Liu Yao-tzu (劉耀祖), one of three Taiwanese to be honored with Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun last year, was yesterday presented with the medal by Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Kaohsiung office director Eji Kato.
Yesterday was also the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Dr Ikegami Ichiro Memorial Library which Liu manages. The library in Pingtung County’s Jhutian Township (竹田) opened its doors on Jan. 16, 2001, the 90th birthday of Ikegami, who from 1943 to 1945 served as director of a Japanese military hospital in the township. It currently holds a collection of nearly 20,000 books, mostly in Japanese.
Aside from establishing and managing the library, the 90 year-old Liu also organizes many events to promote cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Japan. Not only has he donated his lifetime collection of Japanese books to the library, Liu has also established close ties with universities and high schools in Pingtung, and provides materials and space for exhibitions.
Photo: Lo Hsin-chen, Taipei Times
Liu’s contributions to the promotion of the Japanese language in Taiwan has had a lasting influence, the Pintung government said.
Eji said that the library and Liu’s dedication to exchanges between the nations has contributed to their close ties and the knowledge of Japan in Taiwan.
The Order of the Rising Sun is given to foreigners who have demonstrated dedication to promoting and fostering ties with Japan, the foundation said.
Among the 141 people who were in November last year announced as recipients, three are Taiwanese, it added.
The order honors the past, present and future, Liu said, adding that it was a great honor to receive it on behalf of all those who have made the memorial library possible.
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