The Uke Flu

Chapter Fifty: Revelations

Hiroki looked at his phone for a minute, wondering if he was in a place to adequately deal with Nowaki. Then he shook his head and flipped his cell open realizing he was never really ready for his giant.

"Hello, Kamijou here." As soon as he answered, Nowaki's warm voice flooded the phone and Hiroki couldn't help but exhale deeply as a wave of comfort washed over him.

"Hiro-san, we have been together for almost nine years now, so why do you always answer the phone that way when you can clearly see that it's me calling?"

Hiroki felt his cheeks grow pink at the question. "Eh?"

"Hiro-san, you're too cute," Nowaki chuckled.

"I'll tell you what, Nowaki," Hiroki grumbled into the phone as he picked up his bag from the floor and began to fill it with papers he had absolutely no desire to grade. "I'll stop answering my phone with the salutation 'Kamijou', when you stop calling me cute." He expected to be chided about such a bargain being unfair, but instead he heard the younger man sigh.

"Was your day really that bad, Hiro-san?" Hiroki felt his brow furrow at the question; Nowaki's understanding of him was unnerving at times.

"No, it was fine," he lied, then he quickly tried to change the subject. "Are you at home now?"

"Ummmmm, I have late shift tonight. I wondered if you would be home in time to have dinner with me." There was a certain hesitance in Nowaki's voice. "I wanted to talk to you about some things." Hiroki set his case down on his desk; he felt his heart speed up at these words.

"Are you okay, Nowaki? Did you have a bad appointment with Dr. Suzuki?"

"Ah, no, Hiro-san…" Nowaki's calm voice sought to soothe his lover's anxiety. "Everything is fine… we're all great actually. In fact Dr. Suzuki told me what we're having today. That's one of the things I wanted to talk to you about. It doesn't seem right to tell you over the phone."

Hiroki exhaled a silent breath of relief. "You're sure you're okay?"

"Yes, Hiro-san, I promise."

The notion too that Nowaki wanted a more intimate setting to reveal the gender of their offspring touched Hiroki. "You're a sap, you know that?" He muttered as he shifted the gears of his mood from worry, to annoyance at feeling so worried.

"I know, Hiro-san, but will you come home anyway?"

It was unlike Nowaki to ask for anything so plainly. Hiroki had a feeling that there was more Nowaki wanted to talk to him about than he was ready to admit to. Still, out of habit, he pretended he was thinking about it for a long, silent minute.

"Okay, Nowaki, I was on my way out the door anyway. I'll be home in twenty minutes or so. Is there anything you want me to pick up?"

"No, thank you, Hiro-san. I got some things when I was out after my appointment with Dr. Suzuki." Hiroki could hear the relief clearly in Nowaki's voice.

"Okay, I'm heading home then."

"I love you, Hiro-san."

"Yeah… me too," Hiroki muttered, feeling the blush creep back up into to his cheeks even after all these years.

Once he hung up the phone, the reality of what Nowaki had just told him really hit.

Nowaki knows what we're having.

Somehow the idea that they now had a gender to ascribe to the tiny buds sprouting in his giant's belly gave the situation a whole new level of realness. Hiroki felt his stomach clench uncomfortably at the thought. Everything was really changing now, and nothing in their life would ever be the same again.

Thinking about change, Hiroki looked around the space he'd been sharing with Miyagi since he'd started teaching at "M." He shook his head sadly. He would probably have to talk to Miyagi tomorrow about what Takatsuki had said and begin making plans to move into his own office. Considering that it looked like Miyagi planned to bring Shinobu to work with his for a while, he wondered if he could approach the man on the tack that it would give him and Shinobu more privacy. Not that this had ever seemed to be an issue with them around him previously, at least where Shinobu was concerned.

Hiroki's heart ached: to move out seemed to him such a betrayal in some ways. Still, he had Nowaki and the babies to think of now. Surely Miyagi would understand. Hiroki picked his coat up off the back of his desk chair and slipped it on. The Dean's words and all his threats filled his head again in a swirling vortex. If only there was some way he could help Miyagi out. His forehead furrowed deeply and then suddenly smoothed.

He walked over to Miyagi's desk and pulled out the bottom drawer. He couldn't help but cast a glance around the room, though no one was there. He stared at the drawer's contents a minute. There in the bottom lay the latest manuscript for the senior professor's research on Matsuo Basho. Hiroki hesitated and then he reached down, lifted it reverently out, and added this to his bag as well.

He shut the drawer and moved to the office's entrance. He turned off the lights and stepped out locking the door. As soon as he was in the hallway and headed towards the station, Hiroki pulled out his phone again and hit a button on his automatic dial.

A velvet growl answered on the other end of the line within a few rings. Hiroki answered back with a growl of his own.

"Akihiko, this is Hiroki. I'm calling in one of those million favors you owe me, so shut up and listen!" His voice echoed in the quiet corridors of the University as he headed home.

When he arrived at home Nowaki was waiting for him at the door.

"Welcome home, Hiro-san."

Hiroki frowned but stood still, not making a move to set his bag down or take off his coat. This, along with the light blush in his cheeks, set Nowaki beaming immediately, as it indicated that he would allow himself to be kissed. Nowaki moved in and a moment later Hiroki's bag "thunked" to the floor as he raised his hand to cup Nowaki's jaw and return the impassioned oral embrace his lover bestowed on him. When Nowaki finally broke the kiss Hiroki looked at him with wide-eyed amazement.

"What the hell's gotten in to you, Nowaki?" He felt slightly breathless as he shrugged out of his coat.

"Well, you, for one thing, Hiro-san." Nowaki smiled as he looked down and rubbed the small pooch just barely visible under the apron he was wearing.

"Pervert, you know what I meant." Hiroki slipped out of his shoes. He ducked his head in attempt to hide the new wave of color that had risen to the surface of his cheeks.

All the way home, once he'd gotten off the phone, Hiroki had been anxiously wondering about Nowaki's news regarding their twins. He bit back the question that sat on his tongue, however, as he didn't want to seem overeager. Nowaki was bursting to tell Hiro-san too, but he knew that there needed to be a certain order of things. He wanted Hiro-san to be relaxed when the news came, so rather than blurting out what he knew, instead he bent in and risked a final kiss: a quick peck to one of his partner's glowing cheeks, before ambling quietly off to the kitchen.

Hiroki followed after rubbing his cheek with an expression of feigned annoyance. He was feeling nervous still but also happy to be home and be able to see Nowaki, as so often they missed each other in passing in the evenings. He breathed in the wonderful smell of grilled tuna as Nowaki moved over to the stove to stir a few things and add a bit more spice here and there. As Nowaki did this, Hiroki automatically went to the cupboards and began pulling out dishes so he could set the table.

"Thank you, Hiro-san," Nowaki smiled.

Hiroki grunted in response.

"So it sounded like you had a rough day?"

Hiroki ignored the question, not ready to talk yet and instead proceeded to set the bowls and cups out on the table followed by the napkins and chopsticks. Nowaki liked to tease him sometimes about how everything had to be arranged just so, but tonight he didn't. He just brought the food over and set it down, watching with patient amusement as Hiroki tweaked the placement of the dishes ever so slightly.

"Sit down, Nowaki," Hiroki gently ordered. "I'll get the tea. You're going to be on your feet enough tonight as it is. And did you get enough rest today? You didn't call when I figured you'd be done with your appointment and I was afraid to try later for fear I'd catch you sleeping."

Nowaki grinned Hiroki and ruffled his older lover's hair. "I'm fine, Hiro-san, I'm pregnant not infirm." He sat down, however, pleased with the concern.

"Well, when you didn't call…" Hiroki left off finishing his sentence and slipped into the kitchen leaving the rest unsaid. Nowaki smiled realizing that Hiro-san was telling him he had been worried. Warm blue eyes tracked his partner while he waited until Hiroki returned to the table with the tea and sat down before answering.

"Ah, Hiro-san, I'm sorry… I didn't mean to distress you. I got busy talking with Dr. Suzuki after my appointment and by then you were in class."

"You could have sent a text." Hiroki looked up to see a light pink creeping into Nowaki's cheeks. "You composed one and then didn't send it. Didn't you, Dumb ass?"

Nowaki dropped his eyes to the table; his color increased a bit more. Yokozawa was not the only semuke who found the flu made him incredibly susceptible to blushing.

"Idiot, you know the problems that causes." There was no real malice in Hiroki's voice as he said this, however. The two men remained silent for a moment, then when the quiet became uncomfortable, in unison they offered their quick blessing. Nowaki reached for the teapot and filled Hiroki's cup first and then his own.

"So did you have a busy day, Hiro-san?" Nowaki wanted to shift the conversation from the subject of unsent messages.

"Ummmm," Hiroki picked the best piece of tuna up from the serving dish skillfully with the blunt end of his chopsticks and set it in Nowaki's bowl. Nowaki's glow at this silent care-taking made him drop his gaze.

"Miyagi's brat, Takatsuki-kun 'caught'," Hiroki mumbled as he took another piece of fish for himself.

Nowaki's eyes grew at this news. "How's he doing? Was it planned?"

Hiroki shrugged as if unconcerned, but the way his brows knit told Nowaki his partner was bothered. "Sort of planned, I guess. It was the second or third time he's had the flu and Takatsuki-kun had been saying he wanted to have Miyagi's kid for some time."

"He's awfully young." Nowaki allowed the worry Hiroki wouldn't express to seep into his own voice.

"And he's awfully sick right now." Hiroki picked through the grilled vegetables, purposely leaving Nowaki's favorites untouched. Nowaki frowned at this obvious maneuver and used his own chopsticks to add a few of these to Hiro-san's bowl himself.

"I know… It's amazing how hard this is on most ukes, Hiro-san. I really feel so lucky. I uh, met with a few pregnant ukes that were at the hospital last night. They and their partners were really struggling… erm…" Nowaki hesitated here a minute. "I told them about my condition, Hiro-san."

Hiroki looked up and his expression shifted from shock to scowl in a matter of seconds. "Do you really think that's wise?"

"I don't know, Hiro-san," Nowaki picked at the food in his bowl. "Sometimes foolish actions have their own wisdom."

Hiroki snorted at this. He picked up his tea and took a sip as he silently waited for Nowaki to continue.

"You know so many physicians are still so prejudiced about this MP3REG thing. I just thought it might help them to know there was a doctor there who understood a bit what they were going through… and not just a doctor, but a seme… of sorts, someone who knows both sides of the coin."

"So, did it help?"

Nowaki shrugged. "I don't really know, but I hope so."

Hiroki felt his heart fill with warmth at his partner's generous nature, despite his trepidation.

"That's one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, Hiro-san." Nowaki suddenly looked a bit nervous.

"Dr. Suzuki pulled me aside after my appointment today. He wants to expand his clinic… to meet the needs of the "Flu" families. So many of them aren't getting good care because of bias. He hopes to create a full scale operation that will extend from conception through birth and then into pediatrics. I guess there are a lot of doctors refusing to accept 'Flu children' into their practice."

Hiroki was appalled by this news but sadly unsurprised. He recalled how much trouble he himself had encountered initially trying to find a doctor who would deal with him respectfully once his orientation became clear, out of apprehension from the last "gay plague" that had rocked the world. Looking at Nowaki he could tell the younger man wasn't finished.


Nowaki ladled some of the rich broth he'd made from a book containing healthy prenatal recipes into his soup bowl.

"Well… He'd like me to join his practice… I would work with him and oversee the pediatrics division. We would work with the pregnant ukes or semukes together throughout and after the pregnancies to ensure the best care for the children… He even said we could be creative with my schedule so my own family didn't suffer too much."

Hiroki was stunned by this turn of events but immensely pleased by the possibilities. Still, he didn't want to put any pressure on Nowaki, he wanted the man's decision to be his own.

"So are you interested in this then?" He made a point to keep his voice neutral.

"Ummm," Nowaki nodded hesitantly, picking up his soup bowl and taking a sip. "But…"

"But what?"

Nowaki sighed and set his bowl down. "Hiro-san, it's not anywhere near as prestigious as the other places I've had offers from and as we get started I will be making a lot less initially than those other jobs."

For Hiroki it really didn't matter where Nowaki worked as long as he was happy. But he was well aware of how much it meant to his status minded lover: for Nowaki working someplace with an impressive reputation would serve as an equalizing factor, something which after all these years still bothered him at times. As for the issue of money… well, that was another story, particularly after his conversation with the Dean that afternoon. Having two children was going to be expensive and given his current situation Hiroki felt no strong assurance that he'd be able to maintain his position at the University.

Still, he wasn't going to allow himself to be ruled by fear. There were a lot of options for him professionally, another teaching appointment, his own writing, editing. Hiroki took a bite of his tuna and chewed thoughtfully. Once he'd swallowed he met Nowaki's gaze. It touched him to see even now how much his approval still meant.

"I think you should do it, Nowaki," Hiroki said softly. "That is if that's what you're interested in and it appeals to you." Nowaki's eyes continued to search his.

"Really, Hiro-san?"

Hiroki dropped his eyes back down to his bowl. "Ummm… You have the chance to get in on the ground floor of something amazing here. Who's to say that in a few years, with your hard work and skill, that you won't make your practice into something just as prestigious as those other places?… maybe more so." Hiroki paused for a moment.

"Besides… it will be really important work that you and Dr. Suzuki are doing."

Hiroki was unaware that he had been gesturing with his chopsticks as he spoke until he felt a warm hand suddenly reach across the table and cover his own. He was shocked to see the expression of gratitude on Nowaki's face. His giant's eyes were glistening.

Nowaki pulled Hiroki's hand towards him and placed a humble kiss on the back of it. "Hiro-san," he murmured into his lover's skin. Hiroki's faith in him had touched him deeply.

Hiroki gently drew his hand back. He cleared his throat. Nowaki brushed a hand across his eyes.

"Sorry, Hiro-san... Hormones," he murmured as he quickly sniffed before reaching for his teacup. Hiroki was dismayed by this sudden show of emotion; he cleared his throat again.

"Yeah, well, just make sure you go over any contracts you sign with Dr. Suzuki carefully. Don't let him think he can take advantage of you just because you're barely out of 'brathood." Hiroki rumbled. "And make sure that the arrangements meet your needs too… you know, like that pro bono stuff you're interested in."

Nowaki smiled at Hiroki's gruff tones, knowing he was using them to salve both of their discomfort.

"Ah… that's good advice, Hiro-san. I already told him I wanted to do some of that… especially with the Kusama orphanage."

This caught Hiroki's attention.

"Erm… Mama Kusama called me today too."

Hiroki realized in all the drama of the last few weeks he'd never stopped to consider if Nowaki had told his told guardians about his condition yet. He knew that Nowaki still visited the orphanage a couple times a month, but he rarely ever spoke about the people who had functioned ostensibly as his parents. Hiroki suddenly felt convicted for not asking about this earlier, especially as so much had been made about his own parents' reaction.

"Have you told her or Kusama-san about the babies"

Nowaki shook his shaggy head.

"Why not?… I mean they know about us. And they've always been supportive of you." This was true. He had been subjected to a rather lengthy and embarrassing inquisition a few years ago by the Kusamas when he'd finally agreed to visit the orphanage with Nowaki. Much to his surprise however, once the couple had determined he was the true source of their foster son's happiness and that he was treating Nowaki correctly, they had all but given him their blessing.

Hiroki frowned and added some rice to his bowl. "Are you worried that they'll think less of you because you're the one carrying the babies?"

Nowaki's eyes widened at this. "Oh, no, Hiro-san, it's not that. It's just…" Nowaki rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. "I just think they might be a bit disappointed…"


"Ummmm," Nowaki took another sip of his tea. He averted his eyes from Hiroki's inquiring gaze. "You see… they uh… know I have always wanted a family and I think they hoped that someday you and I might foster a Kusama child or two." Hiroki was shocked by this news but his surprise didn't end there.

"And now that they've been overwhelmed with all the "Flu babies…"

"Wait… what are you talking about, Nowaki?" Hiroki wasn't sure he understood what he was hearing.

"Well you know, Hiro-san, the rate of abortion for "Flu" babies is high and a lot of men who do end up carrying them don't want them. Mama said they've found over twenty "Flu" babies on their doorstep in the last three months alone."

Hiroki was appalled by this measure of male irresponsibility.

Nowaki went on, "Our country makes it hard enough for people to adopt children or infants." There was a slight bit of bitterness in hiss voice as he said this, despite his benign expression. "And a lot of straight people are afraid to adopt Flu babies because no one knows yet for sure what will happen as they age… And while Mama Kusama said they have had some interest from gay couples who don't want to carry themselves, gay marriage isn't legal here and so only one person gets legal custody unless the older partner adopts both … though it's all but impossible for a single, let alone gay, man to adopt anyway."

"I had no idea."

"Most people don't," Nowaki murmured sadly. "You know, Keito-kun and Serizawa-san thought about giving their babies up for adoption, but once they found out that the children had a good chance of spending their lives institutionalized and not in a real home, they decided to keep them, even though they don't feel ready."

Thinking about this, suddenly Hiroki found he wasn't feeling very hungry. His heart ached just imagining the Kusama nursery filled with dozens of new Nowakis. He tried to push this thought out of his mind.

"So, when are you going to tell the Kusamas?".

"Ah, next week when I go for my usual visit, Hiro-san. So it'll be after we see your parents."

At the mention of his own parents, the last sliver of Hiroki's appetite evaporated. They were leaving to go see them in just a few days. Seated across the table, Nowaki could see the fretful frown that settled on his lover's face.

"Hiro-san, it will be okay… I mean you already know your mother is happy. She accepts us."

"It's not my mother I'm worried about," Hiroki mumbled setting down his chopsticks and pushing back slightly from the table. "It's that bastard, bigoted father of mine."

"Hiro-san!" Nowaki had long known there were issues between Hiroki and his father, but he had never heard him speak of the man in such a disrespectful manner.

Hiroki looked up at the reprimand and blushed. "Sorry, Nowaki." He knew for someone who had ached to have real parents of his own for so long, Nowaki couldn't bear it when people spoke ill of theirs, even if they merited it. Seeing the pain in his lover's hazel eyes, Nowaki's expression softened.

"Maybe he'll accept us more once he knows that his son is giving him a grandson," he said quietly.

Hiroki's eyes grew huge at this. His forehead took on a new furrow Nowaki had never seen before.

"We're having a son?" Hiroki's rough voice was barely above a whisper.

"Mmmmm," Nowaki smiled in a way that was almost shy. "And a daughter…"

Nowaki could see by his lover's expression that Hiro-san was clearly overwhelmed by this news. He looked up with surprise as his professor suddenly stood up and moved around to his side of the table. His shock grew when Hiro-san slipped down into a kneeling position next to his chair. Hiroki set a hand on his giant's knee.

"Hiro-san?" Nowaki's expression was teetering between confusion and alarm.

"A son and a daughter?" Hiroki whispered again.

Nowaki was in awe of the expression in Hiro-san's eyes. He'd never seen anything quite like it. He found himself without words so he just nodded.

Hiroki raised himself slightly up on his knees. He gently took Nowaki's face in his hands and kissed him deeply. Nowaki responded immediately. An instant later he slipped off his chair and down on the floor.

Never, when he'd found out he was pregnant had Nowaki expected Hiro-san to come to this place, to respond to the news of his impending family so tenderly. It was everything he had dreamed of, but feared to hope for.

Hiroki felt the younger man's tears on his fingers as he cradled Nowaki's cheeks. He broke their kiss and his hands slipped back, finding a new grip, twining themselves in Nowaki's thick hair as his brushed his lips upwards, trying to catch each tear.

He rested his forehead against Nowaki's and opened his eyes finding that intense blue gaze shining back at him. Hiroki broke their contact for the briefest moment to kiss away one last tear, still caught in the corner of Nowaki's eye before bringing their brows back together.

"Hormones?" he growled lightly.

Nowaki's eyes took on a new shine.

"Happiness," Nowaki growled back before wrapping his arms around Hiroki and lowering him to the floor, dinner forgotten and now ravenous for dessert.

NEW AN: WHen I was revising this I realize that it had been almost exactly a year since I took this story down. This is the last chapter of my reposting and from here on out all the chapters will be new. I want to thank all the new readers for joining this story and your support and reviews. And my gratitude goes out to my old readers who have been re-reading or just patiently waiting for new material.

My updates won't come as fast now, but I will do my best not to make you wait too long. I am sorry for the lack of individual shout outs but I am getting ready to travel for a week and will not have much time online and I wanted to get this last chapter up before I left.

Love to all of you.


Happy Mother's Day... If any of you readers out there are moms... or have them I guess.

There you have and the saga continues! More to come… hopefully soon. Anyone feel like a little egoist couch sex?

* Here's some information I found out about adoption in Japan, which may give some insight into the reason why Nowaki was never adopted...

Hope you find this interesting...

When concerned foreigners began contacting Japanese agencies about adopting children orphaned by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, they were told, "No, thank you. We can take care of our own." Though Japanese families occasionally adopt males to continue the family line, adoption is relatively rare here. Relative wealth, good social services and a shrinking population generally keep the numbers of orphans low.

In the aftermath of the disaster, however, there are growing concerns that the country is not, in fact, caring for its own. About 200 children lost both parents and an additional 1,200 lost one parent to the earthquake or tsunami. Most of the orphans are now living with relatives, but with unemployment at 90% in some areas orphanages may become the only option. It is very difficult, though, to get kids out of these welfare institutions and into permanent homes.

The problem is twofold. Many Japanese still consider adoption shameful, and children, when grown, are expected to take care of their elders. If a family is struggling financially or a guardian is deemed to be abusive, it may have to put a child into an orphanage, but refuse to put the child up for adoption. "Although they grow up in a facility, it's expected they'll take care of their parents or relatives once they leave," explains Sarah Gordon of adoption agency Ai No Kesshin (Loving Decisions), located in Shizuoka west of Tokyo. "People here have very strong feelings about bloodlines." This means few children are available for full, legal adoption. In 2009, only 10% of the 37,600-plus children under 18 living in welfare institutions were adopted or taken in by foster families, government statistics show. Many facilities are overcrowded as the reported number of child abuse cases has increased since a a child abuse prevention law was enacted in 2000.

For American Leza Lowitz and her Japanese husband Shogo Oketani, it was a joyous day when they were finally able to bring home their adopted 2-year-old son Yuto. The waiting for an available child had been difficult. Although the couple were solid parental candidates as Tokyo homeowners in a long-term marriage, and adoption in their respective families, they were both in their mid-40s and considered low priority. "We said we'd take any child available. It was a huge leap of faith," said Lowitz. "Yuto was an unusual case and the orphanage was very eager to find him a family." The only child available out of 100 in one orphanage, he'd already been adopted once and brought back when things didn't work out.

"Since there are so many children in orphanages who can't be legally adopted out, the adoption system [in Japan] needs to change," says Lowitz. "It's not serving the children or the society." She cites the need for counseling birth parents considering an orphanage or adoption for their child, and also a statute of limitations on legal parental claim. Now, unless a parent relinquishes their rights as legal guardian, a child cannot be adopted even if they live in a welfare facility long-term. "The reality is that very few take them back or even visit. It's just heartbreaking."

Kids living in orphanages are sometimes called "throw away children." In Japanese society the social stigma of not having a family can be crippling, especially when its time to leave the facility, usually at age 15-18. "When I was growing up in orphanages I sensed the staff was fulfilling their responsibilities but I didn't feel protected or loved," reveals Sayuri Watai, 27, founder of a support organization run by and for 'graduates' of childhood welfare facilities. Leaving child welfare facilities can be overwhelming, she says. "When I had to leave the orphanage I was all alone. I had no one to turn to," she reveals.

Improving privacy and promoting temporary foster care programs might help ease the heart-ache. One major reason adoption rates are low is the lack of confidentiality in the Japanese family registry, called koseki. One form, requested by some employers and even potential spouses, lists information on all marriages, divorces, deaths, births and adoptions. A child listed as adopted out of the family is potentially embarrassing, as it may be seen as a sign the child was unplanned or unwanted. "The koseki system is handy because all records are kept in one place, but the lack of privacy is a problem," says Gordon.

Fostering, a short-term alternative to adopting, was only recently promoted in Japan. With the government's "Child Rearing Vision" established in January last year the aim is to increase the percentage of children with foster families from 6% in 2000 to 16% in 2014. In Tokyo the number of registered foster families has doubled from 215 in 1998 to 445 in 2010. A program called "Hotto Family" has been the focus. "Compared with other industrialized countries, Japan's foster home care system is not well established," says Toshinari Suetake with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. "But efforts are being made to change this."

This information is quoted from an article found at: http/www . time time/world/article/0,8599,2081820,00 . html (take out the spaces)

So I am wondering, since Nowaki was just abandoned and there was obviously no signing over of parental rights possible, if this made him ineligible for adoption from birth. Then, even if the Kusama's wanted to make him their own, this also would have prevented them from adopting him.


America and Japan have the highest rates of adoption in the world with one big difference. While the vast majority of adoptees in the U.S. are children, they account for just 2% of adoptions in Japan. The other 98% are males around 25 to 30. Mehrotra believes this is the key to one of Japan's unique differences. Across the developed world, family firms under-perform professionally-run businesses. But in Japan, it's the opposite. Japan's strongest companies are led by scions, many of them adopted. "If you compare the performance under different kinds of heirs, blood heirs versus adopted heirs, the superior performance of second-generation managed firms is pretty much entirely attributable to the adopted heir firms."

Mehrotra explains that adopting a scion is similar to a hostile takeover. Blood heirs are under the constant pressure of knowing that if they under-perform, they'll be replaced.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, first shogun of the Tokugawa period. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The roots of Japanese adult adoption trace back to merchants of the Tokugawa era (1603-1867). It was suspected by scholars that the initial motivation was to avoid field division. Since then, the upper class has embraced the practice in full. The current Japanese business landscape is filled with names you know: Suzuki's current chairman and CEO, 81 year-old Osamu Suzuki, is an adopted son the fourth one in fact to run the company. When it came time, Osamu Suzuki chose his son-in-law, Hirotaka Ono, as his heir, rather than his biological son. Ono married Suzuki's eldest daughter, just as Suzuki had done a generation prior. But in December 2007, Ono died of pancreatic cancer, forcing Osamu to return as chairman and CEO. As of April 2011, Osamu had created a four person board to help run the company, led by his own biological son, Toshihiro Suzuki. Toshihiro might well become the first blood-related Suzuki scion in four generations, but it's far from certain, and of course, he will always be the second choice of his father.

Unlike China or India, where preference for baby boys is extreme to the point of gendercide, the Japanese have an adage that rejoices in the birth of a girl.

So this is not as applicable to Nowaki, but it does shine so new light on Haruhiko's place in the Usami family. I wonder if the senior Usami brought Haruhiko in when it became clear in Akihiko's childhood that his dream-minded son would never be suitable for running his company? And if as mentioned above... even if Akihiko didn't want to be in his father's company, if the inclusion of this second son in the family wasn't seen as a "hostile takeover" by minimum Akihiko?

This information is quoted from an article found at: http/www . freakonomics 2011/08/09/ the-church-of-scionology-why-adult-adoption-is-key -to-the-success-of-japanese-family-firms(take out the spaces).