A Garden of Love: A Farmer’s Devotion to Creating a Haven for His Blind Wife

A field of shibazakura with Mount Fuji in the background.

A field of shibazakura with Mount Fuji in the background. (Image: Parinya Suwanitch via Dreamstime)

In the yard of Toshiyuki Kuroki’s home in Miyazaki Prefecture, the shibazakura flowers are in full bloom. Up to 7,000 visitors would flock to admire the thousands of vivid pink blossoms on several days throughout the year. Love motivated Mr. Kuroki to devote his time to creating this wonderful garden for his wife.

The healing properties of flowers are widely recognized, and studies have shown that being around them has a positive effect on people’s moods. 

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The healing power of flowers

This was never more evident than in the case of a Japanese dairy farmer, whose life was changed by a diabetes complication that resulted in her unexpected blindness. Her everyday life and marriage were soon affected by her withdrawal and depression. However, with the gift of flowers, her husband — who ought to be recognized as a national hero — helped his wife rediscover joy. 

The happy couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, had two children while living a joyful life as dairy farmers in rural Japan. Tragically, after 30 years of marriage and at 52, Mrs. Kuroki began to experience an eye issue that turned out to be a diabetic complication, leading to her sight failing just one week later. Mrs. Kuroki felt as though her life had ended and was saddened at the thought of missing the vacation she and her loving husband had always wanted to take.

She didn’t want to live an immobile existence. Thus, she cut herself off from the outside world and started leading a solitary life in her house. Her husband was saddened by the change in her generally happy demeanor, so he wished to find a way to make her smile and receive visitors at least. 

In the yard of Toshiyuki Kuroki's home, shibazakura flowers are in full bloom.
In the yard of Toshiyuki Kuroki’s home, shibazakura flowers are in full bloom. (Image: Kamchai Charoenpongchai via Dreamstime)

Mr. Kuroki struggled to find a solution when a lovely thought came to him: What if I created a beautiful flower garden so that she could enjoy their fragrance and be enticed outside? The beauty of flowers may be appreciated via the senses of scent and sight. Mr. Kuroki realized this as he passed by a pink shibazakura bloom one day in the garden. 

He reasoned that if he planted a flower garden, his wife might still appreciate its beauty, smell the fragrances, and perhaps even receive visitors, which would make her even happier. 

A new vision

The man gave up dairy farming and concentrated on making a garden. To do so, he also dug out 300 cedar tree roots. 

It was as if his entire surrounding had become a sculpture that he tirelessly worked on every day, so that one day his wife would possibly smile again. He hoped his wife would one day see again through the fragrance of flowers and the shared joy their beauty would bring to others.

The hill was sculpted and placed on a gentle slope. Seedlings were made and planted throughout the garden, which comprised an area of about 1,000 square meters. 

He compassionately cared for the young plants that would eventually envelop their home in a sea of vivid pink blossoms. 

A smile is worth more than a bar of gold

If you could see Mrs. Kuroki’s transformation, you would find that her husband’s kindness has helped her regain her smile with the help of all the flowers and visitors. 

Furthermore, the garden has grown increasingly renowned over the years, bringing people from around the globe. 

The garden in full bloom

All his hard work and dedication eventually bore fruit. Over the years, the well-established garden attracted visitors from nearby cities and prefectures. Now, more than 20 years have passed since the first seedlings were planted and the garden continues to grow.

It was common for the visitors to expect a chance to encounter Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, who would be regularly seen roaming around the property. 

A photograph hanging on the wall on the Kuroki property. Mr and Mrs Kuroki are pictured smiling. Mr Kuroki out of love tirelessly cared for his wife and garden.
A photograph hanging on the wall on the Kuroki property. Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki are pictured smiling. (Image: Yoshiyuki Matsumoto via Facebook)

The legacy of Kuroki’s garden, now closed

The sweet couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, encouraged people to see the blossoms in Japan for many years. Their story has become widely known over the last few years, with many online media publishing stories about them.

Unfortunately, due to his advancing age and physical limitations, Mr. Kuroki is no longer able to tend to the garden. The garden is no longer open to the public as of 2017, but the flowers still live on, although not in their full glory. However, his legacy and love for his wife will live on. His story serves as a reminder to prioritize living and caring for others in the pursuit of spreading love and happiness. Mr. Kuroki got the result he intended in lifting his dear wife out of depression and he brought back that radiant smile that he loved.

A website dedicated to the garden and its history can be found here (Japanese). 

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