TEHRAN — An award from Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for the memoir Immigrants from the Land of the Sun by Japanese-Iranian cultural figure Koniko Yamamura was unveiled on Wednesday.
Groups of literary figures and culture officials attended an unveiling ceremony organized at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting International Conference Hall.
“The compelling and dramatic life story of this brave lady has appeared in Hamid Hesam’s fine and influential writings,” the leader wrote in a recommendation dating back to May.
He called the book “very readable and insightful” and recommended that Yamamura’s memoirs be made into a film.
Written by Hamid Hesam based on extensive interviews with Yamamura, known by her Iranian name Saba Babai after marrying an Iranian, the book was published by Sureh-mehr in 2020.
In this book, Yamamura tells how she decided to live in Iran and her life after her son Mohammad Babai was martyred during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.
The book soon became a bestseller and was translated into Arabic, Turkish, Russian, Urdu and Pashto.
Yamamura died in Tehran in July from a respiratory problem.
Yamamura’s death prompted a spate of condolences from Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Hailing Yamamura’s contributions to educational centers, charity events and the Tehran Peace Museum, Raisi said, “This immigrant from the Land of the Sun raised her brave son Mohammad Babai and dedicated his life to Iran, and his memory will live on in the country for all eternity. “
“I never thought my life story would become a book because if I had lived in Japan with my parents I would have lived a typical life, but marrying an Iranian Muslim has totally changed my life,” she said.
“After my son’s martyrdom, several authors suggested writing my biography, but I did not agree. However, I met and trusted Hesam on a trip to Hiroshima, and interviews for the book began,” she added.
Hesam previously said he met Yamamura during a visit to Hiroshima in 2014 along with a number of Iranian filmmakers, authors and war veterans attending the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony.
Photo: A combination photo shows the cover of Immigrant from the Land of the Sun and Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s praise for the book.