Ambassador Roos Recognizes Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara's Contributions to U.S.-Japan Friendship

May 15 - Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, a 101-year-old physician in Tokyo, has a unique perspective on U.S.-Japan relations. At the invitation of Ambassador and Mrs. Roos, Dr. Hinohara recently visited the Ambassador's residence, where he was recognized for his contributions to U.S.-Japan friendship during the 20th and 21st centuries. Dr. Hinohara received his medical license in 1937 and, during the pre-War period, was appointed to serve as the attending physician to the Tokyo-based American diplomats, including Ambassador Joseph C. Grew (who served in Tokyo from 1932-1941).

During the visit, Dr. Hinohara accompanied Ambassador Roos on a tour throughout the residence and reminisced about various parts of the building and garden, recounting many of his experiences serving Ambassador Grew and the other American diplomats many years ago.

Chatting in the library of the Ambassador's residence in Tokyo

The centenarian doctor eagerly shared his memories of Ambassador Grew and his family. Dr. Hinohara reported that every time he visited the Ambassador, Mrs. Grew would serve coffee and give Dr. Hinohara several extra sugar cubes to take home, because sugar at that time was rather scarce in Japan. In commemorating this fond memory, Ambassador Roos presented Dr. Hinohara with a small bag full of extra sugar cubes at the end of their meeting.

Ambassador Roos shows some photos to Dr. Hinohara at the Ambassador's official residence.

Long active in U.S.-Japan medical exchanges, Dr. Hinohara has promoted people-to-people friendship over the past century. A few years ago, he led efforts to purchase and preserve the Fairhaven, Massachusetts, home of Captain John Whitfield, the benefactor of John Manjiro in the 1840s. Today, the Captain Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Memorial House stands as a museum in memory of Manjiro, the first Japanese to live in America, as well as to U.S.-Japan ties.

Dr. Hinohara is still active as a physician at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo, and for the past ten years he has taught a course called "Inochi no jugyo" ("life lessons") to elementary students throughout Japan.