SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

  • YUN Jae-un ““The Fall of Kabul” – The End of One Era-”

    On August 15, Kabul (the capital of Afghanistan) was strike down by Taliban. It showed me “the end of one era” for twenty years, we been watching what was going on there from the media of Europe and America like “CNN”. However, we can share the information now from moment to moment through SNS account of Afghan individuals. It was a change of twenty-years’ time and, at the same time, I feel something unchangeable. “Change” means technical change and “unchangeable” means fragility of political system in Afghanistan. I know Taliban has been expanding their influence rapidly through news reports of Japan and America. However, the collapse of Afghan society was too early. I did not expect drop back of America so early. Kabul has disappeared from our memory imperceptibly and Taliban has got “legitimate” Governing power.   I got into university in 2003. It was “the time of terrorism” back then. Influence of “Afghan-Iraq War” which was resulted from the impact of “9/11 Terrorism” (2001) and retaliation by United States led to South Korea. I was one of person who watched 9/11 terrorism through broadcast live, I was shocked by “the unexpected scene” which was unimaginable. Attack to United States was considered as inevitable and the world supported it. Even North Korea blamed terrorist-group and delivered its statement expressing their condolence for victims. American army has been winning at battlefields which we do not know the name. We thought Taliban would be cleared from Afghanistan soon. It was said as a pretext of the war, that Taliban sheltered Osama bin Laden, a ringleader of terrorism. But American army could not attain their object all the way to the end. (He was arrested in Pakistan neighboring country.)   It was the year 2003 when American army has invaded Iraq on the pretext of allegation “WMD” (Weapons of Mass Destruction). At that time so-called “the power of students movement” at universities in South Korea was immense. We came across banners in campus which were against Iraq War. Public opinion in South Korea has been supporting American military operation so far. But there were pros and cons arguments against Iraq War because they could not find any justification in it. And the War was drawn into a quagmire despite American President George Bush had declared “the End of the War” in May 2003. When I look back, I had different viewpoint on the War although I was against the War. It was the time of my military service of two years and three months since 2005.   The Government of South Korea have been worrying whether they should dispatch their troops at American request. There were repeated demonstrations which were against dispatch. The feelings in South Korea became worse gradually against the United States and there were a lot of criticism against the Bush Administration. Not only progressive citizens’ group but a lot of people also had feeling of rejection against American “Unilateralism”. Even after the decision of large-scale dispatching of army, controversy changed to “where is the place which is safer?” Incidentally there was a similar argument in Japan. They carried their argument in more tranquil atmosphere than South Korea. It may be a cause that Japan had abduction issue by North Korea. I skip the detail.   It was the time when the War turned into a quagmire that “My Daily History” came across Iraq War. Notification of “Recruiting of soldiers to Iraq” was propagated in whole army. It was for army basically, but air force was planned too. Average salary at that time was 10,000 yen a month and our thinking “We can get tens of times money” became as it was topic among soldiers. If we go to Iraq, we can get $2,000 a month. In a mail-magazine of Intra-net of army, the photos “Soldiers who live with inhabitants happily” were published often. I did not apply. But the War became close to me. Afterwards, North Korea carried out nuclear testing first (October 2006) and “security situation” at that time became “My issue”. Because of this, I am interested in the era around that time scholarly.   Stabilization in Afghanistan and Iraq seems failure in end. In Iraq, so-called “ISIS” (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) cannot be said to be stabilized. The fall of Kabul and disastrous accident at airport were its symbol. United States have made military assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan financially and technically for the purpose of their reconstruction and democratization. But I think evaluation of the Afghan War is not high in America now.   After the fall of Kabul, I was impressed personally with a speech by Ms. Barbara Lee, Democratic Party Congresswoman as one of the domestic movements in America. She disagreed with the Afghan War all the way to the end. She insisted “we cannot prevent further terrorism by military operations” and “somebody have to appeal suppression of terrorism at any decisions concerning bills”. But the decision was passed at 98 to 0 at the Upper House and 420 to 0 at the Lower House. Despite of this result, her adverse opinion has remained as “precepts or negative example” even now, twenty years after.   This “twenty years” seems to me quite short to lead to “a change”. Even in South Korea and Taiwan, both are simple racial composition nations, they took more than forty years to get democratization after dictatorial system in cold war era. If there would be any changes, it would be a decrease of “patience” of United States. It is “the end of one era”.     SGRA Kawaraban 689 in Japanese (Original)     YUN Jae-un /2020 Raccoon, Specially Appointed Lecturer at Hitotsubashi University     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • YUAN Xiaoyu “Bullying in Japan and China”

    Recently, it is not uncommon in Japan to use personal computer or mobile phone for bullying among youngsters. “Cyberbullying” means writing or sending offending or libeling on website using mobile phone or personal computer. On the contrary there happened an instance when a child got bullied and tweeted “SOS” online and committed suicide as the worst case.   Furthermore, it became clear that, if we can advise on bullying or suicide to youngster using LINE on SNS the number of consultations was increased more than that of by telephone. A lot of people said that “it is necessary to utilize SNS more because SNS is the most familiar means for the young”. At junior high schools in Chiba Prefecture, they started their efforts in the year 2016 using student handbooks on how to treat when students get bullied or watch bullying and information about help desks. Both are written in students handbooks. What is a primary factor to decrease cyberbullying? What is a necessary factor to resolve cyberbullying? It is an urgent issue for educators.   Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China showed clearly about definition of “bullying” in 2017. However, it’s measures are not clear yet. It is quite recent that people in China are concerned with the issue of bullying. They were considering bullying among children is inevitable. There is a report that there are 250 students in one grade and this large number is considered as a reason for the issue.   At this situation of bullying, there are many bystanders. In China, they think children who bully others are wrong and children who are being bullied are poor fellow. However, they cannot understand how to do. It is said that, when students are asked by school for their recognition about bullying, they report everything they know. Pupil who stands by bullying are the key to solve bullying issues. In China where bullying is not apparent like advanced countries, it is important and effective to establish good atmosphere to involve bystanders when they establish a class. It is effective way too to decrease bullying.   Establishment of good atmosphere classes lead to preventive education on bullying. It is pointed out in Japan that as an ideal teacher their early detection and response for bullying are necessary. At the same time, teachers should be reliable from students and alter their state of consciousness. They should not communicate with students on the assumption that there is no bullying. It becomes possible for teachers to take proper response if they can assume there is possibility of bullying. It will be a research task from now on how teachers grasp bullying and how they establish atmosphere which lead to prevention and repression of bullying.     SGRA Kawaraban 688 in Japanese (Original)     YUAN Xiaoyu / Part-time teacher of Tamagawa University, Private researcher at Tokyo Gakugei University   Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • KABA Melek “The Third-Grade Students of the Faculty of Education of Japanese Language and “GE-NIN” in “RASHOMON” ”

    I am a teacher of Japanese Language at Canakkale University in Canakkale in western Turky. “Trojan Horses” is a legend of this city.   Scholars in Japanese Language Faculty begins with its preliminary course and undergo master’s degree if they can finish four years’ undergraduate program. I am a person- in charge of the class of “Japanese Literature” for the third year (Junior).   I, as a teacher of Japanese language, expect them to graduate. But they do not care about “Japanese literatures”. There are only five experts for Japanese literatures in Turky. I do not know who the sixth expert would be. Under such situation, the class of “Japanese literatures” for the junior were just enumeration of the names of writers and their works.   I cannot forget the first week of my class when I was transferred to Canakkale University and met the junior firsts. It was a day in Autumn two years ago. I said “Hello! I am a person in charge of Japanese language” in quiet classroom in front of thirty-three students who opened their eyes wide. They did not say anything “As we are busy at teaching practice, we do not care your talking”. But I understood from their faces, that they would like to say so. However, I cannot lose them.   I used Japanese only during my classes. Students were surprised. Afterwards I heard students talked about “Teacher Melek” (myself) a lot saying that “How long does she can keep speaking in Japanese?” after the class. In fact, for the first year we did not speak Japanese so often after finishing the preliminary class of Japanese language. When they become the junior, they had to attend educational courses from Japanese language teachers and did not study Japanese language. Japanese language was recognized as “dead language” which is used in theoretical class only. I noticed it from an atmosphere of the class.   I thought Japanese literature was good for thirty-three students from 21 years old to “live pleasantly the world which is not-interesting”.   I did not give an ordinary lesson for Japanese literatures like authors arguments, representative authors of naturalism nor the names of female writers in the HEIAN Period. I did not ask students to memorize when BASHO was born.   I distributed MANGA (cartoon) version of “Wagahai wa neko dearu” (I am a cat) and I imitated “Kushami-sensei” (sneezing teacher). Students who got lessons in Japanese laughed. It was a goal of lessons of “Japanese literatures”. In the case of NATUME SOUSEKI , the class was excited by its protagonist “CAT”. When I told students “Look at the classroom by cat’s eyes and explain in Japanese”, students were excited. I heard they discussed afterwards about and laughed at “Lesson of Japanese literature which is described by cat’s eyes”.   When we read “Kumo no Ito” (spider’s thread) by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, I asked Aicha-san (female college student) to continue the sentence “if I would be ‘KANDATA’ (protagonist of Kumo no Ito)”. She replied “Perhaps, I may survive kicking others down to the nethermost hell thinking only about myself would be helped”. The number of “Akutagawa Fans” increased. When we read “Hana” (nose) by Akutagawa, I asked students “Have you ever been pleased with weakness or disparagement of your colleagues?” Discussions heated up imperceptibly and continued with full of nervousness.   In case of “Rasho-mon” (Gate of Rasho) by Akutagawa also, we went astray much where “Ge-nin” (man of low birth), who was drenched beneath the gate would go. Good or wrong? We discussed about inner part of human beings which is grotesque and fishy setting up a scene where Ge-nin pull out hairs of dead body. I asked students which they would select. Death from starvation or pulling out hairs of dead body to make wigs for sale. I realized “we can discuss in Japanese!” about feelings of human beings and the bottom of their hearts. The twenty-one years old young in Middle East might feel an affinity with dark-side of Ge-nin’s heart. I do not know why. They talked very often in my class about their dreams of oversea or places very far. I was interested in what they had implication about Ge-nin’s acne which he had been cared. When I made an analysis of textbook, I did not explain about an acne biologically. I analyzed in textbook that “an acne has a meaning of movement of body of protagonist”. Students concluded that Akutagawa wrote uneasiness of human life using Ge-nin’s acne”.   Surprisingly students were divided into “Dazai-person” and “Akutagawa-person” thereafter. Coy and shy students are Dazai-persons. I gave them an assignment that they read “Ningen Sikkaku” (“No Longer Human” in English) in Turkish and Manga version. Akutagawa was an idol of talkative students. I am translating his collection of short stories into Turkish with the aid of third year students.   “Japanese Literature Class” for the third year was the class which they could communicate in Japanese from their bottom of heart. We do not know where did “Ge-nin “go after getting out from “Rasho-mon”. But I think the third-grade students can watch human beings in Japanese language through Japanese literature.     SGRA Kawaraban 687 in Japanese (Original)     KABA_Melek /2009 Raccoon, Assistant Professor of Japanese Language Educational Faculty at Canakkale University.     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabona Koirala
  • XIE Zhihai “Carbon-free Society”

    I raised our individuality issues on environmental “Eco-bags” in SGRA Kawaraban (Essay 680). But I strongly feel that it is not easy to stop global warming only by individual effort.   At the “Climate Change Summit” this April, Japanese Government announced that Japan will decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 46% in 2030 compared with the figure of 2013. Japanese Government raised the figure significantly compared with the one which they submitted to United Nations after the Paris Agreement (in Climate Change) 2015. At the Summit, United States will reduce emission of carbon dioxide by 50-52% in the year 2030 comparing with the figure of the year 2005. China will reduce more than 65% in 2030 per GDP comparing with the year of 2005 and realize “carbon neutral” by 2060.   Frankly speaking I do not know how and to what extent we can change our daily living in order to realize the Japanese figure. Japanese big target figure is not linked with their framework for disposable plastics. I suppose big framework like environmental issue as SDGs are being tackled seriously by students through garbage separation etc. But for adults who are busy in offices, environmental issue is secondary importance.   There are two reasons. Firstly, the trend of working adults now are “less-TV” and “less-newspaper”. They are attentive in only what they are interested. If they are not interested in environmental issue, eco-information would be meaningless. The second reason is there are many people who take out corrugated cardboards and pet bottles on garbage day and we can see home waste every day. I know there are different understanding for waste separation by areas. I understand people in urban areas are keeping rules for waste separation properly caring what people think. It is difficult for me to presume reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 10% or more in 2030 even if people would take actions accepting environmental issue seriously.   However, “Japan is great!” Japanese private enterprises are working hard despite there are gaps between the Government and citizens in their thinking. They are undertaking environmental issues by their own reasoning. I expect Japan would attain some level and which is very close to its goal. It may not be a dream and there is no ending if I take up examples. I would introduce a few companies whom I was impressed.   First, I take up Mitsubishi Corporation. They constructed recycling business of PET bottles. What I thought “Great!” is “Chemical Recycle Technology” which was imported from Switzerland. PET bottles to be recycled are not only cleaned without caps and labels but also are being attached without having leftovers in bottles. Mitsubishi established recycle PET bottles business in Thailand collaborating with Taiwanese company which have long relationship. I think it a good example which solved environmental issue utilizing strength of SHOSHA (trading company). Furthermore, they established another business in Japan using the same approach.   What I am concerned now is “Energy” which is used for operation of factories. It gets nothing if factories use electricity discharging CO2 for “ECO”. In 2020 Mitsubishi Corporation purchased a company which is developing integrated energy business in Europe together with CHUBU Electric Company. Mitsubishi and CHUBU Electric Co. are trying to build business model of electricity in carbon-free society towards next generation. In Europe, offshore wind power generator which utilize their shallow beach topology is more advanced than Japan and they are undertaking new business of small sized solar photovoltaics near consumption areas. If Japan can introduce the business of production and consumption of energy, they would suppress carbon emissions in Japan to some extent.   Do SHOSHA undertake environmental issue multidirectionally? The answer is “No!”. ORIX Corporation, known as financial services industry, is focusing on renewable energy business. The great point of ORIX is their monitoring power as a group. ORIX group has emitted 1.3million tons of CO2 in domestic as of March end, 2020. On the other hand, they decreased 3million tons of CO2 emission through their global renewable energy business. Main breakdown of their renewable source of energy are wind power, geothermal and solar power. Especially in solar power generation they established hundreds of large-scaled solar power stations and mega-solar plants in Japan. They invested in wind power and geothermal plants in Europe, the North America and Asia too.   I admire not only those two companies but other Japanese companies also for their management which they are conscious of carbon-free society. They are combining other business within their companies successfully. What I was impressed with is they exploited foreign companies which preceded in renewable source of energy and collaborated with them as  partnership. They developed new technology for offshore wind power generation which is unsuited for deep sea in Japan basing on such knowledge. They installed windmill being floated on the sea. They did not deplore topography in Japan. It was “great”. It was very interesting to watch undertakings of Japanese companies one by one. And it became distinct what we can do. Anyway, I swear here that when I empty the contains, I peel off a label from PET-bottle first and throw away in trash cans. As to cap and bottle, I segregate them and throw away to recycle box.   References Mitsubishi Corporation ORIX Sustainability Report 2021     SGRA Kawaraban 686 in Japanese (Original)     XIE Zhihai / Associate Professor, Kyoai Gakuen University     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • LI Kotetsu “The 67th SGRA Forum” (Report)

    The 67th SGRA (Sekiguchi Global Research Association) Forum was held online on 23rd September at the Hall of Atsumi International Foundation under the title “Nobody is left behind and How to head towards materialization of SDGs overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic?” It was planned by SGRA ASIA Initiative Team and it was organized by Atsumi International Foundation and jointly organized by INAF (Institute of Northeast Asian Future). There were around eighty online participants and we had worldwide report about the United Nation’s 2030 Goal on SDGs.   Mya Dwi Rostika (Lecturer of Daito Bunka University and a member of SGRA Asian Designing Team) facilitated the Forum. Ms. Junko Imanishi, Representative of SGRA, made Opening Address and introduced SGRA and INAF and explained their course of joint organization.   LI Kotetsu (myself) played moderator. The first session was a keynote speech. The second session was five reports from the world. And designated debates and panel discussions followed. Professor HIRAKAWA Hitoshi, Director of Atsumi International Foundation and President of INAF summarized the forum.   Keynote speech was made by Dr. SADOTOMO tetsu (Lecturer of Graduate School of Nihon University, Board Member of INAF) at the Hall of Atsumi International Foundation under the title “Awareness reform in the Era of SDGs”. He is specialized in International Relations and held various posts like The Chairman of North-East Asian Academic Conference. He has published “Peace Studies in the Era of SDGs” ( Publisher: Horitsu Bunkasha) in December 2019. In the opening he emphasized that we have to acknowledge the fact that “We are living in the unsustainable world” and the process “acknowledgement → consciousness →  thinking →action” is important. Then, he analyzed the goal of “sustainable development” and the current situation of “unsustainable world” clearly and appealed that in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals we have to review the present mechanism of the modern civilizations which are in large scaled, centralized and globalized and have to acknowledge that we have to strengthen present circulation-type society.   On  the second session, we had five reports worldwide.   The first report online was made by Dr. Ferdinando C. Maquito, (senior staff member of SGRA) College of Public Affairs and Development, UPLB (The University of the Philippines, Los Banos), under the title “SDGs in the Philippines”. In the Philippines, countermeasure against SDGs were interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. He reported front line voices saying “We will not die from COVID-19. But we may starve to death having no jobs”. But there are hopeful signs. (1) Reviewing domestic agriculture, (2) New perception by domestic dominant companies: social role is important as with the stockholders, (3) Universities are evaluated not only by their academic achievement but also their impact on society. His report was very suggestive.   The second report was made by DU Shixin (Research fellow of INAF and Global International Relations Institute) under the title “SDGs in Hungary”. Achievement for SDGs in Hungary is high ranked in Eastern Europe (25th in the world). He reported that Hungary is playing a leading role in development of sustainability keeping good relationship with China in “development of water resources”.   The third report was made by Mr. Housam Darwisheh (Institution of Developing Economies, JETRO, SGRA Member) under the title “SDGs in Middle East and North Africa”. He reported that growth rate of average life of expectancy in these areas has been the highest in the past fifty years. Three indexes of human development (HDI) such as health, education and income and other various aspects of life has improved. According to the report “Sustainable Development in the Arab” in 2020, there would be no countries which could reach to the achievement of SDGs. He reported present situation and analyzed its reasons.   LI Kotetsu reported about “SDGs in DPRK” as the fourth report. He analyzed present situation of the society and economic development in DPRK which are not known in Japan and other international societies. He emphasized necessities of acknowledgement of their achievement of SDGs after understanding of their characteristics that they keep socialism despite being under developing country. He also reported that DPRK is undertaking toward implementation of SDGs despite of their poverty cooperating with the United Nations.   The fifth report was made by Mr. Mohamed Omer Abdin (SANTEN Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, SGRA member) from Sudan under the title “SDGs in Africa”. Thirty years’ Dictatorial System in Sudan has collapsed in April 2019 and their interim Government started towards democratization. However, six months later, they had to declare the state of emergency including border closure or lock-down by the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained an influence of emergency declaration toward Sudan’s economy and difficulty of execution of infection control measures in a poor country where people’s income is not guaranteed.   Toward those reports, Professor HABA Kumiko (KANAGAWA University and Vice President of INAF) and  MIMURA Mitsuhiro (Board Member of INAF, Chief Researcher of ERINA, Chairman of The Association for Northeast Asia Regional Studies ) extended their comments. Consequential to their comments we had heated panel discussion among keynote speakers and all the reporters. They talked about the present situation and the problem towards achievement of SDGs and countermeasure or difficulties against the pandemic.   Lastly Professor Hirakawa summarized. As to the present situation amid the pandemic, he took up the issue of vaccination of economic disparity between advanced nations and under-developing countries quoting a wealth of data. He winded up the forum introducing appeals by Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization.     Photos of the Day     SGRA NEWS ( Report of the 67th SGRA Forum) in Japanese (original)     LI Kotetsu /Director of INAF, SGRA Researcher, Member of SGRA Asian Designing Team         Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • LIM John Chuan Tiong “Why does Beijing refrain countries which have diplomatic relations with China from strengthening their relations with Taipei?”

    September 10, United States President Joe Biden had conversation with Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party over the phone. Immediately after the conversation, United States announced that they are “considering severely” to change the name “Taipei Economic and Culture Representative Office” (Taiwan’s Diplomatic Establishment in America) to “Taiwan Representative Office”. In July, Taiwan established their Representative Office in Vilnius, the Capital of Republic of Lithuania through their discussions. Taiwan proposed EU (European Union) to change the name “European Economic and Trade Office” to “European Union Office in Taiwan” and the bill passed at EU Committee on Foreign Affaires in September. A series of such movement (changing “official name”) is the new wave in Western countries in recent atmosphere that they like to strengthen relations with Taiwan.   Since the foundation of socialism in China and depression of the presence of Taiwan in International community and prevention of Taiwan’s improvement in their International position have been Chinese ‘core’ issue in their diplomatic policy. The People’s Republic of China took place of the Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971. And in 1972, it was a ‘breakthrough’ for Taiwan that United States and Japan, both have been the most important supporting powers began to promote establishment of relations with Beijing in succession. Due to such sudden change of International situation, position of both sides of Taiwan Strait came to the historical ‘irrevocable’ conversion. Afterwards Beijing asked the Countries or Governments which have diplomatic relations with China to comply the agreement which those Governments should maintain ‘informal’ level with Taiwan inevitably. Against the news in Washington mentioned above, Chinese Embassy in United States developed an attitude saying “China oppose official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan in any style” as before.       “Lithuania Model” in Western countries:   Marking the beginning of 21st century the rise of China became apparent and the position of China in the world kept growing. Beijing aggrandized their International “Discourse Power” (power which makes the other side to accept). At the same time, difference of power at both side of Taiwan Strait increased day by day. A lot of companies in Western countries began to make investments in China and concluded trade relationship. It means Chinese international influence increased. But China could not stop Western and other countries to strengthen their relationship with Taiwan.  Recently, we had a series of “changing name” phenomena in Western countries (including Japan). On New Year’s Day 2017, Japan changed the name “Interchange Association” (Headquarter in Tokyo, Office in Taipei and Kaohsiung) to “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association”. In May 2017, Taiwan side changed the name “Association of East Asia Relations” which handle administration affairs with Japan to “Taiwan-Japan Relations Association”. Taiwan changed the name “Coordination Council for North American Affairs” to “Taiwan Council for North American Affairs” in June 2019. “Netherland Trade and Investment Office” changed its name to “Netherland Office Taipei” in April 2020. And, as the title of this column shows, Lithuania agreed to establish “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania” this year. They have not decided the name of Lithuanian Office in Taiwan yet, but the name would be “Lithuanian Representative Office in Taiwan”. EU will also change the name “European Economic and Trade Office” to “EU Representative Office in Taiwan”.   Against those phenomena Beijing took actions. Chinese ambassador in Lithuania was called home and Beijing banished Lithuanian ambassador in China who has just arrived at his post. It was a strict and rare measure taken by Beijing to a small country Lithuania which disobeyed. The writer (of this Essay) think that China warned the other Baltic States like Estonia and Latvia not to follow an evil deed as Lithuania and like to avoid the Domino effect in other Middle European countries. However, Beijing has witnessed shocking happenings. EU and America have replaced “Taiwan” as its’ official name. It was clear that Beijing is in a bottleneck that they tried to deter countries which have diplomatic relations from strengthening their relations with Taiwan.   “Lithuanian Model – Taiwan” Supported by U.S. Congress and Whitehouse “Decision”   America was not affected by “Lithuania Model”. Lithuania and other countries were one step ahead of America. They supported Washington’s official naming “Taiwan” thinking of strengthening relationship with Taiwan.   The tendency which American Congress want “Taiwan’s official name” has been nurtured. For example, on December 17, 78 members of the House of Representatives under the Trump Administration made three recommendations about the relations between America and Taiwan by letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In this letter, they recommended to change the name of Taiwanese organization in America to “Taiwanese Representative Office”. In July 2021, United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the bill “Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement (EAGLE) Act”. It was the most noticeable point that they recommended the Government to start discussion about “official name” of Taiwanese representative. The reason why Whitehouse could say “we are considering seriously” is they had support of congress.   When we think about why they put “Taipei” instead of “Taiwan” to the name of overseas representatives is very rational and complicated. It is a result of their thinking that those countries have considered seriously based on their national profit, not from Beijing “pressure”. Taiwanese themselves, in the era of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, sticked to the principle “Chinese and its Traitor cannot exist together”.   After 1949, especially after 1970s when Taiwan have experienced “labor pains” of “the wave of break-off of diplomatic relations”, Taiwan has groped for establishment of “non-diplomatic relations” with the countries which they had diplomatic relations before. When they discussed about establishment of their representative, the choice which “Taiwan” is the name of their representatives was omitted by reason that they did not want the name “Republic of China” to trivialize to “Taiwan”. And they decided to use “Taipei” because it was very usual to use the name of capital for countries in International diplomatic stages. “Washington” is used for America and “London” for United Kingdom.   The rise of China and higher presence of “Taiwan”    Why did Taiwan change their thinking of using “Taipei” for “Taiwan”? There were influences of “struggle for authority of representation” and a change of their consciousness of “International identity”.   In 1970s Sino-Taiwan relations were reversed in their international position as mentioned above and “the struggle for authority of representation since 1949” who represent China lawfully had ended. It became difficult for Taiwan, who had professed itself to be “Freedom China”, to call “China” in International societies. Perception among International societies including America and Japan, which were the most important friendly nations for Taiwan, began to recognize People’s Republic of China as “China”. In such context of transition of the International situation, people in Taiwan, especially the elite of society, began to establish their position as a separate space from Mainland.   There is another reason. In 1990s, Taiwan proceeded to political democratization and developed dynamic image of “Mainland” consciousness (Taiwan is Mainland). Structure of national identity changed rapidly. People in Taiwan began to recognize themselves as “Taiwanese” and agreed to recognize “Taiwan” as the place where they belong to. It led to the movement of “official name” of overseas representatives. “Formosan Association of Public Affairs (FAPA)” has been making efforts for years to pass “Favorable Bills (for Taiwan)” in United States congress promoted the subject of “official name” of Taiwanese overseas representatives.      Why do Western countries and Japan support “official name” movement of “Taiwan”? There are three factors. 1) They thought highly effects of democratization of Taiwan society and can enjoy together universal values in freedom, democracy, and human right. 2) China expanded “Export of autocratic politics” in Hong Kong. Western countries had a sense of danger against such Chinese intention which might expand to Taiwan. 3) Counter measures against the COVID-19 in Taiwan was thought to be relatively high among democratic societies.   We can say China value an influence of America in their management of international relations in an atmosphere that “New Cold War” is changing rapidly. Especially after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, China is bothered with America which develop its strategy about China to stay together with democratic countries. I think Beijing will not step into “New Cold War” with Washington furthermore as you can understand from telephone conversation between Xi Jinping and Biden. If White House would decide “official name” of “Taiwan Representative in United States”, it will be difficult for Beijing to take actions like “punishment” to Lithuania toward America such as recalling Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang in U.S. or rejecting an Inauguration of U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns in China.   China is rising now. Why cannot China stop such movement “the wave of official naming” like Taiwan’s being supported by Western countries which have leadership in international society? It will be an important issue for persons in China who are in charge foreign and Taiwan policies.     SGRA Kawaraban 682 in Japanese (Original)     LIM John Chuan Tiong / Chief Editor of “Min Pao Daily News” (Hong Kong)   This essay was written in the Chinese language. Chinese to Japanese translation by Arata Hirai  Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • MITANI Hiroshi “Dialogue among National Historians under the COVID-19”

     We had the 6th Meeting online for the “Possibility of Dialogue among National Historians of Japan, South Korea and China” in September. Since 2016, this meeting had been held under the support of Atsumi International Foundation for the purpose of dialogue among historians of National History in East Asia. Students who study international relations or histories of neighboring countries continue to have dialogues with the foreign people who are the subject of their research. In contrast, researchers of “National Histories” cannot have such experiences. In order to solve the historical frictions in East Asia that haunts this area since the 20th century, it is necessary to have dialogues among “National History” scholars who have been living in nationally closed circumstances. This dialogue was advocated by Professor LIU Jie, Waseda University, and were held biennially by historians from Japan, China and South Korea under the support of Atsumi International Foundation. The theme this time was “The Migration of People from the Perspective of Boundary, Political Power and Ethnicity”. After keynote speech by Professor SHIODE Hiroyuki, Kyoto University, two researchers each from Japan, China and South Korea gave response arguments.  Then, ten panelists developed their discussion for three hours and a half. In this meeting, the structure of our program was quite different from before. We asked only one speaker to present an organized discussion and let the discussions ride later. It was an adventurous attempt. Yet, we succeeded in realizing lively chain of discussions owing to the deliberate preparation and teamwork of the executive committee: MURA Kazuaki, Associate Professor of The University of Tokyo, LI Enmin, Professor of J.F. Oberlin University, NAM Kijeon, Professor of Seoul National University, PENG Hao, Associate Professor of Osaka City University, and CHONG Soon-il, Associate Professor of Korea University. In this meeting younger historians from three countries played a major role to show their willingness to step into the discussion beyond their specialized fields and nationalities. I think this was a great achievement that illuminates the future of this project. The original aim of the ‘Dialogue by National Historians’ was to resolve the historical friction among three countries in East Asia, especially between Japan and neighboring countries in order to ease the burden on international relations in this area. When the “historical perceptions” appeared as one of the controversial issues at the beginning of the 20th century, historians in my generation began historical dialogue beyond borders. After our numerous dialogues, we reached the common ground where every party tried to understand the background of the other side’s view when our understandings seemed to conflict. Recently, however, the governments in East Asia dare to confront each other by picking up territorial and other touchy issues. As a result, historical issues retroceded. We have lost the field where we can start historical dialogue on controversial period, the first half of the 20th century. It is unbearable to abandon the achievement of historians in East Asia at the beginning of this century. We would like to keep a table where historians of next generations can communicate and cooperate daily at an academic level. It will be more productive for historians to release themselves from nationally limited academies. On the other hand, we slightly changed the focus of dialogue from political deliberation into academic development. It may suit the generation change in participants. A group of younger scholars began to join this project during the former meeting in Philippines January, 2020. They took an initiative to organize the next meeting in cooperation with ex-scholarship students of Atsumi International Foundation. January this year, they took up a thoroughly new subject “19th century Pandemic and its Social Countermeasures in East Asia” having been conscious of the COVID-19. Despite of its epochal theme, they felt unsatisfactory because of lacking enough time for discussion. This was why they set up a new subject “The Migration of People from the Perspective of Boundary, Political Power and Ethnicity”. By doing so, they started to find historical narratives which exceed “National Histories” common in school textbooks in East Asia. We have to admit that we could not fully elaborate the issues during this meeting Yet, there was a session like “Certificates (Passports) for Crossing the Borders” in which the participants argued the theme from ancient to modern times. I think they can continue and develop their discussion to publish a collection of papers on East Asian experience on this subject. Today, we see the worst relations among three countries in East Asia. At the beginning of this century, we could not foresee such hostile relations. Yet, I have found a quite a different stream of cooperation in this meeting. Also, younger generation proved the capability of leading this stream. We witnessed the fact that there is a sphere not being regulated by politics. I wish this bond generated through academic dialogues would grow steadily. May our meeting contribute to start overcoming not only the COVID19 pandemic but also the hostile relations among East Asian nations. The dialogue this time gave me a happy expectation for future.  SGRA Kawaraban 648 in Japanese (Original)  MITANI Hiroshi / Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • YANG Sung-Yun “Classic Japanese Literature (Ihara Saikaku) and Myself”

      2020 was the last year of my academic life abroad amid of COVID-19 pandemic. I have been studying Japanese expression culture in classic literature of the EDO period especially literature by IHARA SAIKAKU (1642-1693) and it was indispensable work for me to read source materials. It was a narrower path for me to reach source materials because of COVID-19. There are a lot of classic literature reprinted and we can see on the web site on databases. However, for my studying purpose, there are a lot of undisclosed manuscripts which are possessed by local libraries. If we can read cursive style of Japanese characters, we would be able to understand materials of history of the EDO culture more easily. But it was not easy to access such materials because there are limitations to enter University libraries under the pandemic. It seems we are far from the end of COVID-19 and re-opening of libraries.   I started to have a sense of mission without realizing which I had to search for Japanese literature and culture in avant-garde way. It was neither my impatience with which I publish result of my study nor intention which I grant privilege to SAIKAKU (a great author in the Genroku era). It originated from one big problem.   When I was studying Japanese literature in Korea University, I had an abstract question “Is it possible to think about ‘now and here’ transcending time?” I thought, in order to reconsider our society how it should be? It was necessary to view them by keeping some distance. In some cases, it will be necessary to have an intellectual attitude positively and reflectively. It may seem conflicting at first glance. But I decided to study Japanese expression culture before the Modern period at Graduate School and took notice of the fact that people in the Edo period have been keen to make a record of gossip and rumor.   It was beyond my imagination that Japanese in the Modern period liked strange topics and gossips. We can find various mysterious incidents and gossips in collection of stories (esp. myths, legends etc.), essays, diaries and memoirs starting from local countries’ talk, desultory gossip stories. Those stories or gossips were self-portrait of the Modern society, and they had a meaning of exchange of information. Therefore, I decided to study on the collection of strange talks named “Saikaku Shokoku-banashi (local countries’ talk)” (issued in 1685) and “Futokoro Suzuri (Inkstone in my bosom)” (issued in 1687). Saikaku tilted his attention to contemporary people and their way of thinking and described them vividly in his books. In his collection of strange talks, Saikaku described affairs of contemporary human customs and behavior using anecdotes, folk tales and legends at that time without retaining original appearance. There were a lot of fakes in his strange talks even though he liked to convey actualities in principle (based on actualities). It means customs and behavior or sentimental routine by contemporary people were written in transformed way. In other words, the problem is that when we are impressed by a particular story, it is not so easy for us to have questions why that expression was possible.   It is difficult whether we can think about ‘now and here’ transcending time as mentioned above. It will be an important opportunity to get answer to the question how we can think about ‘now and here’ transcending time. During this ten year, I have been studying how Saikaku produced his works and re-talking how we can share excitement with people at that time reading strange talks by Saikaku. Against such backdrop of awareness of the problem, I wrote my doctoral dissertation “Study of Strange Talks by Saikaku” examining the Talks precisely. I tried to explain strange portion in the Talks clearly as much as possible and made his performing activities (provoking power of expression) reactively. The method of my study was various, but ‘annotations’ were common.   A word ‘annotation’ seems stiff or formal feeling. But I examined each word which predecessors have used and investigated its’ meaning and sources. Annotation is the base of my examination for example of the past and construe or understand works turning back to the time. Every works was bound by institutional thought and sensibility which current people cannot be aware of. Annotation is a procedure which invites us to rich interpretation keeping time and space. At the same time, annotation is positive and reflective attitude against modern expression culture. Attractiveness of classic literatures is a tool for re-talking about our current world newly and give us a chance to enrich our social imagination.     However, classic literature may be forgotten someday unless it would be accepted. Saikaku wrote in his Strange Talks emotion and living behavior by Samurai and town people vividly which have not been appeared in the limelight of the history. It raised the question what was humanity of the people in Edo period? I have been sharing my new knowledge about history of expression culture in Japan through my study of his Strange Talks. The works of Saikaku were good objects of reconsideration in our way of life and how our society should be having a function of ‘reflecting mirror’. It will be my main subject to show to ordinary people and to spin old experiences of people who lived before modern era to new experience. I like to continue my study together with Atsumi International Foundation.     SGRA Kawaraban 681 in Japanese (Original)     YANG Sung-Yun / 2020 Raccoon, Lecturer of Korean University, Faculty of Japanese Language and Literature   Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala     
  • XIE Zhihai “Challenge for Plastic Reduction”

     Last year I wrote an essay about “Charging for shopping bags at supermarkets in Japan” and lifestyle where people go shopping with “eco bag” (reusable shopping bag). As Gunma Prefecture where I live is motorized society, people go shopping with both shopping basket and eco bags. It means that it is necessary for them to use shopping basket or eco bags. Situation has changed.However, is it true that the amount of household garbage has decreased by charging shopping bags? We cannot see any change in the amount of garbage a week. I found an article “Contradiction! Buying garbage bags refuging shopping bags” in AERA (weekly magazine issued on June 14, 2021). People, who used to utilize shopping bags as garbage bags or compost bags changed to bring eco bags and buy garbage bags on a chargeable basis. Plastic bags which are used in supermarkets or convenient shops in Japan can be used as garbage bags and a lot of people utilize plastic bags as garbage bags. There was a comment written that people began to utilize their small transparent plastic bags (free) very often not to make their eco bags dirty. I think many people feel disagreement in their daily life for having eco bags. I am annoyed at whether it could decrease the amount of garbage. According to AERA, Ministry of the Environment(England)reported in 2011 that, in order to achieve “Possibility of Global Warming”, it would be necessary to use eco bags 131 times to decrease shopping bags. It is appreciated to have such concrete figure and people may think that they should get rid plastic bags. It is said that a lot of people keep many eco bags now and I realized there are a variety of eco bags in my house too. Reason why we feel denial is we cannot solve our own question whether we are “eco” or not?In other words, we cannot decide whether we should buy chargeable eco bags or bring plastic   bags. Yes, there are a lot of goods beside shopping bags which are made by plastic. AERA raised a question on this point and gave a clear answer finally saying that “it is important for us to be conscious of “eco” in total (not only by shopping bags)”. If people go to shopping by bicycle despite bringing shopping bags, they are considered as “eco”. I had strange feeling when a friend of mine received disposable chopsticks and spoon as a matter of course. He bought lunchbox and yogurt and declined to receive shopping bag. If he was conscious of eco, he should have denied receiving both chopsticks and spoon. If chopsticks and spoon were not free, he might bring them both. I think it’s OK as far as shopping bags would trigger for reduction of garbage. Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan) are putting together their new ideas of charging for waste disposal into materialization and are aiming for its introduction in April 2022. It is said that twelve items not only the items for eating but hangers of dry-cleaner’s, toothbrushes and hairbrushes of hotels would be also added. I expect consciousness for disposable would be raised when the new idea is implemented.When people would take care progressively what they can do in their daily life, and which means they participate in “eco” activity.  SGRA Kawaraban 680 in Japanese (Original)  XIE Zhihai / Assortiate Professor, Kyoai Gakuen University      Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala                
  • Borjigin Husel “What has Tokyo 2020 left behind the World?”

     The 32nd Olympiad “Tokyo 2020” came to an end on 8 August 2021 after keen, glorious and impressive competitions for seventeen days. It was postponed first for one year due to the COVID-19 and started on 23 July 2021 in Tokyo under the attraction of world attention.  Significance of Tokyo 2020, I do not repeat it because Seiko Hashimoto, President of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) mentioned repeatedly in their opening and ending speeches. On the other hand, there were criticism toward the Olympics even before the opening, during the games and after the closing. There were a lot of opinions for and against Olympics like “tears” “reconstruction” “throb” “unorthodox” “uneasiness” “confusion” “impressive” “too hot (temperature)” “no spectators” “intentional negligence” “liar” “selfish” “refugee players” “unprecedented” and “gold diggers” etc.Tokyo 2020 had number of issues which had conflicts and challenges. Foreign news bulletin reported framework and situation which lead to opening of the Olympics favorably and introduced criticism in Japan too. Generally, there were a lot of praise.However, strange enough, when Japanese media introduced overseas news broadcast about Tokyo 2020, they intended to criticize greatly finding “negative evaluation” by using every conceivable mean. Why are they self-denial or self-deprecated? I visited Olympic Stadium (Japan National Stadium) around 4:00 pm on August 6. It was clear and had mild gentle breeze. August 6 is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony (A-Bomb Day). There were a lot of policemen and patrol cars around Olympic Stadium and were under the authority of Hiroshima Prefecture. There was no festival atmosphere of Olympic and I had a feeling like “any incident has taken place”.   I liked to observe the Olympic Monument which is installed in front of the Japanese Olympic Museum. But the road between the Stadium and Museum were closed. There were many policemen in front of the entrance and there was a signboard “You cannot enter after 4:00 pm”. I asked a policeman why? and got reply that “there will be a demonstration”. As I could not visit the Olympic Monument so. I walked around the Stadium to look for demonstration. But I could not. Around 6 p.m. one dozen scale demonstration started “finally”. They shouted beating saucepans or bowls and holding up dolls like “skull”. As they used a few speakers, their voice echoed. I listened to what they protested and found protested was for Tokyo 2020.They only denounced Japanese Government, Executive Committee of Tokyo 2020, IOC, athletes and medalists rather than “protested”. Outrageous writings which abuse Tokyo 2020 became topics on internet. I read such writings and feel no refinement nor logic.I do not understand them, who slander, smear or insult athletes and medalists. I dare say that this “demonstration” was effective. For boatload demonstrators, a few hundreds of policemen and a dozen of patrol cars were mobilized. Roads were closed and we could not visit the Olympic Stadium and Olympiad Monument. Furthermore, several newspaper companies and TV stations domestic and overseas covered and reported this demonstration. People who did not visit the site and see the news, they will misunderstand “whole Japan” were protesting Tokyo 2020. Demonstrators kept their “close contact” condition for more than an hour and noise echoed around the Olympic Stadium and Olympiad Monument for more than an hour. The Olympic Motto “Faster, Higher and Stronger” should be added “Together” at Tokyo 2020. A lot of people are forgetting this Motto regretfully. I hope either supporters or opponents and who ignore the Tokyo 2020 would discuss or interact under this Motto. It was an ordeal for the Tokyo Organizing Committee and Tokyo 2020. I thought Tokyo 2020 itself was an ordeal. Not only Japanese Government, Tokyo Organizing Committee and IOC but athletes and medalists were also abused. Medalists and their families had to refrain from their delights.   We saw a lot of volunteers around the Stadium. As you may know, many healthcare professionals and volunteers participated at Tokyo 2020 and one of my students participated.  I am proud of him. Japanese mass media ask sometime “what will Tokyo 2020 leave behind in Japan?”I think the Olympism aims for “respect of dignity of human beings” “harmonious growth of mankind”. “The Olympic is the festival of peace of the world”. It will take time to evaluate Tokyo 2020 properly. It was a challenge to open Tokyo 2020 in such unexpected circumstances like spread of COVID-19 and its pandemic.Tokyo 2020 contributed to the world greatly by peaceful opening. Everybody will understand its contribution several years later and Tokyo 2020 would be covered in glory.  SGRA Kawaraban 678 in Japanese (Original)  Borjigin Husel / Professor of Faculty of International Studies, Showa Women’s University  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala