Blizzard Kills Father As He Protects Daughter


One father’s heartbreaking story of sacrifice and love

The blizzard that walloped the Japanese island of Hokkaido on March 3 killed several residents, though none as heroic as this father. ABC News reported the following:

Mikio Okada died as he tried to protect his only child, Natsune, against winds of up to 109kph and temperatures that plunged as low as minus 6 degrees Celsius.

Mr Okada was one of at least nine people killed in a spate of snow-related incidents as blizzards hit Hokkaido island.

He was last heard from at 4pm (local time) on Saturday after he collected Natsune from a school where she was being looked after while he was at work.

He called his relatives to say his truck had become stranded in driving snow, which was several metres deep in places, according to newspaper reports.

He told them he and Natsune would walk the remaining kilometre to their destination.

However, the pair were found just 300 metres from the truck early on Sunday morning.

Mr Okada was reportedly found hunched over his daughter, cradling her in his arms and apparently using his body and a warehouse wall to provide shelter.

He had taken his jacket off to give to the child, a broadcaster said.

The young girl was taken to a hospital near their home at Yubetsu on Hokkaido where she was found to have no serious injuries.

Her father was also taken to the hospital where he was officially pronounced dead.

As a late-season storm hits Chicago, I’d like to think I’d do the same but I hope we never find out. The girl, whose mother died two years earlier, is now an orphan. Mikio Okada proved the old parenting maxim that he’d do anything for his kid.

—photo by daveynin/Flickr

About Robert Duffer

Robert Duffer ( is the editor of the Dads & Families section of The Good Men Project. Winner of the Chicago Public Library's writing contest, his work appears in the Chicago Tribune, MAKE Magazine, Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Annalemma, New City, and other coffee-table favorites like Canadian Builders Quarterly. He teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their minivan. Follow @DufferRobert, Google+, facebook.

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