US Ambassador Kennedy Left Japan Saying "I'll be Back!"
There are many things I regret having missed so far and plenty more I'm afraid I might repeat missing from now on. Atop the ones I have missed with the deepest of regrets is the memories of Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, JFK's eldest daughter and the 29th ambassador to Japan.
I knew she was here as an American Ambassador all along but somehow I've not been as close as I should have been to her activities and behaviors throughout her 3.5 year-tenure here. Why? Likely because, I regarded her not so much a professional diplomat as a welcome friendly messenger to Japan.
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy had left Japan as one of the most well-liked US ambassador the moment I realized she was just as a professional diplomat as a messenger of friendship - as vividly portrayed in her activities in the tsunami-torned Tohoku, visits to Hiroshima and Okinawa, her initiative in staging Prime Minister's visit to Pearl Harbor, etc.
Quite a lady she was in every aspect. I ought to have followed her closer - no use crying over spilt milk.
Caroline was happy to find Matsumoto-san who had sent her a set of hina dolls at the White House which, she said, had sparked her love of Japan and was glad to meet Hinami-san whose husband had captained the Japanese destroyer her father collided with.
In her farewell address, Caroline made a friendly message to young Japanese, quote:
"Most of all, I want to thank the students in the schools n¥and universities I visited all over Japan.
"You taught me a new way of looking at the world and brought greater energy and joy to our encounters.
"You are the best ambassadors Japan could ever want and I hope you will all come visit the United States. The future of our alliance depends on you."
She said she wouldn't say goodbye as she would hope to come back and visit (Japan). "E mama de, hontou ni arigatou gozaimashita" ( I thank you all so much for what you have done to this day.)
I say it again: Quite a lady. (Nathan Shiga)