KGB and Hijikawa



Retiring from Reitaku University in 1994, GB & Kyoko went to live in their house in Oyabu (Hijikawa Town, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku), which they'd built in 1977 and enlarged in 1987. GB had first visited Oyabu Onsen (hot spring) by bicycle in 1973, with Seigo Yano, a Chinese Dept. student at Reitaku, while touring 26 (in Ehime) of 88 temples comprising a famous pilgrimage known as "henro". The temples were founded by the Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi almost 2000 years ago.


KGB started collecting dragons in 1972, boosting their number in Dragon Years 1976, 1988 & 2000, and kept them in their house (named "Senryuan" meaning "Retreat of 1000 Dragons"). In 1994, GB donated the dragons to Hijikawa Town, who put them on permanent display in their newly opened Wind Museum (now Cultural Centre), this being the only such public collection in Japan. It now has 1,300 items from over 25 countries. In 2000, Hijikawa held Japan's first Dragon Symposium.


While KGB worked part-time for Hijikawa Town Office, KB set in train the events leading to the identification of the two Utamaro wood-blocks "discovered" in the town, and to the building (and opening in 2002) of the Utamaro Art Museum (See "KB & Utamaro" page). KGB retired from Town Office work in 2002.


Their work for Hijikawa Town Office included supervising the dragons; hosting short home-stays (of English flavour in the their house) for Junior High School (JHS) pupils; visiting local Primary Schools; giving community talks; holding annual English Speech Contests for JHS pupils; running 4-day JHS Summer Schools (assisted by R.U.E.D.G. members), and managing the English Study Group, the last two involving the staging of dramas in English (See Hijikawa & Dragons page).


Oyabu Onsen, Dragons & Woodblocks