“like the flame of a lamp exposed to the wind”

I never knew Yasuyuki Sampei. I never had the chance to.

He was a 19-year-old Japanese student from Tokyo International University where I studied abroad at when I was a junior. He went to America last February to study at Tokyo International University of America, which is co-located on Willamette University’s campus (my alma mater). I worked at Tokyo International University of America my entire time at Willamette, so it holds a good piece of my heart and I care very much for all the students. The students are always curious about American culture and many students are able to make very strong friendships with Willamette’s students.

Yasuyuki was one of those students.

From what I can gather from reading my friends’ Facebook feeds, he was very outgoing, a great photographer, and an overall good person who was liked and admired by many. He seemed to have a bright future waiting for him and would be turning 20 this Sunday. He would have been going home to his family in two more months…


Sampei died sometime between 8 and 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The cause of death was determined to be suicide.

While I never knew Yasuyuki, I feel very effected by his death. No ones life should end that young. No one should be driven to the point of suicide.

My heart goes out to his family and friends.

May you rest in peace, Yasuyuki.


4 thoughts on ““like the flame of a lamp exposed to the wind”

  1. This has been a very long week. Yasu was my friend, so… it hit me kind of hard. There’s going to be a meeting/memorial at TIUA this afternoon, which I’m hoping will help give everyone a sense of closure.

  2. I know the feeling, Alexis. He was one of my favorite friends at TIUA. Indeed, he was a cheerful, energetic and funny guy, a great photographer, and he always made me laugh. It is very unfortunate that this happened, and I still can’t believe it. Everyone is grieved by his death…

    Yasuyuki,your friends will never forget you. We will all persevere to make up your part.

    rest in peace

    1. Thanks for your comment, Daisuke.

      I hope you are also able to find some closure in the wake of your friend’s death. Like I told Alexis, I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a friend so suddenly, but I am keeping you all in my thoughts.

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