News

The Farmer School Family Bids お別れ to an Exceptional Alumnus

November 2012


The Farmer School mourns the death of alumnus Sukeo Kanabayashi and celebrates an incredible 50 year legacy of friendship and support for Farmer School Asian study programs.

In 1960, Sukeo Kanabayashi followed his dream, leaving his home in Japan to study at Miami. It was a decision that forever changed both him, and the Miami family. In his words, "Miami's influence on me extended beyond the academic matter I studied. It helped form my character and changed my view of life, making me see things in broader contexts and helping me to become a citizen of the world."

Although he returned to Japan after graduating to work at his grandfather's company, Mataro Doll Craft Academy, famous for making traditional kimekomi dolls, he remained closely connected to his Miami family for more than half a century; creating a 7,000 mile bridge between his two "homes." He served as chapter president of Miami alumni Japan, provided networking support and guidance for the Farmer School's Pacific Rim programs and was an invaluable resource and friend to the Farmer School.

Kanabayashi brought honor to both of his "families", becoming an internationally recognized expert on the clothing culture in the Heian period (794-1185). He authored a book, Kimekomi Dolls and Ancient Japanese Court Fashion and lectured internationally on the topic. His company's beautiful, intricate kimonos were not just created for dolls; he also created traditional outfits for the royal family of Japan to wear during special ceremonies.

In 2007, he returned to Oxford with his family to lecture on traditional Japanese clothing and accept the honor of being selected as the "International Partner of the Year" by the Farmer School. Roger L. Jenkins, Dean of the Farmer School and the Mitchell P. Rales Chair of Business Leadership, developed a deep friendship with Sukeo, his wife Yoshiko, and their son, Makoto.

"Sukeo was a great businessman and an incredible ambassador not only for Japan, but also for the Farmer School." Jenkins said. "His exceptional devotion to Miami and to nurturing our international programs will not be forgotten and will continue to have a significant impact on the lives of our students."

The Japanese saying "Life is for one generation; a good name is forever" was never more true.