Big in Japan

RECORD BREAKING BABY . . . Proud dad Kevin with baby Shota.
RECORD BREAKING BABY . . . Proud dad Kevin with baby Shota.

The heaviest child in the history of a Japanese hospital has been born to a former Derry priest.

Shota Patrick Duddy, who was born last month in Osaka weighing 9lbs 2ozs, was the heaviest child born at the Iijima Women’s Hospital in the facility’s 98 year history. The little bundle of joy also measured 55cms in length which is 6cms above the Japanese average.

Proud father, Kevin Duddy - a former Catholic priest - said the birth of his first son on December 13 was a very proud moment.

“I am the proudest man in Japan. The birth of my son is the perfect Christmas present,” the Faughanvale native said.

Kevin is a former cleric who served in the diocese of Derry. He was ordained to the priesthood in July 2005 after studying for five years at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and served in Bellaghy for a year before moving to the Waterside for five months.

Kevin then left the ministry of priesthood and went to Japan in September 2007.

He works as an English teacher in the city of Nishinomiya. He married his wife Miyako in February 2011.

Kevin said he was delighted with the ‘heaviest baby’ record Shota holds. “It is absolutely brilliant. I am 6’ 1” and his mother is 5’5”. Miyako, his mother is quite tall for a Japanese lady.

“Our friends’ child is two months-old and he is only two ounces heavier than Shota.”

Speaking about the first time he held his baby boy, Kevin said: “I have had many things to be thankful of, many proud moments but the day I held my son for the first time overwhelmed me with emotion. It still does when I think about it.

“In Japan men very rarely shed a tear but I made up for that as I remained teary eyed for the first few hours with my wife and my son.”

Shota which means Samurai, is a traditional Japanese boy’s name and Kevin explained that although Japan is a very progressive country it still holds on to traditions that are centuries old and they may have implications for his son.

“Unfortunately Shota will be seen as an outsider because his father is not Japanese.

“He will be viewed as a ‘gaijin’ a Japanese word for foreigner.

“We will raise him bilingually with his mother speaking to him in Japanese and I will speak to him in English.”

“It is also customary for the mother and child to spend the first month at the mother’s parents’ home. Here both the child and mother are helped by the entire family.”

However, Kevin could not bear to be apart from his wife and bouncing baby boy so the family spent Christmas at home together.

The Duddy family expect to bring their new arrival to Derry in September of this year to meet Kevin’s family for the first time.