This is a subject that I will ponder over forever.

It happened when I was in fourth grade. The sky above looked as if it would start raining at any moment. On the way home from school, there was an old beggar sitting on the ground. Back then, I often saw returnee soldiers who were rolled in bandages, injured in the Second World War, and their painful figures begging on the street corners.

For that reason, seeing an old beggar on the street was nothing special, but I became concerned by the man that I passed by, who looked feeble with his head down. When I had finally arrived home, it began to rain heavily. I looked up at the cool sky and wondered how that man was doing. Thinking he may be drenched and cold from the rain, I grabbed a big umbrella and went back to the place where he was. He sat in the rain looking weak, as I had expected. I felt so sorry for him and wanted to stop the rain from getting him wet. I instinctively held the umbrella above the man.

It continued to rain. I couldn’t allow myself to leave that spot. The man sat in the same spot as before without saying a word. He did not even look at me once. Still, the man could sit there without getting wet. Even back then, I felt like I was doing the right thing.

The rain did not seem as if it would stop any time soon. I think I was in that position for about two hours. It had become darker as it turned to evening.My mother, worried that I was not home, came looking for me.
“Yoshio, it’s dinner time. Let’s go home.”
“But …I can’t.” I told her.
With a little sterner tone, she said again, “We’re going home.”

Seeing my worried face and the unwillingness to go home with her, she said “Yoshio, you are a kind-hearted, nice boy. I know the pureness of your heart. But Yoshio, think about it. While you were holding that umbrella, nobody offered that man anything did they?”

She was right, I thought.

“Your kindness is truly a wonderful thing, but what if that kindness took away that man’s dinner? Then what did that kindness achieve? To be kind is a difficult thing,” she said.

As if to split my young heart apart, reason and emotion were crashing within me. It was not that I was looking for any kind of reward. If that was the case, wouldn’t the man scold me and tell me to go home? The man didn’t say anything, but he did not look unhappy either... It felt like there was a warm atmosphere between the two of us. I really wanted to do something for that man. And that was why I brought the umbrella and stopped him from getting wet. However, because of this, the old man was unable to get his dinner.

Finding the answer to the question of what kindness truly means was a piece of homework I assigned myself from then on. Kindness sometimes causes someone else to become unhappy. True kindness has the power to see the whole picture and accomplish what you believe will be good for yourself and others.
Real kindness does not need to be emotional. Even if the receiver does not willingly accept it, if you believe that something better would result from it, you should persevere with courage. That is how I chose to understand kindness in the business world, but is this really the right way?

I looked up what “kindness” was online, but even the dictionary did not give a satisfying answer.

La Rochefoucauld writes:
“Nothing is as rare as true kindness. People who think they are being kind to others are usually merely trying to please people or are just weak-minded.”
This is what grownups ponder about. Not something for a 10-year-old child to think about.

What do you think?

From the Archaves

Button-Down Shirt Story 2: The Revival of the Good Old-Fashioned B.D.s

The button-down has a special place in the world of dress shirts. From 1966 to 1978, during the time I was at VAN Jac...


This is a subject that I will ponder over forever. It happened when I was in fourth grade. The sky above loo...

Button-Down Shirt Story 1: B.D. Born in the USA

Kamakura Shirts could not have made it in New York without the button-down shirt. Dress shirts were invented in E...

Yongsoon, my eternal rival

He had suddenly appeared in Yanagi Town in Yanai City where I lived. This was when I was in the fourth grade. I...

The One Phone Call

Kamakura Shirts was finally launched, and a store was opened. All we needed was a factory and a store. Other fun...

We need our customers’ support to keep “Made in Japan” alive

At present, less than 2.7% of the clothing worn in Japan is actually made here. That is only 100 million of the fo...


The standard we aim for is that of the world-renowned shirts being handmade in Napoli. They are true masterpieces,...

Creating Customers

I would like to share the thoughts I had when I started “Maker’s Shirt Kamakura/Kamakura Shirts”. When we first ...


A sock is a buffer between a shoe and your foot; its function is to keep the skin moistened while absorbing excess...

The opening of our second overseas store

-A message from Kamakura Shirts- Kamakura Shirts opened its first New York store in October 2012, at 400 Madison...

One must look after one’s own body

One is responsible for looking after one’s own health. It is important to try things that one believes are benefic...

From Kamakura to New York

We made a decision to open a store in New York. The grand opening was October 30th, 2012, and we decided to open t...

Primed at the Top

All five companies I have worked in disappeared. What I learnt from this was that companies can easily go under. T...

How the New York store came to be

Our New York store had to succeed no matter what. A Japanese company selling Western shirts: I assumed that many...

I stand corrected: My impressions of New York

On October 30th 2012, Kamakura Shirts opened its first overseas store on Madison Avenue, New York. This event made...

To become whom one wants to be (2)

I read Maslow’s book on the hierarchy of human needs. Humans are creatures controlled by their desires, and these ...

To become whom one wants to be (1)

I used to pretend fight like a samurai as a child. There was a manga character named Sarutobi Sasuke. He was said ...
Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)

Welcome to our New U.S website!

What's new?

- Quick shipping! Because we deliver from U.S based warehouse now

- No customs! Because we deliver from U.S based warehouse now

- Loyalty program now available online as well as our stores in NY

Sign up for loyalty program now

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now