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Japanese man, named Honorary Citizen of Tianjin, donates memorabilia to city

Updated: Sep 28, 2021 By Yang Cheng and Song Linlin chinadaily.com.cn Print
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Luan Jianzhang (right), director of Tianjin Foreign Affairs Office, honors Hisayoshi Kondou (1932-2021) as "Honorary Citizen of Tianjin" on Sept 24. Kijima Yoshiko (left), information and culture minister at the Japanese Embassy in China, represents Hisayoshi's family members who are in Japan to receive the honor. [Photo by Yang Cheng/chinadaily.com.cn]

Hisayoshi Kondou, who was born in Tianjin in 1932 and passed away this June in Japan, was honored as "Honorary Citizen of Tianjin" late last week due to his lifelong commitment to the city.

Since Sept 24, Hisayoshi's collection of over 180 photos, newspapers, and books on Tianjin went on display at the grand hall on the first floor of the Tianjin Foreign Affairs Office, in an exhibition called Tianjin, My Hometown.

"The city honors his lifelong commitment in spreading its culture and history in Japan, his efforts in donating his lifelong collection of the city's valuable photos on its history," said Luan Jianzhang, director of the Tianjin Foreign Affairs Office.

"The folk ties between China and Japan benefit from the diplomatic relations," he said.

A local photographer at Haihe Media Group takes a shot at a photo at an exhibition of Hisayoshi's collection of over 180 photos, newspapers, and books on Tianjin, which went on display at the grand hall on the first floor of the Tianjin Foreign Affairs Office on Sept 24. [Photo by Yang Cheng/chinadaily.com.cn]

Kijima Yoshiko, information and culture minister at the Japanese Embassy in China, noted that Hisayoshi's profound love of Tianjin since birth was key to all his efforts.

Since 1989, Hisayoshi came to visit Tianjin from Japan more than 30 times, collecting historical materials and studying the city's history. He held exhibitions on Tianjin history once in Japan and twice in Tianjin.

These precious materials vividly represent life in a former Japanese concession in Tianjin, as well as the lives of Japanese immigrants in China, serving as first-hand information for the study of the history and culture of modern Tianjin.

Hisayoshi, who spent his childhood in the port city and left for Japan in 1945, developed a deep affection for Tianjin. He once said in an interview: "Tianjin is my first hometown, and I love Tianjin."

In 2009, Hisayoshi donated more than 1,000 original copies of collected materials to the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences. More donations were made to Chinese and Japanese organizations for research and media purposes.

"Hisayoshi has only one requirement when donating materials -- they must be exhibited so that more people can understand the history of Tianjin," said Wan Lujian, an associate researcher at the academy.

"My childhood was spent on Hami Avenue, so I felt deeply touched when I saw old pictures of it. I do appreciate his efforts for providing us precious photos of old Tianjin," said Liu Zhe, deputy head of the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences.

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