Professor Masayuki Yamamoto,
Professor Hitoshi Oshitani,
It is a great honor and privilege to me to address you all assembled here in Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine (TUGSM).
By signing of the Agreement between MAMS and TUGSM, Prof. Yamamoto and I have built a new bridge between two friendly nations. I’m fully confident this new bridge will give a better chance to my younger colleagues from Mongolia to learn from scientists and students of this eminent School of Medicine of Japan, philosophy of which is described by Professor Yamamoto in his introduction to the School’s website as “Research First”, “Open Door” and “Practice Oriented”. I hope and wish also our Japanese colleagues and students will find out interesting collaborations with our medical scientists and students contributing to serve better to the both nations and the humankind. This is really a great deal.
The idea to have an Agreement between MAMS and TUGSM was born some 2 years ago in Mongolia when Prof. Hitoshi Oshitani’s group has visited my country to study together with us the burden of influenza disease on health services in Mongolia. I’m very happy this idea has realized today. This signing time is also a very good time according to the Mongolian astrology: the Sheep time of the Cock Day of the 9th of the Middle Rabbit Month of Spring of the Iron Tiger Year of the 17th Sixty-year Cycle of the Mongolian Lunar Calendar. The combination of symbols of the time promises a very long lasting and good friendship.
I have heard the name “Sendai” first time some 35 years ago when I was a PhD student at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. This time was the early stage of “influenza ecology” searching hemagglutinating agents from wild animals. By doing this kind of survey we have discovered dozen hemagglutinating agents from apparently healthy wild birds captured at the Migratory Bird Observatory on Hiddensee - a tiny island in Baltic Sea. However, these were not influenza viruses, so my doctor father professor Guenter Starke has requested me to do identification of a representative isolate from our hemagglutinating agents comparing with “Sendai virus” which was turned out has been discovered in the fifties of the last century in the walls of this University by Dr Nakao Ishida – a brilliant researcher and the 15th President of Tohoku University. I’m very happy to come over to this place so many years later and remembering my postgraduate time experimenting with Sendai virus in Berlin.
I have discovered for me that TUGMS’s logo contains a beautiful star complex “Big Dipper”. The Japanese name of this star complex “Hokuto-siti-sei” can be translated into English back as “Seven North-Eastern Heavenly Spirits”, I have been taught by Dr Taro Kamigaki. The Japanese name’s meaning is very similar to its Mongolian equivalent “Doloon Burkhan“ which means in English “Seven Goddess”. “Big Dipper” can be seen as the oldest known compass not only for sailors which may have been common-case in Sendai many years ago, also for pastoral animal breeders in Mongolia still now when they lost way at night on the endless steppe. It is very symbolic again for our academic collaboration with the medical society in Sendai, which is called also “gakuto” an “Academic City”, and I am very happy today having laid down the groundwork to be connected with a new “Big Dipper” or “Seven North-Eastern Heavenly Spirits” for the Mongolian medical society.
Thank you very much for your attention.