The Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo organised a special ceremony to honour and remember the late Seamus Heaney in the Embassy Residence on 10 April 2014.
Mrs. Marie Heaney and her son Christopher travelled from Ireland to attend the event and Her Majesty Empress Michiko was also present. Her Majesty met Seamus and Marie Heaney on a number of occasions and was familiar with his poetry.
Other participants included Japanese poets and scholars who knew Heaney and his work including Gozo Yoshimasu, Mutsuo Takahashi, and Professors Mitsuko Ohno, Nobuaki Tochigi and Masazumi Toraiwa. Irish poet and academic Andrew Fitzsimons was also present.
Professor Ohno delivered a moving tribute to Seamus Heaney, highlighting his close connections with Japan. This was followed by readings from his poems and an appreciation by Fr. Donal Doyle S.J.
Speaking of the event, the Irish Ambassador Mr. John Neary said
“After Seamus Heaney passed away last year, we felt it was very important to arrange a special commemoration to honour his long association with Japan. We were very honoured that Marie Heaney and her son Christopher travelled from Ireland to attend this event.
It was a special privilege to welcome Her Majesty Empress Michiko and her presence at the event was testament not only to Heaney’s wonderful achievements as a writer but also to his warmth and generosity as a person.
Seamus Heaney will be remembered in Japan for his extraordinary writings and for the enormous contribution he made over many years to cultural exchange between our two countries.”