Life wasn't always easy for Takaaki Inamura. He was
born in Tokyo in 1927, and spent his early childhood as a typical
Japanese boy in peaceful Japan.
life changed drastically for Takaaki in his teenage years. His
country lay in ruin and defeat brought by the devastation of World
War II. Takaaki, like so many others, spent much of his youth
roaming the countryside, looking for food and trying to survive.
As a man he entered the trading business and worked
hard to contribute to his country's reconstruction. Japan did
recover and made astonishing economic growth, regaining respectable
status again among the world's nations, thanks to her hard-working
citizens like Takaaki.
There were good times in Takaaki's life. He married
and had a family. He told stories to his beloved son Ichi about
other, happier, places far away that perhaps didn't wage wars
among their peoples.
"Ichi, look," he would say, pointing
to the night sky, "far past our galaxy, there are other planets
like Earth where human beings live like us. Maybe it's a better
place. More peaceful and happier than ours. It's so far away and
no one can go there for now, but some day, we will invent a super
rocket so that we can go there . . ."
Takaaki had experienced technology at its worst,
as an instrument of war. Now he only wished for technology as
a means to a better place and a happier future.
After years of hard work and success, it was finally
time for Takaaki to retire to a life of ease and leisure. He chose
the island paradise of Hawaii in which to live peacefully and
happily. But it wasn't meant to be. Doctors diagnosed Takaaki
with diabetes and kidney disease.
His health may have diminished but his affection
for the universe never did. He repeatedly told his son, "If
I can go to the moon, I am ready to give up all of my wealth."
Takaaki Inamura died on January 17, 1999, at age
72. Now at last he makes his long-sought journey to space, to
that better place that he yearned for his entire life. His son
Ichi will look up in the night sky and say, "You made it,