SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

  • YUN Jaeun “Victoria Peak in Fog”

     For the people in South Korea, Hong Kong was the only “advanced area” where culture was permissible to import up to the decade of 1990s. Japanese cultures especially video contents were prohibited to import, a lot of movies which were set in Hong Kong were accepted as longings in South Korea. Hong Kong movies were popular and captured hearts of Korean people especially in Chinese New Year and the O-bon period. As Hong Kong has been colony of United Kingdom, various races of people appeared in movies and created exoticism. Movies by Wong Kar Wei (film director), who took the world in 1990s created a cultural sensation. Hong Kong was “Symbol of Freedom” for Korean society which has just democratized.  Hong Kong is intricate from Korean viewpoints. Hong Kong was “victim of Imperialism” and is suppressed by authoritarianism even now. South Korea had the same experiences (colony and dictatorship) as Hong Kong but South Korea broke free from them. Because of this, I think I can talk about Hong Kong more objectively than the media in Europe and America.  In China, Hong Kong is said to be a symbol of “humiliation for a hundred years” by colonialization of the imperialism by United Kingdom. (It is said that it was after 1990s that the Mainland China attracted their attention to Hong Kong) United Kingdom (suzerain) gave freedom to a certain level to Hong Kong people. But they did not guarantee democratic right i.e. voting rights until 1980s. In 1980s, negotiation between U.K. and China for retrocession started.  U.K. began to introduce new election system and the last Governor General Chris Patten, had to hasten introduction of new election systems compulsively. It is inevitable that U.K. is not so “serious” about democratization of Hong Kong. The aspect is not paid attention when we think of the present Hong Kong. especially in the media of Europe and America. As a result of negotiation for retrocession, China agreed to guarantee democratic system “One country, Two systems” for fifty years. Then, is United Kingdom free from obligation of present Hong Kong?  I do not think so.  After the retrocession to China in 1997, there were several demonstrations on a massive scale in Hong Kong. Especially “Umbrella Movement” in Autumn 2014 drew attention from the world. I visited Hong Kong twice in 2013 and 2014. Business trip in 2013 which had no concern with Hong Kong politics and had an impression “it is so warm!”  And I had an impression that Hong Kong was not influenced by U.K.   My second business trip in November 2014 changed my way of looking toward Hong Kong. I listened to the opinion of the youngsters, though it had no relations with my business trip, but in order to know about Hong Kong youngsters more precisely. What noticeable was financial predicament of youngsters. There are three groups in the University of Hong Kong. Hongkongers, Main Landers and oversea students. It is said that finding employment by Hongkongers is difficult because they speak Cantonese and English only. Mainlanders are treated too kindly or generously by companies who comes from Mainland. Finding employment in financial business is yearning by Hongkongers. But it is a “Narrow Gate”. Finding employment in IT field is comparably easy. But salary is low. I realized that resistance by youngsters after 2010s is intertwined with economy problems not political problems.  Such youngsters’ dissatisfactions grew bigger but not resolved and they directed their ire toward amendment of law by Chinese Government conjointly. The Chinese Government took a wait-and-see policy first considering the Trump Administration. But they changed to tighten their regulation under the Corona pandemic. Students and entrepreneurs, symbol of democratization, were imprisoned one after another and nipped in the bud. Moreover, a bill “Representatives of Hong Kong shall be limited to Patriots” was enacted at the National People’s Congress this year. I think there are a lot of ways “How to love a country” and people love their countries variously.  Not only democracy but freedom, which have been protected under U.K. Administration, are in crisis now. It was a snug excuse for China under the COVID-19 pandemic in which worldwide support cannot reach.  In Korea, a lot of people (especially University students) were suppressed and some of them were killed by the Government till 1980s. Military dictatorship kept refusing intervention of NGO etc. by the reason of “interference in the domestic affairs”. There was a reversal composition. The Reagan Administration (U.S.A.) admitted Chun Doo-hwan Administration. University students developed anti-America movement shouting “Stop interference in the domestic affairs (admit dictatorship)!”.  Whenever I visit Hong Kong, I go to Victoria Peak which has beautiful nightscape every time. My last visit was during 2019 and it was just before a big demonstration. I could not see anything due to thick fog. For me, it was the first time to see such thick fog and I thought it symbolize the future of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a key for the future of democracy not only in China but in whole Asia also. We must keep watching Hong Kong.  SGRA Kawaraban 666 in Japanese (Original)  YUN Jaeun / 2020 Raccoon, Associated Lecturer at Hitotsubashi University   Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Franco SERENA “My Realm of Happiness”

     I cannot forget the time when I came to Japan first long ago. I was a homestay student. Although I was looking forward living in Japan before departure, but gloomy life started soon I arrived in Japan. I could not manage miserable life and remember well would often dream homeland during my stay in lodging house. I am still living in Japan since ages and I would like to encourage someone who comes to Japan saying that “You will get used to” or “Something will happen”. Not only such simple words, I advise them giving a word “You had better to have “a realm of happiness” in your mind which can make you feel happy a little.”   Reason why I began to touch Japanese culture and language was not what I was interested in. It was just for being disobedience against my family. During the time from my primary school to high school, I was making efforts just for expectations of my family and I was not curious about learning and working on school subject aimlessly. Everybody has a rebellious period. And I had such period as the first-year college student. I have been caught up in my will against expectations of my family and decided to study Japanese language and culture despite I had no interest in. When I arrived first in Japan, I realized I was not sensible of studying Japanese language and culture. It was just being rebelliousness against my family. Especially for Japanese culture, I had interest but was often misunderstood. I had a feeling being incomprehensive toward meaningless in what I had learned in University. I was discouraged and was thinking of retuning back to my home country.  It was a teacher of Japanese language that saved me. He had enough knowledge in Japanese traditional Arts, especially in KABUKI. One day, he invited me to go to KABUKI and made me upset. At that time, I had negative thinking for everything and felt depressed because I thought it too starchy or bookish and would be difficult to understand if I take a trouble to go to Ginza. However, as I was not good at refusing his invitation, I accepted reluctantly.  The moment when I entered KABUKI theater, I realized the KABUKI world was different from what I thought. Before starting the stage, the audience walked around stalls in the theater and read the overview of program. And the theater started. I realized the movement in KABUKI is not just deliver a performance or speaking strange Japanese language endlessly. But there were a lot of dynamic situations. It was beautiful and emotional. I found myself enthralled by their well-trained performance and words.Before I realize, five hours was already passed.    When the Theater ended, I was filled with a feeling of happiness. And I thought heartily that I like to understand Japan more which has KABUKI “My Realm of Happiness” which makes me forget a daily life. My way of looking at Japan had changed drastically. If I have “My Realm of Happiness”, I thought I can overcome everything even though if I had a difficulty facing problem. I decided to try my best to solve misunderstanding and not regret even if I would be misunderstood. It is not enough to say that KABUKI liberated me.  From such experience, I like to utter my memory that I can come up with any chance in motivation to commence. The possibility may come by chance or I grow my interest gradually. When I garb a chance, I can unroll the new road for my life. Sometimes such new road may be imprecise, it is not necessary to continue. It may not be wrong if I find “My Realm of Happiness” in it and I like to keep walking on this road.  Franco SERENA / 2019 Raccoon, part-time lecturer at University of Tsukuba  SGRA Kawaraban 665 in Japanese (Original)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala 
  • LAI Sihyu “Drifting Raccoon”

     Raccoon, logo of Atsumi International Foundation, has been drawn by the late ATSUMI Takeo, Chairman of Kajima Corporation.  When I first saw the raccoon logo first, it reminded me of the Ghibli Movie “Battle of HEISEI PON-POKO Tanuki (raccoon)”. The movie is pure and naïve. But it had a marvelous reality too. In this movie, raccoons exerted themselves to live in a city having taken the shape of human beings at the final phase. When I came to Japan as an international student, it was the time I had finished my visit to France and America. When I put myself in a position of nonnative speaker, it makes me feel that I cannot keep myself as it is, despite I adapt to keep going my daily life. Even a raccoon which can take the shape of human being struggled in intercultural society. So, this movie made me determine that I, as an ordinary human being, have no choice to do my best to adapt myself to circumstances gradually.     When I came to Japan from Taiwan, one of my friends in Taipei told me “I am envious of you. People in Tokyo are modest and polite”. When I went to Paris, a friend of mine in Tokyo told me “You are lucky to go to Paris because Paris is romantic and poetic.” In America, each one told me “You are lucky to go to Boston. Students in Boston are bright and confident.” All of them are interested in whether the acquaintances whom I meet are reported in news or on the internet. May be, that they asked me based on articles on SNS.  Everything in my daily life was different from what I came to know by news or internet. Actual conversation with my friends were based on an event at hand or hometown and common contents of our study rather than political issues. I felt disagreeable in current trend that people like to know or understand outer world through social networking. Tokyo in internet is not the one which I know even Paris and Boston is also the same. Recently, I felt firmly that we need to discuss the topic not solely but in large area and look what people worry and think about.    We are forming our ego based on our experiences and as a result, we are living as a multifaced individual. I think difference in experiences of each person is more important than differences of nations and languages. If people have any prejudice based on social networking, they cannot develop real friendship in the external world.  I like to express my interest visiting to foreign countries and study for years as “understanding “friendship” and knowing each other, rather than just visiting “countries”. Because charity and warmth of people is apprehensive, rather than their economic and political development, and has influenced my memory deeply and devised present myself.    I trod many lands and studied various cultures there. Reason why I did not loose sight of myself is I was blessed with lot of friends who helped me kindly.      Since I had such state of minds, I had special affinity for the logo of raccoon of Atsumi International Foundation. Thanks to simultaneous scholarship students and staff members of the Foundation, I could spend this year of my life calmly and safely staring at myself.  During such days, I could sort out my knowledge of study for the few years and wisdom of my life. Now ending my scholarship in Japan, I will remain thankful and came to Tokyo through destiny and all the people who believed in me when I was depressed. Every experience in my life heighten a little seedling, training my heart strongly, absorbing all the nutrition, changing and trying experience into “Better Destiny”.      Scholarship students used to experience partings either long or short successively and I had a feeling of heartrending in the past. However, I think it should be congratulated willingly nowadays because every parting means taking a step forward. In this modern society, everybody (every raccoon), who is trying to live, is like walking on a lonely planet.  When you captivate yourself in walking single-mindedly, you realize advertently anybody, who live far apart and remembers you. Warmth which you feel in your mind in such occasion is a loneliness which is a relief.     SGRA Kawaraban 664 in Japanese (Original)  LAI Sihyu / Researcher of Academia Sinica (Taiwan)    Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Li Gang Zhe ”Taiwan, as an honor student in COVID-19 (Part-2)”

     How is Taiwan recognized as a “nation” in the world?  I would like to review its history first.Taiwan consists of the main island of Taiwan and the surrounding islands. The gross area is 36,000 km2 which is a little bit smaller than that of Kyushu area in Japan (44,000 km2). The population is 23.6millions (as of 2019). As Taiwan belongs to subtropical and tropical zone, temperature is high all the year round and is called “treasure island” which has plenty of tropical plants and fruits.  To begin with, there has been no such “Nation” like Taiwan historically. The official name of Taiwan is “Republic of China” (ROC). It was the first republic nation in the world which was established after Xinhai(辛亥) Revolution in 1912. In 1949 Taiwan Nationalist Party, which was defeated by the Communist Party, fled to Taiwan to keep their power in Taiwan.It means there are two nations in China.  We can see records of Taiwan in “Record of the Three Kingdom (三国志) and “The Book of Sui (隋書)”.  In the age of Yuan Dynasty (元代―Mongol Empire 13 -14th century)、Penghu Islands (澎湖諸島) have been under the control of inspecting officer (巡検司)of Fujian Province (福建省). In 16th century, a Portugal navigation officer had discovered Taiwan and named “Formosa” (means “beautiful island” in Portugal). In 17th century, the Age of Exploitation, Taiwan has been a colony of Holland (1624 to 1662). Manchurians established the Qing dynasty in North Eastern area of the Mainland and took the reins of Government having defeated the Ming dynasty. The general Zheng Cheggong (鄭成功) of the Ming dynasty fled from Qing and went across to Taiwan in 1661. He fought with Holland and expelled them. He established and governed the Donging Kingdom (東寧王国).  Qing defeated the Donging Kingdom in 1683 and annexed them for 210 years. However, Qing was defeated by Japan at the Sino-Japanese war in 1895 and concluded the “Treaty of Shimonoseki”. By this treaty, Taiwan was transferred to Japanese territory and Japan established the Government-General of Taiwan and governed for fifty years. During the period of Qing dynasty, a lot of Han race (Chinese people) went across to Taiwan from Fujian Province and aborigine assimilated to Han race. Present “Taiwanese” can be said to the same race as Chinese.  In August 1945, at the end of the World War II, Japan was defeated. Chiang Kai-shek (the President) requisitioned Taiwan under the agreement of the Allied and incorporated Taiwan into R.O.C. as Taiwan Province (Retrocession). At the time of establishment of the United Nation, ROC was the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council because ROC was a victorious country. ROC has been keeping its position at the time when it changed its HQ in Taiwan. In 1971, People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Mainland was admitted by the U.N. and became the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council instead of ROC which withdrew from U.N.  International society admitted ROC to be a part of PRC and proceed to normalization of diplomatic relations with PRC breaking off the relations with ROC.  Fortuitously Japan has established its diplomatic relations with PRC September 29, 1972. Although Japan broke off diplomatic relations with ROC, Japan have established “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association” to keep relations with ROC instead. In the course of the year October 2020, the number of countries which had diplomatic relations with ROC was only fifteen and they are few small countries in the Middle and South America and the Vatican City State in Europe.     Chiang Chin-kuo, who succeeded Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975, lifted the martial law in 1987 and resolved quasi-state of war with PRC. After the death of Chiang Chin-kuo in 1988, Lee Teng-hui (Taiwanese) succeeded the Presidency. He proceeded with change in the strong swell of democratization and became the first President elected by the people in 1996. In 2000, Democratic Progressive Party (mainly by Taiwanese) made a regime change having defeated People’s Party. In 2008, People’s Party regained power again through election. But, in 2016, Ms. Tsai Ing-wen, Democratic Progress Party won the election and became the first female President of Taiwan. In the last February, she was re-elected and has kept her position to the present.  In the progress of democratization in Taiwan, national identities are changing gradually from “Chinese” to “Taiwanese”. According to a public opinion poll by National Chengchi University in 1992, 17.6% of the people replied “I am Taiwanese”, 25.5% replied “Chinese” and 46.4% replied “Taiwanese at the same time Chinese”. At the poll in 2020, the figures changed to 67%, 2.4% and 27.5% accordingly. People’s Party, mainly by the people from the mainland, lowered their influences eventually and Taiwanese are soaring their consciousness and powers.  Democratic Progress Party have strong aspirations of independence from China and there have been feud, “independence” or “unification”, with the Mainland. At the time of People’s Party, they considered “One China” is important. But, at the time of Democratic Progress Party, they do not admit or have been keeping ambiguousness. Against such attitude,  Chinese Government established “Anti-Secession Law“in 2005. It means when Taiwan would declare their “independence”, Chinese Government are prepared to use the military force.  Under such political and military threat, Taiwan is maintaining the status quo.  After Taiwan had reopened exchange with the Mainland in 1990s, their relations came closer rapidly. In December 2008, scheduled flights between Taiwan and the Mainland entered service. Taiwan sightseeing by Mainlanders and “Three Linkages” were lifted. (cf. three linkages (三通): postal(通便), transportation(通航) and trade(通商)) ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) was concluded at summit meeting in 2010 and FTA (Free Trade Agreement) was concluded. 40% of total export amount from Taiwan is towards the Mainland. Total numbers of Taiwan companies which advanced to the Mainland market is about 100thousands and 47.6% of Taiwanese investment amount to overseas is towards the Mainland during the period from January to November 2020. Population of Taiwanese in the Mainland is about one million. Total traffic people who go and come between Taiwan and Mainland a year is more than five million (2019). As to international marriage in Taiwan, 260 thousand people out of 400 thousand are with Mainlanders.  Taiwan economy rely on the Mainland too much. It means there is a risk that Taiwan is caught up in the Mainland economy and exploited politically. China utilizes such status in their “united front” maneuvering to pressurize Taiwan. For example, Minister of Culture and Tourism (China) announced on July 31, 2019 that individual visit to Taiwan from Chinese 47 cities shall be stopped after August temporarily. It is a pressure from the viewpoint of Taiwan.  On February 26, 2020, Chinese Government announced that import of Taiwan pineapple would be banned after March 1 because harmful organisms were detected. It made ado in Taiwan and the authorities reacted against it as political pressure. Ten percent of pineapple production in Taiwan is exported and 95% of this export is toward China. So, it is not influential to Taiwan farmers. Taiwan is promoting domestic sales of pineapple and trying to find other overseas markets other than the Mainland. When Taiwan get pressure from China, they repeated their dissatisfaction against Chinese Government and elevated “consciousness as Taiwanese”. It will be a challenge for Taiwan, how will they nether their dependence on the mainland in economy.  Recently there has been tension between Taiwan and China due to deterioration of relations between China and America. United States do not allow China to “swallow” Taiwan and are giving (selling) a lot of weapons to Taiwan every year on the basis of “Taiwan Relations Act” (in America). Now it is said that U. S. are selling not only defensive weapons but offensive weapons. (The amount in 2020 was $34.5billion dollars) The Trump administration strengthened the relations with Taiwan and the Biden administration followed.  Influx of massive Mainlanders and their bringing in of Chinese cultures (massive books and goods etc.) by Peoples Party have built their governing bases as legitimate Government. As a result, Chinese traditional culture such as Chinese buildings, Chinese foods and clothes, permeated deeply in Taiwan. People say, if you like to experience authentic Chinese traditional culture, you should go to Taiwan.  Many Taiwanese have intimacy to Japan and they are called as “Pro-Japan Tribe”.  According to a Taiwanese scholar, Taiwanese think basically that Japan rule age was better than that of by China because they had long experience being invaded or governed by foreign powers. The number of tourists from Taiwan to Japan increased to 4.89million in 2019. This figure is the third following the Mainland and South Korea. It means one Taiwanese out of five are enjoying visiting Japan. In Ishikawa Pref. where I am living, people have a feeling of “pro-Taiwan”.  There is a direct flight a day from Komatsu Airport to Taipei and it is said they will increase two flights a day.        SGRA Kawaraban 662 in Japanese (Original) * You can read the first part (Li Gang Zhe / Taiwan, as an honor student in COVID-19 (Part-1)) from the link below.Li Gang Zhe / Taiwan, as an honor student in COVID-19 (Part-1)  Li Gang Zhe / Professor, Hokuriku University  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Li Gang Zhe ”Taiwan, as an honor student in COVID-19 (Part-1)”

     The 6th Asia Future Conference which was scheduled in August now postponed to next year due to COVID-19. Many people would like to know about Taiwan and the COVID-19 situation. So, I decided to write down in this essay.  I have visited Taiwan twice. My first visit to Taipei was in August 2000 as a part-time Secretary-General of the International Symposium sponsored by East Asia Research Institute. Since I am Chinese national, there were severe limitation to enter Taiwan.I applied for visa one month before the symposium and luckily could get visa before three days. The symposium ended as scheduled and I went to Hsinchu (新竹) Industrial Town next day. But, due to strong typhoon, I returned to Taipei without visiting any places in Hsinchu. On the third day after the symposium, I got a chance to visit the office of Lee Tang-hui (the president of the Republic of China (Taiwan)) together with thirteen Japanese participants (including late-Kanamori Hisao, Advisor to Japan Center for Economic Research). We had a  chat for two hours and it was very impressive.  In March 2016, as my second visit to Taiwan, I went to Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages (文藻外語大学)in Kaohsiung. I was invited there to make a lecture for One Asia Foundation. Since I had Japanese nationality, I could fly to Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei direct from Komatsu Airport (Japan) without visa. I enjoyed the visit to Kaohsiung and Taipei with my family for five days. During my visit to Kaohsiung, I learnt about its origin.  In Japanese rule age, Kaohsiung was called “takou” (打狗) (mean hit a dog originally) and Japanese understood “takao” and changed Chinese characters. I visited National Father, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall in Taipei and learned about the “Republic of China” and its Father Dr. Sun Tat-Sen.  Coming back to the subject. How is the new coronavirus situation in Taiwan? We know Taiwan is the worldwide honor student in countermeasure against COVID-19. Then how is the real situation? It is said that the accrued number of infected persons in Taiwan is only 909 and the dead is 8. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Ministry of Health and Welfare (Taiwan) announced on March 30 that only lady in the 80’s has died from the COVID-19 on March 29. The dead by COVID-19 was the first case in eight months since May 2020.  Taiwan had been controlling the pandemic till January 2021. But assemblage of infection happened at hospital in Taoyuan City during January. Doctors and nurses, who were in charge of treatment against COVID-19, and their families were infected one by one. Now 19 infections case are reported. The lady in the 80’s mentioned above is included in this number. The authorities concerned tightened their guards during the period especially from February 10th to 16th of the month, as the number of people’s coming and going increased due to Chinese New Year holidays.I like to ask any Taiwanese, due to limitation of the number of words for the Essay, how to treat against COVID-19 in Taiwan.  Then, how is the Taiwan’s economy in the COVIV-19 pandemic?I learned hard recently about Taiwan’s various reasons or circumstances, their viewpoints on international relations, especially under their standpoints between two big countries, America and China. Of course, I have studied a lot of materials about relations between Taiwan and China too for my lecture titled “Economic theory on East Asia”.  Firstly, the fact that Taiwan has worldwide honored student in the COVID-19 pandemic should be specially mentioned. Japanese media are giving a big raise in the growth rate of  Chinese economy which is up by 2.3% from the previous year (I have doubt in this figure). But there is little information about the rate of other countries.    Actually economic growth rate in Taiwan is up 2.98% from the previous year. Taiwan exceeded China after thirty years. FYI, Vietnamese economic growth rate is up 2.91% which is the second after Taiwan. “Four Little Dragons”, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan are negative growth and Taiwan is the only winner. Share market prices have soared and marked historical high. New Taiwan Dollars has ascend soared. It is said that Taiwan economy regained their vitality after thirty years.  There are many causes for the growth. A lot of Taiwan enterprises came back from China because of trade conflicts between America and China and investment toward the United States and South-East Asian countries have increased. Orders for electronic components from the world increased also due to economic sanctions against HUAWEI Technologies Co., Ltd. Taiwanese gave up their overseas trip and changed to domestic trips. As a result, money flew back to domestic market instead of foreign markets.  Overseas travelers (outbounds)from Taiwan in 2019 was 18 million which is 80% of total population 23.6million. It will be one of the highest in the world. Outflow of foreign currency, which has been NT Dollars 800 billion in the past, contributed to economic growth of Taiwan because, i.e., foreign currencies to be used by Taiwanese overseas travelers which comes to cumulative total 210 million, changed to domestic travels. If economic growth in 2021 would continue to develop like this year, GDP per capita is expected to become NTD 30 thousand level (in 2011, they already exceeded 20 thousand level). This figure is advanced in countries level.  Now, Taiwan has worldwide honored student in correspondence against COVID-19 and gave an example to the world in economic growth too. WHO (World Health Organization) should utilize Taiwan’s experience for the world. But I am sorry to say that Taiwan is not paid attention by the United Nations or other International societies being twisted around by complicated and absurd International politics.(to be continued)  SGRA Kawaraban 661 in Japanese (Original)  Li Gang Zhe / Professor Hokuriku University  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala 
  • TANG Rui “My Job Searching”

     In April, 2019、I started my last year of doctoral program and began to prepare for thesis examination for a doctor’s degree. At the same time, I had to think of job after graduation. Until then, it was enough for me that I just study and research earnestly. I was wondering and never thought of my future because I had no clear target. For a doctoral student, it is the most possible scenario that after “post-doctoral” at the University, he becomes an Assistant Professor or lecturer and few years later will be promoted to Professor. If I will do my best, I may become a Professor. (“post-doctoral”: a research fellow who works at a University or research institution after postgraduate course) In reality, however, competition for employment in University as a teacher is becoming harder in both China and Japan. Especially in the application of University teacher in science and technology in China, it would be difficult to be employed, if he has no thesis published in the magazines like “Nature” or “Science”. I am interested in my research. But I have decided to get a job at private company because grants-in-aid for scientific research is not enough and I do not like to worry about being fired always if I cannot keep submitting thesis periodically until I can get academic tenure (life-time employment). However, I have got new worries. In which country shall I get a job? What kind of company should I apply for? I do not stick to any countries but there will be numerous problems in any companies which I will apply for. In Japan there are a few companies which have businesses related to “optical integrated circuit” which I have researched. Furthermore, in case of Japanese companies, I must submit my application by March end. Since I came back to Japan from the United States at the end of March, I missed my chance to apply. There were a little alternative for me in the companies which accept hiring of doctorate all year-round. In America, there are many companies which have connection with my research theme. However, since I do not have American degree, I cannot apply to American companies immediately after my degrees. Furthermore, in my case, it will be difficult to get working visa and, even if I can get working visa, I cannot get a chance to have an interview because it will take time for me to start job. I had a choice to return to China. But, frankly speaking, I do not like to work in recent Chinese communication or IT enterprises. Because there are a lot of so-called “black” (rogue) enterprises in China these days and it is becoming social problems. In 2019, employees in IT companies in China made a famous new words “996, ICU“. It means that, if employees keep working from 9 o’clock in the morning to 9 o’clock in the evening, they will be brought to the ICU in hospital. In almost all IT enterprise in China, such “996 works” are tacit understanding. Such working style is clearly against the Labor Law in China. But the Government never show the sign to try to manage such unlawful actions positively. Economic growth in China depends greatly on IT and communication enterprises. If the Government would try to manage overtime in such enterprises, I think economic growth in China will be affected. Although there were various problems, I had to make actions and I have applied for many companies in America, China and Japan. I applied first for a Japanese venture company which develop AI chips. I had an interest in what they are doing and their technology seems great. Though they did not recruit any new graduates, I applied forcibly. After getting interviewed several times I got a job offer. I applied to five Chinese companies and got three job offers. What surprised me is American companies. I applied to more than ten companies which have some relations with my research at my doctoral program, but they did not give me any chance even telephone interview. The only one company, which gave me a chance of interview, was a venture company. In this company a teacher whom I took care of when I was studying abroad is working as a consultant. I realized how it is important to have any connection for a student who has no degree.   There were big companies and venture companies both which gave me job offers. If I get a job at a big company, I can enjoy a stable lifestyle. But I value my rewarding and interesting life rather than stable life. I have accepted finally an informal job offer from American venture company, which is developing quantum computers as a result of my comprehensive thinking and they are attractive including the salary.   I finished my job searching but it made me think variously.Though I have been through uneasiness a lot but I will try my best hereafter targeting new goals. P.S.I am sorry to say that I was not selected for the visa lottery. As it was impossible to go to America in 2020, I returned to China to be employed anyway. It is a display manufacturer in Shenzhen. Though I scheduled to return to China by the end of June but my flight got cancelled twice due to COVID-19. It was on August 9 that I could return but I had to stay at specified hotel for two weeks. I started my job in September and I had a feeling keenly about difficulty of working at the “996” deployment which I belong. Since the working style at 996 department is not sustainable, many people leave the office every year.  In near future I think there will be a reformation in work-style in China.      SGRA Kawaraban 660 in Japanese (Original)  TANG Rui / 2019 Raccoon Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala   
  • JIN Hongyuan “From ’Academia’ to Industry”

     I have done doctor program in basic biology. During my six years learning in university from postgraduate, master’s degree and doctoral, I kept studying about butterflies especially their synthesis of pigment and mechanism of pattern forming. Around the second years in doctoral course, I began to consider about my future quite seriously. When I referred to the course of seniors, I was worrying about whether I can remain by my achievements in university. When I returned home tired after spending a day at laboratory, I asked myself what I can do if I go out into society without any change.    I could not answer. To begin with, I did not know what kind of human resources are wanted by society as postgraduate students who have poor real-world experience.  Production and selling industries, which are familiar with my daily life are not difficult to imagine because I am using and buying almost every day. However, I did not know exactly about industries which do not produce (like IT, insurance, consulting). I read employment guide books like “industrial maps” for my study to check basic knowledge, characteristics and business scale of each industry. I check on internet sites for employment explanation for new graduates. Consequently, I found I would be able to try variously, though there would be nothing which fit to myself perfectly. Two months later, I found myself to be too optimistic. During these two months, I went to Tokyo to participate in job information sessions together with new graduates wearing “recruiting suits”. I submitted my resume, took a web-test and had an interview. I had a feeling that, in general companies, doctor course students are not required. The reason to my understanding, doctoral course students are nearly thirty years old and have no actual experiences at actual fields. It means that costs of training such students become much.     For example, if there are three candidates aged thirtieth for product development job, how will personal management officer make his decision? Mr. A, university graduate, has eight years experiences of product development in the industry. His managerial ability as a deputy manager is acknowledged. Mr. B, having master’s degree, has six years career as a member of society. He was assigned to German office for two years after working at Japanese head quarter for four years. His English language capability is business level. Mr. C, a new graduate of doctoral course, has achieved good academic results and published a few excellent papers. If I am a personal officer, I will calculate the time in which a candidate must develop a new product in a short time and can offer any results to company after his entrance and also calculate all the expenses (salary, training fee etc.) during the period. And I will choose either A or B because he is ready to work. In the society, experience in the work is more important than academic background. I thought it be waste for both myself and company to join a company and work together with a college graduate. I, as a new doctoral graduate, have applied for several companies. As there were few positions for a doctoral graduate, I have applied to industries which have no relation with my study. And I found that industries valued study field itself and above achievements of study in the past. As I have majored in basic biology and not medical or pharmaceutical, I was told that it is not the highest priority. I recognize that difference between basic study of biology and medical is not so big because it is just a difference of research object. And I can work equally if a company will give me a few months for my study. However, it seems I was wrong. I have failed at the final interview examination despite I thought to be good at interview exams. I could not find any reason. In job hunting, it becomes impossible to have communications with companies when interview exam finish and there will be no feedback. One reason which I conceived later is foreigners are not required in Japanese companies except special cases when they expand oversea markets. If there would be other reason, it will be “a fate to be linked” only.  I am tired of two job hunting a year. I conclude lastly that, when national economy is dull, applicants would accept company’s requirements passively. At the end of the year 2019, I could find an employment. I was lucky because the timing was just before the Covid-19 pandemic.  SGRA Kawaraban 659 in Japanese (Original)  JIN Hongyuan / 2019 Raccoon Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koilara      
  • Li Gang Zhe “Freedom of Speech, Control, Self-discipline and Surmise by the Media”

     Recently, amid Covid-19, freedom of speech and control of the mass media are highlighted. According to the Kyodo (News Service), “Reporters Without Borders “(RSF) (HQ: Paris) reported on April 21, 2020 that world rankings of freedom of the media in 2020. Japan was 66th in 180 countries and areas, a rank up comparing with last year and was pointed out editorial policy of Japanese media depends on their economic profits. Hungary, power politics under the Orban administration due to the Covid-19 pandemics, was 89th. China, under information control, kept the same ranking at 177th. North Korea, which insisted no infected persons, dropped to the lowest 179th. Norway kept the first rank during these4consecutive years. Finland and Denmark followed. The United States went up to 45th from 48th. In connection with those rankings, the writer is interested in how the freedom of speech is guaranteed or controlled in each country. To begin with, in almost all the countries, “freedom of speech” is guaranteed by the Constitution. Even in the dictatorship countries by Communist Party like China and North Korea which are the lowest in the ranking, freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of assembly must be guaranteed. However, actual situations may be in “unconstitutionality”. However again, since their national power can trample on the Constitution, they cannot check their “unconstitutionalities”. Then how about in democratic nations? Japan, which is an advanced and democratic country, cannot be said to be a country where freedom of speech is guaranteed. I asked students in my seminar to check Japanese ranking of the freedom of press and came to know that Japan is 66th. I was surprised to hear that students were talking “it may be quicker to count Japanese ranking from the back”. Even young students, who rarely read newspapers usually, feel so. A staff of my university told me that an Associate Professor, Kanazawa University (in the same city with my Hokuriku University) has died from the new coronavirus. I was surprised and searched on internet. He was 42 years old. Since the middle of November, he has been recuperating at his house getting some medicine from hospital after being diagnosed with influenza. Since he was not cured completely in spite of the fever went down a little, he telephoned twice to the public health center for PCR testing and was told twice that he cannot get PCR test without doctor’s diagnosis. His wife tried to speak through SNS, since he had been working away from home, and found about his death when she has asked a staff member of his university to confirm his presence. He was asthma originally and judged to have been Covid-19 by PCR testing after his death. I thought the above was an important news for mass medias. But it was not published in newspapers nor reported on TV. It was on December 5th , ten days after the incident, when the Hokuriku-Chunichi Shinbun (Newspaper) reported the incident shortly as follows. [Hokuriku-Chunichi Shinbun on December 5 , 2020]In Ishikawa Pref., medical institutions, which can test both Covid-19 and influenza, are designated at 180 places. The late Mr. Hiroo Takahashi, 42 years old, an associated professor, Kanazawa University, could not get PCR testing which should have been prepared well. The Tokyo Shinbun (Newspaper), the same network newspaper with the Hokuriku-Chunichi run the news. But even the local people could not get to know his death. Why did this news not made the headlines? Is it concealment done by the university? Is it a “surmise” (read between the lines) toward the authorities? We have no way of finding the truth. But I believe that it is the real function of media in democratic countries to take up such incident and pursue a liability of the authorities. There may be other reasons to hide or underreport. My acquainted knowledgeable people were very suspicious saying that the Government were hiding something intentionally, or freedom of press was controlled, or media side were self-restraint or surmise. It is good example that Japan is ranking 66th. Then, how about America which is ranking at 45th? I lost profess toward democracy completely through the Presidency election this time. I, as a multi-linguist, watching medias in Taiwan and Korea every day or Chinese media in America with big interests in the election relying on YouTube. I have been watching a lot of “the backside information” every day and was disappointed with actual conditions of election processes, i.e., how actual conditions were not reported objectively.In conclusion, American democracy has already collapsed. Mainstreams of American media report is just a side of the truth. They are closing their eyes to the fact that “electoral fraud” has robbed “the authority” and their reports seldom touch the establishment and has trampled the Constitution of the United States and their democracy. SNS and net-media are restricted the people and are opposite politically. It was typical that twitters were controlled by President Trump. It was unprecedented that remarks by the President of the United States, which is the biggest democratic country in the world and was controlled by the independent judgement of the medias. Not only twitters but also other main social medias like FACEBOOK controlled the voice of citizens. It is indescribable for medias, which are not national authority to control the voice of citizens by their own “fact check”. If there is only biased coverage, citizens cannot get the truth of political judgement. If so, justice and fairness of the election, which is the means of execution of democracy, would be distorted. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy has collapsed.   Media, which should have a mission to convey the truth to citizens fairly and justly, lose their neutrality (by the writer’s standard of value) and intervene politics, we cannot get news of fairness, justice and freedom anymore. My values, philosophy and idea, which I have espoused and pursued, have crashed in my heart. I may lose my grounds of criticism hereafter against authoritarianism. Everybody knows the medias are controlled severely in authoritarianism countries. However, in democratic countries, a lot of people consider that the freedom of speech is “out of the questions”. There may be no difference between both countries in which citizens are deprived of the right to know the truth. Leaders or intellectual persons in authoritarian countries sneered at the election in America which is the “So-Honzan (head quoter)” of democracy saying “Look! Democracy is hypocrisy and freedom of speech is an untruth.” “Our system is superior to democracy.” They emphasize their system superiority over their correspondence against Covid-19 too. Nevertheless, I do not think authoritarianism, which oppress freedom of speech ruthlessly, can justify themselves and must be forsook by the citizens soon or later because those countries are “people’s republic” in which sovereignty lies with people, not the feudal country. Administration, which has been built for the sake of farmers adopting a slogan “Dictatorship by the Proletariat”, has converted to “Dictatorship by the bourgeoisie and the elite”. In any countries and any day or age, I do not think the administration which do not govern the country without reading the mind of people, will last long stably. In Chinese classics there is a golden saying “水能載舟、亦能覆舟“(by Xun Kuang). It means “statesmen are equal to ship and people are equal to water”. Water runs safely putting a vessel on but can overthrow a vessel sometimes. It is a commandment for statesman.  SGRA Kawaraban 658in Japanese (Original) Li Gang Zhe/Professor Hokuriku University Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • XIE Zhihai “What we can see in the delay of vaccine development in Japan.”

     We greeted the New Year 2021 carrying over global issue “COVID-19”.A lot of people in Japan, especially in Tokyo, have passed over their New Year holidays worrying about epidemic of infected person, far from being healed from “CORONA fatigue”.We had plenty of topics relating to CORONA such as epidemic during New Year holidays and the second emergency declaration.  Medical service workers must be tired with chronic fatigue by CORONA and we worry about their mental health too. Recently the news about the number of infected persons is more distinct in Japan rather than the news of vaccination in Europe and America.   If Japanese pharmaceutical companies could develop corona vaccine first in the world, the news will become a topic and Japanese would have been vaccinated by now. In the last December, vaccine developed by Pfizer (USA) was lifted in London. Around that time, German pharmaceutical company announced their vaccine development. I thought vaguely, at that time, Japanese leading pharmaceutical companies will announce their development and they would commercialize it rather than Japanese people accepting Pfizer or German vaccine. However, we have not heard any news so far. What happened to Japan?  Japan is a country of craftsmanship and technical developing and there are many leading pharmaceutical companies. But I realized Japanese presence pared down. In Japan, up-and-coming startup is not so distinct and there are few charismatic young Presidents of world-wide reputation. There are a few entrepreneurs who interest me personally. And I began to think that the presence of such charismatic entrepreneurs might drive a country and boost the country morale regardless of the industry.    Of course, there are Presidents who start business and are active internationally in Japan. For example, Masayoshi Son, Soft Bank Group and Hiroshi Mikitani, who launched Rakuten.There are many entrepreneurs in overseas. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group in China. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group in UK, the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple  Inc. which has a presence even now in America. Besides those entrepreneurs, Elon Musk, Tesla Motors, is the most prominent President in America now. Mr. Yoshihiko Yamada, ex-Vice President of Panasonic, who has worked with Elon Musk in Tesla Motors for two years, made a severe comment (toward Japanese people) in special issue of the Toyo Keizai titled “Tesla vs. Toyota”, saying that “Not limited to Panasonic, Japanese companies cannot keep up with sense of speed of Tesla. It will be impossible unless there would be charismatic corporate executives or founders.” Yes!  What Japan is lacking is a sense of speed. Before I explain what Japan is lacking, I convey why Japan is impressive first. Above all, people in Japan wear mask and wash hands properly. It is attractive that public places are clean. The number of infected persons in Japan is much more comparing with other countries.  I think Japan is impactful but lacking in sense of speed. COVID-19 has made everything stagnant. In America and European countries, they are developing vaccines at a terrific speed, despite there are a lot of infected persons. China developed vaccines quickly adding to their drastic infection control measures. Japan is not included in such countries regretfully. I am not familiar with pharmaceutical industry. But I searched one opinion. Mr. Yasuhiro Fujiwara, the Director General of PMDA (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency), opined at the Nikkei-FT (Financial Times) Conference for Infections “In Japan, we cannot do large-scale clinical testing and Japanese weak points were made clear by COVID-19.”The point is systems. Certification of new medicines is cautious and take long time in Japan. It will be natural, amid unprecedented pandemic of COVID-19, to take time to develop new medicines through conventional procedures. Against CORONA, there should be any exception on priority basis in order to get information about infected persons quickly. I hope they should not give up or slow down development of new medicines.    What Japan will shine brilliantly “after CORONA” is the people who do not give up their challenging spirits toward something new taking crisis management.  In conclusion, I quote the words by Mr. Uichiro Niwa, ex-Japanese Ambassador to China and ex-Chairman of Itochu Corporation. He said “From now on, there will be something impossible in Japan as if that’s norm. Because of it, you cannot neglect what you can do regardless of age.” It sounds very reasonable. But it was written in 2019, before COVID-19, in the book titled “Shigoto to Kokoro no Ryuugi” (The Style in Business and Heart). And those phrases were quoted from “Donguri no Seikurabe” (Comparison of Stature of Acorn) in which if we compare stature, we will lose jobs. How touching those words were! We have entered a New Year in world-wide chaos. But I hope bright future would wait for us after our efforts. XIE Zhihai / Associated Professor, Kyoai Gakuen University  SGRA Kawaraban 657 in Japanese (Original)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala 
  • WANG Wenlu “Minorities at the time of emergency”

     One year has already passed with the outbreak of corona virus and our daily life has changed completely. We are in cold season now and the number of infected persons in the world is increasing. Recently we, foreigners in Japan, felt distress at a certain news. The Japanese government stopped foreign researchers to enter into Japan, when the new variant of the coronavirus was confirmed. In the middle of August 2020, when I expected to return to my parent’s home or go abroad for my overseas survey, the Government decided to ease restrictions of foreigners to enter Japan and foreign researchers were accepted in our workplace. At the beginning of March 2020, I went to America for my survey and research and attended a learned society. It was the time when the COVID-19 pandemic spread in China (and Italy too), but in America, there were no restriction and I could attend a learned academy. During one week after my entrance to America, I could access to any libraries without any trouble. At the middle of March, however, universities were closed and we were requested to refrain going outside. Every day, I checked entry restriction in the homepages of Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and requested airline companies to prepone my flight to Japan. Luckily enough, I could return to Japan before entry restrictions. Government asked the people, who returned to Japan, not to use public transportation and home quarantine themselves for two weeks. I could remember those days clearly when I felt uneasiness and panic. I could not go back to my house and meet my family because I am a foreigner in Japan. It affected much of my friends too. “In Japan it is foreigners who are forsook first when there is something.”“It will be the same everywhere in the world.” When I complained to my family, above was the answer. It is certain that modern societies are formed by the frame of “nation-state”.  Each one of us belong to certain groups and are defined by those groups. Ofcourse, there are refugees who do not belong to any nations or multinational people. Real image is complicated.  For the people who go to foreign countries, they have to be minorities in population. If there are differences in color of skin or in speaking majority, such differences would be distinct. Due to such differences, they ought to be misunderstood or discriminated. Especially in an emergency like recent COVID-19 pandemic, such severe circumstances which minority people are put become distinct.  When I was in America, I did not wear a face mask when I out though I knew spread of infections . It was because I did not like to be involved in troubles at sight. At that time, according to news reports, Asian people, who wore face masks in the world were misunderstood to be caught by the coronavirus and had violence against them. According to “STOP AAPI HATE” platform, which was built by a non-Government organization and university officials in California for the purpose for Asian American or Pacific Islanders who could report when they receive violence, 1843cases were filed within eight weeks in between of March when this platform started.  It is said that 8.1% out of 1843 cases is physical violence and the reason, according to respondents, are masks or clothing. There are other platforms, which transmit, gather information and analyze discrimination against Asian people.  “Sinophonia Tracker” (operated by overseas Chinese researcher), “I Am Not a Virus”(campaigned by Australian non-Government organization).Hashtag on “JeNeSuisPasUnVirus” on SNS is drawing attention also. All the platform mentioned above are having all eyes about treatment of Asian people, including Chinese. On the other hand, there were reports that African immigrants in Guangdong, China had to be left compulsory by landlords and were quarantined despite of non-infection. There were other reports in India. Mongoloid people, who came from North Eastern Region and skin color is akin to Chinese and Muslims who are social minority and were violated or discriminated in non-Muslim countries. Discrimination itself has no direct relation with infectious diseases. Existing discrimination issue were disclosed furthermore by infections. Historically speaking, in the time of crisis, there have been elimination or attack on minorities which did not belong to their own group. We remember the Massacre of Koreans after Great Kanto Earthquake (of 1923) in Japan and in non-Muslim countries hostility against Muslim (minorities in population) after the synchronized terrorist attacks 9-11 in America. I think however, majority or minority is very flexible and depend on time and space. I myself, who live in Japanese society as a foreigner belong to the minority but as Chinese, who residing are majority as foreigners in Japan. Since it is difficult to distinguish us from Japanese by appearance, we may be able to camouflage as Japanese who are majority in Japan andif can speak Japanese language fluently. I think it very arbitrary to categorize by nationalities or skin colors. Amid pandemic of the COVID-19, there became few reports which are hostile to certain groups recently. However, we cannot forget any “otherings” easily which can be seen in many countries or areas in varying degrees in one level or another. In near future, there may be other pandemics on global scale and the human race may suffer from various disasters. I hope we could keep our tolerance looking back on the COVID-19 this time. WANG Wehlu / 2019 Raccoon     SGRA Kawaraban 656 in Japanese (Original)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala