By Assunta Ng
What’s the most appropriate gift for a Japan expert’s retirement party? Sixty haikus and to let him pick your pocket?
Professor Don Hellmann, a Japan expert and political scientist with the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, celebrated his retirement party at the University of Washington on April 11. Friends, colleagues, and former students presented him with a book on haikus. Here are some haikus about the remarkable man:
Haiku by Judith A. Howard
Don: Fervent. Urgent.
Heart of gold. Spirit of steel.
Global Asia: Don.
Do not hesitate
to try the impossible.
Look at what Don’s done.
Haiku by Jane Meyerding
A haiku for Don
You need more syllables to
honor such a man!
“Isn’t that beautiful!”
The autumn leaves outside thye window
Tender soul in a tall man
Haiku by Kyoko Tokuno
Troubled by the state of affairs
His tongue lashes out but his eyes
always twinkling like the summer stars
It might be more common now for Americans to speak Chinese and Japanese, but 40 years ago, it was unheard of. When I was an international student in the 1970s, Hellmann was my professor. I had never encountered a white man teaching Asian history or speaking Japanese.
His knowledge and analysis surprised me. He didn’t just give facts. He also made his students think. His wit and easygoing manner broke the ice quickly, although I was intimidated by his towering presence at first. It was inspiring to have him as a teacher, a gift to be his friend, and a joy to be invited to his retirement party.
Retirement gifts and contributions in support of Task Force can be made to the Hellmann Fund for Innovation and Excellence. (end)