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Text of Mr Teruhisa Nakamura’s speech at the Gokurosama Party held in his honour at Mitsubishi Club on July 6, 2012

Mr Teruhisa Nakamura’s speech at the Gokurosama Party held in his honour at Mitsubishi Club on July 6, 2012Mr Teruhisa Nakamura’s speech at the Gokurosama Party held in his honour at Mitsubishi Club on July 6, 2012 Firstly, let me offer my thanks to the Honorary Secretaries for arranging this special “Gokurosama” event in my honour at Mitsubishi Club. The event was originally scheduled in June at Kojunsha in Ginza, and I apologise for forcing the cancellation of that event due to my visit to Oxford. I feel I must, therefore, give you a brief report about this sudden visit.

Quite unexpectedly, I received an invitation in early June – after the Kojunsha event had been announced – from Oxford in the names of Lord Patten (Chancellor) and Professor Andrew Hamilton (Vice Chancellor) to the University’s Encaenia on Wednesday 20th June. I hasten to add that the invitation was extended to me as Honorary Secretary of the Cambridge & Oxford Society and not because of any other great achievement on my part. I was, therefore, slightly embarrassed, as I had just retired from the C&O Committee at the Triennial General Meeting in April.

According to the invitation, “Encaenia is the special celebration held at the end of each academic year at the University of Oxford, during which honorary degrees are conferred in the presence of members of the University and specially invited guests.” That made me one of the specially invited guests, of course! As the letter went on to explain, “The tradition of conferring honorary degrees at Oxford goes back to at least the 15th century though the Encaenia celebration in some form dates from 1200s.” It certainly goes back to the time when I was at Oxford in the 1960s, when I recall witnessing the Encaenia procession with the Chancellor, the University’s Officers and the Honorands in full academic regalia heading to the Sheldonian Theatre. It was, I thought, a great honour to be invited, so I consulted some senior C&O members, including Sir David Warren. They all suggested I should accept the invitation.

I quickly obtained air tickets through the Internet, just a week before I left, and booked a guestroom at my college, Worcester, for the two nights of 19th and 20th June. In addition to accommodating me, the college lent me full academic dress for the Encaenia ceremonies and Garden Party on 20th June.

Conducted entirely in Latin, the ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre was truly impressive. After a trumpet fanfare, the Public Orator introduced in a resounding voice (without the aid of a microphone!) each of the eight nominees and explained why they had been nominated. Each then walked up the central aisle to receive their honorary doctorate from the Chancellor. New College Choir sang with organ accompaniment on the upper deck at the back of the auditorium. Aung San Suu Kyi, a graduate of St Hugh’s College and 1991 Nobel Prize laureate, was the first and probably most illustrious of the eight Honorands. She was called upon to speak at the end of the ceremony, which she did very clearly and with good English pronunciation. She was very positive in telling the audience of her country’s democratic prospects and in asking for worldwide support of her efforts to that end.

After lunch at St Hugh’s, the Vice Chancellor and Mrs Jeniffer Hamilton gave a Garden Party in Worcester College’s garden, welcoming all the Encaenia attendees and their guests. Among those in full academic dress, the lady guests in their colourful summer dresses and fancy hats reminded me of the Spring Ball at Worcester. The champagne, wine and strawberries continued to be served in three large marquees until late in the evening, and the weather remained clement throughout.

Back in London, I had dinner with Guy Heald, a former C&O member. I returned home on the evening of Monday, 25th June.

Now I must get down to the task at hand and tell you about my 30-year history as C&O Honorary Secretary as succinctly as possible!

In 1969, two years after my return from Oxford, I joined the Society at what was in those days a typically long lunch in a small Shell boardroom on the 19th floor of the Kasumigaseki Building. I was taken there by Johnny Walker (Brasenose Oxford, 1953-58), who had organised the lunch as Honorary Secretary. It was a seated meal at a rectangular table, and the attendees were all, as I recall, senior gentlemen. No ladies. The then British ambassador, Sir John Pilcher (Clare, Cambridge, 1931-35), was sitting at the centre of the table, and he teased me gently as he introduced me as a new member after the meal. I stammered and replied stupidly. All present laughed, and I blushed. I was young. That was typical of a C&O meeting in those days.

Apart from Sir John and Johnny Walker, I remember that the attendees also included Yoshiyuki Kagami (Selwyn Cambridge, 1926-29), Hidehiro Takaki (Gonville & Caius Cambridge, 1927-30), Dudley Morgan (Christ’s Cambridge, 1929-33), Eikichi Itoh, (Pembroke Cambridge, 1934-36), and Ashley Raeburn (Balliol Oxford, 1937-40). Doreen Simmons (Girton and Hughes Hall Cambridge, 1950-54) talks about 13 eminent members (see Addendum 1) of those days in her essay entitled “My C&O reminiscences”, which can be viewed on the History page of the C&O website. It is likely that these gentlemen were also present on that day.

Five years later in 1974, when I was a young executive with Shell Tokyo (I don’t recall exactly which month it was), I received a phone call from Ashley Raeburn, the then chairman of Shell Companies in Japan, calling me to his office. When I entered, I found Dudley Morgan sitting on the sofa and smiling broadly. Ashley told me that he wanted me to help Dudley manage C&O. As I understood it, Dudley had just been appointed Honorary Secretary of the Society but was about to retire from an English company called Corns; he needed an assistant. Ashley suggested I could ask one of his secretaries for help when I needed it, for example with typing and liaising with the Embassy. After Ashley went back to the UK, Dudley continued to call on me at my office, and I carried on working as his assistant for about fifteen years, except for a short stint when I was assigned to the London office in 1976, until he retired.

In November 1989, a special lunch meeting was organised at Shell Cinema Hall on the 19th floor of the Kasumigaseki Building in honour of Dudley Morgan on his retirement. Some 45 members attended the lunch. The British Ambassador, Sir John Whitehead (Hertford Oxford, 1952-55), presented Dudley with two pewter tankards, one for each hand, in appreciation of his long service with C&O. Dudley replied appropriately. He had been living in a house in Kotsubo, near Hayama in Kanagawa Prefecture, but he chose to spend his retirement in Hiroshima. I subsequently heard to my great sadness that Dudley had fallen ill and died not long after his move to Hiroshima, possibly in 1991. The report didn’t reach me until a few months after his death.

Andrew Watt (King’s Cambridge, 1955-58) took over from Dudley Morgan in 1990. Andrew, educated at Winchester College, was a very nice man and taught at Waseda University as an expert on Natsume Soseki. His main business, however, was as a PR consultant for a well-known Belgian diamond company. His office was located in Kamiya-cho, and he benefited from a charming and able secretary.

From the mid 1990s, we became busier and had to spend more time on administrative work for the Society. My and Andrew’s secretaries worked closely together and provided great assistance in the organisation of all C&O meetings. The membership increased, and members’ lists were made and updated on our secretaries’ typewriters. PCs were just beginning to proliferate in offices, but by no means everyone had one.

Andrew retired as Honorary Secretary in 1995, but just before his retirement he began compiling a membership database on his office PC. After that, I took over the job, and by 2000 I had created a full membership database on Microsoft Windows Excel on my own computer. This database has since been constantly remodelled and updated and is now the Society’s single most important record. It continues to be used and updated, a task that Tim Minton has now taken over. All of the Society’s records are stored and most of its business is now conducted electronically, but we should remember that it was Andrew Watt who initiated this transition. it was with great sadness that we heard he had died in 2011 of an incurable disease in London.

Here, I must say a few words about our 90th anniversary, which we celebrated in 1995 with a gala party at the British Ambassador’s Residence, hosted by Sir David Wright (Peterhouse Cambridge, 1963-66). Malaysian Selangor pewter mugs, bought directly from a manufacturer in Kuala Lumpur, were presented to each member to commemorate the event.

In the same year, I was asked by Sir David and Eikichi Itoh, KBE to help reinaugurate the C&O Kansai Chapter. I travelled to Osaka several times and visited the British Consul in Osaka to seek his help in locating Oxbridge residents in the Kansai area. Eikichi Itoh introduced me to two gentlemen, Yoshihisa Shimizu (Worcester Oxford, 1992-94) and Stephen Boyd (Clare Cambridge, 1962-65), with whom I worked together for two years to re-establish the Kansai Chapter. These two gentlemen showed great enthusiasm for and made great contributions to the cause. Eventually, we managed to compile an initial list of about 100 Oxbridge residents of the area, and on 6th November 1998, we got 88 members and guests together at the Century Club in Osaka. Eikichi Itoh, as the new President of the C&O Kansai Chapter, announced its reinauguration. Sir David made a day trip on the Shinkansen from Tokyo to celebrate the occasion, giving a congratulatory speech, and several other C&O members travelled down to Osaka to celebrate the rebirth of the C&O Kansai Chapter.

Since its inception in 1998, the Kansai Chapter has organised annual Christmas Parties. At first, these were given by Eikichi Itoh and his wife, Rosa, at their residence in Ashiya, but now, Geoffrey Barraclough (Christ Church Oxford, 1946-49) has taken over, and he and his wife, Ikuko, host the Kansai Chapter’s Christmas Parties at their residence in Kobe. In addition to these Christmas parties, the Kansai Chapter also holds other events from time to time.

Back to Tokyo. When he resigned in 1995, Andrew Watt appointed Stephen Church (St Catherine’s Oxford, 1966-1970) as his successor. Unfortunately, however, Stephen had to leave us in 1996 due to ill health. This was a time when businesses were starting to put more pressure on their employees, and our traditional lunch meetings were becoming increasingly difficult for many members to make. In addition, our regular lunch venue at Shell Cinema Hall on the 19th floor of the Kasumigaseki Building had become unavailable, because Shell had moved to Odaiba. Nevertheless, we continued to use various venues, such as the Embassy’s New Hall, the International House of Japan in Roppongi, and other ordinary restaurants for lunch meetings.

It was during this period in the mid to late 1990s that I became aware of Tim Minton through regular lunches, evening meetings and ad hoc drinks. He joined me at the Kansai Chapter’s reinauguration dinner, at which time he was keenly promoting a tour of Japan by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge (1998), organised by him and his wife. He seemed to be more than willing to use his organisational skills to help me with C&O activities. Good. I quickly came to believe that we could work together very well in the future, and I am pleased to say that my confidence was not misplaced.

A bit about C&O golfing. Apart from the task of arranging regular meetings, I was saddled early on with the responsibility of organising the annual C&O golf tournaments, which had a history dating back well before the War (probably before WWI as well!). None of my fellow honorary secretaries, Dudley, Andrew, etc., were keen golfers, and Yoshiyuki Kagami, a staunch Cantabrigian, had just ordered me to take on the task of continuing the tradition of arranging at least one golf tournament a year at Hodogaya Country Club. More recently, however, particularly after Sir David Wright came to Tokyo as British Ambassador in the mid 90s, we started to organise several golf matches a year. His successor, Sir Stephen Gomersall (Queens’ Cambridge, 1966-70), took up golfing in Tokyo and was keen to play as often as possible. Happy as I was to arrange these opportunities for C&O golfers to compete against each other, I can’t deny that I was relieved when at long last, in 2011, I was able to hand over the job of Golf Secretary to an Oxford golf blue, Steven Thomas (Merton Oxford, 1979-82). All the C&O golf-related documents and photos I have accumulated over the past 30 years are now in his possession.

Soon after Stephen Church left us in 1996, I formed a team of secretaries to assist me in the organisation of appropriate C&O activities. The team consisted of Koichi Nezu (St Antony’s Oxford, 1973-76), Hiroko Nishida (St Hilda’s Oxford, 1971-74), Tadashi Uyeno (St Edmund Hall Oxford 1975-77) and Treasurer Masaharu Kurata (St Peter’s, Oxford, 1976-78).

As it turned out, the team did not function as well as I had envisaged. With the exception of Tadashi Uyeno, they were all too busy with their own professional commitments to spare much time for managing C&O. Tadashi Uyeno’s contributions included arranging venues for lunches and evening parties, for which he also managed to procure excellent wine. Sadly, we lost him to cancer in March 1999.

Actually, Koichi Nezu, owner of the Tobu Group of Companies, also made a valuable contribution. Having agreed to my proposal that we add an informal monthly get-together to the Society’s programme of events, he kindly offered us the use of a corner table in Bar Korin, located in the basement of Ginza Tobu Hotel (since renamed Courtyard Marriott Ginza Tobu Hotel), at a very reasonable “happy hour” cost. Thus were born our Second Tuesday Get-togethers. Between 18:00 and 20:30 on the second Tuesday of each month, except August, members can pop in without giving prior notice, as they once did to college Common Rooms or bars, for a friendly chat in a pleasant atmosphere over wine, beer, whisky, non-alcoholic beverages, and a small buffet selection. In response to the quick growth in popularity of these informal events, the hotel management soon decided to give us exclusive use of a private room adjacent to Bar Korin. The Second Tuesday Get-togethers attract between 10 and 20 members, and they have been held monthly, with very few cancellations, since May, 2000. Cancellations happen only when the Society’s main monthly event happens to be scheduled on the second Tuesday of the month, and even then the Second Tuesday Get-together is generally rescheduled.

The basic team, with the addition of Tim Minton in 1999, continued in office, however, until 2003, when a reshuffle of the Honorary Secretaries was approved at the Triennial General Meeting held that year in the British Embassy’s New Hall. The Secretaries appointed at that meeting were, in order of matriculation date, Buhei Okumura (Trinity Cambridge, 1954), myself (Worcester Oxford, 1964), Tim Minton (St John’s Cambridge, 1977), Huw Williams (Clare Cambridge, 1980) and Yuhiko Yasunaga (Wolfson Cambridge, 1990) as Treasurer.

At the same time, a special Committee of eight members was appointed to organise the Centenary events planned in 2005. The committee members were Tomoyuki Imai (St Antony’s Oxford, 1954), David Turner (Christ’s Cambridge, 1961), Louis Nthenda (St Antony’s Oxford, 1964), Laura Inoue (St Anne’s Oxford, 1967), Takashi Uyeno (Linacre Oxford, 1968), Gerhard Fasol (Trinity Cambridge, 1978), Shigeko Tanaka (Wolfson Cambridge, 1987) and Nobuko Yamazaki (New Hall Cambridge, 1993). Together with the Honorary Secretaries, they worked very hard indeed, meeting numerous times during the two preparatory years. Overseas Oxbridge Societies were contacted, and we eventually welcomed guests from Hong Kong, Malaysia and the UK to the C&O Society’s Centenary held successfully, as history will record, in March 2005.

We have been lucky in that all of the British Ambassadors since the War, except for one (1980 - 1984), have been Oxbridge graduates willing to take on the Society’s Presidency (see Addendum 2). As a result, the Embassy staff have always been supportive of C&O activities held in the Embassy. In May every year, members of C&O enjoy an evening party hosted by the British Ambassador at his Residence. Since 1970, this has been a very special annual event in the Society’s calendar. It is regularly attended by members of Japan’s Imperial family, including Crown Prince Naruhito (Merton Oxford, 1983-85), Crown Princess Masako (Balliol Oxford, 88-90) and Princess Takamado (Girton Cambridge, 1972-75), who are all Honorary Members of the Society.

A word about the C&O website: to keep abreast of worldwide trends, I felt the Society needed a website, and we eventually created one ( in 2001; this site was kindly designed by Koichi Fukasawa (Downing Cambridge, 1995-96). Via this technology, we have been able to strengthen alumni ties not only among ourselves but also with the two Universities and other Oxbridge Societies elsewhere. During my tenure, I visited Hong Kong (more than twice), Malaysia, Singapore and Taipei to meet alumni and develop ties in the region. We have received quite a few visits by members of other Oxbridge Societies, and India sent a large delegation to Tokyo in October 2009. It is indeed a pleasure to make new friends with people who share common interests in Asia and beyond.

When I joined the Society in 1969, we probably had fewer than a hundred members. As of this writing (July 2012), we have expanded to three times that number. We have many younger members engaged in various fields of endeavour. We are aware that they entertain various views of life and sometimes have different values from their older counterparts. A lot of changes have been taking place rapidly, even in what I always considered to be the conservative institutions of Oxford and Cambridge.

But I would like to emphasise here that the C&O is not just a fun-seeking alumni society, although we do certainly have a lot of fun. We have always been a group of select, like-minded Oxbridge-educated people. We may not all be members of the elite, but we are proud and, in the main, committed to the Society and its activities.

I will soon be 75 years old. People say I am still young for my age, and I thought I was. But unexpectedly I had to spend a couple of weeks in Tokyo Jikei University Hospital in early April this year to undergo cardiac surgery. This experience convinced me that I must no longer hold a position of responsibility in any kind of organisation, so I decided to write a letter of resignation to the Society’s President, Sir David Warren.

Tim Minton is still young (in his early 50s), energetic and efficient. He is also a very nice man. He now has a new committee consisting of both senior and young members to aid him in the running of the Society. All of these secretaries are able and enthusiastic, but they need the full support and understanding of the membership. This is a must. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s easy to support them: please attend as many C&O events as possible. We organise events every month, except August, at which you can meet some of the nicest people in the world.

Finally, I must tell you that C&O’s 110th anniversary is fast approaching – in 2015. We must not miss it. I must not miss it, either. I know that the new Honorary Secretaries are aware of it. I will still be around and will try to help you, Tim.

Thank you.

6 July 2012

Teruhisa Nakamura (Worcester, Oxford 1964)

Addendum 1

Some old members in the 1970s

“My C&O Reminiscences”, written by Doreen Simmons (who says she joined The Cambridge & Oxford Society on 28 January 1976), includes the names of the following thirteen senior members.

Hidehiro Takaki (Gonville & Caius, Cambridge 1927~30) 
Dudley Morgan (Christ’s, Cambridge 1929~33) 
Toshio Katsube (All Souls, Oxford (1931~32) 
Canon Paul Sekiya (Westcott House, Cambridge 1931~32) 
Masayoshi Kakitsubo (Trinity Hall, Cambridge 1932~35) 
Teruko Kachi (Girton, Cambridge 1933~36) 
Ineko Kondo (Girton, Cambridge 1937~39) 
Takao Kato (Emmanuel, Cambridge 1937~41) 
Toshio Yamanaka (Trinity, Cambridge 1939~40) 
Michael Wilford, Sir (Pembroke, Cambridge 1940–41, All Souls, Oxford 1946–47) 
Hugh Wilkinson* (King’s Cambridge 1946~49) 
Rev. Peter Millward* (Campion Hall, Oxford 1950–54) 
Ken MacDonald* (Brasenose, Oxford 1956~59) 

Note: All but three (*asterisked) of the above members are deceased (or, in a few cases, assumed to be).


Addendum 2

List of British Ambassadors to Japan from 1858

Ministers Plenipotentiary:

Sir Rutherford Alcock 1859~1862 
Lt Colonel Edward Neale 1862~1864 
Sir Rutherford Alcock 1864~1865 
Sir Harry Smith Parkes 1865~1883 
Sir Francis Plunkett 1884~1887 
Hugh Fraser 1865~1883 (Eton College) 
Power Henry Le Poer Trench 1894~1895 
Sir Ernest Mason Satow  1895~1900(University College, London) 
Sir Claude MacDonald 1900~1905 (Uppingham School, Sandhurst) 

Sir Claude MacDonald 1905~1912 (Called a “Soldier–Outside” diplomat) 
Sir Conyngham Greene 1912~1919 Pembroke, Oxford 
Sir Charles Elliot 1919~1925 Balliol, Oxford 
Sir John Tilly 1926~1931 King’s, Cambridge 1889~1892 
Sir Francis Lindley 1931~1934 Magdalen, Oxford 1890~1893 
Sir Robert Clive 1934~1937 Magdalen, Oxford 1896~1899 
Sir Robert Craigie 1937~1941 

(No representation during 1941~1946 due to World War II)

Political Representatives:
Sir Alvary Gascoigne 1946~1951 
Sir Esler Dening 1951~1952 

Sir Esler Dening 1952~1957 
Sir Daniel Lascelles 1957~1959 Balliol, Oxford 1921~1925 
Sir Francis Rundall 1963~1967 Peterhouse, Cambridge 1924~1928 
Sir John Pilcher 1967~1972 Clare, Cambridge 1931~1935 
Sir Fred Warner 1972~1975 Magdalen, Oxford 
Sir Michael Wilford 1975~1980 Pembroke, Cambridge 1940~41, 1946~47, All Souls, Oxford 1966~1967 
Sir Hugh Cortazzi 1980~1984 (London*) 
  * John Whitehead, the Minister, accepted the C&O Presidency during this period  
Sir Sydney Giffard 1984~1986 Wadham, Oxford 1945~47, 1949~51 
Sir John Whitehead 1986~1992 Hertford, Oxford 1952~1955 
Sir John Boyd 1992~1996 Clare, Cambridge 1956~1960 
Sir David Wright 1996~1999 Peterhouse, Cambridge 1963~1966 
Sir Stephen Gomersall 1999~2004 Queens’, Cambridge 1966~1969 
Sir Graham Fry 2004~2008 Brasenose, Oxford 1968~1972 
Sir David Warren 2008~2012 Exeter, Oxford 1971~1975 
Mr Tim Hitchens 2012~ Christ’s, Cambridge 1980~1984 

(Sources: British Envoys in Japan 1859~1972 edited and compiled by Sir Hugh Cortazzi, Wikipedia, and other papers)

Posted in | Submitted by terry.nakamura on Fri, 2012-07-06 09:00.
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