It was thrilling to read the article “No Sign of Age in Our Shadow” by David Arnold in the Spring 2000 edition. I was struck by seeing the pictures of Itsuo Umezaki, his roommate at Myers, and of the friendship that developed.
When Itsuo graduated from Kyushu Gakuin Lutheran High School in Kumamoto, Japan in 1956, it was impossible for Japanese students to study overseas, except through a Fulbright or other grants, as the government would not allow yen out of the country.
We got around that, legally by the way, with his parents paying me in yen and I sending him a dollar check each month on my stateside bank account. When Coca-Cola began its operation in Japan in 1963, Umezaki became a top executive with them.
He unfortunately passed away a few years later.
Umezaki was the first of many Kyushu Gakuin and Kyusho Jo (women) Gakuin grads who studied at Wittenberg beginning a decade later when the monetary restrictions were lifted.
They include Shohei Yoh, renowned architect who was featured in the Spring 1998 Wittenberg Today, Yoh’s two brothers, Tsuyoshi Tachibana and Yoshikazu Shiotani. Shiotani, who also trained at Oesterlen Home, is now CEO of the children’s homes at the Lutheran Colony of Mercy in Kumamoto.
His wife Yoshiko was elected governor of Kumamoto Prefecture in a spring election — the second woman governor in Japan.
And we must not forget the women from our Women’s Junior College (sister tie with Wittenberg since 1978) who have gotten degrees at Wittenberg, including Eriko Toyama who is now a professor at her alma mater, a four-year coed college, Kyushu Lutheran College.
On the receiving end...a number of Wittenberg graduates have taught English conversation at our two high schools and the college through the short term (J-3) missionary program of the Division of Global Mission of the ELCA.
As the program continues, we would be happy to have more Wittenbergers join us.
Andrew Ellis ’47, ’50S
Chancellor, Kyushu Jogakuin High School
Kumamoto City, Japan
During a recent family vacation that involved 3,000 miles in the car, I had some time to read through a stack of college magazines, including yours.
Most of the others were from Ivies or well-known colleges and I did not expect to spend as much time with Wittenberg, a college with which I was unfamiliar.
However, to my delight I found myself reading aloud from the Dave Arnold piece to my husband. What a treasure trove you have in his writing and photographs! He captures not only Wittenberg, but more universally, an era of college life in America.
Dee Ann Rexroat
Director of College Communications
Editor, Cornell Report Magazine