0216 GMT August 18, 2022
Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi expressed condolences to the family of the Japanese mother of an Iranian Sacred Defense (eight-year Iraqi-imposed war) martyr who passed away at a Tehran hospital on Friday after a brief spell of illness.
In his condolence message, Raeisi prayed that God would bestow the soul of Koniko Yamamura, who changed her name to ‘Saba Babaei’ after converting to Islam, the highest status in heaven, and let her be with her martyred son Mohammad Babaei, president.ir wrote.
Expressing great sorrow at her passing, Raeisi noted that the immigrant from the land of the rising sun etched her name forever in the history of Iran by bringing up her brave son and sacrificing him in the path of defending the Islamic Republic.
The president said after her son’s martyrdom, she carried out numerous cultural and media activities in Iran, such as building an institute in the central city of Yazd as well as the Tehran Peace Museum, setting up a charity market and teaching the Holy Qur’an.
Yamamura had been admitted to Khatam al-Anbiya Hospital in Tehran recently after complaining of respiratory problems.
Her son, Mohammad, was 18 when he took part in ‘Operation Muslim ibn Aqeel,’ launched on October 1, 1982 in the western region of Iran during the eight-year war.
After the operation, he returned and appeared at a university entrance exam, earning an engineering seat for himself, his mother was quoted as saying in one of her interviews.
However, the teenager chose to return to the frontline, taking part in the Fekeh Operation in southwestern Khuzestan Province. He died upon being hit by shrapnel from a shell fired by the forces of Iraq’s former Baathist regime.
Yamamura converted to Islam at the age of 20, following her marriage to an Iranian Muslim trader in Japan, according to her own account.
Her memoir, compiled by noted Iranian writers Hamid Hesam and Massoud Amirkhani is entitled, ‘The Immigrant of the Land of Sun,’ which chronicles her early life in Japan, marriage, conversion to Islam, the martyrdom of her young son and experiences in Iran.
She worked enthusiastically to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution and taught at several Iranian educational institutes including Refah School and the University of Tehran.
She was also associated with Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance as a translator and played an instrumental role in setting up the Japanese radio service of the IRIB World Service.
Last year, she led Iran’s Paralympics delegation at the Tokyo Olympics.