Campus News

Family Shows Gratitude with Gift of Kimono

Story posted May 05, 2009

A family grateful for kindness bestowed upon a student nearly 100 years ago has given the College a Japanese kimono as a token of their appreciation.

Etsuko Nagaoka says his great-grandfather, Mankichi Koibuchi, a member of the Class of 1916, worked in the house of then-President William DeWitt Hyde.

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Front of kimono

In letters to the College, Nagaoka and his family say that Koibuchi returned to his native Japan and worked as an interpreter for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1917 to 1953 and never forgot his time at Bowdoin.

Kimono detail200.jpg

"He had been very proud of the days he spent at Bowdoin, and never forgot the kindness he received there until he passed away in 1956," writes Nagaoka.

Nagaoka first contacted the Office of the President in the summer of 2008; in January 2009 he and his mother visited Cleaveland House and presented the kimono to President Mills.

They also brought with them newspaper clippings and letters that told of Koibuchi's years of exemplary service, for which they say he was awarded medals from the governments of Belgium, China, England, France, Germany, Holland and Italy.

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