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Obituary of Ms Ineko Rachel (Sato) MLitt (1937)

The obituary below appeared in the Girton College Annual Review of 2009, and is reproduced with permission.

“KONDO. On 13 November 2008, Ine Rachel, known as Ineko (Sato) MLitt (1937). A graduate of Tohoku Imperial University, Sendai, she came to Girton as a research student in English and gained an MLitt in 1939. Back home in Japan she became an Assistant Professor at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School until 1943, and Professor at Tsuda Women’s College between 1948 and 1980. She had married Masao Kondo, an academic at Gakushuin University (Physics) in February 1944 and their daughter was born in 1950. She received her doctorate in English Literature from the Tokyo University of Literature and Science by submitting a thesis on Jane Austen: A Study of the Development of her Art in 1952.”

Mrs. Kondo was well known to many members during her long and active life. At our meetings she could be found, usually with a gentle smile, talking with members of any age and any academic level. What we were hardly aware of was her influence on the Japanese women she taught.

One of them, Prof Akiko Higuchi, (St Edmund’s, Cantab, 1988), has sent us her reminiscences, which are excerpted below. [Selections and omissions are entirely the responsibility of DS.]

Prof. Ineko Kondo and Mrs Akiko Higuchi, May 22, 1999Prof. Ineko Kondo and Mrs Akiko Higuchi, May 22, 1999

Prof. Ineko Kondo and Mrs Akiko Higuchi at the gate of the British Embassy, May 1990Prof. Ineko Kondo and Mrs Akiko Higuchi at the gate of the British Embassy, May 1990
When I was a junior at Tsuda College, I took Prof. Ineko Kondo's course on "A Passage to India", etc., and I was attracted by English novels.

I took an MA in Charlotte Bronte from Gakushuin University, but soon I married and stopped pursuing an academic career; however I visited Prof. Kondo once in a while. She consoled me and encouraged me. I stayed in NJ, USA, from November 1961 for two years and in Pittsburgh from July 1966 for 15 months with my husband and children.

However, back in Tokyo, whenever Mrs. Kondo found good lectures, for example at the British Council or the University of Tokyo, she used to invite me to attend them. Unfortunately I had two children and did not find time and energy enough to seriously study English literature in those days. But then I began to teach at Gakushuin Girls' Junior and Senior High Schools as a full time teacher, and a few years later I taught at Gakushuin University as a part-time lecturer, too.  Once Prof. Kondo even introduced me to the President of the Thomas Hardy Society of Japan. I did not join it, but I attended the Thomas Hardy Conference in Dorchester in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1998 and 2000.

Prof. Ineko Kondo and Prof. Suguru Fukasawa during the Thomas Hardy Conference in Dorchester, August 1990Prof. Ineko Kondo and Prof. Suguru Fukasawa during the Thomas Hardy Conference in Dorchester, August 1990
In 1986, Prof. Kondo also attended it, though staying with a different family. In 1988, we both stayed with the same family.  It was perhaps in the summer of 1994 that Prof. Kondo, who had been at Girton College, called me to come to take pictures of her and Prof. M. C. Bradbrook (the Mistress of Girton), whom Prof. Kondo had long known and admired. I was staying at St. Edmund’s, and I bicycled to her house with a melon and took their pictures.

Prof. M.C. Bradbrook and Prof. Ineko Kondo, August 1990Prof. M.C. Bradbrook and Prof. Ineko Kondo, August 1990

Prof. Ineko Kondo and Mrs Akiko Higuchi at the gate of the British Embassy, May 1990Prof. Ineko Kondo and Mrs Akiko Higuchi at the gate of the British Embassy, May 1990
When I got a PhD in 2005, I visited Prof. Kondo, who by then was in a nursing home, to show her the diploma, as I thought she might be pleased. But I'm afraid she was very weak and did not recognize it. Prof. Kondo invited me to join the Camford Society (then run by Mr Teruhisa Nakamura) when she retired from it. I was a member for some years, but I was very busy, and could attend hardly any meetings -- drinking parties at night or golf tournaments. Therefore, when I moved to teach at The International University of Kagoshima, I retired from the Society too, but I invited Prof. and Mrs Naoki Ito to the Society instead. Prof. Ineko Kondo was a pioneer of the lady scholars in English novels in Japan. I think she was the first woman who got a PhD in English literature. She loved Girton and Prof. Bradbrook very much. She was not only an academic researcher but also a great educator, as her students have been very active in the English literary world.

[Doreen’s final word] An active, charming and inspiring member of the Cambridge & Oxford Society, and a friend of members of all ages, Ineko Kondo died on 13 November 2008, aged 97.

Doreen Simmons (Girton Cambridge, 1950)
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Fri, 2014-05-16 09:26.
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