August 4, 1998
At the American Mathematical Society
My husband, Kiiti Morita, was born on the eleventh of February in 1915 in Japan, and passed away quietly at the age of eighty on the fourth of August in 1995 in Tokyo.
He lost his father at the age of thirteen and grew up with his mother, his only family. It was his mother's pleasure that he had been at the top of his classes all the time since elementary school all the way through university. He became a professor in mathematics at his school, the Tokyo Higher Normal School, at the age of twenty-eight, and then we married. Since then, Kiiti Morita became interested in algebra and topology. He enjoyed mathematics alone and studied it very hard, being attracted by its beauty.
Kiiti Morita did not like to go out or to do sports, because he had been strongly shortsighted since his elementary school days. His most favorite things seemed to be to eat nice foods and to sit at this desk quietly listening to music like a violin tune in F major composed by Beethoven. He could be characterized as a very delicate person, and at the same time, a cheerful, honest, and righteous person with fairness and vitality.
Last year, responding to the death of Kiiti Morita, Dr. Goodearl, Dr. Zimmerman, and Dr. Arhangel'skii kindly wrote a very clear and descriptive obituary paper in a journal of the American Mathematical Society, "Notices". I was very much surprised and deeply impressed at such an unexpected favor to Kiiti Morita.
Looking back to 1970, Kiiti Morita was invited to the University of Pittsburgh as the Andrew Mellon Professor, because Professor Jun-ichi Nagata strongly recommended him, offering an exceptionally short period of stay, namely for three months. It was at this time when he recorded his first step in the United States, accompanied with me.
At the University of Pittsburgh, he gave lectures on topology for the first time outside Japan, and attended some symposiums on algebra and topology, where he was able to meet many of the world's brilliant mathematicians. And he was asked to write a lecture note on algebra and worked hard on it in a sweat during a hot summer. He seemed to be very happy during his stay. Because we were poor and only studied hard during and after the World War II, we greatly enjoyed the happy American life, having big beef steaks.
After the visit to the United States, we went to Hungary in 1972 in order to attend a symposium on topology at the invitation of Dr. Hamburger and Dr. Csaszar. He seemed to be full of happiness to discuss his ideas, flashing out one after another with other people from around the world who share the same tastes. On algebra, many mathematicians in Europe as well as the United States seemed to be interested in Morita's ideas. And so, he was invited thereafter to make the memorial speech on algebra, entitled "Adjoint Functors in Categories of Modules and Their Applications", for the fifth centennial anniversary of the University of Muncheon in Germany.
He seemed to wonder why only foreign people appreciated Morita's papers and works this way, though they were all made in Japan. At the beginning of this year, the excellent collection of obituary papers was published in the Netherlands, which was written by world leaders in topology and compiled by Dr. Jun-ichi Nagata. I want to express my sincere thanks to foreign mathematicians in the world as well as American mathematicians for the fair evaluation to the international learning of mathematics.
This time, it is my greatest honor to be presented the name of "The Kiiti Morita Gardens" for the front gardens of the American Mathematical Society. The late Kiiti Morita would have also felt as happy as he could, because he had his name left in this most favorite land, the United States of America.
I would like to conclude my greeting by expressing my sincere and deep gratitude to all the people of the American Mathematical Society.
Thank you very much.