University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU Hanoi

https://ussh.vnu.edu.vn


The ceremonial stele of doctor Abasa Sakitaro - a new symbol of Vietnam-Japan friendly relationship

On December 19th, Mr. Amma Yukiho (President of Asaba Society Vietnam) visited USSH and had a presentation before USSH's staff and students titled "the Dong Du movement and Memorial Stele of doctor Asaba Sakitaro in the history of Vietnam-Japan friendly relationship".

Prof. Dr Pham Quang Minh - USSH's Rector welcomes the speaker

The presentation retold the relationship between doctor Asaba Sakitaro (1867-1910) and the Vietnamese revolutionary Phan Boi Chau and the erection of Asaba's memorial stele.

Mr Amma Yukiho

In 1884, the French invaded Vietnam and forced the Nguyen imperial court to accept their protection. Vietnam became a France's colony. A series of patriotic and liberation movements was launched by the Vietnamese to oppose the French's oppression.

In the early 20th century, among the associations of patriotic Confucian scholars and intellectuals at provinces was the Association for Modernization founded by patriot Phan Boi Chau aimed at improving public intellect through eduation and modern newspapers and literary works and sought for foreign aids.

After hearing about the Japanese's victory over Russia in the Japan-Russia war, the Association put much expectation on Japan as a modernized Asian country and began to send patriotic youth to study in Japan that later served in Vietnam's movement for independence.

In January 1905, Phan Boi Chau led some Vietnamese feudal intellectuals to Japan. Invited by Liang Qichao, the Vietnamese intellectuals visited some the pro-Vietnam Japanese patriots such as Okumura, Kashiwabara Buntaro, and doctor Asaba Sakitaro. The Dong Du movement strongly developed with over 200 Vietnamese students coming to Japan at its peak. 

In 1908, the French demanded the Japanese government to deport the Vietnamese overseas students and Phan Boi Chau, which caused the movement's downfall. The Vietnamese students were put in a dilemma and even failed to return to Vietnam as the financial grants from patriotic organizations plummeted. During that time, Phan Boi Chau decided to ask for Asaba Sakitaro's aid.

Doctor Asaba Sakitaro was born at Umeyama, Asaba, Fukuroi city, Japan. He studied Medicine at Tokyo University and later opened a large hospital in Odawara. He enthusiastically supported the Vietnamese students and were deemed their great benefactor. Receiving the letter from Phan Boi Chau, despite never having met him, Asaba Sakitaro immediately provided a financial grant of 1.700 yens. In 1909, to thank for his assistance, Phan Boi Chau visited Asaba's house before returning to Vietnam.

In 1918, when Phan Boi Chau came back to Japan Mr. Asaba Sakitaro had passed away. To express his appreciation, Phan Boi Chau had a stele erected at Jourin pagoda, Umeyama, Higasshiasaba. The 2.7-meter-high stele was completed with material contributions from the rural populations.

In 2003, in Asaba a ceremony to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the stele's construction and 85 years of Asaba-Vietnam friendly relationship was held. The stele still serves as not only a vindication of the relationship between revolutionary Phan Boi Chau and Asaba - a fervent supporter of the Vietnam's liberation movement, but also of the rare historical linkage between the Vietnamese-Japanese peoples in the early-modern period.

The Asaba Association in Vietnam is a Vietnam-Japan cultural association named after the Japanese doctor, who was considered a friend of the Vietnamese. The Association has regularly launched friendly activities to celebrate this bilateral relationship, such as the exhibition "History of the memorial stele Asaba Sakitaro" in Hue city.

Author: Thanh Ha

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