Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Japanese professor laid to rest in Viet Nam

Devoted: Late Japanese Professor Yumio Sakurai works with Vietnamese volunteers to prepare for the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival ‘09. — VNS/VNP File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— In his will, late Japanese professor Yumio Sakurai wrote “If I leave this world, please cremate and send my ashes to Viet Nam.

“And Vietnamese friends, please float me on the cool Hong (Red) River. This is my second country to which I have spent my whole life exploring with my burning love of science.”

And honouring his will, his family, colleagues and students transported part of his ashes to Viet Nam on Wednesday, which was followed by an official receiving ceremony and commemorative service.

Professor Sakurai died on December 17, 2012, at the age of 67.

“Professor Sakurai spent 30 years studying Viet Nam and had made extraordinary contributions to promote knowledge and images about Viet Nam and its people to the international community,” said Prof Phan Huy Le.

“He often told us that the great events in his life link to those of Viet Nam. He was born in 1945, the year the country declared independence, and he got married in 1975, the year Viet Nam was completely liberated.”

Each year, Sakurai returned five or six times to give lectures on Viet Nam to local students at the Ha Noi National University. He even joked with his students that he could spend the total amount of all his airfare to buy a luxurious Boeing aeroplane. His Vietnamese proficiency was acquired through self study.

“He considered Viet Nam as a subject of in-depth and thorough study in his whole-life research about Southeast Asian history,” said Le.

Speaking at the ceremony on Wednesday, Sakurai’s wife, Mieko Sakurai said: “Whenever summer came, he was so excited about leaving for Viet Nam that it was as if he was going to meet his lover.

“He devoted most of his life to studying Viet Nam and its people. He often shared with me his ideas for research work, lectures and books about Viet Nam. It is regretful that he left so unexpectedly, leaving behind many unfinished intentions. In his last minutes, he wished to mingle with the land that he loved.”

In his autography, translated as Forever a Sun, Prof Sakurai wrote: “I concluded the 44 years of my research as followed: I respect and love Viet Nam deeply. I love the Vietnamese people above all others.”

Sakurai himself carried out, participated in and consulted on many research projects, including an archaeological study on the ancient Hoi An City, research on the history of ground-breaking of the northern region, and research on the Thang Long Imperial Citadel.

On this occasion, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Dr Phung Xuan Nha, president of the Ha Noi National University, presented the State of Viet Nam’s Friendship Medal to his family representative. — VNS

By vivian