The Japan Society of Boston today is honoring a revered Tokyo physician who has made a major contribution to preserving the legacy of Japanese-American relations in New England.
The free event, including a concert of Japanese and American music, is being held at the society's Showa Hall in Jamaica Plain at 5:30 p.m. The occasion honors Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara for his leading role in raising funds in Japan to restore the historic Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship House in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, which opened on Thursday to honor John Manjiro, the first Japanese to live in America.
The society explains his significance: "John Manjiro, also known as Manjiro Nakahama, was rescued at sea by Captain William Whitfield and, at age 16, came to Whitfield’s Fairhaven house, where he lived from 1843 to 1849. Returning to Japan, he was appointed a samurai and indirectly influenced the negotiations with Commodore Matthew Perry which ended 250 years of Japanese isolation."
The society calls Dr. Hinojara, who is now 97 years old, "one of Japan's greatest physicians and humanists." He was chairman of St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo, and has authored many books. He has been personal physician to the empress of Japan.
Later this month, the Japan Society will mark the 50th anniversary of the Kyoto-Boston sister-city relationship with a dinner on May 26 at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. (The Museum of Fine Arts has an exhibition at the moment on art depicting Kyoto). The dinner will also celebrate the 105th anniversary of the Japan Society of Boston -- the oldest of the more than 45 Japan-America societies around the United States.
The speaker will be Congressman Barney Frank, the Newton Democrat who worked hard for the 1988 law that granted reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the US government during World War II.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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