Wright presents awarad to alumnus in Japan

by Mitch Yashiro | 11/25/98 6:00am

TOKYO -- College President James Wright presented the fifth Kan'ichi Asakawa Award, which recognizes outstanding alumni in Japan, to Chiharu Igaya '57 yesterday at a reception hosted here by the Dartmouth Club of Japan.

Igaya, the first Japanese graduate of the College after World War II, is a member of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee. He was the driving force behind the successful Nagano Winter Olympics in February.

"I am extremely honored," Igaya said at the reception. "Looking back at 67 years of my life, the highlight was the four years at Dartmouth."

In the 1956 Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, when he was a junior at the College, Igaya won the silver medal in the slalom -- the only medal won by a Japanese athlete in those Games. He was the captain of the Dartmouth Ski Team and was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame.

"You have represented Dartmouth so well," Wright said yesterday. "We are so proud of you."

Wright quoted Igaya's Ski Team coach at Dartmouth saying, "Whatever you say about him won't be good enough."

The award is given in honor of Asakawa, the first Japanese graduate of the College, a member of Class of 1899.

Asakawa was an eminent Japanese historian and a pioneer in U.S.-Japanese relations in the early 20th century. He started the Asian Studies and Japanese language programs at Dartmouth.

Asakawa was the first Japanese person to become a professor at a major American university -- he taught courses on Far East civilizations at Dartmouth and Yale University for 35 years.

Marilyn Black, chair of the Hanover Board of Selectmen, Acting Dean of the College Dan Nelson and other Hanover and Dartmouth officials recently returned from a visit to Asakawa's hometown Nihon-Matsu. They signed an agreement for Nihon-Matsu to become a sister city to Hanover.

According to Black, this means that people from Nihon-Matsu will be welcomed in Hanover and provided homestays, and people from Hanover will likewise be welcomed in the city in northern Japan.

Wright is touring Asia for both business and recreation. He was in Hong Kong last week sightseeing and attended Dartmouth Club of Hong Kong events throughout the weekend.

He has been visiting colleagues and friends in Tokyo and Kyoto this week.

He and his wife Susan Wright will be spending Thanksgiving at the residence of South Korean ambassador and chairman of the Board of the Trustees Stephen Bosworth '61 in Seoul. This is Susan Wright's first visit to Asia.

Wright will attend a reception at Bosworth's home with alumni on Friday and will be back in his office Monday.