Cuando era pequeña, siempre veía a mi hermano mayor leer un libro rojo con líneas rosadas todas las noches antes de dormirse. Como aún no sabía leer, siempre me intrigó saber de qué se trataba el libro. Ya cuando aprendí a leer, recién pude descubrir el secreto que mi hermano leía religiosamente todas las noches.

When I was a little girl, I always saw my eldest brother reading a red and pink lines book every night before sleeping. Since I still could not read, I always was intrigued to know about what that book was about. When I learnt to read, I could discover the secret which was read by my brother religiously every night.

Era un libro de cuentos con enseñanzas, a los que yo siempre lo comparaba con el famoso libro de fábulas de Esopo, y que en cada página tenía una fábula con su correspondiente moraleja en cada una. Pero, este libro era diferente, porque no retrataba a animales “humanizados”, sino a personas comunes y corrientes en su vida diaria, y cómo éstas afrontaban las situaciones o problemas y al final, nos dejaba una pequeña reflexión. Esta recopilación de cuentos y artículos titulada “Sonrisas del Sol”, fue al principio publicada y difundida en el Perú a través de Radio Inca y en el diario peruano-japonés Peru Shimpo (aunque en el libro no aparece la fecha, posiblemente fue en los años 70). El autor original de este libro titulado “Sonrisas del Sol” fue el sacerdote norteamericano James Hyatt (1922-2009) de la congregación Maryknoll con sede en Kyoto, Japón, quien utilizó los medios de comunicación como una herramienta eficaz para difundir la Buena Nueva a todos. Es así que tuvo un programa radial llamado Taiyo no Hohoemi (Sonrisas del Sol) en Japón y además, en 1967, publicó el libro “The Power of Man” (“El Poder del Hombre”).

It was a tale book with morals, which I always have compared with the famous book of Aesop’s fables, and each page has a fable with its corresponding moral. But, this book was different, because it depicted “humanized” animals, but common and ordinary people in their everyday life, and how these people faced these situations or problems and at the end, it gave a brief reflection to us. This compilation of tales and articles titled “”Smiles of the Sun”, which was at the beginning published and broadcasted in Peru by Radio Inca and in the Peruvian-Japanese newspaper Peru Shimpo (although no date is in the book, perhaps that was in the 70’s). The original author of the book titled “Smiles of the Sun” was the American priest James Hyatt (1922-2009) from the Kyoto-based Maryknoll congregation in Japan, who used the media as a useful tool in spreading the Good News to everybody. In that sense, he had a radio programme called Taiyo no Hohoemi (Smiles of the Sun) in Japan and also, in 1967, he published the book “The Power of Man”.

Tanto de su programa radial así como de su libro, fue de donde nació “Sonrisas del Sol”, que fue traducido del japonés al español por el sacerdote jesuita Luis Martínez Dueñas (1929-2007), quien al igual que Hyatt, participó activamente en la sociedad japonesa para difundir la fe de Cristo.
El libro “Sonrisas del Sol” pretende, como lo señala el Padre Martínez en el prólogo, “construir un mundo mejor”. Es un objetivo que puede ser algo descabellado hacerlo ante una sociedad tan fragmentada y modernizada, pero que muy bien puede resumirse en el lema con que se iniciaba cada programa “No te lamentes…haz algo para iluminar el mundo y la vida”.

Este libro contiene cuentos cortos en sus 258 páginas, (cada página contiene un cuento diferente), y cada uno tiene una enseñanza que nos puede ayudar en cualquier momento de nuestra vida. Entre los aproximadamente 200 cuentos que trae, elegí un cuento al azar, y que me pareció muy simple pero significativa, llamada “La Felicidad de Dar”.

Pero antes de eso, ¿cómo es que tengo este libro en mis manos?. Algo muy simple: mi abuela no practicaba todos los ritos católicos, pero si era muy creyente. Ella, al igual que muchos otros issei (inmigrantes japoneses) en Lima, se reunían en un grupo religioso llamado “Comité San Francisco”, en donde recibían charlas (tipo catequistas) sobre el catolicismo y que estaban dirigidas por el Padre Manuel Kato en aquellos años (aproximadamente la década de los 50-70).
En este comité, mi abuela conoció no solamente a Cristo, sino también a muchos otros issei como ella, con quienes compartió muchas charlas, misas, paseos, etc. En este comité, ella recibió varios libros (biblias, pequeños catecismos escritos en japonés, etc.) que aún no puedo encontrarlos (creo que se perdieron o los regalamos), pero el único que he podido conservar es este libro, “Sonrisas del Sol”.


Both his radio program as well as his book, were the origin of “Smiles of Sun”, which was translated from Japanese to Spanish by the  Spanish Jesuit priest Luis Martínez Dueñas (1929-2007), who as Hyatt, participated actively in the Japanese society in spreading Christ’s faith. 

The book “Smiles of the Sun” attempts, as pointed by the Father Martínez in the prologue, “to build a better world”. This is an objective which can be a little ridiculous to meet to a so -fragmented and modernized society, but which can well summarized in the motto “Do not complain…Do something to bright the world”.

This book has short tales in its 258 pages, (each page has a different tale) and each tale has a moral which can help us at any time in our lives. Among its aproximately 200 tales , I chose one tale at ramdon, and which seemed very simple but significant for me, titled “The Happiness of Giving”.

But, before that, how I have this book? It is simple: my grandmother did not practice all the catholic rites, but she had a strong faith. She, like many other issei (that is, Japanese migrants) in Lima, met in a religious group called “Comité San Francisco” (Committee Saint Francis of Assisi), where they listened talks (catechist type) about the Catholicism and they were conducted by the Father Manuel Kato by these years (approximately in the 50's-70's). In this committee, my grandmother did not only met Christ but also many other issei like her, with who many talks, masses, trips, etc. were shared. 
In this committee also she received many books (bibles, small catechisms in Japanese, etc.) which I have not been able to find them (I think they are missing or we gave them away), but the only one I could keep was this book, “Smiles of the Sun”. 


The Happiness of Giving (page 83)

A man from Tokyo came to the hospital bringing a small package under his arm. He came from a small city in northern Japan; the man came to visit his nephew hospitalized for a broken leg while he was skiing.
Hiroshi, as his nephew was called, a 12-year-old boy, was moved when his uncle opened the package and saw the elegant chocolate box. The uncle suggested that he could open the box and eat the chocolates later….But the boy asnwered: I will keep it for later.

As soon as his uncle left, Hiroshi wrapped the box again, took his crutches and went down the stairs. Finally, he came to the room of an old woman with rheumatism and he gave the chocolate box to her. This woman had been very kind to Hiroshi when he was admitted to hospital and since he was grateful, he had been waiting the chance for giving something to the woman. As his wish was fullfilled, Hiroshi came back to his room.

A few minutes later, the rheumatic woman left her room to come to another block, carrying a large bag. Her visit was for Akiko this time, a young office lady who was recovering from a surgery. Once she was at Akiko’s bedside, the old woman opened her bag and gave the chocolate box received from Hiroshi to Akiko. She talked to her for a while and said goodbye with a graceful smile.

That evening, Hiroshi was going for a walk around the ward where Akiko was. He stopped by for a moment to say hello to her. “Look Hiroshi”, Akiko took the initiative and said, “I have a present for you”. She opened the drawer of her nightstand and Hiroshi was surprised to see again the same chocolate box which was received from his uncle in the morning.

At the same time, the woman, who gave the chocolate box to Akiko appeared again. Akiko’s face blushed when she saw her to come up to him. The same thing happened to the woman, when she saw Hiroshi with the chocolate box in his hands. With exchanging glances between the three of them, everything was explained…At that moment, all three burst out laughing, the three friends’ eyes were moist with tears of happiness. Hiroshi, finally, opened the chocolate box and shared out the chocolates with his two friends.

A single chocolate box had brought happiness to that hospital. Three people received that box as a present and these same people had given it, in turn, as a sign of gratitude. The great joy the three patients were feeling came from the happiness providing the act of giving.

Remembering  Fr. James Hyatt
Biografía del Padre James Hyatt (en inglés) / Biography of Father James Hyatt 

Noticia del fallecimiento del Padre Luis Martínez / News about the decease of Father Martínez (in Spanish)  

Fanpage del Padre Luis Martínez Dueñas / Father Luis Martínez Dueñas Fanpage (in Spanish) 


  1. hola podrías ayudarme a conseguir una copia del libro porque este fue muy significativo para mi en mi adolescencia muchas gracias y saludos ;)


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