On 28th, I was in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima. Here, the people of Namie town and its local government office has evacuated. Nihonmatsu is also a city where NAIIC held one of its town meetings.
I have a special reason to visit this town. In our NAIIC report, I mentioned a book “Japan at the Edge of Major Crisis” original title: 『日本の禍機』(in Japanese) by Kanichi Asakawa, a historian born in Nihonmatsu, Professor of Yale University, the first Japanese to become Professor of any university in US, in my message (in Japanese, page 5, 6). Several people responded to this, and one of them, Mr. Anzai, the Chairman of Seven Bank, who was also originally from Nihonmatsu, set up this lecture.
Mr. Uda, Chief Operation Officer (COO) at NAIIC, also happens to come from an old Samurai family in the Nihonmatsu han (“han” is a feudal domain which existed until the Meiji Restoration). Nihonmatsu han had a very hard experience at the Boshin civil war.
Arriving early enough to Nihonmatsu, Mr. Anzai, Uda, Mori, the public relations officer at NAIIC, and myself went to the city office to pay respect to Mr. Miho, the mayor of Nihonmatsu, listened to his story and exchanged views. We also went to the area where Mr. Anzai’s home used to be, the ruin of the Nihonmatsu castle, house where poet Chieko Takamura, was born, and the remain of the parents’ house of Kanichi Asakawa.
The lecture of Mr. Uda and myself started from 7pm at the city hall (the same hall where we had one of the NAIIC town meetings). Quite a number of people arrived by buses (the city office arranged for many buses well in advance to avoid expected traffic jam). The huge hall which accommodates 1,200 people was packed with people, many standing at sides or rear. Those who were unable to get into the hall were guided to separate rooms to see the lecture on screen. Mayor Miho and Chairman Anzai each gave a welcome speech for about 10 minutes, then Mr. Uda and myself delivered our lectures. The audience was very attentive, we had lots of Q&As, the gathering went on for about 2 hours in quite an enthusiastic mood.
After the lectures, we had a short drive to Azumakan, at Dake hotspring, owned by Mr. Uda’s relative, for late dinner. Talking about the lectures or the mysterious connections with Nihonmatsu each of us have, was fascinating. It was truly a nice full day.
I was told on the next day that this lecture was uploaded on the web. Please check here.
Isn’t it great that we live in such an “open” age?