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SUTEMI CHINDA, Class of 1881

Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor of Japan

Japanese Ambassador to England, Germany, and the U.S.

December 24, 1856 - January 16, 1929

The cherry blossom trees that surround the Washington, DC Tidal Basin were a gift from the people of Japan in 1912.  The first 3,000 trees arrived on March 27, 1912, and First Lady Helen Taft planted the first tree in West Potomac Park. 

The second tree was planted by Viscountess Chinda, wife of Japanese Ambassador Count Sutemi Chinda.


The tradition of a Cherry Blossom Festival to mark the arrival of spring in Washington, DC began in 1935. The celebration became known as the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 1941. 


In the summer of 1877 four Japanese young men arrived in Greencastle, sent to study at the university by Indiana Asbury alumnus John Ing, one of the founders of the Psi Phi chapter of Deke, who directed a mission school in Hirosaki, Japan. All were professed Christians of the samurai class with little financial resources, but willing to work.

Fluent in English from their training under Ing, they also earned some of their expenses by lecturing and preaching in the neighborhood. They found general acceptance in the college and the community, and were pledged by social fraternities.  Izumi Nasu and Sutemi Chinda, pledged Deke.


Two who attained international distinction were Chinda and Aimaro Sato, who also became brothers-in-law when Chinda married the latter's sister after graduation.  Both Chinda and Sato entered the Japanese foreign service, and both served as ambassadors to the United States as well as in other important posts. The other Deke, Izumi Nasu, translated the Iliad into Japanese.


SUTEMI CHINDA was born December 24, 1856 in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Japan and died in Japan, January 16, 1929. 


He married Sato in 1882, and they had a son, Hideho. After graduating from Indiana Asbury University (DePauw, A.B. 1881, A.M. 1884), Chinda returned to Japan, where he entered the foreign service. He later served as Ambassador to Germany (1908-1911), to the United States (1911-1914) and to England (1914-1920). He also served as Japan's representative to the Paris Peace Conference in 1918 and was serving as Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor at the time of his death.



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