An elderly Japanese man has gifted his prized stamp collection to Taiwan after meeting Taiwanese exchange students in Osaka, Japan, Taipei Medical University said on Monday last week.
In July, 10 students at the university’s College of Nursing traveled to Osaka Medical College as part of an annual summer program funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Taipei Medical University said in a statement.
During a welcoming party, a Japanese professor told the faculty and students that local octogenarian Katsuo Kasai had a special request for anyone from Taiwan with an interest in stamps, it said.
Kasai told the exchange students that he lived and worked in Taiwan 30 years ago and started collecting stamps after a colleague surnamed Chen suggested that the stamps, which depicted famous sites in the nation, would help him learn about Taiwan, the university said.
Impressed by the beauty of Taiwanese stamps, Kasai became a serious collector and bought five complete folios between 1982 and 1994, the year he returned to Japan, he said.
The stamp books were his companions and reminded him of his years in Taiwan, but he increasingly “could not bear the thought of consigning stamps to time or to let them rot in the earth,” he said.
Taipei Medical University senior Wu Shao-tzu said the students urged Kasai to keep his collection, because the folio appeared to be of significant monetary and emotional value, but he insisted that Taiwan was the right home for his stamps.
Associate professor of gerontology and senior health management Liu Fang said Kasai wrote a letter to the school last month expressing his gratitude.
The letter stated that although he parted with the collection, the memories of his friendship with Chen and his years in Taiwan would remain with him, and that he had no regrets about his decision, Liu said.
The stamps would be put on display at the college for preservation, Taipei Medical University said.