After 20 Years of Silence, A Miracle

Text by Antonio González Aguayo

 A TV programme reconciles a married couple after two decades of not talking to each other.

Would you be capable of going for more than a month without speaking a word to the person you lived with? Or, worse still – to the person you shared your bed with? Well, in Japan, a middle-aged couple went 20 years without speaking to each other, while living under the same roof the whole time, until they were reconciled on a TV programme.

The pair owes their miraculous reconciliation in no small part to their children, who played matchmakers. Special mention goes to the youngest of them all, Yoshiki Yumi, 18, who was born while her parents were already angry at each other and had stopped speaking. It goes without saying that the details of how she was conceived will presumably remain in the realm of the imagination for the foreseeable future.

In fact, the youngest daughter attests to never having seen her parents exchange a normal dialogue. “My father never said a word to my mother, but she talks to him normally. It’s a one-way conversation.” And so, for two decades, the couple communicated through Yoshiki, who essentially acted as a tell-tale gossip, running between the two, recounting what she had seen and heard. (“Yoshiki, go to the kitchen and ask your mother if the rice is done.” “Mum, Dad wants to know if the food is ready.” “No, Yoshiki. You can tell him it’ll be a little while yet.” “Dad, she says no.”)

“When I was a child my parents’ relationship seemed more or less normal. But then, when I went to primary school and saw what other people’s families were like I realised there was something strange going on in my home,” said Yoshiki, who was the one who eventually contacted the producers of the show, Knight Scoop, and who convinced her parents to give it a go.

The date took place on the same bench on which the two had gotten to know each other, so many years earlier. The frankly historic moment was captured on camera. “It’s been quite a while since we last did this,” said the husband, with no apparent fear of fluffing his lines. “I know,” she replied, sure of herself too. A bit later on, Otou Yumi accepted the error of his ways, and revealed the reason for his silence: “I was a bit jealous…” he said. “I was in a bad mood because you only paid attention to the kids.” “No, darling,” she replied. “It was just that they were little.”

The interview concluded with Otou Yumi expressing a desire to speak with his wife in private. “I, too, would like that,” she added, thanking him for talking to her for the first time after so many years. And why not? It was only a little tiff that lasted a couple of decades.

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