Thursday, August 12, 2010

100 years of collaboration: the Dental School and its Japanese friends

In a recent batch of materials from the OHSU School of Dentistry vault, I came across two sheets of onion skin paper bearing a typescript copy of a rudimentary constitution and by-laws for the Japanese Student Association of North Pacific College. The document indicates that the group was formed on November 3, 1911--which means we're only 15 months shy of a centennial celebration of friendship between the dental school and Japanese dentistry.

Japanese students were welcomed at not only the dental college in Portland but also the medical school from the earliest days (regular readers might remember our highlights of one particular Japanese alumnus of the medical school, Oishi Seinosuke). We're not yet aware of any organization of Japanese medical students in town, but this thin gem from the dental school is evidence that there was a large and active group of young Japanese dentists eager to cement ties between their homeland and their alma mater.

The thread of collaboration between Japan and the dental school can also be picked up, for example, in the school catalogs for the years 1929-1932, when Korenori Anan, D.M.D., was on faculty as instructor in operative dentistry and "Advisor to Japanese Students" (note that there was no comparable position of Advisor to American Students, although Registrar Nellie Lehr probably filled that role). Anan was himself a 1918 graduate of NPC.

And the connection continues: In another set of boxes from the vault, we recently picked up a number of gifts given to the dental school from its Japanese sister school, the Hokkaido University School of Dentistry, including textiles, sculptures, and prints. The link with Hokkaido has been active since 1975, when it was established by Dean Louis G. Terkla.

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