A Father dies in Flames

A Father Dies

A True Story


Yoshida enraged, leaves the room. He comes back carrying a large can of kerosene. The cap is already off,and Tanaka, his back turned, is showered with the foul smelling liquid. He gets up, but Yoshida is ready and gives him a huge push. Tanaka falls over backwards, smashing into a large kerosene heater, in his rage he gets up, not realizing at first why he feels so warm. He’s a walking fireball! Flames rip into his skin, yet he is coherent,

“Get the women and children out!” he shouts still standing.

The stench of kerosene and burning flesh fills the room.The truck drivers do as told, getting the women and children to safety. Tanaka’s own wife and children stare in horror before being ushered out by the truck drivers. No one tries to save Tanaka; this burning ember of humanity gone wrong, a symbol of how far some people will take a fight to win.

Tanaka had thought it would just be a fist fight.

“I’ll finish it tonight!” he had confidently told his wife.

The dispute had been going on for months. He and Yoshida just didn’t like each other. A joke to close to the mark here, a barbed word there, and a push sometimes. Tanaka thought the worst he would experience was a black eye or maybe a few broken bones, if Yoshida got the better of him. It didn’t end there.


Tanaka apparently had reputedly been with some of the other drivers wives, and that was probably the biggest reason for their animosity towards him.

Buried on the Back Pages like Much of Japan`s Bad News

If it hadn’t been so shocking and tragic it would have been front page news, but in honour of the family’s wishes and perhaps Japan’s image as a safe country, it was put on the back pages. Yoshida claims it was an accident.

Yoshida and Tanaka worked for a delivery or (takubin) company. Their constant bickering had split the local Tokyo branch into two camps. When one steps back for a moment, it is amazing what people will do to each other–how far they are willing to go. You never really know who you are dealing with. Tanaka knew now, but of course it was too late.

In the days following his brutal death, Tanaka’s wife remained catatonic. The children having no one willing to take care of them remain in an orphanage. I don`t understand this part of the story.

What went wrong?

Why do we value each other so little at times?

I’ll tell you one thing. The next time I get a dirty look from someone, I’ll look the other way and remember Tanaka. Tanaka’s tragedy reminds me that my little ones are much more important than winning any petty fight.I want to see them grow up, and be there for them.

*This is based on a true story, but the names have been changed.


The children are now back with their mother. Hopefully the mother and her girls can recover from this horrible ordeal.

About kintaro63

Writer and teacher in Japan
This entry was posted in Crime, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s