By Beth David, Editor
Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara of Japan, who was instrumental in saving the home of Captain William Whitfield in Fairhaven, has died a the age of 105.
Dr. Hinohara spearheaded a fund-raising drive that restored the house once lived in by Manjiro Nakahama, the first Japanese person to live in America.
“It is with great sadness that we wish to report the passing of Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara of Tokyo, Japan. It was the incredible fund-raising ability of Dr. Hinohara that saved the home of Capt. William Whitfield on Cherry Street, Fairhaven and renovated it into the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship House. Museum. Thus, the connection with Manjiro’s home town of Tosashimizu is preserved in his name for the future,” wrote Gerald P. Rooney, President & CEO of the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society, in an email.
According to a report in the Japan Times, Dr. Hinohara died from respiratory failure on Tuesday, 7/18. He was hospitalized in March, but died at home after being released. He was unable to eat, but, according to the newspaper article would not be fed through a tube.
Dr. Hinohara was very famous in Japan. Whenever he traveled to the US, and Fairhaven in particular, he always had a large group with him and was treated like a celebrity.
“Last year after the Manjiro Festival in Tosashimizu, Dr, Hinohara hosted a reception party for our delegation at the hospital over which he presided for so many years. An interesting note is that his hospital in Japanese is sei roka and in English is St. Luke’s.
“He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by many throughout the world,” wrote Mr. Rooney.
Visit http://www.whitfield-manjiro. org/ for the story of Manjiro Nakahama and Capt. William Whitfield.