“She rode on a ship from Yokohama pier, taken away by a foreigner.” – Akai Kutsu
Yamashita Park in Yokohama is the place where the luxury passenger liner Hikawa Maru is docked and where you can find the famous “Little Girl with Red Shoes On” statue.
Her name is Kimi and her true story came alive through Akai Kutsu (‘Red Shoes’) song, composed in 1922.
At the age of 3, Kimi was given for adoption to an American missionaries couple by her single mom. Kimi contracted tuberculosis and she was unable to take the long journey to America. She was placed in an orphanage in Tokyo where she died at the age of 9. Her mom never found out what happened. She thought Kimi had gone to America.
“A young girl with red shoes
was taken away by a foreigner.
She rode on a ship from Yokohama pier
taken away by a foreigner.
I imagine right now she has become blue-eyed
living in that foreigner’s land.
Every time I see red shoes, I think of her
And every time I meet a foreigner, I think of her.
When she misses Japan where she was born
I imagine she stares at the blue sea
and asks the foreigner if she can go home.”
Hikawa Maru, nicknamed the “Queen of the Pacific,” is a luxury passenger liner that operated on Yokohama – Vancouver – Seattle route between 1930 and 1960.
Now a museum, Hikawa Maru is docked at Yamashita Park, Yokohama.