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Japanese archaeologist who devoted life to Viet Nam killed on motorbike

Update: June, 11/2013 - 10:00

HA NOI (VNS) — Japanese archaeologist Nishimura Masanari has died in a motorbike accident on Highway 5 from Ha Noi to Hai Phong on his way to an archaeological site.

Nishimura, 48, who is known here as Ly Van Sy, was born and grew up in Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

A graduate of Tokyo University's Archaeology Department, he first came to Viet Nam in 1990 for a project in the central province of Nghe An.

In November 1998, Nishimura discovered a piece of the mould used to cast bronze drums dating back to the 1st-3rd century, the only one of its kind excavated in the country. The object is an important piece of evidence for the research of Vietnamese bronze drums.

Both his postgraduate and doctorate theses were about Vietnamese archaeology and its ancient civilisations.

A member of the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute, Nishimura was the founder of the Foundation for Safeguarding the Underground Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia.

Together with his wife Nishino Noriko, Nishimura established an ancient earthenware museum in Kim Lan Village in Ha Noi's Gia Lam District. He worked tirelessly for 12 years to build the museum, displaying various objects and operating methods.

"Dr Nishimura Masanari devoted his life to the development of Vietnamese archaeology," said Dr Nguyen Giang Hai, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Archaeology.

His funeral will be held following traditional Vietnamese customs before his ashes are returned to Japan.-VNS

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