With great sadness we have learned that Yasushi Nishimura has passed.
I first met Nishimura San in 1990. We had just opened a small laboratory in archaeological geophysics under the University of Miami Florida in Ishikawa Prefecture and Nishimura San invited us to work jointly with his institute – the world renown Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute. His research group, along with Dr Hiroyuki Kamei at Chiba University, at the time were already working on magnetic, resistivity and GPR imaging at archaeological sites. Nishimura San along with Kamei San had the first publication that I ever encountered on GPR times slices –Nishimura, Y and Kamei, H (1990, Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Archaeometry, Heidelberg). Beginning in the summer of 1990 Nishimura San and our small lab along with Koji Tobita began doing joint surveys all over Japan and continued through our last survey together in 2015 in Kyushu. The joint work happened alongside with Hiromichi Hongo and Noriaki Higashi who were archaeologists and curators at the Saitobaru National Burial mounds.
Nishimura was directed early on by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Japan to begin joint research with a number of international organizations, including many projects with the Smithsonian, the National Park Service (both USA), the Consiglio Nacionale delle Ricerche (Italy), University of Bradford (UK) and the Korean Cultural Research Institute amongst others. I was the lucky benefactor to be able to accompany Nishimura San on so many of his joint projects outside of Japan. I learned more about the United States and traveled to so many remote locations in the mid-west that I would never have had an opportunity had it not been for Nishimura San. On his joint work with CNR in Italy we collaborated on survey field seasons that lasted over 12 years with Dr. Salvatore Piro on many important sites including the Villa of Trajan and the Forum Novum projects. In Korea, Nishimura San was not only a pioneer to open up joint work with Dr. Hyun dok Oh, but to act as an ambassador to bring countries closer together through scientific dialog.
For those that encountered Nishimura they always felt his warmth. He had a very “international” demeanor and he truly enjoyed all his colleagues over the world. I think his consciousness was one of a man that really did not have borders, but he still knew very well how to work in the system that he was born into in Japan. He was very respected as the most influential scientist in his field of archaeological geophysics. Everyone in Japan knew of his international likeability and even after retiring from the Nara Institute he was given a prominent position as a director of UNESCO in Nara which was his position until last year.
For me personally, Nishimura San brought to me an awareness of cultural appreciation that I would never have had exposure to. He showed so much patience for a guy that really was culturally uninclined and helped me open up my eyes to many beautiful experiences in our times of travel and work together. To write any words about my mentor seems insufficient. Nishimura San was my colleague, mentor and a friend. He will always be in my heart and I will miss him forever.