Dr. Nakamura had devoted his career to curing patients’ diseases in hospitals and constructing irrigation systems for the rural farmers in Afghanistan for three decades. Despite his dedication, he was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Afghanistan on December 4. It is still unclear why the gunmen—probably they were ordered by their backing—killed Dr. Nakamura who had contributed so much to improve the lives of the Afghan people.
Since he was born and brought up in Fukuoka Prefecture, it seems to me that he intended to change the land of Afghanistan into the same green land as the rural areas in his hometown through the construction of irrigation systems. As Representative of Peshawar-kai & Peace Japan Medical Services (PMS) in Afghanistan, Dr. Nakamura started to construct the irrigation systems in 2003, and completed the systems including irrigation canals with a length of 25km in 2010. A model for the irrigation systems was a dam called ‘Yamada Dam’ which was constructed on the Chikugogawa River in Asakura City, Fukuoka. It was constructed by Stonemason Koga Hyakkou by means of special techniques with simple materials (large and small stones) and manual work, and at low cost. (For the details of these techniques, please refer to the ‘note’ at the bottom.)
In order to pass on these special techniques of ‘Yamada Dam’ to the trainees in Afghanistan, many engineers in Fukuoka Prefecture were dispatched to Afghanistan, and Afghan trainees visited Fukuoka Prefecture to learn the techniques. All these technical training programs were carried out under the leadership of Dr. Nakamura, and I participated in some of them. A festival commemorating the 300th Anniversary of Stonemason Koga Hyakkou’s birth was held in May this year, and there I praised our predecessors’ great achievements of constructing the irrigation systems and Dr. Nakamura’s dedication to Afghanistan. Lastly, I shook hands with him saying, “Both of us are graduates of Seinan Gakuin Junior High School in Fukuoka. I am you senior by two years.”
It is a pity that we have lost Dr. Nakamura. He left a great task to be handed down to the future generations. We have to consider in what way we can follow his mission. His motto was “One irrigation canal is far more useful than one million bullets.”
Note: ‘Yamada Dam’ While the Chikugogawa River had flooded repeatedly since ancient times, farmers, who used to cultivate rice plant in the paddy fields drawing water from the River, had often suffered from heavy flooding in the 18th century. Stonemason Koga Hyakkou and his colleagues developed special techniques to construct the ‘Yamada Dam’, overcoming many difficulties, and in 1790 completed the construction and succeeded in averting flood threats. The feature of these techniques is that a large cobble-stone pavement to block the width of the river is laid at the bottom of the river diagonally toward the water flow coming down so that it enables the speed of the water flow to slow down and the water flow may proceed to the irrigation canals smoothly.
In the following years, the ‘Yamada Dam’ was damaged by the heavy flooding of the Chikugogawa River several times and in 1981 it was repaired on a large scale. To date, the Dam has continued to work as a facility for the irrigations of the fertile 670ha rice fields of which Asakura City is proud.