This is Ichiro Fudai. We’ve never met. But Ichiro and I have corresponded online since he learned about my book project on Eliza Scidmore through a TV program that aired during my research trip to Japan in 2013. Ichiro contacted me about a connection in his hometown of Hanamaki.
Ichiro, who has visited the United States and has excellent command of English, lives in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture. A close friend of Eliza Scidmore late in life, Dr. Inazo Nitobe, hailed from there.
Trained as an agronomist, Dr. Nitobe became a statesman and worked for the League of Nations in Geneva. That’s where Eliza spent her final years. She socialized with Nitobe and his American-born wife, Mary.
Inazo Nitobe became famous in the West for his book Bushido: The Soul of Japan. Analogous to a code of chivalry, bushido was the way of the samurai, emphasizing traits like loyalty, discipline, and honor. Published in 1899, the book became hugely popular and influenced people like Teddy Roosevelt.
A manager for the city of Hanamaki, Ichiro is a history buff who wrote to inform me about a local museum on Nitobe.
Another ink to the area: In September 1896 Eliza published and article in National Geographic on a horrific tsunami that occurred the previous June off the Sanriku coast of northeastern Japan. It killed 23,000 people and wiped out entire villages.
The tsunami occurred not far from where Ichiro lives.