In Memory of Tokuhiro Yamazaki (1984-1997)

by Yoshihiro Yamazaki-Istanbul, Turkey

Tokuhiro Yamazaki, the only son of Yoshihiro and Sachiyo Yamazaki (1800 Couples Blessing), went into heaven on Feb. 13, 1997 at about 4:30pm at a hospital in Istanbul, Turkey.

He was born on March 26, 1984 in Kuwait City, where we his parents were working as representatives of True Parents since 1980. However, it was in Turkey where Tokuhiro began forming his character and soul-searching towards True Parents and God. His experiences at a Turkish elementary school were never easy but his attitude was always that of digesting every hardship with a positive perspective. His sincerity and warm heart eventually won the hearts of the teachers and students, as confirmed by their many testimonies after his death.

His death appears to have been caused by complications from a brain hemorrhage. On True Parents' Birthday, he attended pledge service and morning service. Around 12 noon, his mother noticed he was having some headaches, although he did not complain about it. Subsequently he went to bed. After a couple of hours, when we realized his abnormal condition, eyes half-open, lips turning dark, as in a coma, we rushed him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

We were all shocked. All Turkish Family members, including the Muslim Blessed Couples, instead of gathering for the evening entertainment portion of True Parents' Birthday celebration, united at the hospital room, where Rev. Kim, the Korean representative for Turkey, personally guided the prayer vigil with members taking turns in prayer and singing. He continued until the Seung Hwa ceremony two days later. Also, the hospital sympathized with us and allowed us to conduct our vigil in a form unconventional for this society. The two Turkish sisters working at the hospital helped us with everything needed.

Because Turkey is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, we faced a situation in which few cemeteries allow burial of a non-Muslim. We were told by the concerned Japanese consul that even Christian cemeteries may not accept the dead body of a person whose faith differs theologically from theirs. It was a great surprise and relief that one of our acquaintances, a very devout Muslim lady, willingly offered one of her two burial plots free of charge for Tokuhiro. She had bought them long ago-one for herself and another for anyone who might need a final resting place; she had steadily prayed about such an eventuality. She joined us at the Won Jeon in the ceremonies on the third and 21st day from the Seung Hwa.

The Seung Hwa ceremony on Feb. 15 was the first in Turkey, but with the thorough guidance and sleepless efforts of Mr. Kim and the Japanese sisters, it was all well prepared and conducted by Rev. Kim and Mr. Thomas Cromwell, the continental director for the Middle East and North Africa.