Scholarship Recipient Research Report for Fiscal Year 2015

The meeting for reading research papers by the Atsumi scholarship students of the year 2015 was held on March 5, 2016 at the Atsumi Foundation Hall. It was a fine and warm day. I recall having walked on a gradual slope to the Hall one year ago filled with comfortable nervousness and expectations.

HINA Dolls (celebrating for young girls growing and happiness in March) welcame us at the top of the stairs of the Hall with their brilliant looks which had overwhelmed us last year. At the opening of the meeting, the Atsumi Executive Director, now had just recovered from her recent injury, gave us her warm and encouraging words describing an episode about the HINA Dolls.

The time for presenting the research papers by the students was the next time in the program. It may be the first time to hear the details of these researches, though we have been getting along well for this year. The students presented their researches satisfactorily, though with some of them showing little nervous expressions on their faces. The contents of their presentation were more extensive and varied than expected. and there were such frank opinions that their presentations were very easy to understand. It was because all of us kept in mind Imanishi-san's instruction. She instructed us our research presentations shall be easy to understand for everybody. And, I think it was also because we could share the passion for our researches and worries for "our position where we stand (against researches)" as foreign students studying in Japan.

After the presentation, we got valuable comments from teachers who came over though they might be busy with their own work. Prof. Hideo Kimura, my advising teacher, highly praised our researches, saying that overall, our presentations were high-quality. In addition, he emphasized that he used the word "quality" which is beyond the condition that we are "foreign students". It was warm encouragement. But, I felt his sharp comment, in his words, against the present atmosphere that Japanese try to lump unconsciously "female", "the handicapped" and "foreigners" together.

Prof. Tatsuji Kataoka, Director of the Foundation, pointed out the importance of conveying the contents of our researches briefly within the limited time. He also said that the process which "prunes useless parts away" makes our research high-quality beyond technically. I felt keenly his words. We were impressed also by a handmade vase and flowers which Prof. Sadao Hirota has prepared

As I seldom meet foreign students in my faculty time, I earnestly hoped to have a chance to talk with foreign researchers regardless of their field of studies. In this sense, I was able to enjoy this one year in the Atsumi Foundation far more than I expected.

There are a lot varieties of topics in "Japan study". These include: Ogata Kohrin (a Japanese painter in the 17th century), Buildings in Manchurian Colonial Time, Gender-Equality, Graphic design, Bioethics, Writings by Nichiren (Japanese Buddhist priest in the 13th century), Japanese language education, Taoism, Philosophy in Greece, Multi-culture principle, Japanese literatures and so on. Being already involved in "Japan study", I will continue my research hereafter. I think I could confirm, in this meeting, the first step for establishing "Japan study, as common knowledge" by everybody at their each field.

I like to convey my profound gratitude to all the staff of the Foundation and, needless to say, also to my colleagues with whom I studied together this year, for giving us their encouragement and support.

(Park Wonhwa / 2015 Raccoon)

Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Mac Maquito

Original report, written in Japanese