July 11, 2011,10:05 +0900(JST) Honored as “Copper Man of the Year 2011”: Receiving the Ankh Award (5)

So let’s get back to the question about why copper was also called “Ankh,” although this can be a bit complicated, since we have to go all the way back to ancient Egypt.
Allow me to quote Mr. Hiroaki Yokoi, former Secretary General of the Japan Copper Development Association (JCDA), who wrote the following passage in the JCDA’s PR magazine Copper & Brass, No. 158:

Ankh symbol on my jacket“On the back cover of his book Do no Ohanashi (Story of Copper), our late great elder Shinichi Nakata explains as follows: the ancient Egyptians used a hieroglyph, made of a “T” topped by a circle, to signify life. This is called the Ankh symbol. The ancient Romans assigned the Ankh symbol to copper in astrology, likening copper to Venus. Today, a symbol comprising a plus sign (+) with a circle on top is used to signify copper (…) In ancient Rome, copper was called cuprum after Cyprus Island, a major copper production site in those days. This is the etymological origin of ‘copper.’ Copper was also called ankh, in the sense of the word used in ancient Egypt, because the Ankh symbol signified eternal life, and copper, which can be recycled and reused countless times, resonates with the notion of eternal life.”

Today the ankh symbol is used in the Copper Club and JCDA logos. The official name of the Copper Man of the Year is the “Ankh Award.”

In the award ceremony at the Copper Club, I was wearing a badge in the shape of the ankh symbol on my jacket.

The more I learn about copper, and its relationship with humanity since ancient times, the more deeply honored I feel about working in the copper industry and receiving the Ankh Award.


Financing partly from the participation fees of the annual dinner and donations by companies, the Copper Club offers educational grants to university students. In 2011, the recipients include students at Tohoku University, which was severely damaged by the Tohoku Earthquake. Sumitomo Electric has a close link with Tohoku University: over 150 graduates currently work with us, and SEI Group CSR Foundation has donated to the university course. This year Sumitomo Electric made a donation to the Copper Club to contribute to the activity.

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SUMITOMO ELECTRIC President CEO Masayoshi Matsumoto

Born in 1944 in Hyogo Prefecture, Masayoshi Matsumoto joined Sumitomo Electric in 1967. After serving as General Manager of Chubu District Office, Managing Director and Senior Managing Director, he assumed office of President and CEO in June 2004.

His leisure activities include jogging, reading and art appreciation. Also a seasoned athlete, he played baseball in junior high school and practiced judo in senior high school. In university, he threw the javelin competitively and participated in all-Japan inter-university competitions.

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