Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

January 02, 2004

Takashi Ishihara, 91, a former president of Nissan Motor Co. who helped turn the Japanese carmaker into a global player, died Wednesday of heart failure in Tokyo, his family said.

Mr. Ishihara launched an aggressive export strategy after being named the head of Nissan's export operations in 1957 - a time when Japanese products were viewed as cheap, poor-quality substitutes. Seven years later, Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to rank among the top 10 in U.S. car imports.

He was at Nissan's helm between 1977 and 1985 and helped establish the company's first plants overseas, including the United States and Britain. It was a move toward multinational operations that has been followed by Japan's major manufacturers.

He stepped down in 1985 to become chairman as Nissan began to struggle through a difficult period of overseas losses and declines in its domestic market share.

Jaime de Pinies, 86, a longtime Spanish diplomat who served as president of the United Nations General Assembly, died Monday in Madrid, Spain, news reports said.

Mr. Pinies was posted as ambassador to the United Nations in 1956, shortly after Spain entered the world body, and served as president of the General Assembly in 1985.

During his diplomatic career, Mr. Pinies also served as Spain's ambassador to Britain, Havana, Manila and Washington.

Charles Berlitz, 90, a world-renowned linguist who gained wider fame for his books on paranormal phenomena, including the best-selling The Bermuda Triangle, has died.

Mr. Berlitz, grandson of the founder of the famous Berlitz language schools and the company's one-time head of publications, died of undisclosed causes Dec. 18 in a hospital in Tamarac, Fla.

As the grandson of Maximilian D. Berlitz, who founded the first Berlitz School of Languages in Providence, R.I., in 1878, Charles Berlitz developed an early command of foreign languages.

Born in New York, he grew up with his mother speaking to him in French, his father in English, his grandfather in German and a cousin and the domestic help in Spanish.

His bedroom walls were lined with picture charts of animals, foods and different parts of the world, and on his grandfather's instruction each person would point to things on the charts and ask the boy in their particular language, "What is this?"

"I didn't realize they were speaking different languages," Mr. Berlitz told The Washington Post in 1982. "I thought each person had their own particular way of speaking. Since I'd hear my mother switch to German when she spoke to my grandfather, I thought everyone had to learn everyone else's way of speaking to communicate."

By the time he was 3, he was speaking four languages. He ultimately spoke a reported 32 languages with varying degrees of fluency.

"I tend to think speaking only one language is like having a big house and living only in one room," he told United Press International in 1988. "Every language is like adding another outlook. Language just adds to a person's knowledge and enjoyment of our planet."

While studying French and Spanish literature at Yale University in the 1930s, Mr. Berlitz began his association with the family business by teaching summer courses at the New York Berlitz school.

He later directed several of the language schools, and in 1946 - after serving as an officer in the Army counterintelligence corps during World War II - he became a vice president of Berlitz Schools of Languages and head of Berlitz Publications.

Over the years, he oversaw the production of scores of textbooks, tourist phrase books and pocket dictionaries. He also was instrumental in the development of record and tape language courses, and he established special courses in various languages for employees of U.S. companies doing business overseas.

He ended his relationship with the company in the mid-1960s, after it was sold to the publishing firm Crowell Collier & MacMillan.

Although the new owner contended that "Berlitz" was a trademark name, Charles Berlitz won a lengthy lawsuit over the use of the name in his subsequent language books: He was permitted to use his name providing he added a disclaimer saying he was no longer associated with the school.

But, Mr. Berlitz once said, his parting from the company gave him time to pursue his real interests: underwater archaeology and the study of prehistory.

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