SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
Borjigin Husel “The 11th Ulaanbaatar International Symposium ‘Kyakhta and Khuree：A View from Eurasia’ ”
Since the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Putin, the Kuril Islands dispute has been reported on and in the global spotlight often. Actually, the year 2018 was “the Japan Year in Russia” and “the Russian Year in Japan” and, at the same time, the Hundred Year Anniversary of the Siberian Intervention. Commemorating those events, we decided the title of the 11th Ulaanbaatar Symposium to be “Kyakhta and Khuree：A View from Eurasia”.
Historically, Kyakhta was not just a trading center but a political and military center as well. Important international meetings were held there often, which affected the establishment of the order of North-East Asia. After the middle of the 19th Century, a lot of Jews and Tatars came to Khakhta, a place of refuge for them. On the other hand, Japanese have been interested in Siberia including Khakhta since the Meiji era and across the Korean Peninsula and the Qing Dynasty. Between the latter part of the 19th Century and early years of the 20th Century, many Japanese politicians, diplomats and intelligence officers such as Takeaki Enomoto, Kiyotaka Kuroda, Yasumasa Fukushima, and merchants or karayukisan (Japanese working at brothels abroad) visited Khakhta. There were many Japanese shops and hospitals. It is said as a myth that the Japanese economic growth was established after the World War II, but that the foundation of this growth was already established in the 19th Century.
I think it very meaningful to study the histories of Kyakhta and Khree (the former of Ulaanbaatar) from viewpoints of area-studies and international relations which include relations between not only Russia and the Qing Dynasty but relations with Japan.
In the evening of August 30, 2018, the day before the symposium, the Japanese Ambassador to Mongolia, Masato Takaoka, invited President Tomoko Kaneko (Showa Women’s University), Honorary Professor Hiroshi Futaki, and Lecturer Akira Kamimura (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), Professor Kunio Minato (Kochi University), and myself to dinner. We had a pleasant talk about politics, the exploitation of mines, the International ‘Memory’ Olympic (Mongol has been in the top the past few years) , grand Sumo tournaments, and the relations between Japan and Mongolia.
We had “The 11th Ulaanbaatar International Symposium ‘Kyakhta and Khuree: A View from Eurasia’ ” on August 31, 2018 at the conference hall in the 2nd Building of Mongol National University, and hosted by SGRA (Sekiguchi Global Research Association) of Atsumi International Foundation, the Institute of International Culture of Showa Women’s University, and Department of Asian Studies, Mongolian National University jointly. The Japanese Embassy in Mongolia, Showa Women’s University, Institute of International Affairs of Mongolian Academy of Science, the Mitsubishi Foundation and the Association for the History and Culture of the Mongols supported us. More than eighty scholars and students from Mongolia, Japan, Russia, China and Germany participated.
At the opening ceremony Ambassador Masato Takaoka (Japanese Ambassador to Mongolia), President Tomoko Kaneko (Showa Women’s University), and G.Chuluunbaatar, (First Vice President, Mongolian Academy of Sciences) gave their congratulatory speeches. After this, we had research reports. The official languages at the symposium were Mongol and Japanese. However, many presentations were made in Mongol and we provided interpreters for presentations in Japanese. The executive committee selected fifteen reports from 22 invited researchers and applicants to improve the quality of the symposium reports. Unfortunately, one of the young researchers from Poland could not get a visa and we had 14 presentations in the end.
The purpose of the symposium was to look back at recent research first and study the history, politics, economy and cultures of Kyakhta and Khuree with a view from Eurasia based on recently discovered historical records. Through exploring and discussing these issues we aimed to develop a creative and fruitful discussion for the restoration of our pride and glory.
At the reception party at night, we could enjoy “Morin khuur”(馬頭琴：stringed musical instrument of Mongolian origin), Urtyn duu (Long song), and dances.
To conclude, I would like to sum up our results as follows：
- It is noteworthy that there were many reports which utilize maps of Kyakhta and outer Mongolia which scholars could not use much in the past.
- Progress has been made in research about international agreements which relate to Kyakhta.
- New theories about the present of Kyakhta and Khuree using fresh data or materials were presented.
Please refer to “Research on Mongolia and North-East Asia” No.4 and “Bulletin of the Academy of Japan and Mongol” No. 49.
You can refer to the Mongolian newspaper “Soyombo”, “Red Star” and symposium that was broadcast by Mongol TV about this symposium.
(Husel Borjigin / 2003 Raccoon, Professor, International Studies, Showa Women’s University)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sonja Dale