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Goro Ishida (1924–1992)

Published onSep 01, 1993
Goro Ishida (1924–1992)

Goro Ishida, retired astronomer from the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory and President of the Herschel Society of Japan, died of a heart attack on the 27th of July, 1992 while visiting a temple on an island in Lake Biwa. He is survived by his wife Kazuko and sons Juro and Saburo.

Ishida was born on February 24, 1924 in Ueno, the central part of Tokyo, and thereafter he was called an Edokko (native son of Edo, the old name for Tokyo). He graduated in 1948 from Tokyo Imperial University, where he did research on the three body problem. He was a Research Assistant first at the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory in Mitaka for one year and then at the University of Tokyo. In 1959 he participated in the construction of the 1.9-meter reflector at Okayama Astrophysical Observatory. After the telescope dedication, he became Resident Astronomer and superintendent until his retirement in 1984 at the mandatory age of 60. He returned to Tokyo and taught astronomy at several universities, pursued his interest in the history of astronomy, and at the time of his death was writing a biography in Japanese of William Herschel. In preparing his material he visited Herschel sites in England and South Africa.

My 30-year friendship with Goro started with a visit to his observatory and blossomed in recent years through a common interest in Noh and Kabuki, and in Japanese art and literature. He was such an authority on the nuances of Kabuki acting that he became a friend of some of their best actors, such as Uzaemon the 17th, one of the 85 “National Treasurers” of Japan.

Thus Ishida was not only an astronomer who helped many others in their observing at Okayama Observatory, but he had a broad range of interests that was more characteristic of the Renaissance scientist than the 20th century specialist.

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