• Kyodo

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Ritsumeikan University said an 88-year-old visiting researcher who was conferred a doctorate by the university on Saturday was not the oldest person in Japan to have been awarded the degree.

A spokesperson at the Kyoto-based university said Monday that the institution had contacted the education ministry to ask whether Kiyoko Ozeki would be the oldest to receive the honor, but did not get a clear answer. The university conducted its own research via the internet and found no cases of older persons having obtained a doctorate, according to the spokesperson.

However, the university conducted further research after receiving an email from someone outside the university and found that Yoshizo Kawamori, a scholar of French literature who was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit, was given a doctorate by Kyoto University at the age of 95 in 1997.

The spokesperson admitted that the university’s research had been insufficient and said that they will explain the situation to Ozeki.

Ozeki, a resident of Nagoya who from April 2015 has been a visiting academic at Ritsumeikan’s Research Center for Pan-Pacific Civilizations, did not enroll in the university’s graduate program but earned the degree following submission of her thesis to the university last September.

She served as assistant professor at the women’s junior college of Tokai Gakuen University until 1995 and is now a professor emeritus at the same institution. She has been researching the cultural aspects of cloth during the ancient Jomon Period for more than 30 years.

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