Friday, December 24, 2010

A Trip to China

Niigata University of Management has been strengthening its relationships with universities in other countries. Currently, our university hosts students from Russia, South Korea, China and many others.

So, early this month, I visited Changchun University of Technology in Changchun in the Jilin Provence of China to interview prospective students and to discuss educational matters and socialize with professors (who, by the way, showed me a great time at local restaurants). While the university uses the word “Technology” in its name, it has a comprehensive array of departments including a Japanese language course.

Some students who are interested in learning both Japanese and management come to our university as juniors and, under a program we have developed, are supposed to complete a two-year course of study. If they successfully complete the course, they are awarded with a B.A. in Management Information.

Currently, however, this program is a “one-way” street, much to the dissatisfaction of some of the Chinese professors that I talked to during my stay. They want the opportunity to teach Japanese exchange students and are working to make it possible to accept students from our university sometime in the future.

The picture below shows the welcoming message at the entrance of Changchun University of Technology for the “delegation” from our university.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Autumn Leaves Fall Outside My Window

I noticed that the scenery outside my office window was quite beautiful. In general, Japanese people enjoy looking at the autumn foliage of deciduous trees in much the same way that we enjoy looking at cherry blossoms in spring. They both are examples of the fragile beauty that attracts my fellow nationals.

These pictures were taken from my office at Niigata University of Management in Kamo City.

My New Used Car

On one of the few fine autumn days we’ve had recently, I bought a second-hand car, a medium-sized four-door sedan.  Its engine is only 1000cc, which is the smallest car that I have ever owned, but it is also very fuel efficient.

My Nissan Sunny was getting too old to survive the severe winter weather in Niigata Prefecture. Since I do not have to drive a long distance on a daily basis, and because we get a tax break for using compact cars that get good gas mileage, I decided I could live with a smaller car. Besides, my wife, whose commute is much longer than mine, has a slightly larger van (it can seat seven people in a pinch), so that, when we have to take longer trips, we can use that one. I really enjoy driving my new car!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Visiting My Son and a Twin Statue

On my way home to Sanjo from Tokyo after a business trip, I met my son at Waseda University and he showed me one of the twin statues of Ichishima Kenkichi (who went by the pen name of Ichishima Shunjo), erected in the Waseda library building. (Please refer to an older post at to read about the duplicate erected in Ichishima Tei or the Ichishima Residence Museum in Shibata City.)

Another reason that I visited the Waseda campus was to see the special exhibition of Aizu Yaichi’s calligraphies and collection of Eastern artifacts, such as potteries and ink-paintings. Yaichi, a distant relative of the Ichishima family, was born in Niigata City in 1881 and was a professor emeritus of ancient Chinese and Japanese art at Waseda University. On his graduating from Waseda, he became an English teacher at Yuko Gakusha, which was then a private secondary school, but is now a public senior high school named Yuko Koko in Itakura, Joetsu City.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shitada's Yagihana in Autumn

These pictures below, taken this week, show the tinted autumn foliages on Mt Yagihana.

Here’s a picture of the same mountain in spring on the top of this page.

I had a chance to visit the Morohashi Museum on November 3rd, Japan’s Culture Day, to listen to a lecture by a famous Niigata writer, Atsuko Kanamori, who talked about the hardworking, endurance and toughness of Niigata’s women in the Edo and Meiji Eras.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Farewell to Night School

On November 3rd, I was invited to Sanjo Senior High School to attend the “Closure Ceremony” of its night school. I find it sad that from now on, no public night courses will be taught within its walls.

In the era of high economic growth, many high schools taught night courses for those students who worked during the day but who wished to continue their studies. Of Sanjo City’s four public senior high schools, three used to hold night classes.

However, recently, fewer students have been enrolling in such courses. With the closure of Sanjo High School’s night school, there are no such remaining schools in the city and only a handful in all of Niigata Prefecture.

Besides alumni and the final class of graduating students, there were many special guests in attendance, including the Niigata Prefectural Governor, Hirohiko Izumida, and Sanjo City’s mayor, Isato Kunisada.

On a side note, Governor Izumida and I attended Sanjo Senior High School during the same period. He was my junior by two years.

We Japanese are a ceremony-loving people, and there were two on this occasion. The first was the actual closure ceremony for the night school held in the gymnasium. This was followed by a second ceremony to unveil a memorial stone in the night school’s honor and this was held outdoors on the school grounds.

In this picture, Niigata Governor Izumida (center, wearing the red ribbon) prepares to unveil a memorial stone for Sanjo High School’s Night Course students.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ichishima Sake Brewery Incorporated

I recently visited an intriguing guy, Kenji Ichishima, who is a good friend, a distant relative, and the president of Ichishima Sake Brewery Incorporated. He was born and bred in Shibata City, but he spent many years in the USA and studied at a university there.

For the last five years, his company has been targeting the international market. Also, as chairman of both the Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council and Niigata Sake Brewers Association, he has been pushing other breweries to expand their reach outside Japan.

According to him, the trendiest venues in New York City for young couples to get together are Japanese restaurants and sushi bars and many people have been turned on to the joys of drinking sake. He also said that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of scenes in movies and TV shows that show people drinking sake.

“In Tokyo, Japanese couples may visit Italian or French restaurants to enjoy drinking wine, but in New York City, Japanese cuisine has been trendy for about 10 to 15 years,” he said. “My company is now exporting 11 different kinds of sake to overseas markets.”

Kenji is particularly interested in expanding into the American market and he visits there quite often. When he does, he displays his brands at events and trade shows and tries to meet as many people as possible who might be interested in his brews.

One thing that he told me about the American market that I found interesting was that rather sweet sakes with only 10-percent alcohol content are very popular. I, like most Japanese, am not a big fan of sweet sakes. The style I prefer is “tanrei karakuchi,” which is light, crisp and dry.

Kenji found this interesting as well. He told me that Americans who really know sake usually prefer the drier brands with higher alcohol content.

Regardless of your preference, my friend may have the sake that fits your taste. So, if you are visiting the Niigata area, stop on by as his company allows visitors to watch the sake-making process.

He also maintains a small museum about the history of the company and the Ichishima family. In it, you can see many historical and valuable items, including calligraphy by Aizu Yaichi and Ichishima Shunjo.

If you get a chance, please visit his website:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Great Snake Festival in Shitada

The Furusato Festival was held in the Shitada District of Sanjo City on the 28th, August. The word “Furusato” implies a love for one’s rural hometown, and Japan is full of a variety of local summer festivals characterized by food stalls, traditional dancing and music, and huge fireworks exhibitions.
Shitada’s festival was no exception, but it also put on two more unique events. One is the National Big-Stone Throwing Contest. This event honors a local ruling warrior, Ikarashi Kobunji, who, legends tell us, was a mighty man and born from the Giant Rainy Snake of Maoiga Ike Lake and a human girl from the hamlet of Kasabori. The word “national” may be an exaggeration, but I am unaware of other contests in Japan where participants, both individuals and family teams, compete by throwing bowling-ball-sized stones.

The other remarkable event is the Parade of the Great Snake. In this event, young men carry an “omikoshi,” or sacred shrine shaped like a giant snake, parading it from the Yagi Shrine to the bottom of Yagigahana Cliff.

Yes, I admit that the Sekikawa Snake Festival, which is up in the northern part of Niigata Prefecture, is more famous and their snake, which measures 82.8 meters in length and weighs 2 tons, is more splendid. The Guinness Book of Records has authorized that Sekikawa’s snake is larger than Shitada’s, but size is not everything. The people of Shitada’s love for and enjoyment of their own Snake Festival and the legendary love story behind it cannot be measured by tape or scales.

In a nutshell, the legends tell of a young lady and her mother who happened upon a wounded young warrior, nursed him back to health and came to like him very much. After he recovered, he told the ladies that, for reasons unknown, he had to leave. The girl, however, was in love with him and wanted to know where he would be heading, so her mother told her to stitch a string in the hem of his clothes. Later, she followed the string until she reached the lake and found that he was actually the embodiment of the Giant Snake of Maoiga Ike Lake.

He told her that he was the master of the lake but that the pin the girl had used to attach the string to his clothing was actually poisonous to him and that he was now dying. However, he told her that she was now pregnant with his child and that he wished that she would raise their baby. The baby, the legends continue, grew to become Ikarashi Kobunji, a real-life historical figure whose tomb was located in Yamagata Prefecture. (It is reported that Ikarashi’s tomb had collapsed, but that a memorial marker is located close to the site of the original tomb.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Ichishima Family and its history

You may associate my family name, Ichishima, with Ichishima-Tei (the mansion and garden of Japan’s second wealthiest landowner, preserved as part of the cultural heritage of Niigata Prefecture), or, perhaps, Ichishima Shuzo (a very notable Sake brewery in nearby Shibata City). Or if you have a good knowledge of Japanese literature, history and politics, you may be reminded of, amongst others, Aizu Yaichi (an essayist and art historian), Ichishima Shunjo (one of the founders of Waseda University) or Ichishima Tokujiro (the first president of Daishi Bank), or Ichishima Michio (a poet). They are all from branches of the Ichishima family tree. I belong to the Rokunojoke Branch.

Recently, I pieced together a brief history of the Ichishima families based on old newspaper articles and books, including KabyoNoSheHi, and Kaken (the family’s constitutional law book), which were published exclusively for members of the ten family branches and a few other people.

The most famous of the Ichishimas was “Gono,” a giant landowner. The Soke family (the “head family” or the “main-branch family”) was the largest land and forest owner in Niigata Prefecture before the start of the Second World War. Two thousand six hundred peasants worked in the rice paddies for the great landlord. Their land holdings were second only to the Homma family of Yamagata Prefecture.

The Ichishima residence, built in 1876 in Toyoura, Shibata City, is now preserved as a museum, and is open to the public. Unfortunately, a strong earthquake destroyed “Kogetsukaku,” a pomp-filled guest palace, in 1995 and, presently, there is no plan to rebuild it unless private benefactors can be found to provide financial support as government coffers are limited.

The Ichishima Family originated more than four centuries ago in Ichijima Town in Hyogo Prefecture as a family without a surname. However, when the Feudal Lord Mizoguchi was ordered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the daimyo who unified the political factions of Japan in the Sengoku period, to transfer from Kaga (Ishikawa Prefecture) to Shibata Castle, the first “Jihei” in the family followed him and settled in Ijimino, Shibata in 1598. One of his great-grandsons, even though he was the eldest son in the family, moved away from the family home to a neighboring town, “Suibara,” and rose to power, establishing the Soke family.

Other family members settled in parts of Shibata City. One, “Rokunojo,” who was favored by his father, inherited the original place in Ijimino, and established the family’s Rokunojo branch. All family branches have had ups and downs during their histories, but the Soke family had been one of Japan’s largest landowners from the early Edo Period until a decade after World War II.

Though the different branches of the family often went separate ways, the 185-article family constitution that bound them together strongly emphasized the importance of family ties and cooperation. One of its tenets was that “No family abandons another in trouble.” Thus, when the Rokunojo family faced less prosperous times and had even teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, its members were granted a share of the Soke family’s holdings, including a mansion in the same town as Ichishima Tei.

However, the emancipation of farming land and disposition of financial cliques in the aftermath of the war took away almost all properties from the farming giants. At this time, the Soke branch of the family, having no remaining heirs, became extinguished, much to the sorrow of other branches.

My grandfather was not the eldest son, so our branch of the family is not in the direct line of the Rokunojos. His residence was built in Ijimino, where an earlier ancestor settled, and, though we have spread to different cities during this modern age of hustle and bustle, it is still my family’s official domicile address.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kenkichi Ichishima: The Chronicler of Waseda and Okuma

Yesterday, my son and I went to Ijimino in Shibata City, which is where the Ichishima family established the original family domicile in Niigata Prefecture. We went there to learn more about one of the great members of our extended family, Kenkichi Ichishima (who went by the pen name of Shunjo).

First, we visited his grave in the Ijimino Cemetery. His tomb, which is right next to our family tomb, was repaired by Waseda University last year. Earlier, in a special  ceremony in Shibata City, Waseda's president delivered a speech in commemoration of the one-hundred fiftieth anniversary of Shunjo Ichishima's birth.

Photo: Kenkichi Ichishima (1860-1944)
A teacher for only a short time, Ichishima later worked as Library Director and assisted with the university's management. He played a major role in fund-raising for the university's expansion. He also served as director of the Dainippon Bunmei Kyōkai (Japan Civilization Society) and chairman of the Japan Library Association. (Retrieved from Waseda University’s home page)

Next, my son, a Waseda University student, and I went to Ichishima Tei or the Ichishima Residence Museum, to see a special exhibition about Kenkichi Ichishima’s accomplishments that featured a newly erected statue in his honor. A duplicate statue was also erected on the Waseda campus.

According to Waseda University’s website, the men that congregated around Shigenobu Ōkuma, the founder of the university, and assisted him in both his political ambitions and in the founding of Waseda University, included “a galaxy of talented individuals.” Amongst them were the enthusiastic young students of Azusa Ono's Ōtōkai (The Gull Society), who graduated from Tokyo Imperial University (now called The University of Tokyo). With Sanae Takata as the leader, the group was sometimes called the “University Group of Seven.” Ichishima also belonged to the group, but he quit school and rushed to Ōkuma's aid when Ōkuma left public office in 1881.

From then until Ōkuma's death in 1922 (Taishō 11), Ichishima spent over forty years as one of Ōkuma's attendants. During that time, Kenkichi  Ichishima (who went by the pen name of Shunjō) was a prolific writer, and he left behind an extensive catalog of essays, records, and notes. He was something of a chronicler of Ōkuma and Waseda University.

Ichishima was born in 1860 (Manen 1), the same year that Chief Minister Ii Naosuke was assassinated in the Sakuradamon Incident. By strange coincidence, he died in 1944 (Shōwa 19) at the age of 85, the same age that Ōkuma died.

Ichishima's family were wealthy landowners from the Echigo Province (located in current-day Niigata Prefecture). When Issei Maeshima was appointed as a commissioner after the Meiji Restoration, he used the spacious Ichishima home as his official residence, and is said to have doted on Ichishima, who, after studying in Suibara, Niigata, moved to Tokyo and entered Tokyo University. There he became friends with Sanae Takata, Shōyō Tsubouchi, Kenkichi Okayama, Ichirō Yamada, Kinosuke Yamada, and Katsutaka Sunakawa. He joined the Ōtōkai (Gull Society), supported Ōkuma in establishing the Rikken Kaishintō (Constitutional Reform Party), and later devoted himself to the founding of Tokyo Senmon Gakkō (College) and the development of Waseda University.

Ichishima had an especially close relationship with Takata. Judging from the roles they played, their relationship was like that of the sun and moon.

Takata served as Waseda's president, as a politician who served in the Diet in the Kizokuin (House of Peers: the upper house of the Imperial Diet under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan, which was in effect from February 11, 1889 to May 3, 1947), and as Minister of Education.  Ichishima also served in the Diet as an elected member from Niigata Prefecture, but his career was cut short due to illness.

Thereafter, he supported Takata as Executive Director, Auditor, and Library Director of Waseda University. He also assisted with fund-raising and expanding the Waseda University Library.
During this period, he always walked in Takata's shadow, and in the general election during the second Ōkuma cabinet, served as Ōkuma's campaign director. When Takata was sick or traveling abroad, Ichishima took care of all of his duties. He was flexible and responsive—a literary man, uninterested in fame or fortune. During the so-called “Waseda Troubles,” Ichishima faced down attacks as head of the Takata faction. After Ōkuma's death, he handled all the planning and organizing for the funeral.

(From “Episode—Ōkuma Shigenobu (Episodes in the Life of Shigenobu Ōkuma)”)
Retrieved from

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Direct Talk with Sanjo’s Mayor about Equal Rights

At a meeting convened by the Sanjo Women’s Forum this morning, I had a chance to participate in a “direct talk” about equal rights issues with Sanjo Mayor Isato Kunisada at the Gender Equality Office in Sanjo City. Kunisada-san, who was once the youngest city mayor in Japan, is now in his late-30s and is planning to run once again in the upcoming city election.

Admirably, he is willing to talk with anybody about any agenda.

While I am not an active member of the women’s forum, I have been interested in gender-related issues for many years and am an equal rights activist. Certainly, then, if there is one thing that needs to be discussed by the citizens of our city, it is how to further improve the status and rights of women.

I often hear it said that many people in Japan, especially those in rural areas like Sanjo, have very traditional and conservative views regarding occupational and homemaking duties. In a nutshell, working women spend a lot more time than men on household chores, child care, shopping, elderly care, and so on.

After the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law in 1986, the number of female workers increased, but even today, many more females work part-time or as temporary employees. Furthermore, few women hold supervisory roles, even in city hall.

Another area of concern is the field of education. For instance, in a field with one of the highest rates of full-time female employment in the country, you will find less than ten female principals for the one hundred senior high schools in Niigata Prefecture.

I believe government must lead the way on this issue. Unfortunately, our talk with the mayor did not lead to concrete proposals to enhance the status of women in our area, but we did agree to hold a follow-up meeting soon to deepen our discussion.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Who pays 100 dollars for a nail clipper? - Me!

SUWADA’S fancy nail clippers, which actually look more like nippers, fly off the shelves. In fact, I bought a very expensive pair myself. However, according to the information I learned about its edge and usability, I won't ever have to buy another one.

You may be asking yourself, “Who on earth is SUWADA?” Actually, it’s a company named SUWADA Blacksmith Works, Incorporated. The president is Mr. Tomoyuki Kobayashi, an up and coming whiz, who chairs the “Japan Brand Committee” at the Sanjo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He is also an active member of the “Sanjo Japan” group, which is exclusively composed of manufacturing companies whose origins are in the city. The members of this group go overseas together to place their products on international exhibition. One of the biggest events for the Sanjo Japan group is to display their traditional and state-of-art products at the International Trade Fair held in Ambiente, Frankfourt in Germany.

SUWADA also specializes in the sale of Bonsai shears and pliers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Relics of an Ancient Civilization?

The Yoshinoya area, where Isurugi Shrine is located, is also noted for its archaeological sites. On my way back home from seeing the great work by the Michelangelo of Echigo, I visited an excavation site (as shown in the photos). Though the findings have not been confirmed, the shards of earthenware and other unearthed articles were said to be from around the year 1000 during the Heian Period. They reminded me of the shards I dug up around my hometown during the summer breaks of my childhood.

The Michelangelo of Echigo Part 2

Another great work by Uncho
I went to see another great work by the “Michelangelo of Echigo, ” Ishikawa Uncho.  (Echigo is a former name of Niigata Prefecture). Earlier last month, I had joined a tour to view his greatest works on display at Honjoji Temple, the Head Temple of the Hokke Sect, located in Sanjo City. However, many of his masterpieces are possessed by some of the other notable temples and shrines across Echigo.

This time, I visited “Isurugi Shrine” in Yoshinoya in Sanjo City’s Sakae area. It is famous for its devotion to medicine. It also possesses one of Uncho’s finest works from the latter part of his career.

It was a sweltering, hot day, and I sweated a river while fighting a squadron of mosquitoes as I climbed the hundred narrow and steep steps leading to the small, but highly dignified shrine. However, as you can see from the photo below, it was well worth the effort. The sculpture, located at the entrance of the shrine, features a dragon, waves, turtles, carps, and Fu Lions. The dragon appeared to me as if it were about to jump off the beam onto which it was carved and fly away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The woman in this photo is a reporter from Niigata’s largest newspaper. In addition to being a teacher, I am also the chief of the Career Education Center at my university, so journalists often interview me. This reporter was interested in assessing this year’s employment prospects.

I note that, ironically, the reporter who interviewed me, in turn, does not like to be interviewed. She also prefers to remain anonymous, thus, she would not let me photograph her face.

As amusing as I find this, our topic was quite serious. For the last several years, due to “Lehman Shock,” the Japanese economy has been stagnant and job prospects for graduating students have been uncertain. Japanese students, who traditionally find jobs before they graduate, often spend the whole of their senior year searching for employment.

Traditionally, Japanese companies have implemented life-long employment practices with a system of seniority-based wage increases. However, due to the recent bad economy, many companies have been switching to short-term contracts (usually for three or four years) with wage systems based more on employee ability. This has increased the pressure on university seniors in Japan to secure their career status.

University officials are against their graduates becoming “contract employees.” However, this appears to be the new reality Japan is facing.

As a result, one of my new duties at my college is to deliver a lecture to the parents of our students to teach them how to discuss the importance of becoming a full-fledged member of society with their children and to encourage them to cope with social changes in a flexible manner. I also preach the importance of developing stronger work ethics.

The bad economy obscures the future my students face. Japan is changing before my eyes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Vacation!

My classes are finally over today. I’m in my summer vacation at last. My seven week-summer vacation has begun. But Japanese universities also have a two-month spring break. Next month, I’ll be busy writing a couple of papers and visiting several places for both business and pleasure. In September I’ll go to Guam, the nearest American territory.
I'll soon post a lot of local news!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Painter in Sanjo

I’d like to show some of the paintings of Mr. Mitsunari Hasegawa, an ordinary business person and engineering graduate who is also a talented artist. He excels at realistic penciled renderings as well as oil and water paitings. He often holds one-man exhibitions and displays his works at many local galleries, but he belongs to no artistic societies.

For your viewing pleasure, I present his paintings of Mt. Awagatake, as viewed from Shimagawara, Mt. Sumon, and Mt. Hakkaisan. He painted them all earlier this year.

Please visit his homepage gallery;

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Michelangelo of Echigo

It was only a few years ago that the great sculptor, Ishikawa Uncho (1814-1883), rose to national prominence. Now he is called the Michelangelo of Echigo (Echigo is a former name of Niigata Prefecture). Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to join in a tour to see some of his greatest works displayed at Honjoji Temple, the Head Temple of the Hokke Sect located in Sanjo City. Many of his masterpieces are possessed by some of other notable temples and shrines across Echigo.

Uncho, as he is usually called, was born in Zoshigaya, Edo (now Tokyo). However, his great artisanal skills were well known and he accepted an invitation by Sanjo’s Uchiyama Matazo to come to Echigo. Further cementing his relationship to the area, he was later adopted at the age of 32 into the Sakai family, one of the more prominent families of Sanjo City at that time. However, it is often said by locals that the real reason he moved to Sanjo is that it sufficiently provided him with “good sake and chisels for life.” All of Niigata Prefecture is known for the quality sake produced within its environs while Sanjo is famous for hardware and ironmongery. 

It is also reported that he worked only when he was in the mood and felt that the tools were of sufficient quality. According to a pamphlet provided by the temple: Unless he was happy, he never touched his chisels.

The pamphlet also noted that he only used a single piece of wood for each of his creations, yet each piece has many layers often carved deep into the wood. According to critics, his works are both bold in style and filled with delicate details.

Honjoji Temple’s exhibition contains several of Uncho’s masterpieces. Among many, I was especially impressed by his carvings of animals and the ornate carvings of gods, animals and mythical creatures he did on the temple’s transoms (a transverse beams or bars in the frame of the entrance to the temple), which were created out of single pieces of wood. 

The animal sculptures shown below are a monkey, a turtle, and an ox. They look so real that I expected them to move and run away at any moment! 

Also, you can find such animals as elephants, lions, carp, and dragons on the transoms. As well, Uncho’s carvings are observable on some of the existing gates and pavilions still in use today.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dr. Morohashi Tetsuji, the Kanji Master

I had an opportunity to visit “The Dr. Morohashi Tetsuji Museum,” also called “Kangaku No Sato” (Home of Chinese Studies) in Niwatsuki, Shitada Village (which recently merged into Sanjo City). Dr. Morohashi Tetsuji (1883-1982) is best known as Chief Editor of “Dai Kan-Wa Jiten,” the world’s most comprehensive dictionary of Kanji (a 13-volume set with more than 50,000 character entries and 530,000 compound words), published by Taishukan Publishing Co., Ltd.

The Sanjoites are proud of Dr. Morohashi, who became a laureate of the Order of Culture in 1965, and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1976, for his unprecedentedly great dictionaries and contributions to Japanese language studies, sinology and lexicography. He was, as a professor of several universities and, later, as the President of Tsuru University, well-known for offering lecturers on his work to the Imperial family, and for helping to choose the names of Imperial princes and princesses.

I visited the museum because they held a special seminar on Dr. Morohasi and, much to my delight, even showed a DVD-recorded speech by his son, Mr. Morohashi Shinroku, a well-noted former president of Mitsubishi Corporation. The speech, given in 2009 at a Sanjo public hall, was about his father.

According to his son, Dr Morhashi was a modest man who was so diligent that he made it a rule always to work after dinner, and placed a high priority on matters of propriety. While he was never a person to display his emotions easily, he was nevertheless delighted when he was made an “Honorary Villager of Shitada.”

He also told of how, at the age of 63 in 1945, his father became discouraged when many of the typesets for his great dictionary were destroyed during a bombing raid on Tokyo during the World War just before it was to have been published. However, he proved himself to be very resilient, and soon resumed working on compiling the dictionary. As luck would have it, part of the galley was found undamaged in another location, but it still took him another 15 years, when he became 73 years old, to publish the first part of the dictionary in 1955. The last part was published in 1960 when he was 78.

His work seemingly got better as he aged (although he was suffering from eye diseases), and he continued to publish more dictionaries even into his 90s. At the party for commemorating his receiving the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1976, Dr. Morohashi, at the age of 94, told his audience that he wanted to become “genuine,” but he felt unsure as to “how he could.”

His son mentioned that, during his last years, Dr. Morohashi often dreamed of his native Shitada and the great nature found in its surroundings. After one such dream, it was reported that the Dr. comically said, “In a dream, I was a school teacher, and my father was the principal of the neighborhood school, Arasawa Elementary.”

He often came back to his home in the summer months because he so loved Mt. Yagigahana and the people in the village. I still remember how, on one hot summer day, my elementary school classmate and I chased the large black cars that carried him to his small house he kept there, and watched the people entering the house. A thin old man got out of the car, came toward us and said, “What school do you attend?” We shouted “Morisho!” (Morimachi Elementary School), and ran away from his place.