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Couple in their 90s die on same day after happy lifetime together

18 Comments

Heartwarming stories are suspect. They seem hardly true to life. What comes to mind, for example, at the mention of marriage? First, its waning as an institution and an aspiration as single life gains traction. Second, the soaring divorce rate. One marriage in three in Japan ends in divorce. Third, perhaps, domestic violence, or if not that, various forms and degrees of chronic unhappiness, the violence latent and suppressed.

But the reader is forewarned: this is a heartwarming story, though it opens with a death scene. On Nov 21, Yoshitaka Kanazaki, 97, and his wife Teru, 93, were found dead in their futons, in pajamas, “looking just as if they were sleeping,” says Josei Seven (Dec 15). The first thought of police called to the scene was, naturally, foul play, but an autopsy showed none. They had died as they had lived – quietly, peacefully and together.

Statistically, the chance of a married couple dying on the same day is less than one in 1 billion. That such an extraordinary end should befall such an ordinary couple as the Kanazakis stirred national and Internet coverage that would have astonished them, had they lived to see it. Their story, as pieced together by Josei Seven, goes something like this:

When Yoshitaka Kanazaki was born in Itabashi, Tokyo, in 1919, Korea was rioting against Japanese rule, Mahatma Gandhi was honing non-violence as a weapon against British rule in India, and the average salary of a young Japanese worker was 40 yen. Yoshitaka’s family was poor, but no poorer than many others in a time when poverty was widespread. When he and Teru married, the 1930s were running their disastrous course. She worked as a bank clerk; he got a job with a company and became “an ordinary salaryman.” The young couple moved in with his parents – a lifetime arrangement, as it turned out. They stayed on after the parents died. It was the house they died in.

There was a neighborhood cafe Teru frequented – always alone, never with Yoshitaka. Its name is the Cafe Yuki, and proprietor Teruyuki Nakajima, 64, remembers her fondly. “She liked her coffee sweet – six, seven spoonfuls of sugar,” he tells the magazine.

“The couple never was blessed with children,” he continues, “but she didn’t seem to mind. She would joke about how it made life that much easier.” Yoshitaka was ahead of his time: “She’d talk about how he helped with the cleaning and the washing at home, and how happy it made her. Every day she’d say how grateful she was to him.”

In 1967, she was baptized a Christian, and became active in church affairs. She was a swimmer too, a qualified instructor. She introduced Yoshitaka to swimming. “But they always swam at different pools,” laughs Nakajima. They were a lifetime couple, “but they certainly weren’t together 24 hours a day.”

And so the years passed – quietly, uneventfully, in happiness and health until, apparently, the very end, when a neighbor noticed them both growing visibly feeble. This was in mid-November. A week or so later it dawned on people in the neighborhood that days had passed without anyone seeing the Kanazakis. They called the police, who found them, and confirmed that the death they died was, maybe, of all deaths, the most desirable.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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days had passed without anyone seeing the Kanazakis

So how can you be so sure they died on the exact same day? After that much time, even CSI couldn't swear to it in court

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not a bad way to go.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So how can you be so sure they died on the exact same day?

because it makes the story nice and sweet. Just like Hachiko came to the station to look for his master and not to eat the free food he got. Stop being so cynical Sensei.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Nice to read a story like this in the morning instead of one about one spouse killing another because they were bedridden. I'm grateful.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Well, I guess, sensei258, if they didn't die at around the same time we might have to face the rather sad and gruesome prospect that one or the other got back into the futon later with the other already there dead and maybe even on repeated occasions.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Exactly, perhaps dying of a broken heart, or loneliness but

Statistically, the chance of a married couple dying on the same day is less than one in 1 billion. That such an extraordinary end should befall such an ordinary couple as the Kanazakis

So this entire story is built on supposition and speculation, not the truth

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"So this entire story is built on supposition and speculation, not the truth" Just as most of the news stories in this day and age.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So this entire story is built on supposition and speculation, not the truth

Actually, that would be what your comment is based on.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Jesus H Christ people. Just smile at a nice old couple dying on the same day instead of pining away for the lost one and dying alone. They died close enough together to think they just wanted life together or not at all.

Has all sense of wonder, romantic sentiment and the ability to digest a gentle story been overcome with people too obsessed over nit picking. Often the same people incapable of nit picking when it would actually help something in the world be better.

We should all wish for a life long love and a departure together rather than in longing loneliness for the one who went first.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's very plausible if they only had each other, and were in their nineties.

It took my mother a few months to follow my father because she had a large extended family to love, laugh, sing and celebrate with. And celebrate we did!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If I know Japanese tax officials, they'd try to tax the first person's estate, then the second person's again after only a few hours, leaving breadcrumbs for any children

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Statistically, the chance of a married couple dying on the same day is less than one in 1 billion.

Someone needs to go back to schoool. I checked the original Josei 7 article. They give that figure for the chances of dying at the same time. Still problematic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The average lifespan is less than 40,000 days, so to say that the chance of dying on the same day as your partner is less than one in a billion is clearly nonsense.

Sweet story all the same.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If this is anywhere close to being true, I'm soo jealous of them :D. Ideally this would be a great way to go after living a long comfortably fulfilling life with one's spouse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

theres so much bs in the japanese news I can understand people being suspicious of this story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't particularly care if the truth can be verified or not. I thought it was a nice story, and far more desirable than to read of some psychotic episode involving a married couple. May they both RIP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice story! The thought itself just makes feel fuzzy and warm!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whether the passed away on the same day or within days of each other is not important. They obviously had a bond that connected their souls. May they share eternity together.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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