NOTICE: Professor Masazumi Toraiwa (1932-2023)

Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Masazumi Toraiwa, a much-loved member of IASIL Japan. The loss of such a figure, on 27 October, the day the Executive Committee met for our first face-to-face conference since 2019, will bring back so many memories to long-standing members, for Professor Toraiwa was central to the foundation of IASIL Japan, as an academic society devoted to what was, at the time of its founding in 1984, an underappreciated field within Japan: the literature of Ireland. But IASIL Japan’s convivial spirit, too, owes much to Toraiwa-sensei’s own unique warmth and charm, and his fierce pursuit of, and championing of, human connections. It is well known how much he meant to Seamus Heaney, who dedicated the poem ‘Fiddleheads’ to him, a poem the mischievous lines of which seem to have been provoked by the serious mischief of Toraiwa himself. He was a one-off, utterly himself, and true to something deeper than ‘mere’ culture, if culture means something applied to, or aligned with, any one nation. He was a true humanist. Our sincere condolences go to his family, to his sons and to his daughters, and in particular to our dear colleague, Naoko. He will be missed. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Andrew Fitzsimons

IASIL Japan President