by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David R. Krigbaum
Almost every year children at the Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo Child Development Center receive a visit from a kindly man bearing gifts. He doesn’t wear a red suit or arrive via reindeer but since 1999 Masuo Takasaki has been visiting CFAS to gift book coupons and visit the center’s children.
This 20 year gift giving started with a significant event in his young life more than half a century ago.
Takasaki was born in 1949 and raised in a Nagasaki orphanage. Though the skills he learned growing up there would make him more self-reliant later in life, it was a hard life for a young boy. When he was about 10 a U.S. Navy ship visited Nagasaki and invited orphans aboard to spend time with Sailors around the holidays. He had fun visiting the ship and interacting with Sailors, he even recalled being surprised drinking their red “bug juice,” a flavored juice-like drink served in the galley. Before he left they even gave him a present.
The experience and the gift were something he’d never forget. Decades later he was in Sasebo for a business conference when he passed the gates of CFAS and it got him thinking that he could give something back.
The Sailors gave him a single gift, a little machine for drawing. In return, Takasaki’s gifts have allowed the CDC to purchase more than 500 bilingual books which are used to help teach Japanese.
“We are very grateful that he continues to come every year,” said MWR Director Scott Poluhowich. “I wish the Sailors that treated Mr. Takasaki so kindly 50 or so years ago could know that their acts of kindness are remembered and have made long lasting impressions and continue to ripple through to today and are now benefiting our children here at CFAS.”