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Japanese Mayor leads pilgrimage honoring CCNY founder

Townsend Harris
Townsend Harris image by James Bogle

Yusuke Fukui, Mayor of Shimoda City, joins the long list of Japanese pilgrims that have traveled to The City College of New York to pay homage to its founder Townsend Harris when he visits the institution on July 12. Since 1986, top civic officials from Shimoda have made annual pilgrimages to City College to honor Harris. This year marks CCNY’s 170th anniversary.

After establishing what was then known as The Free Academy in 1847, Harris, a prominent New York merchant, went on to forge U.S.-Japan relations. He arrived in Shimoda on August 21, 1856 to open the first American consulate in Japan.

“As the first consul general there, he negotiated the treaty that is credited with opening the Japanese Empire to foreign trade and culture,” said City College archivist Sydney Van Nort. “Owing to his goodwill, openness and honesty, Harris quickly gained the respect and affection of the Japanese people, and is revered there to this day.”

Mayor Fukui’s visit on CCNY’s 170th anniversary is confirmation of this, said Van Nort.  The Mayor’s delegation will attend a presentation by Van Nort on the life and career of Harris and view documents from the Townsend Harris Papers Collection in CCNY’s Morris Raphael Cohen Library.

For more information on the Mayor’s visit to The City College of New York, please call the CCNY Archives at (212) 650-7609.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Today more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship.  Now celebrating its 170th anniversary, CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself.  View CCNY Media Kit.


Jay Mwamba
p: 212.650.7580

View CCNY Media Kit