The memorial stele of doctor Asaba Sakitaro. (Photo: VNA)

Tokyo (VNA) – A ceremony has taken place in Fukuroi, Shizuoka, Japan to mark the 100th year since the day Phan Boi Chau, a Vietnamese nationalist figure, built a memorial stele for doctor Asaba Sakitaro who had given him great support when he was in Japan.

The ceremony was held on September 22 with representatives from Shiuoka prefecture, Nghe An province where Chau was born, descendants of Phan Boi Chau and doctor Asaba Sakitaro, local people and Vietnamese expats living in Japan in attendance.

Phan Boi Chau, born in 1867, was a pioneer of the Dong Du movement in early 20th century that encouraged young Vietnamese to go East to study and seek ways to save the nation.

Meanwhile, Asaba Sakitaro was born in 1910 in Higashi Asaba village, Fukuroi. He is a famous doctor who established Odawara Hospital, where he met Chau.

In response to the Dong Du movement, hundreds of Vietnamese students went to study in Japan in a hope that they could help reform the country in return. When the movement faced difficulties in 1908, Chau received whole-hearted support from doctor Asaba Sakitaro and people in Fukuroi. 

After leaving Japan, Chau continued his activities in several countries. In 1918, he returned to Japan and learnt that his friend passed away nine years ago. Chau and people in Fukuroi raised funds for a memorial stele of the late doctor near his tomb, which now becomes a cultural heritage of the city.

Although the Dong Du movement failed and those students had to go home, what Asaba Sakitaro and Fukuroi residents had done for Chau and his followers remains forever in the Vietnamese people’s hearts.

Speaking at the event, Phan Thieu Cat, a descendant of Phan Boi Chau, said he was touched by and grateful for doctor Asaba and the local villagers for their support to him in the resistance movement against the French. He wants to together with his families continue to nurture the friendship between the two countries and peoples. –VNA