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News Israel honours Japanese scholar Kotsuji Setsuzo

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Knesset member Zvi Hauser and Israel's ambassador to Japan Gilad Cohen presented a letter of appreciation on 22 May to 91-year-old Kotsuji Teruko, whose father Setsuzō saved the lives of many Jewish refugees during World War II. Kotsuji Setsuzō (小辻節三, 1899-1973) was a Japanese orientalist and the son of a Shinto priest who helped Jewish refugees to escape the Nazis, arranging for them to stay first in Kobe and later in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. He collaborated with Japanese diplomat Sugihara Chiune who could only issue short-term visas. Setsuzō approached the authorities and obtained permission for Jews to extend their stay in Japan and assisted them in travelling to the U.S. and other countries. It is said that thousands of Jews were saved as a result.

Because the Japanese government at the time was allied with Germany, Setsuzo was apparently detained and tortured on suspicion of spying. Nevertheless, until his death in 1973 at the age of 74, he travelled around Japan giving lectures and making other efforts to eliminate prejudice against Jews. After his death, he was buried in Jerusalem. Along with Sugihara, Setsuzo is considered a benefactor of the Jewish people.



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Interestingly, there is no Japanese Wikipedia entry on Mr Kotsuji :


 
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