On August 4th, 2015, the Council on East Asian Studies had the pleasure of hosting ten junior high school students from Nihonmatsu, Japan. Coordinated by the City of Nihonmatsu’s Board of Education, two students from five junior high schools in Nihonmatsu are invited each year to take part in a pilgrimage to the United States to honor the memory of Professor Asakawa Kan’ichi.
As this year is the 10th anniversary of the merger of Nihonmatsu City with three towns in Adachi District, the Council was happy to receive a number of Nihonmatsu City Officials including Mr. Hiroshi Shinno, Mayor; Mr. Ryosuke Nakada, City Council Chairman; Mr. Junichi Yamaguchi; Vice President of the City Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ms. Michi Ishikawa, Leader of the Nihonmatsu Federation of Women’s Organizations; Mr. Koji Noji, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nihonmatsu JCI; Mr. Masaaki Hoshi, Head of the Department of Construction; and Mr. Shinnichi Harada, a Member of the City Board of Education. The tour was joined by Yale professors Frances Rosenbluth (Wells Professor of Political Science) and William Fleming (Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures and Theater Studies).
Professor Asakawa, a native of Nihonmatsu, was an academic, author, historian, librarian, curator and peace advocate who became the first Japanese-born scholar to receive a professorship at a major American university. He taught at Yale University from 1907 to 1942, served as curator of the East Asian Collection at the Yale University Library from 1907 to 1948, and built the foundation for Japanese research collections at both Yale and the Library of Congress. (For more information about Professor Asakawa, please visit the Council on East Asian Studies website.)
The students began their visit by paying their respects to Professor Asakawa, laying flowers on his grave. They then had a full tour of the East Asia Library and were given the opportunity to see for themselves some of the Professor’s original writings. The group also had the opportunity to visit the Samurai Exhibit at the Peabody Museum. The tour ended with a lunch at the Timothy Dwight College dining hall.
We are always happy to receive our friends from Nihonmatsu, and we look forward to seeing them again next year!