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Genes – A Decoder Key to the Past


Jeans are really made by Calvin Klein.  Tight.  Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re lucky), they follow your body lines.   A deviation from your body lines is not possible.

Oops.  Old age.  Genes is the topic.  Duh.  Genes follow your (family) lines.  Deviation is not possible.

There’s something about genetics that is pure fascination.  People will like you because of your genes.  People will hate you because of your genes.  Regardless, you got them from somebody from up the line.

There is an orchestration in genetics which is more difficult to discern as generations pass.  But genes don’t conk out.  Genes are the only unbroken thread that weaves back and forth through all those cemeteries – or urns in my family’s case.

My grandmother Ikuyo Shibayama (on my mother’s side) was born in 1903; her parents were of samurai heritage.  Believe me, my mother drilled that into my head.  Brainwashing was very effective.

Around 1911, it was fortunate my grandmother had a portrait taken of her taken in Kanagawa, Japan.  She was about eight or nine years old and is standing on the left.

Grandmother Ikuyo at about nine years of age, circa 1911, standing on left.

Just about 100 years later, I took this snap of my littlest daughter Brooke when she was a flower girl at my second cousin’s wedding in 2010.  Brooke was eight years old.  Born in 2003.  Exactly 100 years after my Grandmother.  Genetics?  What do you think?

My daughter Brooke at eight years of age; taken in 2010.

Perhaps Calvin Klein was around a hundred years ago.

39 thoughts on “Genes – A Decoder Key to the Past”

  1. Look at your daughter’s regal-ness! I would say those two are connected ….no doubt! I think it is wonderful you have the photograph of your grandmother. These are so valuable.

      1. I hope you have more pictures. I loved this one and the comparison to your daughter. :)

  2. From a guys point of view: Your daughter is “Precious”. A picture paints a thousand words and this one says it all… One more thing, your Mustang is “Awesome”… and that says it all!!!! Take care my Friend and have a Blessed day… :-)

    1. Thank you, sir, on both compliments… But I will say one thing: little Brooke will be a handful for whatever guy she’s with! She is outgoing and says what she wants… Oops. Grandmother was like that… :)

  3. I enjoyed your post very much. I particularly like the photograph of your family and of course, your daughter – lovely and I’m glad she’s the way she is, she will know her own mind and have a good life!

  4. Hi Koji, I agree genes create amazing trails, especially with the benefit of 100 or so years of photography with which we can look back.

    Your Brooke has slight lift of her head that your grandmother Ikuyo Shibayama had, what Chatter Master refers to as regal-ness. It’s wonderful to see genes carry these characteristics down through the generations.

    I like looking at old photos and recogise similarities in people. I once found an old photo from the 1930s, I should upload it on Flickr really. It is of a bloke sat on the doorstep of his house and frowning at the camera while a woman stood beside him is grinning down at the photographer. I was looking at this photo for ages, thinking ‘Who the hell is that?”

    In the end I phoned my mother and asked her. “That’s your real grandmother,” she said, “She died when I was 11 years old.”

    I showed the photo to my wife who just laughed.

    “What are you laughing at?” I said.

    “The woman in the photo is a female version of you” she said, “Exactly the same eyes and grin as you! Even the tilt of her head when she smiles is the same as yours!”

    And I hadn’t seen it at all!

    (The man in the picture was my grandfather, he was a right miserable old bugger, she told me. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a coal miner and in the photo his face is covered in coal dust. One person at work I showed the photo to asked, “So…Ahhhh… Ian. Was your Grandad black then?” )

  5. When my daughter was born and the doctors said she had the bloodtype O+ I thought: What? I am B+, so is my wife. Where did that “O” come from?? After shooting my wife some suspicious glances (just jokingly, though), it came to me. It was the same as my mom. I stared at the baby in fascination and horror. I know that old woman! Mentally I was cursing, for you see she is a “witch” (no kidding). “Here it is!” I thought. “She has created a new body to get reincarnated into!!!”

    And sure enough, now, here, 26 years later . . . I swear sometimes it is so! She takes more after my mother in some ways than either me or my wife (in temper – she’s gets really violent and mad, and has a hair trigger temper sometimes – dear with children, then wants to beat them, LOL!). . . .

    I’d tell her, but the last time I did the look that came upon her face . . . LOL’ing! Actually we are ‘best friends’ in some ways, and she loves her dad – as I love her. (Me being a ‘chip off the block’ as well.)

    Beautiful pictures by the way. I really enjoyed the old one. It is wonderful to see the styles and cultures back then. It was really a different way of living! Much harder for sure. And yes: you daughter looks like your grandmother. As one commenter said: she has that ‘regal cock’ to her head . . . just goes to show . . .
    some things ARE in the genes.

      1. That is a valuable thing to know: the health issues. On merely look to my dad to know my future: ailing joints, vertigo, and a faltering mind. Worse: we can not know what ailments HIS father or mother had, for he was ripped from his family when he was 8, changed his name, etc. Much is a ‘mystery’ on his side of the family. We do however have many photos from my mother’s side, including some from the Conestoga wagons era when they came “Out West!” – they made it as far as Wyoming. Having these treasures reconnects us with our pasts and roots – always a valuable memory.

  6. Amazing! A friend of mine showed me her husbands baby picture and a picture of her son at the same age..the only difference – one was in B&W and the other in color, they were identical! Genetics is very interesting, indeed! Your daughter (and grandmother) are very beautiful. ~ Blessings, Patty

  7. Genetics can be strange. I can remember looking at my fathers driving license when I was 20 (he did not need to have his renewed, so he still had the original one he got when he was 18) and putting mine (in my case the first one now three times renewed) and I was amazed that we actually looked like twins, which was only enhanced by the fact, that both photographers had used the same angle. The only difference was the clothing and haircut (1960´s style vs. 1990´s style), but otherwise it could have been the same photo.

    That was kind of scary!

    1. Scary, isn’t it? By the way, have you seen the latest documentary on Jesse James, the outlaw? There is supposed corroborating evidence but there is a man purporting to be his great-great grandson. He is a spitting image of Jesse James when comparing photos. Genes don’t lie.

      1. I have not seen that. A couple of month ago there was an article about a man in France (Philippe Loret) who claimed to be the illigimate grandson of Adolf Hitler. A certain resemblance was there, but that is one heritage I would rather deny if I was him.

  8. I’m enjoying your recent posts – food and genetics! Two of my favorite things!

    Seriously though, I have been thinking about DNA and genetics a lot since taking my biology class. It’s really fascinating, and it also provides a lot of answers!

    I always thought that the resemblance of your daughter to your grandmother was incredibly striking. Great photos, Koji!

  9. Visiting here, again. Liking it twice. This time, in context with your recent posts and my own genealogical research. I will not be so fortunate to have a history in so many words and images. It’s all very inspiring.
    With my status as an unwanted child, a family who isn’t, my only hope was to start over, with me as the beginning. With this, I’ve been successful. My children all know where they come from and, sorry for the cliche’, the apples don’t fall far from the tree.
    Still, I seek to find a few crumbs of those who lived before me, who may have a skill, a shape, an idea, a thought process, an intelligence, a habit, a desire, a point of view, such as my own.
    I do not envy your beautiful, poignant and full family history. I find it quite inspiring and with all that exists for you and your family, I find hope and potential for finding something of my own.
    Thank you, Koji.

    1. As they say, poppycock, seapunk2! Look at you! Artistically gifted! You got that from your “crumbs”, as you describe them. Crumbs come from bread! And without your ancestors laying seed or braving the Atlantic, you would NOT be sitting at ocean-side today in beautiful country…enjoying your ponies, your children! You have a rich history and as you say, you have to just look.

      And as for your “lament” of being an unwanted child… Think of it this way: I was 30 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate…

  10. Did I tell you I was addicted to genealogy? And addicted to writing comments on your blog.

    Did you know my mother tongue is French?

    I started writing blogs in 2008. It all started by writing about ancestors who lived in my home town Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines.

    I have a few thousand pictures in my collection of old pictures. I have been sharing them with my readers along my journey through time.

    So I can relate to your blog and the old pictures you posted on Flicker…
    I wish I could help you to find what’s in that box beside the Coleman stove.

    Now I have to get a life and stop writing comments. There is a big snow storm outside…

    Snow… Yes I don’t live in Hawaii!

    Merry Christmas p47!

    BTW… p47? Are you a 1947 model? I’m a 1948 model.

    1. I just a look at some pictures on Flicker… You can’t be a 1947 model. Such great pictures of young Japanese kids in the 1930s. I am sadden by the facts that so many died in WWII.

      1. LOL. A quick reply for now. “P47″ stands for the Republic P47 Thunderbolt. It is my favorite plane from WWII. My good friend’s uncle, btw, was the chief engineer during WWII at Republic as well.

      2. You like planes…? What about Spitfires!

        What about this blog about RCAF 403 Squadron?

        http://rcaf403squadron.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/hello-world/

        You don’t have to read the more 236 posts I wrote since 2011.
        You will understand why we think the same way about sharing and letting the world know about those unsung heroes whether friends or foes, or vice versa.

        BTW… about planes, I still have more than 50 unbuilt model plane kits in the basement. I will have to teach my one-year-old grandson how to build them.

      3. Yes, I do love WWII aircraft. They were engineered for a short life span if you can imagine that. But these boys who flew in the bombers high in the sky in sub-freezing temperatures with only a thin sheet of aluminum in between them and the elements (let along enemy fire) were the heroes.

        50 kits? That will take years! And yes, I feel the Spitfire was one of the most graceful planes to ever take to the air… and the Hurricanes cannot be underrated either as it was the fighter in the majority during the Battle of Britain.

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