SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

  • XIE Zhihai “The Governmental GoTo Campaign” -GoTo School, rather than GoTo Travel-

     I came across a blog which was written by a mother who has a daughter as first year college student. I do not know her, but her tweet weighed heavily on my mind and made me think variously. Her daughter entered college this spring, but she has never passed through college gate. Despite she is in second semester now, she is passing her time as if it is usual to stay home. Amid such circumstance, her mother received a transfer slip for tuition for the second year. She ended her tweets saying that “it’s OK GoTo Travel. But please do something for GoTo School.”  I think this tweet are real cry of parents who have children who cannot go to school and this gives indescribable bitter feeling. I wrote before in “kawaraban” that college must be the place which can offer chances to students no matter what happens. If we compare the present with one year before, I am worried about decrease of their studying time. As to teachers, they require more work than last year to prepare for their teaching and time to upload their lectures. However, it would be meaningless if parents, payers of tuition, and students cannot understand such efforts. Early popularity of on-line classes is welcomed. But there is a limit. President of Waseda University Aiji Tanaka wrote in the Weekly Magazine “Economist” on October 13, 2020 “Society at present want such human resource as tough intellectuals and flexible feelings. Tough intellectuals can learn 70% by on- line. But it will be impossible to learn flexible feeling by on-line.”  Students cannot go to school and lose time not studying are not limited.  Educational circumstances and studying time this year has brought worriedness in educating students, high-school students and students of all over the world. UK magazine “Economist” worried in their issue of July 18, 2020 that children who cannot go to school due to the COVID-19 pandemic are damaged greatly. For example, they warned possibilities of domestic abuses, malnutrition and low mental health. They pointed out how loss of learning opportunities would affect future economy saying that “according to the World Bank, in case the school closes due to the COVID-19 the loss will be 10 trillion Dollars”.  When I read this estimate of the World Bank, I remember the words first in mother’s blog (mentioned above) “GoTo School! rather than GoTo Travel”. It is said that birthrate is declining in Japan. I think the Government must establish sustainable economic policy forecasting future, rather than covering immediate economy. Everybody in Japan now know the words “GoTo Travel” which did not exist in this spring. If so, I hope the Government would establish another policy which can make up for delay of educational chances for students.  Recently, the Ministry of Education announced emergency handout to university students and subvention to universities. For example, the University of Tokyo and Waseda University paid 50 thousand yen and 100 thousand yen per person respectively to students who are in financial difficulties in order to prevent withdrawal from Universities. Of course, it is important to prevent withdrawal from school. But at this moment, opportunities of going to school are decreasing and lessons are done by “on-line”. If we can offer exciting teaching or program and students are satisfied with their selection for their Universities, they will never think of “withdrawal from school”. According to another survey, difference of annual income between University graduates and high school graduates is more than one million yen. Considering such situations, students will leave University because of financial difficulties, it would be necessary to have measures against tolerization for registered absence or giving a chance to return to school.   We must establish such measures speedily and eagerly like “GoTo School”. Severe winter is coming. However COVID-19 will increase or decrease this winter, I hope every student, who are going to school, can get chances of studying before a year 2019 or more.I like to initiate educational fields and will do my best keeping that in mind.  XIE_Zhihai / Associate Professor, Kyoai Gakuen University  SGRA Kawaraban 655 in Japanese (Original)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • KIM Sinhye “My Experience at Takahata Town”

     Rikkyo University (Faculty of Social Welfare), where I am studying at, and Takahata Town (Yamagata Pref.) started “Takahata Project” as a corporation program in April 2001. In November 2010, we concluded the Friendship Agreement and we started communicating and exchanging our opinions in various ways. For example, we had practices, exercises, research and study in agricultural experiences.   Takahata Town is an agricultural town in the south-east of Yamagata Prefecture having 23,000 populations and famous for their “Delaware Grapes” which is major production in Japan. It is called “MAHOROBA no sato” (Mahoroba village). “Mahoroba” is an archaic word and means “a beautiful and livable village surrounded by mountains and having abundant crops”. When you get off at Takahata station, Yamagata Shin-kansen, you can see Iide Mountains in the south, Asahi mountains in the west and the Mt. Zao in the east.  You can see also rich land of rice, vegetable and fruits.     I was posted to Takahata as an instructor in graduate school, Rikkyo University on June 19 and 20, 2019. It was a corporation program between Rikkyo University and Takahata High School. I had a special school and lesson to be discussed to the students who were elected for welfare course. Purpose of this program was to develop human resources who later would represent the communities in Yamagata municipalities in future.  On the first day, I lectured on “Basic social welfare” to around 50 students of second and third grade. I told them first about being catalyst and chosen the way to social welfare and explained how fun it is to learn it as students who enrolled themselves during first of April. I explained about present situation in Japan and South Korea and future issues on social welfare in both countries.   On the second day, in the class of “social welfare research” where research issues were set up by themselves, I lectured about my research, which I am proceeding now in graduate school. Then, six students of third grade presented their task-oriented research. There were variety of subject matter: solitary death, forced double suicide, taking care of elderly people, tourist information about Takahata, how to revitalize the area etc. We were interested in every topic and could deepen our discussions.  During my lecture, I told them about an aging society with a low birth rate, society where population is decreasing and city which can possibly extinct. One student commented “I have never thought of society with a low birthrate deeply and each of us have to think seriously, not as somebody else’s business. I would like to make an effort starts from our generation now. I thought it to be the first step to let other people feel sense of crisis.”What I liked to convey most to high school students is: “social welfare” is not only an issue for elderly nor handicapped people and should be grasped “as if it is our own”. And I was impressed with students accepted my opinion thoroughly.   Another student described his impression writing “I had a feeling that Kim-san, you are so cool, researching and finding solution of an issue like suicide in both countries, Korea and Japan widely.  I like to be a man who can contribute to the society facing social issues straightly.”Such writing resonated in my chest and it was a good chance to consider the meaning of my research – the issue of suicide and its protective measure -.  Beside special lecture at Takahata High school, during my two days stay at councilor house of Takahata High School (ex-staff member of Takahata town office), I got to know a lot. For example, I enjoyed precious and unusual experiences like tea ceremony, kimono and work at grape farm. Also, I enjoyed visiting Kameoka Monju (Daisho-in) which is one of the three big Monju in Japan. (other two Monju are Abe-monju in Nara Pref. and Chion-in in Kyoto).*“Monju” means transcendent wisdom.They showed me sightseeing areas like Takahata winery, Tumewari Sekitei Park (stone garden) and Akutu Yahata shrine.  Those placeswere very amusing to me.  Through my Research “Social Welfare”, I hope to continue myexchange activities not only for both countries like Japan and Korea,but also world-wide. KIM_Sinhye / 2019 Raccoon  SGRA Kawaraban 654 in Japanese (Original)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala 
  • SHIN Hyewon “How to keep proper distance?”

     When I was a junior high school student, I wrote an essay as a homework about myself. I do not remember well about its detail. But conclusion was very compliant saying “I am what I am” as a Korean who live in Japan might be beyond high flown by novels.  And I remember that I was glad when our homeroom teacher praised me.  I was a fearless teenager who were nerves about small matters keeping myself open and did not hesitate to expose my thinking in public.  Looking back that time, I feel giddy and dread to concede “a foreigner who lives in Japan”. I was not an admirable Japanese speaker. I kept sending small messages to the people around, so that they can change their rigid ideas about me.  Sociologist Prof. KISI Masahiko wrote in his book “Assimilation and Dissimilation” that minority means they are kept asking about their identities and majority means they are free from such questions. I did not know the outlook. But I think there was a strong meaning, to keep on asking the question to myself and but to people around me.    And now, I chose “foreigners” who live in Japan as my research and I am continuing it. People may think that I have become more forethoughtful and nervous as compared to my teenage. When I speak about something, I stop for a while to breathe deeply and reconsider it. It feels that I am adult now and have to speak means: If you can differentiate yourself as a person and a Researcher (Professionally) then it is a proof that you have grown up.  I am collecting and accumulating feelings of wrongness obscurely which I feel in my daily life.  At the time of entrance ceremony of schools, I heard “Only Japanese can enjoy beautifulness of cherry blossoms”, “Glad to be born in Japan”. I am not concerned about words which are unimpressive. I have just acknowledged for the words “As I thought, you are a Korean” or “Now, you are complete Japanese” despite they are not malicious. I had a feeling of frustration rather than consideration very often when I reveal my name to a friend with whom I converse. Our communication slowed eventually.  Such feelings were my motivation and basic stance of my research.I intended to proceed, keeping possible attention not to be lugged when I debate. What it means is a continual working and answering despite being severely criticized by others. It might be the same for everybody.  What I have in my thought might have been answered already and I was asked to explain it more precisely and freshly. When I went on reading predecessor’s consideration, I realized that I had to find new words for explanation. I realized to keep my thought to under one’s hat to overwhelming deed.  As individual concerned, I could not be an advocate for others. I felt strongly that I was working for unprecedent research and I proceeded my research in actual fields. What I experienced and felt in Japan was just a track. Likewise, experiences and sensitivities as “foreigners in Japan” present infinite varieties. When I encountered such occasions, I, as individual concerned, was confused, depressed and hurt. Research will not give “desirable” answers. Generalization might be just arrogance.  Looking  back as mentioned above, what I got as graduate school student were respect for predecessors and awareness for others.I got prudence also because of such respect and awareness. I could not keep proper distance between a person concerned and a researcher thou but sometimes, I became overcautious or emotional.I inspired myself thinking that other researchers would be in difficulties to keep proper distance and had trial and error.  If I could borrow my childish courage like old days when “I am what I am”, I think it would be meaningful to keep distance as “who I am”.Thinking that, I hope I will proceed my research life.  SHIN_Hyewon : 2019 Raccoon, Specially appointed Associated Professor,The University of Tokyo, Komaba, Liberal Arts Division  SGRA Kawaraban 653 in Japanese (Original)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala