Japan Society of Fairfield County
Presentation of first Uezumi Award
to Dr. Susan G. Larkin

      Japan Society of Fairfield County Vice President Vernon Beck presented the first Uezumi Award to Susan G. Larkin on January 10, 2010:  Greenwich Historical Society Press Release
     A few years ago the Japan Society of Fairfield County lost an exceptional member, Noboru Uezumi. Through the generosity of his family and friends we have been able to establish an award to recognize the sort of work he did so well in bridging the cultures of Japan and the United States.  Today we will present the first Uezumi Award to Dr. Susan G. Larkin, chairwoman of the Greenwich Historical Society.
     Noboru Uezumi was born in Osaka, Japan in 1931. After graduating from Kobe University he taught elementary school for 2 years and then joined the new Japanese TV broadcasting industry.  During his 35 year career at Kansai Telecasting Corporation, he and his wife Junko sponsored a dozen exchange students from the United States. In 1992, the couple moved to Watertown, Connecticut where Noboru started the first Japanese language program at the Taft School. He taught until 1997 and then moved to Greenwich. He became active in community events and was awarded "Volunteer of the Year" by the Greenwich Historical Society in 1998.
     He developed local history programs for the Greenwich Japanese School, which provides a continuing Japanese education for the children of Japanese working on assignment in the United States.   He also produced Japanese language versions of historic site brochures including the Putnam Cottage in Greenwich and Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield. He started the Greenwich Library Christmas Tree Origami display. He taught Japanese language and arts to local children and adults.
     Noboru was a very skilled story teller and a very skilled artist.  Noboru created Kamishibai presentations of two stories of Japanese people in Fairfield County.  Kamishibai is a pre-television entertainment technology targeted to young children so Noboru chose to use a child’s artistic style for the illustrations he produced.  I had the pleasure of converting his work to the internet for posting on the Japan Society of Fairfield County’s website. One of these stories is the story of Genjiro Yeto and that brings us to Susan Larkin.
     Susan G. Larkin is an independent art historian and curator who has published and lectured widely on American art.  Susan has a PhD in her field and arranged exhibitions at major museums.  She is an expert on impressionism in America. She has written several books and exhibition catalogs and one of her books has won an award.
     In the late 1970’s, Susan began researching the artist’s colony at Cos Cob.  She received a box of photographs from Bill Finch that included some artists dressed in Japanese kimono and found a copy of an old children’s book entitled Tora’s Happy Day, which was illustrated by Yeto Genjiro.  Susan began to collect books illustrated by Genjiro Yeto and study his life, especially at the Cos Cob Artist’s Colony in the early 1900’s.  She also learned of another Japanese presence in Riverside from the same time, namely the silk importers Ryoichiro Arai and Yasukata Murai.  They did business in New York City and lived in Riverside in 2 neighboring houses.  Susan developed an interest in Japonism and taught graduate level courses on this topic at Manhattanville College. When Noboru met Susan, a good synergy developed.  Noboru was able to reach back into Japan for information, which ultimately led to a half hour Japanese documentary on Genjiro Yeto produced by Saga TV.  Susan organized the 2001 exhibition “The Cos Cob Art Colony:  Impressionists on the Connecticut Shore”.  The showing of this exhibition at what is now the National Academy Museum in New York City featured Genjiro Yeto. By the way, Genjiro Yeto’s family produced pottery in Arita and there is currently an excellent exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Art called “Luxuries from Japan: Cultural Exchange in the 17th and 18th Centuries” which features many pieces of Arita pottery from the 1700’s – the elephant which is the keynote piece is Arita pottery.
     The Japan Society of Fairfield County wishes to recognize Susan Larkin’s research on Genjiro Yeto’s role in transfer of culture between Japan and the Unitized States.  We are pleased to present you with the first Uezumi Award.

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