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In Memoriam Mitsuo Nitta, ILAB Member of Honour

I was deeply saddened to learn that Mitsuo Nitta, President of Honor of the ABAJ, Member of Honor of ILAB, CEO at Yushodo Ltd., former Chair of the ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, legendary bookseller and friend to so many of us, has passed away on October 27 of 2015. Mitsuo Nitta played a leading role in developing antiquarian bookselling not only in Japan but also in the surrounding countries like Korea and China, and he had been teacher and friend for generations of younger booksellers. His role in spreading out ILAB's device "Amor Librorum nos unit" in East-Asia cannot be underestimated. Since my first meeting with Mitsuo Nitta back in 1988 during the Congress in Paris, we had been in constant contact, and I will always remember countless discussions about ILAB with him, the last one – alas - only earlier this year in Tokyo.
Published on 04 Nov. 2015
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I was deeply saddened to learn that Mitsuo Nitta, President of Honor of the ABAJ, Member of Honor of ILAB, CEO at Yushodo Ltd., former Chair of the ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, legendary bookseller and friend to so many of us, has passed away on October 27 of 2015.

Mitsuo Nitta played a leading role in developing antiquarian bookselling not only in Japan but also in the surrounding countries like Korea and China, and he had been teacher and friend for generations of younger booksellers. His role in spreading out ILAB’s device “Amor Librorum nos unit” in East-Asia cannot be underestimated.

Since my first meeting with Mitsuo Nitta back in 1988 during the Congress in Paris, we had been in constant contact, and I will always remember countless discussions about ILAB with him, the last one – alas - only earlier this year in Tokyo.

Obituaries will follow within the upcoming days.

Norbert Donhofer, President of ILAB


In Memory of Mitsuo


By Umberto Pregliasco

I was twelve years old when I visited Japan for the first time. For a boy of the early ‘70s, quite a journey. I travelled with my father Arturo, to attend the 1973 Tokyo ILAB Congress organized by a young Mitsuo Nitta.

With the sad news of his passing, I am moved to write some words of tribute: both as a dear friend of long-standing, and as the man I consider the first western style bookseller to come from the Far East.

At the time my father was president of ALAI. I recall that at the gala dinner in Tokyo he thanked Mitsuo and Prince Misaka, brother of the heavenly sovereign Emperor Hirohito, with an amusing speech in transliterated Japanese.

Mitsuo, ever thoughtful, entrusted his son, a bit older than me, to show a young Tokyo to a 12-year-old boy. I remember spending a wonderful afternoon with him in an overwhelming amusement park, a Japanese Disneyland. Instead of the boring temples waiting for me, thanks to Mitsuo, I sailed to a veritable “Pleasure Island”. Unfortunately, my Japanese friend died much too early.

 

Over the years Mitsuo became a good friend and important client of both Pregliascos, father and son. He was the first person to whom I sent an instant message through a strange new machine called fax. The result was a speedy purchase of a first edition Principia !

He was an active and loyal member of ILAB, one of the only two Members of Honour ever elected. Of course, he attended the Venice Congress in 1986, and Bologna in 2010. On September 19th, I had the pleasure of throwing a surprise party for his 75th birthday. And, at that very fair he bought one of the most memorable books of his brilliant career: the 1485 illustrated Aesop, the Olschki copy.

Beyond commercial motives, I cannot help but mention how much I learned in dealing with Mitsuo. The exchange of views with such a great man from a country and culture so different from our own has proved an invaluable resource in my father’s sixty years and my thirty spent in our unique profession.

Today Arturo went through many drawers for some mementos of this legendary 1973 Tokyo ILAB Congress, and I am pleased to make public here some of what he found: tokens of memory brought to light on the day we commemorate a great book dealer, as both colleague and friend, Mitsuo.


In Memoriam Mitsuo Nitta - ILAB Book of Condolences
 

Mitsuo Nitta was a legend in our profession which is clearly shown by the numerous condolences we are receiving. We have therefore created a book of condolences on the ILAB website:

In Memoriam Mitsuo Nitta - ILAB Book of Condolences

If you wish to have your letter of condolence added there, please send an email to the ILAB web editor.

Thank you in advance!

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