Tsutomu Yoshioka's life has come full circle. In the early 1940s, he was a teenage student at Jiyugakuen, the Freedom School founded in 1921 by Yoshikazu and Motoko Hani. Now he is director of Myonichikan, Jiyugakuen's original buildings, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The American architect said at the time that his "prairie house" style and the name of the school belonged together in implying a free spirit. The school was "intended to be a simple happy place for happy children," he wrote.

Between his school days and his present directorship, Yoshioka had four decades in commerce in different locales where he specialized in marketing, advertising, sales promotion, public relations and corporate management. He is concerned now with the conservation and restoration plans of Myonichikan, designated in 1997 a National Important Cultural Property.

Yoshioka and his elder brother were young boarders at Jiyugakuen during the war when their parents and younger siblings lived in Manchuria. After the war their father, a banker, was taken for four years to Siberia. Yoshioka said: "My father didn't smoke. When he was a prisoner, he unrolled the cigarettes he was given, gave away the tobacco, and on the cigarette papers wrote his complete translation of a book of H.G. Wells. During strict inspection when he was being repatriated, his cigarette papers were lost. Back in Japan, he did the translation all over again, and had it published."