At first glance, Hana-chan who lives in Fukuoka, Japan looks like any other typical 5-year-old child. She goes to her pre-school during the day and get her homework done at night.
However, unlike her peers, Hana-chan is an independent girl who is in charge of taking care of her family member
Her morning routine does not just include her getting ready and having breakfast. She also feeds her pet dog, walk the dog, and has piano lesson before she goes to pre-school.
As soon as she goes back home after school, Hana-chan does laundry, fold laundry, clean the bathtub and the house, and even cook dinner for her father
Her specialty is miso soup, a recipe taught by her late mother, Chie
Chie was a breast cancer survivor and this heartbreaking story began in 2001. That summer, Hana-chan’s father, Shingo Yasutake and Hana’s mother, Chie got married.
Chie thought that she could never get pregnant but miraculously, she got pregnant with Hana-chan
Before her death, Chie used to write in her blog. She loved writing about her thoughts and feelings towards her family, especially to Hana-chan.
Chie wrote, “Meeting my daughter is indeed a miracle in my life. I treasure her with all my life, more than I love myself”
However, Chie never thought that one day, her cancer would come back. Chie realised that she had a relapse episode where her cancerous cells grew back in her body.
This was when Hana was 9 months old
Chie knew that she would not be as lucky as she was the first time so she thought something to leave her daughter with.
“Whether I have cancer or not, I’m supposed to die first. It can’t be the other way around. This is why I have to die without any regrets,” Chie wrote in her blog.
“I want to make my daughter able to do as much as she can by herself,” another entry from Chie’s blog said. “I just want to help her so that one day, when she becomes independent, she can take care of herself.”
So, Chie taught Hana on how to cook and do household chores
According to Chie, “Hana-chan, knowing how to cook is important in your life. I would teach you how to handle knives and do household chores. Your education is not complete without knowing these survival skills. As long as you’re healthy and independent, you can survive anywhere.”
Just when Hana turned 4 years old and old enough to hold a knife, Chie taught her cooking. “As a birthday present, I gave an apron to Hana,” wrote Chie.
A year after that, the cancer had already spread to her liver and lungs and Chie could not bear the pain any longer. In 2008, Chie left 5-year-old Hana and her husband, Shingo.
Hana-chan remembers everything that her mother had taught her. She wrote a letter entitles ‘To Mama’ for her beloved late mother. “I want to tell you something. I can make a whole bento now. Aren’t you surprised? I don’t cry anymore. I’m doing my best,” wrote Hana-chan in the letter.
Chie’s blog is full of inspirational thoughts so Shingo decided to publish a book based on Chie’s blog entries.
The book is called ‘Hana-chan no Miso Shiru: 8 Life Lessons from Yasutake Family’
Shingo said that it was not his intention to teach other parents about parenting skills.
He simply wanted to remind Hana about her mother’s perseverance despite facing challenges in life and he hopes Hana to be the same too
‘Hana-chan No Miso Shiru’ is not just Chie’s thoughts and diary. It also symbolises her endless love towads her only daughter, Hana and how she managed to survive cancer for a few years for Hana-chan. The book has now become a best-seller in Japan and is also adapted into a movie with the same title.
Even though Chie is no longer with Hana, we are sure that her memories will always remain in Hana and Shingo’s hearts for the rest of their lives. Chie has indeed left Hana with precious skills and raised her well. What do you think of Hana and Chie?