Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thu Bon River Part 2

Have you ever heard of Cham or the Champa Kingdom? It was the name the kingdom was referred to by Marco Polo. He had traveled through Cham on his way back to Italy but Hoi An did not exist when he passed through. Polo wrote that the Cham Kingdom was conquered by the Yuan Dynasty and they had to offer 20 elephants tribute to Khans annually. This was not true. Yuan Dynasty, trying to expand south to Malay and Java, invaded Cham a number of times. Cham defended itself, once together with Dai Vet. General Tran Hung Dao repelled the Mongols using guerrilla tactics. His statue stands in downtown Hochimin square. Eventually Champa King made the act of vassalage to the Mongols and soon lost sovereignty thereafter and disappeared.

It was the Chams who opened the silk and spice roads via the ocean, trading with the neighboring countries, establishing a base in Hoi An as a trading port. The Chams prospered from 7th Century to 15th Century in Central Vietnam, with Dong Hoi, near Hue, to the north and Phan Thiet to the south. They had constant conflicts with Dai-Vets in the north and Kmel in the south.

Chams are found today in Cambodia and Thailand but are a minority in Vietnam. They started out originally as Shaivists and Hinduists but later more Chams converted to Islam. My Son (pronounced mi: sa:n, meaning beautiful mountain), 60 kilometers upstream and in the middle of the Thu Bon Valley, is where the Chams' sacred sanctuary ruins quietly sit, a cluster of over 70 Hindu temples, discovered by French archaeologists and recognized by UNESCO the same year as Hoi An.

I took the weekend tour on a fully loaded microbus. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a 50 acre site and is too wide an area for me to cover. Instead, I chose My Son for easy walks and for a fun boat ride of the Thu Bon River on the way back. My Son temples were partially bombed during the Vietnam War until U.S. Congress stopped the bombing to save the cultural treasures. The September 2014 issue of Vietnam Airline "Heritage" Magazine features "My Son" and "Chmpa Culture." It was full of beautiful shots of "Di Tich Cham." That is why I chose the photo of a 3-D wall of Phuoc An Hotel dining room where I stayed for this post.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kuala Lumpur Fun Night

On behalf of the ToastMasters from Sri Lanka, I am glad that you enjoyed the evening as much as we did. For most of us, it was the first time we enjoyed a fellowship with two international communities. Hopefully next time we can organize an event of a longer duration.

The team from our end that was involved in organizing the event was me, Arshad Mohideen and Trishma Pinto. We would be delighted in getting involved in whatever capacity as Toastmasters united, wherever we are in the world and whatever background we come from.

Please do keep in touch and I hope you will at some time in the future have the opportunity to visit our country, which to us is Paradise.

Warm regards

- Ajit De Soyza

Toastmasters - What expectation did you have when you booked your flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August? Myself, as a repeat attendee, I looked forward to the very last event of the Convention, tension running high with excitement and thrills when the winners' calls melt the silence into a roaring applause. The crowning of the 2014 World Championship of Public Speaking!

Secondly, be involved personally in the Board Member election campaign. I wore a Sri Lanka "Balraj" Button the day I arrived. He won and, coincidentally, Sri Lanka became the 2014 world champion.

Third, become friends and hobnob with Toastmasters from around the world. I was to meet a Canadian couple, introduced by my Canadian friend by names only. When I made my registration, I asked the registration staff if there is any way to locate them and, if at all possible, at which hotel they were staying. Their answer was not very promising with such a flood of travelers. The suggestion they made was to use the open message board on the 2nd floor. I posted my message but had doubts how effective it would be. Then I heard each regional conference was scheduled on the last day, and 'bingo', I found a way and we connected.

I wish to report one hell of a fun night I enjoyed, which combined the above 2 and 3 expectations. At the KL hotel where I stayed, I bumped into my fellow DTM Tamura, ex D76-DG, who invited me to join their Fun Night Bout. I joined him without knowing any details, but it was quite an event over and beyond my expectation. If anyone plans similar bouts in the future, this will be a great precedent to follow.

From L to R: Tamura, Floy and Ajit
When Tamura made his business trip late last year to Sri Lanka, he met Balraj Arunasalam who was running for 2nd VP at the KL Conference and he offered to help. What popped up during their conversation was a joint meeting of their respective home TM clubs with details to be worked out between Ajit De Soyza on the Sri Lanka side and Tamura on the Japanese side. Making a long story short, this idea developed into the Aug 22 "Fun Night", unknown unfortunately, to other Toastmasters.

The event was held at a hotel in Bukit Bintang, near Pudu Sentral (formerly Pudraya) where about 60 Toastmasters assembled. Basically there were 25 Japanese (from Kansai area, a dozen women who were clad in Kimono), 25 Sri Lankan and 10 Malaysian Toastmaster volunteers eager to meet, dine and enjoy each others company. Expenses were split: dinners (boxed Bento catered by the KL "Isetan" Japanese Department Store) borne by the Japanese; venue and drinks borne by Sri Lankans and Malaysians.

Dinner started with mingling and chatting. Toastmaster of the Fun Night was personable Trishma Pinto, the right person at the right place. Greetings and speeches were exchanged to cheers and chanting of Balraj.

Soon Tamura led a bell chime rhythm along with taped music and the Japanese Awa Dance theme featuring "Dancers are fools, Watchers are fools, if both are fools alike, why not dance" - started in a circle. Encouraged by this theme, Sri Lankans, Malaysians and even hotel restaurant workers all jumped into the dancing circle and danced for many, many rounds.

Then Sri Lankans and Malaysians answered the Awa Dance with their wonderful Group Chorus, including the local "Baila" song. It was a marvelous "Fun" night to remember for all Toastmasters who participated.

I wish to recognize preparation/coordination efforts of each group as per the following list given by Tamura. Thank you all very much.

Sri Lanka Coordinators:
Ajit De Soyza
Arshad Mohideen
Trishma Pinto
Malaysia Coordinator:
G. Subramaniam
(friend of Kenshi Suzuki, Osaka)
Japanese Coordinators:
Kay & Minoru Tamura
Kenshi Suzuki

Monday, September 29, 2014

Thu Bon River Part 1

Have you ever heard of Hoi An in Vietnam (Annan) in relation to the "Red Seal Boats" licensed by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early 1600s? Probably not. Hoi An was the least known destination as compared to Luzon (Manila), Melacca, Macao, Ayuttaya (Thailand), Pattahi (Indonesia), etc. I heard the name from my Canadian friend who visited Vietnam in the late 1990s. He had lived in Kyushu before and likened Hoi An as the Nagasaki of Vietnam.

Look up the map of Thu Bon River Estuary. Today, the river mouth is clogged with sediment now, but 400 years ago, large boats could easily sail and be towed upstream and dock for unloading and loading along the river town Fafo (Hoi An), trading port for the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Dutch. Most astounding is we can see a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port circa 15th to 19th Century with buildings that display a unique blend of local and foreign influences that survived the disastrous Vietnam War.

An introductory book on Hoi An I purchased there was surprisingly published by Showa Women's University in Tokyo. I lived close to that university during my Tokyo days. The book said that Showa Women University compiled the catalog in English and Japanese to commemorate the opening of the World Heritage Hoi An Exhibition in 2000 as well as the 80th Anniversary of the University. Proceeds from the sale of the book were donated to the Hoi An People's Committee & Association of Hoi An Cultural/Agricultural Heritage. What a coincidence and beautiful story between Vietnam and Japan!

This book shows remnants of both Japanese and Chinese quarters, although no physical sign of any ‘Japanese-ness’ remain today, except the tombstone epitaphs and the bridge named "Japanese", which is a unique covered structure, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist temple annexed to one side. It is associated with a legend that a Japanese sword is buried in the bridge foundation to appease the monster dragon that caused so many ocean shipwrecks. The book also shows picture scroll illustrations in color of tow boats inside the estuary and local administration headquarters. These scrolls are now in the possession of a Japanese temple in Nagoya.

There were an estimated 1,000 Japanese in Hoi An at its peak. The boats departed Japan when wind from the north sent them down south, and returned to Japan when the monsoon sent them up north in the summer - a one way voyage taking about a month. Reportedly the Japanese merchants placed emphasis on time constrained procurements. As soon as the boats left, they placed orders to have goods ready in time for the next boat, and this meticulous business practice often forestalled and antagonized the competition. The voyages proved very profitable, but with risks to lives. So when the Tokugawa enforced a nationwide embargo, it favored the competition, the Dutch in particular, and hastened the decline of the Japanese town.

I strolled Tran Phu Street right after my arrival and ate lunch at the colonial looking Hoi An Hotel, introduced by my Canadian friend. The hotel is a little distance away from Thur Bon and on a narrow street (probably a one-way street) but very conveniently located. Almost all of the "must-see" locations are within walking distance. I first I looked for a post office to buy postage stamps, then bought a coupon to allow five visits to any heritage building, including temples and museums.

Almost 200-year old houses all feature narrow facades and shop fronts and went deep inwards. You can walk through to the open, breezy inner courtyard, which was well decorated, where you face the living quarters of the merchants. They were all renovated with encouragement from the Town Committee mentioned above. The houses are numbered for easy identification.

This post is dedicated to the hotel manager Phuoc and restaurant staff Hue and Trang who made my stay pleasant in Hoi An. Thank you for the special local banana pancake / crepe recipe. It was delicious.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Vietnam War Remembered

Rest well, my child of the yellow race
I'll rock you gently
and heal your gun wounds
You went to war at the age of 20 years
Never returning home
Sleep, my child, sharing my yellow skin
I'll lull you and coax you
I'll do it twice
This body
which used to be so small
that I carried in my womb
that I held in my arms
Why do you rest at the age of 20 years?

"Lullaby" (Ngu Di Con) by Vietnamese Lyricist and Composer Trinh Cong Son (1939 - 2001), about a mother grieving her son who has gone off to war, became a hit in Japan in 1972. When he died at the age 62, he was dubbed the Bob Dylan of Vietnam by American singer Joan Baez. He gained fame in the 1960s for his love ballads and anti-war anthems, and has just been posthumously awarded a 2004 World Peace Music Award (WPMA), alongside other well-known names such as Harry Belafonte, Country Joe McDonald, Peter, Paul & Mary and well, Baez and Dylan.

Da Nang in Central Vietnam was my next stop after visiting Hochimin. The distance between Hochimin and Da Nang is about 1000 km. I found Da Nang Airport as unboundedly open and shining, contrary to my preconceptions from the stained image of the Vietnam War. Yes, a modern city with good roads and bridges. I was met by a taxi driver sent from my Hoi An hotel at the airport exit and sped south after clearing city traffic along the beach with luxury hotels and condos and golf courses. The scene looked familiar. This is Southern California!

I've read that the US Marine Corps Battalion Landing Team, wearing full battle gear and carrying M-14s, met Vietnamese girls with leis, South Vietnamese officers, sightseers, carrying a large sign "Welcome, Gallant Marines", and General Westmoreland was appalled. I was similarly baffled with the "Southern Cal scene” in Da Nang, Vietnam.

I am glad that I dropped Hue, the old capital, from my itinerary. Heading north, you have to dash up Hai Van Pass and necessarily touch upon the 1968 Tet Offensive related Hue massacre. Hue is where Trinh Cong Son, the "Lullaby" composer, lived.

Reachable from Hue are many historical US versus NVA battlefields (Khe Sanh, Con Tien, etc) on the 17th Parallel DMZ where the US had tried to block NVA infiltration into the South through Ho Chimi Min Trails, as well as the Vin Moc Tunnel Complex, which was dug deeper than the US bombs could penetrate. More than 400 villagers survived the war and more than 40 new babies were born underground. However, they could have been victims of Agent Orange, the defoliants.

I was stationed, as a Japanese businessman, in the U.S. during the Vietnam War and saw nationwide upheaval, anti-draft hippies and anti-war student marches.

I remember David Halberstam, in Saigon, as a New York Times correspondent. He was among a small group of American reporters who began to question the official optimism about the growing war in Vietnam. The Communist government in the north enjoyed wide spread support in rural Vietnam. The US-backed Saigon Government was quite unpopular. Halberstam saw Vietnam as a moralistic tragedy, with America's pride bringing about the government’s downfall. Although he won a 1964 Pulitzer Prize for reporting, he was transferred to another bureau.

I safely chauffeured David Halberstam to Kearny Mesa when he flew into San Diego Airport. He visited my former employer's plant to interview the company’s founder Kazuo Inamori, who happened to be visiting San Diego at the time. Halberstam was preparing for his 12th book "The Next Century" and found Inamori's nickname Mr. AM quite intriguing.

Halberstam taught that the moment humans lose their modesty, it inevitably leads to hubris and arrogance resulting in the demise of everything. Kazuo Inamori, who later read "The Next Century", warned his employees to "avoid paved ashphalt roads” and not “be afraid to take dirt roads."

I wrote that I drove Halberstam "safely." In 2007, David Halberstam was killed in an unfortunate traffic accident in Menlo Park in a car driven by a Berkeley student.

Jack Langguth (unusual surname so I remember it well) succeeded David Halberstam at the Saigon NY Times Bureau. Jack was sympathetic to David. When I did a search on him, I was surprised to see his obituary a few days ago. It was Sept l, the day I came home from my Vietnam trip. He was 81. We are of the same generation. After retiring from the New York Times, Jack taught journalism at USC in Los Angeles. He not only wrote books about Vietnam, but history and children books as well.

I wish to dedicate this blog entry to all those who perished during the Vietnam War and to David Halberstam, Jack Langguth, and Vietnam pacifist composer Trinh Cong Son.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Brand New "Tung Son Thach" Japanese Garden in Hochimin, Vietnam

"She was crammed in by a boatload of human bodies, thinking of her father and becoming overwhelmed, slowly, with loneliness. As much loneliness as fear. Concentrate, she told herself. And she did ― forcing herself to concentrate, if not ― if she was unable to ― on the thought of her family, then on the contact of flesh pressed against her on every side, the human warmth, feeling every square inch of skin against her body and through it the shared consciousness of ― what? Death? Fear? Surrender? She stayed in that human cocoon, heaving and rolling, concentrating, until it was over."

- from Nam Le's The Boat (2008), which won the Dylan Thomas Prize

Nam Le, as a baby, was smuggled by his parents from war-torn Vietnam on a tiny boat, which landed in Malaysia and then found refuge in Australia. After graduating from the University of Melbourne, Le worked as a corporate lawyer and also started writing stories and sent them to the U.S. In 2004 Le attended Iowa Writers Workshop which taught him to concentrate on creative writing. His first book, The Boat, has 7 short stories, including my favorite "Hiroshima", dealing with a girl orphan named "Little Turnip." Today, Nam Le is a rising star.

So was Ngo Chanh, Chairman of Shoei Trading Company, the Vietnamese protagonist. His boat headed north for Japan, instead of Malaysia. Chanh, was probably in his late teens then, as he was born reportedly in the zodiac year of the wild boar. He landed in Tokyo and the Tokyo Association of Refugees transferred him to Matsuyama City, Ehimeken, my birthplace, where he got local support and shelter. There he first engaged in shipping secondhand fishing boat engines to Vietnam on a small scale and gradually expanded his business to bigger machines and vessels. As he succeeded, he returned to Hochimin, Vietnam in glory to manage plastic treatment factories in Hochimin, Vietnam. It took him more than 30 years of perseverance and hard work.

What amazed me was the construction of the Japanese Garden "con vien Rin Rin Park" near his plastic plant of about 5 acres (7000 tsubos), which opened early in 2014, 20 km northwest of Hochimin, an area called Hoc Mon District. I have a Japanese friend living in Hochimin who is a Japanese language teacher. She brought me news of the garden since she knew I was involved in the San Diego Japanese Garden. She had been in San Diego before Hochimin. She made an arrangement for me to interview Ngo Chanh on my recent Hochimin visit.

Accompanied by his son Ngo Kim Thuan, sharp-looking and debonair Ngo Chanh appeared before me at about the time Dinh Vuong (student of my friend who guided me to the park) and I finished the tour of his garden. Both father and son are fluent in Japanese.

Ngo wrote down his Matsuyama address in his impeccable Japanese Kanji. Doidacho was his address. We talked about common topics of Matsuyama. Doidacho is southwest of Matsuyama Castle, not so far from Matsuyama Shieiki, once the home of the Iyotetsu "Botchan" trains. Doidacho is the 2nd station on the Iyotetsu Gunchu Line from the Matuyama Shieki. There are sporting facilities for Matsuyama citizens such as a swimming pool, martial arts stadium, cycling track, etc. where the famous Ishite River joins Shigenobu River in southern Doidacho. His son, who graduated from the nearby sports loving Yushin Junior High, must be very familiar with those facilities.

Ngo Chanh was motivated to build the Rin Rin Japanese Park to show gratitude to Japan as well as to introduce the true Japanese culture to fellow Vietnamese. He therefore paid enormous freight, transporting 4000 tons of Japanese stones, including "Iyo" blue stones, "Uwajima" sperm-whale stones, Mikame-cho stone walls, Oshima-made stone Pagoda, drum stone bridge, stepping stones, stone lanterns, sculptured stones; 50 thick needle podocarp trees ( Podocarpus macrophyllus) and 20 pyramidal junipers (Kaizuka-ibuki) and Imabari gravel, per Yasuhito Kido, President of Ehime Kenjinkai in Hochimin.

In addition, he airfreighted 200 varicolored golden carp from Konishi Farm in Hiroshima. He hired Kiyohiro Takahashi, a professional gardener born also in Iyo-shi, Ehime, a year after ground breaking. The park, called "Tungson Thack Pak" (meaning Matsuyama Stone Park) in Vietnamese, officially opened in March with 1000 well-wishers in attendance. Ehime Governor Nakamura visited the park before the official opening and thanked Ngo for his fantastic conception and power of execution.

Looking at a map online, I expected to easily find the park, but in reality it is hard to locate. I circled around the crowded housing area for a quarter of an hour searching for it. The park is further west of Tan Son nhat Airport. I saw the Vietnamese ad pamphlet upon my visit. The "Cong vien da nhat ban" appearing on the pamphlet stands for the Japanese style stone garden. Its notoriety gradually spread by word of mouth. I was quite obsessed with pictures and knew what to expect, but standing in front of the central stone themed landscape, "spirit of stone" and "spirit of tree", I felt quite at home, serene and exhilarated and wanted to congratulate Ngo for his dream-come-true project.

He is planning to open up the park for Japan-Vietnam Friendship, Trade and Exhibition activities, attracting Japanese visitors and I'm sure it will be further developed for fun, leisure and entertainment.


Finishing this Rin Rin Park blog, I found that the pine trees were symbolic trees of the Ngyuen Dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam, whose capital was in Hue, near Da Nang, Central Vietnam, from 1802 to1945. The French invaded in 1858. Ngyuen Dynasty lasted until 1945, although it was under French protection and influence. I read that many of the Ngyuen Dynasty pagodas and royal tombs have rows of pine trees. "Matsuyama" (Mountain of Pine Trees) also means special fate and the park symbolizes Ngo Chanh’s second hometown.

Visit the park's facebook page.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fukuoka 60th Anniversary Part 3 - Women Leadership

A few weeks ago, the paper reported that the Church of England voted to allow women to become bishops for the first time in its history. It's hard to realize that sexual discrimination still existed in the Anglican hierarchy, as I know quite a few women have been ordained in ministerial positions. It’s surely a welcome and overdue change.

Helen Blanchard
Today our Toastmasters Worldwide Organizations boasts 100 Districts. Of the 100 District Governors, men and women governors are split 50-50, equally and ideally balanced. Toastmasters International has come a long way,

It was 1970 when Helen Blanchard applied for a membership with the San Diego Naval R&D (her work site) Toastmasters chapter. The club may have been willing to let her in but Toastmaster headquarters’ position banning women hadn’t changed then. When local members submitted her application, her gender was disguised by turning the first name to Homer.

Toastmasters then quickly made an about face and ruled it gender free. Helen advanced up the ladder and in 1985 she was the first woman International President. I attended San Diego Toastmasters Convention but my official Toastmasters membership was after 1994, the year of my retirement when I left San Diego. I know and have seen Helen from a distance but missed the chance to talk with her in person.

Yoshiko Mohri

Upon visiting Fukuoka Toastmasters on my return to Japan, I found Yoshiko Mohri, as the 'Helen Blanchard' of Japan. She joined Fukuoka Toastmasters in 1972, probably one of the very few women Toastmaster trailblazers back in the pioneering days. Fukuoka can compete well with San Diego when it comes to history of women leaders. DTM Mohri held her membership for over 40 years to date without any interruption. She saw Fukuoka club’s 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries!

At the recent 60th Anniversary, I asked her if she was the first woman joining Fukuoka. “No, I was not the first,” was the immediate response. She showed me a photo static copy of the 20th Anniversary where I counted a dozen women. “Fantastic! In 1974, you had a dozen women members out of 20.” “Oh, I remembered a women college professor member brought some of her students… Of all the women members, I might have been the 5th”. In 2006, DTM Mohri served as District Lieutenant Governor for Education/Training, and in 2013 she chaired the D76 Fall Convention in Fukuoka.

I’m impressed with her knowledge and cool application of adult techniques, yet she is considerate with business-like-contacts and responses and full of common sense. Perhaps they are gifts from her travel related trade experiences. Once, she and I had a chance to greet our mutual Taiwan Toastmaster friends in Fukuoka. I liked her excellent choices of restaurant and the entertainment.

Shoko Akie
I pursued with persistence whom she could identify as Fukuoka women leaders like her in the past, serving as officers such as VPs and Presidents. Three names were given: Chieko Kawashima in the 1960s - 70s, Shoko Akie in the 1965 - 76 and Mitsuko Nishimura, later in mid 1980s - 90s. I could not find any records regarding Chieko Kawashima whom other members remembered as a hard worker, always cheerful and friendly. Shoko Akie (born in 1920) is Professor Emeritus of Fukuoka Women's University, holder of the Government’s 3rd Order of the Sacred Treasure for her lifetime contribution to women studies and gender equality campaigns. She authored a book comparing two distinguished educators, Horace Mann (1796-1859) and Yurei Mori (1847-1889). DTM Mohri is proud of such high caliber women as members of the Fukuoka Toastmaster. I know the late Mitsuko Nishimura well because she, Albert Moe and I co founded Kitakyushu Toastmasters in 1997. Mitsuko commuted from Kitakyushu to Fukuoka by train then. I will feature her on a future blog post.
Chieko Kawashima (third person from right)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Edo Japanese artists Keiga & Hokusai and P.F. von Siebold

Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1868), a German doctor, who studied zoology, botany, and ethnology, plus earned a doctorate in surgery, obstetrics and internal medicine, prepared to leave in 1828 for Europe after a stay of six years as physician at the Dutch East India Company Dejima Factory, the only trading post authorized by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

His belongings became wet dampened during a storm, and when laid out on the deck for drying, discovery was made by a Nagasaki Magistrate official of banned maps of Japan drawn by Tadataka Ino, and a Haori jacket with a hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family, etc. During the intensive investigation that followed, Kageyasu Takahashi of the Nagasaki Magistrate, who had given the maps to Siebold, was sentenced for capital punishment. Genseki Habu, the Shogunate doctor responsible for the Shogunate Haori, was deprived of his post, and Siebold was exiled for life out of Japan.

Implicated in this conspiracy were more than 50 other Japanese friends, doctors, interpreters and tradesmen who were punished as grave criminals. Choei Takano, who was a leading disciple of Siebold, was also a victim, but fled with luck. This is known as the Siebold Incident.

Toyosuke Kawahara (1786-1865) was another victim who was punished and disappeared from Dejima, along with his art teacher Yushi Ishizaki, who was the elite official Connoisseur of the Chinese Painting of the Nagasaki Magistrate. They were simply too close to Siebold. Their indictments were for such trivial matters as the family crests of the clans in guard at Nagasaki appearing in their art pieces.

Toyosuke was referred to Siebold by Yushi as a promising painter; Siebold was eagerly waiting for the arrival of Carl Hubert de Villanueve, a French artist whom he requested as an important reinforcement to his research crew in Dejima.

Toyosuke was hastily added to Siebold's entourage to travel Edo. He was to paint scenes of major towns and ports on the way to Edo from Nagasaki, and fauna and flora upon Siebold's request. Toyosuke learned through trial-and-error and delivered to Siebold's liking. He gradually gained confidence developing the genre, creating an east-meet-west style that not only met the scientist's demands, but deeply impressed Siebold. He eventually learned western oil painting from French artist Villanueve and applied these techniques to his figure paintings.

Most of the Siebold's collections, including 12,000 specimens, had been shipped out before the above scandal. Immediately upon his return from Japan, Siebold began sorting them and published books, first with his own money, later with the help of Leyden University and Dutch King William II. 'Bibliotheca Japonica', 'Fauna Japonica', 'Flora Japonica' came out mostly between 1830 and 1860, acclaimed as the "books of miracle". In addition to the text, 'Siebold Bibliotheca' has 367 lithograph illustrations, most of them based on Toyosuke's paintings.

About 1,000 of Toyosuke's paintings are now at Leiden University museum and Komarov Botanical Institute Museum in St. Petersburg, the largest collection of one of the great Japanese Edo artists in Europe. He is better known in Europe than in Japan.

Toyosuke (changed his name to Keiga Taguchi after the Siebold incident) painted Russian Admiral Yevfimy Putyatin when he visited Nagasaki in 1855 on a diplomatic mission. Also, he signed the portrait of Grandma Kiku Nagashma in Nagasaki, supposedly painted in 1860. We surmise he lived until 1860.

Meanwhile, with a pardon, Siebold returned to Japan in 1859 and met his daughter Oine, and stayed until 1862. It is doubtful that Toyosuke and Siebold were ever reunited.

While searching for the contemporary painters of Toyosuke aka Keiga, I found Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), 25 years senior to Keiga. Hokusai, is the one and only Japanese who was included in Life's magazine "Top 100 who Made the Millennium" for his "Ukiyo-e" woodprints, including "the Great Wave and Fuji". Do not be surprised if Keiga had something to do with Hokusai avoiding subrogation in the Siebold Incident.

Hokusai was approached by both the Dejima Dutch Captain (obligated to travel to Edo from Nagasaki every four years, like the Daimyos) and Siebold to do sketches of the daily lives of Japanese. The captain paid Hokusai at the contracted price but some quarrels were recorded between Hokusai and Siebold. Siebold demanded a discount and Hokusai refused. The dispute was settled when the captain heard about it through interpreters and paid Hokusai the full price. Hokusai’s works appeared on Siebold’s encyclopedic “Nippon”.

What about Hokusai's involvement in the Siebold case? Tokugawa banned the sale of his art work to foreigners. My question is: did the Hokusai deal precede the banning because the captain's names differed (the contractor versus the payer)? Keiga might have stepped in and possibly gotten Hokusai off the hook.

If true, what a laudable act it was to let the senior Hokusai churn out his world-class ukiyo-e during his twilight years.