UPMC Shadyside’s Japanese gardens are designed with rocks and stone lanterns sent from the hospital’s friends in Japan
The VOICE of UPMC Shadyside December 1997

A Place of Beauty and Solace

Gifts from grateful families and friends offer a warm welcome to UPMC Shadyside.

Building on a warm friendship, UPMC Shadyside dedicated a new Japanese garden in its Campbell Courtyard. A traditional Japanese tea ceremony followed the April 15 dedication, attended by more than three hundred people. The garden is a gift of Kazuo Kodera, director of the English Society Institute of Tokyo, and Kazuo and Keiko Matsudaira of Nagasaki. Both donors have close associations with UPMC Shadyside.

“A small bridge between America and Japan.”

Since 1989, the English Society Institute has made it possible for four groups of Japanese nurses to study innovations in patient care at Shadyside. Dr. Kodera previously showed his gratitude with a gift of fifty-five cherry blossom trees in 1992.

Shinya Matsudaira (1970–1995)

Mr. and Mrs. Matsudaira are the parents of Shinya Matsudaira, a student at Point Park College who died of cancer at age 25 in the hospital on April 28, 1995. His parents were at his side, and their grace, dignity, and courage made an unforgettable impression on everyone who met them. The Matsudairas also presented the hospital with fourteen Japanese wood block prints, now framed and mounted in the corridor leading to the garden.

At the outdoor dedication of the garden, both Dr. Kodera and Keiko Matsudaira spoke. Mrs. Matsudaira, wearing a traditional gray silk kimono with a cherry blossom motif, had learned English especially for the occasion. Her words follow.

Ladies and gentlemen, hello. I am Keiko Matsudaira from Nagasaki, Japan. My sister and I are both grateful that we were invited to join in this ceremony. I also very much appreciate the kindness you have shown in planting trees and bushes in memory of our first son in the Japanese garden, as well as dedicating a stone plaque which bears his name. This is truly an honor. My husband and I think that it was by God’s will that our son, Shinya, decided to come to this wonderful hospital by himself when he fell ill. I am happy to have the chance to publicly say thank you to the president of the hospital, all the doctors and medical staff, and to everyone who cared for an exchange student from another country. Two years ago, my son was fighting cancer. And for those seventeen days while he struggled in the hospital, we were encouraged by the love we felt from those around us. This love crossed nationalities, religion, and language. By this encouragement, we were able to deal with the pain of losing our son and overcome our grief.

Keiko Matsudaira of Nagasaki, Japan, speaking at the dedication of a garden in memory of her son

Our son really loved America and when he was a college student in Japan he visited the States and traveled around by himself. This experience led him to choose Pittsburgh as the city in which he would like to continue his studies and therefore he decided on Point Park College. Unfortunately, we have lost our son. But I take comfort in knowing that he passed away in a town he truly loved. And for us, Pittsburgh has become an important as our native city, Nagasaki, Japan. We believe that the death of our son and the weeping cherry tree here in the hospital will be a small bridge between America and Japan. This was my son’s dream. He planned on becoming a photo journalist to advocate peace throughout the world.

Fortunately, recently in Japan I have had the opportunity to make some speeches about the love we felt from the people working here at Shadyside and the support we felt from many people in this state of Pennsylvania. We have also given out 250 copies of The Voice magazine to Shinya’s friends and acquaintances in Japan. In the December 1995 issue, the main topic is about the treatment Shinya received at the hospital. All those who read the story were very moved. Due to this, at a college in our home town, I was asked to give a speech about our experiences in Pittsburgh and the love we felt which spans cultural borders.

My husband and I really appreciate your friendship we have felt from everyone here. We thank all those at Shadyside Hospital and those in Pittsburgh who have helped us, and we wish you health and prosperity in the future.

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