Untitled Novel (1)

PROLOGUE

Dear Son,

If all goes as designed, this package should reach you around the time of your fiftieth birthday in the year 2015. It may even be your child, my grandchild, who will find these documents at the appointed time. That may as well be, for I was but twelve years of age when the events recorded herein took place. It was 1928 and Japan had not yet been taken over by the militarist dictatorship. My father, the Oxford orientalist scholar, was struggling to assimilate into his adopted country, and Japan, a newly industrializing samurai nation, was struggling to join the civilized world. It was a very different and exciting time.

I arrived late to the game of fatherhood, and am now already fifty, and you not yet one-year-old. I do not expect to live until you read this letter, nor do I expect to remember properly all the details when you are old enough to understand the significance of what I have experienced. When I was a boy, I never envisioned that there would one day be such things as television broadcasts, or jet airplanes, or The Beatles. I suppose by the time this package is opened, you would be reading correspondences on electronic instruments in an air-conditioned home, while a robot hoovers the floor. I hope by then enough time would have elapsed to take some of the venom out of the ancient secrets I am about to record on paper, an archaic recording device in your time no doubt.

What inspired me to write this document is not the passage of time, but an article I found in a magazine. You will find the cut-out pasted on the adjoining page. It is a story of an archaeological discovery in Kyushu of Yata no Kagami a year ago in 1965. It is one of the bronze mirrors believed to have once reflected the face of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess of Japanese mythology. The mirrors are holy relics that legitimize the Emperor and other people of divine authority. Only two were known to the world, both badly damaged. The academics are still in disagreement as to the authenticity of the newly found fragments of the shattered fourth disk. I say fourth, although the article calls it third, because I know the fate of the third relic. I can attest to its authenticity, though I dare not say so in public, for I recognize the design. And I can prove there were four because there are documents, long believed to be destroyed, describing the lineage of the bronze disks, which I have included in this package. The first of these documents was the letter discovered by my father in the winter of 1928.

Since I will not be available to answer questions, I have included all the records, confessions and personal memoirs in the package in your hands, including academic publications, historic transcripts, blueprints, photographs, maps, notebooks, journals and diaries of all the relevant participants. The narrative, however, will have to be your own. It is up to you to assemble the full story from this collection of raw records. I know the penchant for research runs in the family, and I am confident that you will accomplish a commendable job in constructing the story for the readers of your time. Happy studies.

Your Loving Father,

Sir Tobias Francis Mason, OBE

(I’ve written this story up to Chapter 10, but it has been on hold since.)

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