A house in the middle of the forest is reminiscent of the adventures of Hansel and Gretel. This one is unfortunately not made of gingerbread, but maybe we will discover an old witch and her stupendous stories? Here it is, The Royal House, known in Japanese under the name of Karei Naru Ichizoku (華麗なる一族 – A Majestic Family).
The location of this house is kept very secret, in order to protect the artifacts it hosts.The garage has already collapsed and the kitchen is in a filthy state. Only the floor seems a bit spare, but it will probably crumble because of the lack of support on the ground floor. It was apparently built in 1948, and before our eyes, seems to be abandoned for at least some ten years.
Many trees fell on the house, destroying windows and a part of the roof. Since then, the moisture has infiltrated everywhere: wood – which makes the main structure – has become very spongy, and plaster on the walls outside is covered with mold.
But in this decay, this house has a past rich in stories. The experience is like opening a history book whose leaves disintegrate and other are missing … want to find out more? Let’s discover! An entrance on the side of what was to be the garden. This is where the adventure begins.
A welcome rather traditional for a haikyo: a doll in a kimono. The ground floor comprises a large dining room and a small kitchen, behind.
Just the dining room is an amazing discovery. Two old Tv sets, lots of small objects, a huge panda with the skull smashed …
There is a gaping hole in the middle of the room…
The kitchen is in even more precarious state than the rest. I tried to move a little but I sank suddenly by 50 cm. Too bad, I would have liked to have a look in the refrigerator. There would have been perhaps food, expiration dates, signs of a past life?
In the kitchen, there is a third TV set. This is the first in the range of Sony Trinitron (KV-1310)! A model dating from 1968. FYI, it is not stuck to the ceiling, is the picture that is upside down.
We climb the stairs. The floor is fortunately much more stable and we can move without problems. And there are two rooms, rich in treasures … and at the entrance of the first, a picture of an old Japanese woman. A little further on, another door. Surely it is the bathroom (there must be one!).
Further, on the ground, the photo of an old stranger, a cigar at his fingertips and a glass of wine and of beer in front of him. Did he live here too? Let’s give it a name: the “Gaijin” (foreigner in Japanese).
The first piece looks like an office. Difficult to see clearly: the forest around the house is so dense that, despite the three large windows, the room is very dark. Bedding is stacked everywhere. As if someone had wanted to put everything away, everything preparing to be ready…
The house has clearly not been abandoned overnight. Here, a strange box is revealing itself to the right of the office with a message attached…
Can I use the term “kitsch” for an old abandoned house?
This box was apparently the home of a bird by the name of “Po-Po-Chan.” It is written that the animal died in 1979. The box is surrounded by a wrapping paper from the Okura Hotel, a renowned hotel situated in the center of Tokyo.
We do not have much time, and the house is too rich in objects, letters, trinkets, souvenirs… difficult to find a direction vector.
Drawers full of memories, postcards, letters, bills, photographs, we find everything…
But while searching, we end up finding this picture, particularly striking: The Gaijin in the company of the Queen of England! Naturally, after that, it’s difficult not to ask questions!
We leave the room to head to the other one. Against the door of the supposed toilet is an old radio / phonograph. It is an Admiral 6S12 and it is from 1951.
The second room is more like a traditional Japanese bedroom with tatami mats on the floor. Here also, a lot of objects can be found. Unlike the latter, these ones seem even older.
A fourth TV is here! Impossible to find any information about it. It is a Colombia De Luxe “Black Daylight ‘. But certainly not the cheap kind. This family lived in luxury!
Above the TV there is another doll in a better shape than the one found on the floor of the entrance.
And on the floor, the painting of a scary old lady. Let’s name her “Okasan” (mother in Japanese). Let’s summarize: the Gaijin, a bird and the old Okasan. I should also add: 4 TV’s and the Queen of England. Luxury, privileged connections, but what is the history of this place? Not to mention the bird swinging only in the middle.
Another interesting discovery is that of a video viewer. It would be so amazing to use it to understand the history of the Royal House!
In the room there is also a Butsudan in honor of Okasan. There is also a picture where she looks very weak, just opposite.
Near Okasan, we can find also a picture of “Po-Po-Chan.” He seemed to be dear to the old lady.
To the right of the room there are plenty of old photos. Probably ‘Otosan’ (Father) on the left. A photo of the Japanese royal family behind. Next, a young child. Then two other pictures in the back.
The presence of this frame is interesting. The former Emperor Hirohito. The invasion of China and the atrocities that are perpetrated, its alliance with Nazi Germany, and as a result two atomic bombs on his country, he has quite a track record. There is also the current Emperor Akihito in this photo, in the middle (child at the time).
No idea who this child in the photo below, let alone the two men behind. Could it be that the man with round glasses is simply Otosan? And younger in the small photos?
Certainly, strange things happened here, the place is not in a state quite normal. But what?
There are many bags of the Okura Hotel. This hotel must be a place the family visited very often. And what about this letter “Happy Birthday” set against the lamp? Why is it highlighted?
This wooden box with the seal of the Japanese Imperial House is also very strange. Unfortunately, not much we can find inside it except…
…an old document written in Japanese, with the seal of the Imperial House! It happens to be an official document dictating the imperial rules at school. Students were asked to memorize and recite. This text was banned after the 2nd World War. A relic!
Bank notes can also be found in the house. Old coins, old bank notes of 1,000 yen and… very small bank notes 100 yen!
A little further down the hall, there is another picture of our Gaijin, an actor or businessman who has certainly succeeded. He is also younger here than on the other photo.
I did not notice before, but at the main entrance of the house there are a lot of packages and bags stamped Okura Hotel. Again! And once again a letter “Happy Birthday”.
I do not have time to look out for more information but here is a French card sent from London in 1960, “Mom, everything is going well in London.” Signed Sugiko. Address (deleted via Photoshop) is that of the house. Most of the other letters I found in the house are addressed to Kiyomi, directly at the Okura Hotel. We add two Japanese to our history, Sugiko and Kiyomi.
It is time to leave the place. I will have some homework to do after I go back; gathering information to understand the story. I will search for things on the internet, but I will also go around Tokyo to find clues. Later on, the links between the parts of story will become clear for sure!
But we will have to go back to this old house deep inside the forest… and perhaps this time the mysterious locked door will open…
…and will set free its dreadful secrets!
This is the end of my introduction of the Royal House. An article will follow in the coming days with a new adventure in search of truth and (very) many new facts! In the meantime, thank you for sharing your feelings on this article (positive or negative) and especially your ideas and assumptions about the history of the house and family! 🙂
Ready for the story of the Royal House? Here it is.