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  • Marcia Meier

Memoirist Dick Jorgensen Rekindles Old Friendships in Trip to Japan

Dick Jorgensen with his former students.

Dick Jorgensen’s 2015 memoir, O Tomodachi, Friend, is about his two years of teaching at the University of Hiroshima from 1954-56, when he was a young graduate student. In October, Dick, now 92, and his daughter, Susan Dickinson, traveled to Japan and were able to meet with four of his former English students, who are now in their early 80s. The Santa Barbara News-Press’ Dave Mason wrote a fabulous story called "Time Travel" about the journey and his reunion with them (published December 12, 2017).

Not only did he get to meet with the four—Mieko Kouda, Chizuko Ota, Ikuko Yamasaki (all women) and Katsuhiko Inada—but he also was able to meet with the president of the University of Hiroshima, which is now an internationally recognized university. At the time Jorgensen was there, the university was a fledgling college under construction in the wake of World War II. It had only been 10 years since the United States dropped hydrogen bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the war.

A daily newspaper reporter from Hiroshima, Miho Kuwajima, helped Jorgensen reconnect with his students and wrote several stories for her own paper about the reunion and his visit.

To read about Jorgensen’s experiences in Japan 62 years ago, read his memoir O Tomodachi! Dick’s latest book, just released, is Yuko, Friendship Between Nations; check it out.

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