Masanari spent more than 20 years working in Vietnam with his wife, Dr Noriko Nishino, who is also an archaeologist. He was among one of the few foreign experts on Vietnam’s archaeology. He also trained many young Vietnamese archaeologists.
His archaeological work in Vietnam includes a major discovery in 1998 of a mould used to make bronze drums 2,000 years ago in Luy Lau, in the northern province of Bac Ninh. The only one of its kind to have been unearthed in the country, it was definite proof that Vietnam was one of the sources for ancient drums.
The Japanese couple supported the rural community in Duong Xa, Bac Ninh, to help them build the village’s first community museum (also the country’s first), where its extensive ceramic history is displayed.
Masanari died in a traffic accident in 2013. He was honoured with a Friendship Medal by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences for his contribution to archaeology in Vietnam, and his love for the country and its people.