grandma, you’re so cool. Please enjoy yourself so that you have no regrets.

伊東 聖弥:

Coooooool.

深町秋生:

Funny. Her name is also amazing ["Kaminakabeppu" is a very long, unusual surname in Japanese].

みきのすけ:

Amazing Amazing Amazing!!\(^-^)/

ラミ〜:

When I read this article, I sincerely felt as though if people want to do something, then age really has nothing to do with it.

インドシナ:

Life is my job.

よしみん:

I’ve started looking forward to becoming 83!

けんしろう:

Unbelievable! RT @hina5o
FUNKYっ✧\\d(°∀° )b✧!!!

w_rookie:

Nice news ♪ so I’m sharing.

立見 茂:

She was even in a match! Amazing!!

相田友紀:

Reading this article on the train, it was a bit difficult when I started to well up…

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  • bluesummers

    See this?
    This is what life should be.
    Instead of spending hours online posting racist stuff about Koreans/Japanese people, there are people out there constantly improving themselves.
    Life, fuckers.
    Live it.

    • y.m.

      Yea, only if koreans learn how to accept proper history instead of their made up fantasy. So sad to see the innocent japanese people today get bashed on for no reason. Guess koreans have a major inferiority complex lol

      • yuripie

        lol it seems haters always be haters

      • Wang That!

        Please stop… Your constant post about Korean’s having an inferiority complex and true lack of knowledge on history embarrasses me and the nation because you are Japanese…

        I keep on explaining to people when asked about fools like you (when asked, what is up with all this denial. By friends over here in Canada) that you just are not educated correctly…

        Just stop… PLEASE… you moron’s have no idea on a global scale how bad you make us look… We over sea’s Japanese are now subjected to jokes like… Oh, (pat on the head) I forgot… you poor fuckers never learn about “that”, now did you?…

        • poko d

          Wake up. You are not even oversea’s japanese.

        • y.m.

          The fact that you can’t even stand up for your country’s political view is alot more embarrassing. Wait, are you even japanese? Or are you one of those losers that left Japan behind because you also had a inferiority complex?

          • John Snow

            A country’s political view has nothing to do with personal view. Because these view are projected by the political parties. To gain votes and money. Did you think Chie-san stood up for Japan when Japan went to war with the USA? Knowingly Japan would use Kamikaze tactics and purposely ask young Japanese to kill themselves?

            Its like the country asking Senior High School students who are Chie-san’s classmate to jump off the top of the school building. Just because they believe (told lies) about Americans being lazy and fat. (which many were not, during early 1900s). If that was the case there are no more time like today for Japan to start attacking the USA again.

            People outside of Japan do not care for the bickering between Korea and Japan. Heck, they think Korea and Japan started the war together, and are best of friends!
            Japan and Korea even hosted FIFA world cup together!

            Do you know that foreigners see Japan as the Dolphin eating, Whale hunting and nuclear loving idiots?

            Japan is probably the only country in the world where the government is forcing their elementary school kids to eat poison. (Dolphin and Whale meat are served as mains for school lunches) All the left over mercury laced meat are then turned to pet food.

        • Bingo19842

          i don’t think y.m. and Poko D are Japanese either…

      • poko d

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxcFV7g9oQc

        You are right! They have an inferiority complex!

        • besudesu

          So what does any of this have to do with an 83-year old woman who understands what’s important in life? That woman lived through the war, and doesn’t particularly want to remember it, she wants to enjoy her life and play softball. Could there possibly be a message in that somewhere?

    • chucky3176

      See what? What’s Koreans have to to with anything about this? Why bring up Koreans again? Now imagine what kind of comments there would have been if this woman was a Zainichi? Some of the posters here sort of reminds me of the overseas Japanese posters at Japantoday and Japanprobe – they have nothing but utter hatred comments for Koreans every single day, on even topics that don’t even relate to Koreans. This psychology is an interesting one.

      • bluesummers

        You care way too much about what other people think and when you see something bad being said about your country, you feel compelled to give it back to them even though it doesn’t affect you personally.

        And you know what? I don’t think you’re sick of seeing racist comments about Korean people, no. In fact, you probably welcome it because it gives you an excuse to vilify them and say racist stuff back.

        Right, I’m done with you. I won’t reply anymore because I’ve wasted more than enough time doing so.

  • The Enlightened One

    Yeah, this woman is an inspiration. Why waste so much time hating on each other?

    It’s boring and always ends up badly. This woman will die with very fond and enjoyable memories rather than regret and spite.

  • poko d

    Why koreans or korean americans always make comments connected to themselves even on an unrelated topic?

    • Sillian

      What are you even talking about? Are we looking at the same thing? It was you poko who posted that irrelevant comic strip under that completely unrelated article before. And It is bluesummers and y.m. who are going on about Korea Japan stuff under this article. Not that bluesummers said something wrong. We just got one Japanese nationalist y.m. here so far.

      • Rutim

        Is it hard to change nicknames to get an upvote?

        • Sillian

          OK I don’t know what your problem is. What’s up with the other comment about the pic in another thread? I don’t get it.

          • chucky3176

            Because he too is a Japanese KKK member like y.m. I thought that was obvious.

  • Yaminah Jamison

    Pffft who cares about Yonekura Ryoko being a 35 year old student…she doesn’t compare!

  • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Piratehana

    I support you granny, gambatte and hope you find happiness.

  • Yoda

    May the Force be with you. Inspiration you are Obaasan. Yeessss

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Good for her. I wish I had that same motivation to improve myself as well. I am slightly jealous.

    It is a strange feeling, to want to “want to improve”, while really “not wanting to change”.

    Hoping the coin drops sometime soon, and I take control of my life like this old lady.

  • Mika M

    She is so cheerful!!
    There might be a lot of old people in Japan, but at least they are cool old people :)

  • Lulu

    Does she wear seifuku as wellÉ

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