Kyuzo Kato: I fell in love with Uzbekistan

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"I’m a Japanese, consider Uzbekistan my second homeland, and I am proud to be an honorary citizen of this country..." - Kyuzo Kato, an outstanding scientist, archaeologist, honorary Professor of the National ethnological Museum of Japan, holder of the Dustlik order and honorary citizen of the city of Termez, once said in an interview with Uzbek journalists.

Kato Kyuzo was born on May 18, 1922 in Japan. After entering Tokyo's Sofia University, he studied German philology at the faculty of foreign languages.

"At that time, I, like many of my peers, was interested in philosophy: I was looking for spiritual support and the meaning of this incomprehensible life" - he wrote in his autobiography.

From the 3rd year, he was sent to the army in Manchuria, graduated from the sapper school, and became an officer of the 252nd sapper battalion. On August 17, 1945, the Emperor Hirohito's rescript "To soldiers and sailors" was issued, after which the Japanese army stopped resistance and began to surrender. Lieutenant Kyuzo Kato was also captured.

Over the course of four years, Kyuzo Kato changed more than a dozen pow camps in various regions of Eastern Siberia and the Far East.

Kyuzo Kato returned to his homeland on April 17, 1950. He recovered in the third year of University, and after graduating, he joined the largest encyclopedic publishing house " Heibonsha Ltd ", where he began his first scientific research.

Central Asia occupied a special place among Kyuzo Kato's scientific works. In 2001, at the Tokai University press, he published a monograph "AI-Khanum", dedicated to the Greek-Bactrian city, the ruins of which are located in the Afghan province of Kunduz at the confluence of the Amu Darya and Kokchi. The ancient settlement is a unique monument of Hellenistic culture in Central Asia. In the last decades of the 20th century, Kyuzo Kato began excavating Buddhist relics of the Kushan dynasty in Uzbekistan (III-II centuries BC – I-II centuries ad). E.), whose capital was located on the territory of Dalverzintepa, on the Bank of the Surkhandarya river in the South of the country.

It was the Kushan rulers who adopted Buddhism and established this world religion as the state religion on the territory of Central Asia.

Having started his own work on the excavations of the Karatepa and Fayaztepa Buddhist monuments near Termez in 1998, since then he has come to Uzbekistan twice a year, in spring and autumn, to continue his archaeological research. For many years, Professor Kato led the research of the Uzbek-Japanese international archaeological expedition on the Buddhist monuments of the Dalverzintepa settlement (near the town of Shurchi in the Surkhandarya region).

The results of Kato's scientific activity are presented in the books "the Settlement of Dalverzintepa", "Antiquities of southern Uzbekistan". In them, a Japanese archaeologist tells about the history of the spread of early Buddhism in Central Asia.

A honorary citizen of the city of Termez, he was also the author of many research papers, including: "At the crossroads of the silk road", "Journey through the Eurasian civilization", "Outstanding people of Central Asia". Even school textbooks on the history of Uzbekistan tell about his painstaking work.

For more than 25 years, the scientist has worked closely with the Academy of Sciences and other scientific institutions of Uzbekistan, participated in various projects, and conducted archaeological excavations in our unique country.

Kyuzo Kato was one of the first scientists of the Land of the Rising sun, who showed a genuine interest in the ancient history of our region and became a supporter of the activation of Japan's multifaceted cooperation with our country.

The outstanding scientist passed away on September 12, 2016 in Surkhandarya region at the age of 94.

In order to perpetuate the memory and scientific activities of the Japanese archaeologist in Uzbekistan, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev put forward an initiative to create the Kyuzo Kato International Historical Museum. This Museum is planned to be created on the territory of the Bakht Park in Termez.

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