It is a great pity that Dr. Mineo NAKAJIMA (中嶋嶺雄), a distinguished international sociologist and president of Akita International University, passed away in Akita City, Japan, on Thursday, 14th of February, 2013. Having a profound interest in haiku, he supported the activities of Akita International Haiku Network as adviser. With deep gratitude for his contribution to the Network, let me dedicate five in memoriam short poems (短歌) to his soul, as below.
Minoru KONO (幸野 稔), Chief Director,
Akita International Haiku Network
Here is a photo of Dr. Mineo Nakajima taken at Akita International University.
Here are five in memoriam short poems (短歌) to his soul.
How dazzling was the back
Of my senior schoolmate,
Who carried a flag and led
The demonstration of students
Of our alma mater in Tokyo!
Pursuing the way
Of global education
The great senior academic
Has met his end here in Akita.
Alas, the president
Of Akita International
Has abruptly passed away
From our town with the snowstorm!
Our passionate talks
On the teaching of English
At elementary school
Will no longer be exchanged
In your vacant office.
Inheriting the will
Of the late senior academic,
Why shouldn’t we develop
The English abilities
Of students here in Akita?
Here is a message on Dr. Mineo Nakajima’s demise, written by Mr. Mark Williams, Vice President and Trustee at Akita International University.
Subject: 中嶋学長御逝去のお知らせ/President Nakajima Passed Away
rin to hisho ya
yuki no yari
Dear Graduates, Students, Faculty and Staff members:
rin to hisho ya
yuki no yari
It is my sad duty to report to you that President Nakajima passed away in an Akita hospital on Thursday, February 14, 10:26 pm following a short battle with pneumonia.
A family funeral was held on Monday, February 18, at his home in Tokyo.
As the President said in an article in the Asahi Shimbun on May 10, 2003, one year before the founding of AIU: “We will only be able to judge this new university in 10 years time when we can see the success of our educational philosophy and the achievement of our graduates.”
The President’s strong passion for education can be seen in his remark, “I want to make AIU into a modern-day Shokasonjuku (a famous school of Yamaguchi prefecture in the late Edo period) where we can nurture in this local environment people who can operate on the global stage.” It is no exaggeration to say that this dream has been achieved in less than 10 years and that a university which has already became influential on the national stage has taken root here in Akita.
Until recently, the President was active in all areas of University life, full of new ideas, and passionate about the future direction of the University. The founder of this University is no longer with us to continue his work and we can only express our sadness that his activity has been cut short by his sudden passing.
However, it is our duty, as students, graduates, faculty and staff members of AIU, to seek to continue the President’s vitality and insight, and to continue to develop AIU into the future. That is the best way for us to ensure his legacy.
A University Memorial Ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 17 from 1 pm in the AIU Multi-Purpose Hall. This will be an open ceremony to which all are invited.
We have received the following message from Mrs. Nakajima.
“My husband’s thoughts were always close to his students. How he used to look forward to graduation and matriculation ceremonies where he could welcome his students from all over Japan! That is why he chose to be hospitalized near the campus.
As his family, we were often surprised to hear him taking about ‘nurturing the next generation of leaders’ and ‘making AIU into the number one University in the world with students’ help’.”
AIU is a university into which my husband devoted all his energies. I should like to express my sincere gratitude to you all for your help up to this point.”
Vice President and Trustee
Here is an English interpretation of haiku in the above message, which was given by Hidenori Hiruta（蛭田秀法）.
The Reverend Mineo Nakajima
ascending the heavens in valiance
beyond Mount Yari in snow
Here is a photo of Mount Yari in snow.
Dr. Mineo Nakajima led us haiku poets in Akita as honorary president of Akita International Haiku Association.
Here are two haiku composed to offer our condolences on Dr. Mineo Nakajima’s death.
The first haiku was composed by Jin Wada（和田仁）, president of Akita International Haiku Association.
The land of ‘U’
feels lonely too –
the bird into the clouds
* ‘羽 (U)’ is the old name of Akita （秋田）.
The last one was written by Hidenori Hiruta（蛭田秀法）.
The snowy peak –
The Reverend Mineo Nakajima leaving behind
May Dr. Mineo Nakajima’s soul rest in peace!
The next posting ‘Haiku in “My loved Japan” by Clelia Ifrim (1)’ appears on March 23.
― Hidenori Hiruta