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May 1998

Love Story by Blind 14-Year-Old Girl Is Published

A love story written by a blind 14-year-old girl who died of cancer last year was published recently. Titled Tenji De Kaita Rabu Reta (Love Letters Written In Braille), the book is about a blind middle school girl who falls in love with a high school boy.

Kaori Hada spent nearly six months writing the story in Braille while undergoing treatment for cancer at a Tokyo hospital before she passed away in September 1997.

Kaori lost her sight when she was just six months old, and doctors discovered bone cancer in her left leg when she was in sixth grade. Her left leg had to be amputated the following year to stop the cancer from spreading, and Kaori made a brave effort to rehabilitate with an artificial leg.

She started writing the story two years ago after being urged to do so by Jun'ichi Sase, who came to teach Japanese three times a week at the hospital and discovered Kaori to be a gifted writer.

In one scene of the story the heroine makes cookies for the boy she's in love with. The way Kaori describes her actions is so realistic and detailed, it's hard to believe it was written by someone who has no memory of seeing things.

Kaori aspired to become a comedy scriptwriter or a disc jockey and was a big fan of Shijaku Katsura, a professional comic storyteller. She got a chance to meet Katsura in person in January 1997, and the meeting lifted her spirits so much that she was able to leave the hospital for a while.

Kaori's mother Harumi said she hopes a lot of people will get to know Kaori's cheerful nature by reading the story.

Photos: (Top and above) Kaori enjoyed being with her family and friends even more than writing--at top she is seen with her mother (Harumi Hada); (middle) her book tells a touching story (Doyukan Inc.).