SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

  • WANG Xing fang “Time flies like an arrow.”

    Four and a half years have passed since I came to Japan. Putting the word “time” aside, I understand the word “time” means a certain period between certain times. Based on such understanding, four and a half years is not short and have flown so fast. Time flies like an arrow. Looking back when I was a child, I felt that time is long and does not end forever. As I grew older, however, I began to feel that time was passing quickly. Such an impression is not mine. Many people have such common impressions. Why do we feel so when we grow older? There are various research and investigations about the reasons. I like to omit reasons here and write my impressions of how the stream of time flows strongly.   I remember a deep impression about Confucius (the 6th century BC) who said in his Analects at riverside “Time flies. It never stops night and day”. I have a feeling that I could have empathy with his words finally. For a long time, I have thought I could translate his words into beautiful modern words and understand their meaning. It is correct superficially. However, I was surprised at speed of time which does not stop and realized the real meaning of those words through my own experience recently. At the same time, I got a feeling of fear and scare. Scare for my life which is vanishing gradually and scared of my laziness. I do not discuss here why human beings scare for losing their lives. I like to take notice of the scare of laziness here. I was interested in why human beings fear for their laziness and why it is not good for human beings to be lazy.      When we talk about laziness, I remember a famous paragraph in which Confucius scolds Zai Yu (宰予). “Napping Zai Yu: Confucius said ‘We cannot carve on dead trees. We cannot coat on mud wall. So, it is meaningless to scall Zai Yu who is napping.” Why is he scolded just for napping? There are many explanations. Incidentally, I try to understand the meaning of the word “laziness”.   Confucius indeed criticized laziness. Then, why does he criticize laziness? There is an answer in the words “at riverside”. We can feel a stream of time in the word “riverside”. A river flows without ceasing and “all things are in a state of flux”. So, we, as human beings must make efforts day and night. We can see similar and famous words in his “周易”(Divination Book of Changes). Heaven has been moving without any ceasing. Man of virtue must exert himself to strive and devote himself without laziness adopting himself as a model of heaven.   Heaven moves healthily without stopping. All things change without stopping. Human beings, as a part of nature, must follow and make efforts forever. It may be a reason for a human being of Confucianism. I think it is an attractive answer. By the way, I tried to find out an answer by searching on the internet or asking friends around me. The answers varied. Popular opinion is “Laziness is not particularly bad”. Why? Lazy or ‘not lazy” depends on individuals and is up to them.   We try to find the answer in Heaven or ourselves. I can see a distinction there between tradition and modern ages.     SGRA Kawaraban 730 in Japanese (Original)     WANG Xing fang /2021 Raccoon, Studying at Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, Faculty of Law, The University of Tokyo     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • LEE Chung-sun “My ‘Power Plant’ bloomed in a foreign country.”

    South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol visited United Arab Emirates (UAE) early in the New Year. The visit of the South Korean prime minister to UAE was the first time since 1980 when both countries normalized their diplomatic relations and both countries have been promoting their friendships and economic cooperation since then. President Yoon and his economic mission visited the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant site which KEPCO (Korean Electric Power Corporation) consortium built and operated after getting an order in December 2009.   I noticed one picture in which we can see President Yoon and KEPCO employees who work in Barakah Power Plant. I noticed my ex-boss behind President Yoon whom I have worked together ten years ago. I saw my colleague also who was smiling proudly with his unique facial expression.   KEPCO is my ex-workplace where I have been working for eleven years before I came to Japan as a foreign student in 2015. I have been working at Cheongju (清州) and Seoul HQ from 2003 to 2014. And I became a project member for getting an order for four units of a Nuclear Power Plant in Barakah. I dedicated myself to the project for one year together with my colleagues at the top-secret basement room of headquarters which was called “War Room”. Exaggeratedly speaking, the room was a top-secret space which associates underground room in the movie “Parasite”.   Through a course of patience, the KEPCO consortium has succeeded in getting an order amounting to 40 billion dollars overcoming strong competitors like US-Japan Consortium or France Consortium. In South Korea, December 27 is a national holiday for celebrating nuclear safety and promotion. This date means the KEPCO consortium got the order and was nominated by UAE as a final business operator. The figure$40 billion is the biggest in South Korean overseas contracts up to now.   After getting an order, I was responsible for administration works at Barakah Nuclear Power Plant till 2014 end when I resigned. Administration works covered the administration of personal, general affairs, financial affairs, remittance, and top-secret documents. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and strong worldly desires. It gave me a strong trace of laughter and tears also in my thirty’s biography.   In the early stage of my studying in Japan, I had a feeling that it might be too late to become a researcher. However, I am just around the corner of obtaining a Ph.D. now and elicited another conclusion. Namely, those eleven years of social experiences became my valuable assets and became “My Power Station” which made me work energetically. I could have a variety of experiences. creation of the business report, analysis of a variety of conference materials, presentation by myself, business collaboration with foreign VIPs as a liaison person in charge, keeping our promises, understanding of different cultures, adherence to business ethics, positive attitude, etc. Looking back at those eleven years of experience, it made me resilience against any difficulties and gave me a source of power towards tomorrow.   The UAE Power Station stopped at the end of the year 2014 in me. But another “Power Station” has been keeping running in myself in Japan. First, my doctoral dissertations which I have finished writing recently, although they may be immature, will be my first “Power Station”. Early in the New Year 2023, I am full of emotion confirming my “Power Station” thinking having sowed seeds that grew ripe in the desert as Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.   Construction of nuclear power plants delay five to ten years usually. KEPCO Consortium, however, could succeed in its construction work as scheduled within the budget overcoming a lot of unfavorable conditions. When President Yoon visited UAE (as mentioned above), UAE promised to make an additional investment to South Korea amounting to 30 billion dollars. It is because UAE admitted that the Consortium has kept its construction period and its mission for the project. So, I like to operate my “Power Station” in a foreign country at my own pace, temperature, and style from my viewpoint. After my getting degree, I like to keep getting and constructing hereafter No. 2 and 3 “Power Stations” aiming for the next stage.   Barakah Nuclear Power Plant remained an eternal and unfinished plant in my mind. I like to send my applause to my ex-colleagues who completed the plant and Raccoon members who are operating their own “Power Plants” around the world.     SGRA Kawaraban 729 in Japanese (Original)     LEE Chung-sun / 2021 Raccoon, being enrolled at the University of Tokyo, Ph.D.      Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • LI Kotetsu / “養鶏金卵と殺鶏取卵(Feed a chicken to take eggs or kill a chicken to get meat and eggs)”

    SGRA kawaraban 943 of November 3 reported my essay “Let’s learn about Taiwan more” which the author reported at the session of INAF (Institute for Northeast Asian Future) of the 6th Asia Future Conference.    I made a report under the theme “Re-organization of Global Supply Chain in Semiconductor Industry - Struggle for Hegemony between the United States and China, and Taiwan”. Amid such severe trade friction and struggle for hegemony between the US and China, it is said that a “Country which controls semiconductors can control the 21st century”. I gathered and analyzed articles and tried to clarify the relations between the US, China and Taiwan for the development, production and sales of semiconductors.   In November, we got noteworthy news related to this theme. “(Central Bangkok) Summit Talks of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Corporation) ended in Bangkok on November 19. Morris Chang (91 years old), on behalf of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, revealed at a press conference on the 19th night that he had unofficial talks with Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, in the morning of 18th, the first day of the conference. According to Mr. Chang, they exchanged greetings in the breakroom on the morning of the 18th. When he told Xi that he got an operation on hip joint last year, Xi Jinping responded saying “I’m glad to see that you seem fine”. He said also about the meeting with US Vice President Kamala Devi Harris. According to him, Ms. Harris welcomes the factory construction of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), which is a leading company in the semiconductor industry, in Arizona and showed American determination which supports Taiwan. Mr. Chang is a founder of TSMC and it is the sixth time since he was elected as the representative of APEC in 2006. It is the fifth time since 2016 since President Tsai’s inauguration.   TSMC is a world-leading semiconductor company. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan, Taiwan foundry (contract manufacturing of semiconductors) is enjoying a 70 percent market share in the world. It is said that TSMC, the top of the foundry, exceeds 50%. Especially, they are taking lead in the world in the logic device industry. According to SIA (Semiconductor Industrial Association in America), 92% of factories which can produce less than one nano-meter line width exist in Taiwan and 8% in South Korea. Especially foundries in Taiwan can produce the world’s latest computer chips which can be mounted in almost all high-tech machines such as from cell phones to fighter planes.   As to semiconductors, both USA and China rely on Taiwan. According to the Nikkei Shinbun, TSMC is supplying high-performance chips Xilinx which can be mounted on F-35 jet fighters and other military chips approved by the US Department of Defense. We do not know how the US army relies on Taiwan chips. But we can imagine its importance from the fact that US Government pressurize TSMC to move their military chip factory to the US mainland from Taiwan. US industry relies on Taiwan semiconductors. It is said that only TSMC can supply 5nm processor chips which are mounted on the products line of iPhone 12, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. A15 Bionic chips which are built-in into the latest gadget of iPhone 13 or iPad mini of Apple are made by TSMC. Other big enterprises in America like Qualcomm, NVIDIA, AMD and Intel are TSMC’s clients.   China imported semiconductor chips amounting to USD 300billion from Taiwan in 2020. Needless to say, Taiwan is the biggest import source of China. They are investing hundreds of billions of Dollars to minimize their dependability on foreign chips under the plan “China Made 2025”. But it will take time to cover their needs by domestic supply. SMIC, semiconductor manufacturer in China, have entered 7nm production recently. But they are a few generations behind TSMC which produce 3nm or 2nm already. It means Chinese companies cannot help but rely on Taiwan-made chips. Huawei, the Chinese high-tech company, is the second largest customer of TSMC and relies on TSMC for 5nm and 7nm processors. It is said that Huawei contributed to TSMC’s revenue by 12% in 2021.    What kind of relations are there between the above report and the title of this essay “養鶏金卵と殺鶏取卵“? The two idioms which consist of four Chinese characters are Chinese proverbs. It means “Feed chickens for the purpose to keep taking eggs or kill chickens to get eggs and eat their meat”. The clever choose the former and the stupid choose the latter.   US Government applied a permission system for the export of semi-conductor production equipment for miniaturization 14 nm or more to SMIC, the biggest foundry in China. It is an embargo. US Government tightened regulations having applied a permission system for the export of high-efficient AI chips to China which are suspected to be used for military purposes. On August 9, CHIPS Bill was enacted in the US. It encourages production capacity, research and development, and supply chain of the US semiconductor industry by subsidy amounting$52.7 billion and tax deduction. People say, “The one who controls semi-conductors can control the world”. If Taiwan would be swallowed by China, China could control the world. The US, the hegemony, cannot concede it. We want to avoid the US-China war over the Taiwan matter.     How is the correspondence of China? When Nancy P. Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan on August 2, a few authorities in China reacted all at once saying “she violated Chinese ‘Red-line’”. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called up US Ambassador Mr. William J. Burns at night unusually. He condemned severely saying “Nancy P. Pelosi provoked intentionally and destroyed peace and stability of Taiwan strait. The result is very important. We cannot overlook it and you must compensate for your mistake.” In the afternoon of four days after the return of Pelosi to the US, China announced that they had “Important military exercise” at surrounding areas of Taiwan strait having launched eleven missiles at six airspaces and waters. We remember it vividly.   At the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, General Secretary Xi Jinping said that “We never promise we waive our use of force” and “We must accomplish our reunification”. The most important theme of “Great reconstruction of ‘Zhonghua minzu (Chinese race)’ in his saying is “Homeland unification”. The US and the West analyze that Xi Jinping aims at Taiwan unification during his term of office. If Xi Jinping understands peaceful reunification of Taiwan is difficult (the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan is opposing their unification), unification by use of armed might “cannot be denied”.   According to a net-media “観察者網”(Observer Network?)、economist Ms. Chen Weiling, China Center for International Exchange (she is said to be one of the influential economist for policy making of the Government) made a speech at a lecture meeting of People’s University of China on May 30. She said, “If the US and the West impose destructive sanctions on China like against Russia, we must get back Taiwan for the reconstruction of the supply network. TSMC was originally Chinese own”.     If the Chinese Government would decide and take an action following her words, it may lead to a war for the “liberation of Taiwan”. It means that if China would expect to get Taiwan which lay eggs, it is the same that China killing Taiwan only for getting one egg. I hope the leaders of China would not be so stupid. China should select the way of the wise men “feed chickens to be kept supplying eggs”. It is a way for peace. In such meaning, flexible diplomatic meeting of Mr. Morris Chan with leaders of the US and China at APEC had an important meaning.     SGRA Kawaraban 725 in Japanese (Original)     LI Kotestu / Chairman of INAF (Institute for Northeast Asian Future)     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • DALE Sonja “I participated in Asia Future Conference from home”

    I am looking forward to joining Asia Future Conference (AFC) which open happens every two years. I am interested in not just the presentation and discussion at AFC but also the meeting with Raccoon (Scholarship students of Atsumi International Foundation) around the world. For me, AFC is an event which is bustling and filled with laughter. AFC was postponed one year due to Covid-19 and opened as a hybrid conference this time. Almost all participants, including myself, joined from their homes on an online basis. We regret we could not go to Taiwan. I report about this unique AFC experience as follows.   I was involved in sessions as a chairman, closing ceremony as the emcee and the round-table conference of Asian Cultural Dialogues (ACD). ACD which was suggested by Mr. Tunoda, Director General of Atsumi International Foundation, is the forum of network and discussion.   I was in charge this year for the first time. Due to Covid-19, the program became shorter than what was originally planned. The theme was “Mental health trauma and fatigue in Asia” because we have daily stress and change in our society due to Covid-19. After the presentations from Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, we had comments from India, Thailand and Japan and had discussions with them.   The effect of Covid-19 was on a global scale. But the correspondence and situation of each country are different. It was very interesting to understand and discuss such differences among members of the conference. I was impressed by the report of Professor Maria Lourdes Rosanna E de Guzman from the Philippines. She reported that their government began to support mental health thanks to activists who fought for a long time and got achievements. The report about relations between inequality of gender and mental health by Mr. Vickie Skorji, Japan put me in a thoughtful state. I acknowledged the importance of proper correspondence having imagined people in various positions.   Commentators: Mr. Carine Jacqet and Ranjana Mukhopadhaya(Raccoon member), have both been involved in ACD round-table conference before. Professor Kuritaya Sreesunpagi has only been involved in this ACD round-table conference recently. I got a feeling of a big influence of Covid-19 and studied about political issues and its relationship with Covid-19. I could have a feeling of continuity and bonds with ACD network and like to express my respect for Mr. Tsunoda and the people who have participated from the beginning. After fulfilling the discussion, we had ten minutes of meditation under the direction of Mr. Kuritaya and could end our session with a refreshed feeling. I had a feeling of the necessity of caring myself first even amid there are a lot of tough things in the world and a lot of things which I must do. Thanks a lot, to everyone who participated.   AFC’s charm is meeting with researchers whose specialties are not in my field. Although there were many engineering presentations at the panel discussion in which I was a chairman, I could listen to their presentations with full curiosity. I think we could enjoy the conference to some extent online basis though the number of audiences was not so many. I could have a pleasant feeling when I saw their smiles at the closing ceremony. I liked to tell my acquaintances “Hi! How are you?”. But I, as a chairman who should be serious, endured. The conference closed in a livened atmosphere having announced that the next venue is Bangkok.   Frankly speaking, online AFC was lonely a little. But I think it wonderful that we could have the conference under the situation of Covid-19. I am looking forward to seeing them again in Bangkok. Let’s toast!     SGRA Kawaraban 724 in Japanese (Original)     DALE Sonja / 2012 Raccoon, Independent researcher (specialize in gender sexuality, process for social minority and its exclusion)       Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Khin Maung Htwe “Asia Future Conference – As a participant after an interval of twenty years”

    I participated as a reporter at Round Table Talks II of Asia Future Conference under the title “Community and Global Capitalism - After all, the world is small!” I was invited by Ms. Imanishi, Executive Director of Atsumi International Foundation and Professor F. Maquito. I had a feeling that I came back to my student life after twenty years. As I have been putting my effort into hotel management and tourist business in Myanmar, I talked under the title “Tourist business and development of a community in Myanmar”. I reported on the development of the tourist business in Myanmar and I took action after the pandemic and the change of government.    In Myanmar, almost all the hotels were forced to close by COVID-19. But some of them began reopening on the condition of certification by the Health and Safety Protocol (HSP). This protocol is based on the rule of the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) which was made by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Tourism. It became necessary for the  hotel side to make various preparations against COVID-19 and train and teach their staff members about COVID-19. Furthermore, they had to educate community people about tourism. There are three certificates by the Ministry of Tourism. Regional Level HSP, National Level HSP and International Level HSP. It will be difficult for hotels which will reopen hereafter without National Level HSP. I, as one of such leaders, have a responsible feeling of training and dissemination.   In safe tourist areas, the number of domestic tourists increased. As the Government reopened visa applications online basis, the number of foreign tourists and businesspeople increased also. However, problems are piling up. For example, price increases, runup of international fuel prices and domestic currency fluctuation are very influential. In such circumstances, I made my presentation implying that I have been working hard every day expecting the development of people and communities which participate in tourism. They developed tourism resources such as the nature or history of Myanmar’s “Asian Paradice” cleverly.   After my presentation, I enjoyed discussing with other presenters from many countries forgetting the time under the wonderful presider of the roundtable conference, Professor F. Maquito.           Recently, we had meetings or conferences a lot with people concerned about Myanmar tourism. I think the academic and international meetings of this type has been conducted for the first time in twenty years and I felt rejuvenated.   I hope I could do my best for peaceful earth and better communities.   Recently civil life in Myanmar has changed a lot not only by COVID-19 but regime changes which drew worldwide attention also. The security issue, however, is not for the whole country but for a limited area. In tourism areas, the economy has already recovered from an increase in domestic tourists.   Regime change is a domestic issue. It is necessary for people to think for themselves and take their actions considering their own everyday lives. Seeking freedom should be based on their thinking despite there being a gap in their levels. It is the most important for them to live thinking their daily lives. If there would not freedom in Myanmar, I could not participate in this online conference.     SGRA Kawaraban 723 in Japanese (Original)     Khin Maung Htwe / Founder of “Hotel AKIMOKU” (it is highly evaluated as “Little Japanese Village”) in Myanmar, Research Assistant of Faculty of Science and Engineering Waseda University     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • LI Kotetsu “The 6th AFC INAF Session Report ‘Let’s learn more about Taiwan’”

    The 6th Asia Future Conference has been scheduled to have at China Culture University in Taipei at the end of August this year. However, the conference was held in a hybrid style due to COVID. Participants gathered at the University and overseas participants who could not come to Taipei joined online basis. I think the Conference was successful because a lot of people from all over the country could participate.   On August 28, the second day of the Conference, we had many subcommittees. Two of them were organized by INAF (Institute for Northeast Asian Future). I, as chief of INAF, made an appeal to staff members of the Institute from the preparatory stage. I told them to use the best of the Institute setting themes on the relations between Northeast Asian countries and Taiwan. These sessions drew attention as unique sessions which could cover their politics, history, economy and industries.      People who have little chance to visit Taiwan applied their entry to the Conference at first. But their wishes were not come true because of COVID.   Under such circumstances, presenters prepared everything using their enormous energy despite of their busyness. They have their own professional fields which had no particular relation with Taiwan. The numbers of researchers in Japan and Taiwan are very limited due to Taiwan’s special circumstances.   The first special circumstance is that one country was divided into two countries, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China after World War II in 1949. The second circumstance is present in the world. The presence of the People’s Republic of China is large and that of the Republic of China is small. The last is the representation at the United Nations. During the period from the year 1945 to 1970/ October, the Republic of China represented the UN. However, after October 1970, the People’s Republic of China took place and a lot of countries in the world accepted PRC’s condition that “when they conclude diplomatic relations, only PRC represents China” and they broke off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. I hope the Republic of China can appear in the footlights at INAF sessions.   Part 1: We had three reports and discussions under moderator Mr. Hitosi HIRAKAWA, the Chief Director of INAF   The first report was made by INAF researcher LI Ang, Doctoral Course of University of Tsukuba under the title “Separation of Politics and Economy in political and economic worlds against China”- focusing on Newspaper reports-”. He researched media reports in the 1950s on how private trade was made under the circumstances of no diplomatic relations between China and Japan. He inquired into the ties between Japan and China sharply saying how Japan handled private trades and managed relations with China. It was very interesting. We had a debate being managed by Ms. Kumiko HABA, INAF Director, and Professor at the University of Kanagawa.     The second report was made by Mr. Tomohiko KAWAGUCHI, Director of INAF, under the title “Relations between North Korea - Taiwan and their International Relations”. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has not communicated with Taiwan which belongs to the democracy bloc because they have close connections with the Soviet Union and China which belong to the Socialist bloc. It is no exaggeration to say their relations are blank. However, Mr. KAWAGUCHI tried his best to gather the best handouts which were made by Korean researchers.   Based on such research, he separated diplomatic relations between North Korea and Taiwan into three terms : the first period “Flexible diplomacy : 1972~1987”, the second period: “Practical diplomacy : 1988~1999” and “Stylization period : 2000~present”. He introduced their diplomatic relations and economic exchanges in each period. His research might be a pioneer work in Japan. The debate was managed by Mr. Mitsuhiro MIMURA, INAF Director, and Chief Researcher of North Korea of ERINA (The Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia).   The third report was made by Professor Andrey BELOV, Fukui Prefectural University under the title “Economic Relations between Russia and Taiwan”. As Taiwan had no diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union or Russia for the same reason mentioned above、there are few pieces of research about their economic exchange. But he found Taiwan had energy and semiconductor trades with those two countries in various materials which he gathered. His works might be one of the pioneer works. Debate on this point was managed by me.   Part 2 :We had two reports under Director Tomohiko KAWAGUCHI as a moderator and had a debate.   The fourth report was made under the title “Imperial Structure in Eastern Asia and Subaltern states Taiwan and Korea” by Associate Professor Chen Boy, University of Niigata Prefecture.   He is the only researcher who came from Taiwan and specialized in international relations and politics in Eastern Asia. He made a lot of research presentations on the ties between Taiwan and China or Taiwan and Japan. He explained about “Subaltern” first. According to him, it is subordinate relations in economics, socialistic, racial, linguistic and cultural. He explained also the relations between Korea and Taiwan is a typical example of a subaltern state in East Asia. It was very impressive. Debate on it was managed by Tomotetsu SADO, INAF Director.    The last report was done by me under the title “Reorganization of Global Supply Chain in Semiconductor Industry – Hegemony Struggle between America and China、and Taiwan –”. I am not a specialist of semiconductor industry. Trade friction and the hegemony struggle between America and China are increasing now. And, people say, “If you could forestall semiconductors, you would forestall the world”. Under such a situation, I tried to gather and analyze materials as much as possible and tried to make clear the relations between America, China and Taiwan over the development, production and sales of semiconductors. Debate on this subject was managed by Hitoshi HIRAKAWA, Chief Director of INAF.   Following those reports and debates, we had heated discussions. Since we had the 6th Asia Future Conference in Taiwan, we focused on Taiwan at the INAF session. A lot of participants joined online basis because we could give them interesting reports and analyses. I think we could give them a meaningful place to communicate and interact.     SGRA Kawaraban 720 in Japanese (Original)     LI Kotetsu /Chief of INAF, Representative of Team “Concept of Asia”     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • CHEN Tzu-Ching “At the finishing party of the 6th Asia Future Conference”

    “See you next year at Taipei, Taiwan!” My words above were addressed at the closing party of the 5th Asia Future Conference (AFC) in Philippines in January 2020 together with ex-President Shui Shing-chin、Chinese Culture University and Taiwan Raccoon (Atsumi scholarship students).   Do they remember the what volcanic eruption next day of Conference?  Runway of the airport was closed by volcanic ash, and we had to wait long time at airport. They had to change their return flight in confusion.   We started our preparation for the 6th AFC after coming back from Japan. However, we have started our preparation since long time ago actually. It was the time when we visited volcano. Professor Shui advised us “Let’s have a liaison conference for preparation” at observation deck just before eruption.     One month later, we had a meeting in Taiwan. Ms. Imanishi and Mr. Tsunoda from Japan and three AFC members from Thailand joined.   We had tight schedule from morning to night for inspection of accommodations and trying Taiwanese sampling foods. Many opinions flied out how to make Taiwanese charm points known to people.   Taipei one-o-one (101) Building is famous as a landmark. Do you know the Grand Hotel in Taipei? It is 14-story Chinese Palace style hotel having red pillars and golden roof tiles and it is the first five-star hotel in Taiwan. We found banquet hall where people can enjoy prestigious feeling. We saw 11 meters high ceiling where coiling dragon throwing up beads in the sky. Each member thought if we would have our closing party there, we could have glorious atmosphere. And we decided to reserve this hall.   At that time, we did not imagine Covid would become so influential in the world.  In Taiwan, we were on the alert and masks were rationed. I remember clearly that Imanishi-San asked me “Can I give you masks?” when she came back to Japan at the airport. And I replied, “No thank you, please keep it for yourself”. I did not imagine supply of mask became so insufficient. On March 19, 2020, just after Imanishi-San and others went back to Japan, Taiwan closed borders and Covid spread throughout the world.   Amid a circumstance which we could not see a convergence of Covid, preparation committee members discussed many times whether we can have face-to-face conference. It is the best part of the Asia Future Conference to have opportunity to be able to have academic exchange through face-to-face discussions with scholars from various countries. However, we decided to postpone the 6th AFC which was scheduled to be held in Taiwan in August 2021 thinking “We can see some hope if we will postpone one year.”  And we decided to have online “Pre-conference” on August 26, 2021, as a propaganda instead.   We could finish “Pre-conference” successfully aiming for actual conference. However, Covid took an unexpected turn having mutated to “delta” and “omicron” from “beta” and we could not decide style of conference, ‘online’ or ‘hybrid’ or ‘face-to-face’. As the preparation committee, we thought communication through face-to-face style, which is the best part of the AFC, is important. However, we decided ‘hybrid’ style finally because there were immigration restrictions. It was the first challenge for the AFC.   We had hectic atmosphere till few days before the conference and had to take temporary measures. The number of infected persons among panelists and interpreters increased one after another. At five minutes before the midnight of August 25, we got a sudden request from secretariat that information in English, which would be released on the 26th, should be interpreted into Chinese. We had a tense moment whether “we are in the time or not in the time” in the unit of second. We realized now that we can start our conference with various network and team members were mobilized.   On August 27, the conference started at Chinese Culture University which locates in a mountain of norther part of Taipei. Although there were various restrictions against Covid in Taiwan like ‘keep a distance’ ‘wearing masks’ etc. We got a lot of people at conference hall.   At the symposium, professors who are active in various fields, starting from an Epidemiologist Doctor Chen Chien-jean Ex-Vice President of the Republic of China, told us variously about COVID-19 as a keynote speech. According to one of the panelists, Doctor Huang Sheng-Jean (ex-Director of TAIPEI City Hospital), keynote and other speeches were perfect for our objectives of the Conference “Our issues shall be solved by ourselves”. We agreed fully.  Thanks to proactive corporation from every member of Chinese Culture University, staff members from Japan and Thailand and preparation committee members, we could carry out keynote speech, symposium, round table talks and breakout sessions for three days smoothly. We cannot forget corporation from a lot of people behind. I thank them from bottom of my heart.   I spent those three days nervously having so many roles as a member of preparation committee, commentator, moderator, presenter or co-presenter using Japanese, Chinese and English (I am not used to). It gave me a lot of motivation that my new research theme was evaluated as “Best Presentation”. I acknowledged that the Conference could establish fields that we can share results of new research or challenge and established also other fields that scholars from different fields or countries discussed from different viewpoints. I am so glad that I could participate the Conference.   The 6th AFC ended safely. I feel sorry for the fact that we could not manage face-to-face conference. However, I think era of hybrid style conference would become normal.   The conference from the 1st to 6th, we had no-Covid era, Covid-era, post-Covid era and with-Corona era. What kind of era will it be next? The 7th conference will be held in Bangkok where we had the 1st conference. I am looking forward what kind of subject would be talked.    Then, I like to pass the baton to Bangkok from Taipei.   See you in Bangkok in August 2024.     SGRA Kawaraban 718 in Japanese (Original)     CHEN Tzu-Ching / SGRA member, Professor Ochanomizu University (Cultural Sciences)     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • XIE Zhihai ”Thinking of ‘War and Peace’ from Picasso-Guernica”

    Summer vacation is over now, and we can see school children who carry Randoseru (school bag) in school uniform.  In Japan, on August 6 and 9, we consider of atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and on August 15, we welcome the End of World War II Memorial Day and taste the preciousness of peace. However, everybody can hardly believe there was a war on earth now, 77 years after World War II.   We, my family, ended August without any trips or outing. However, I think we could spend memorable summer vacation having a chance to speak about war and peace. There is the Museum of Modern Art in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture and we can see a famous tapestry “Guernica” by Picasso as their permanent collection. My wife told me she likes to let our children see it and I accompanied. Staff member of the Museum had a plan “Let’s talk in front of “Guernica”. He explained children kindly the most interesting part of “Guernica” withholding the words “War” and “Peace”. Children could not think of a word “War” from Guernica and wondered “why human and animal are drawn in this way?” However, they were inputted “it is an anger against war drawn by famous painter Picasso”.   Museum staff explained us that there are three Guernica tapestries in the world, and one is in United Nation Headquarters in New York. He also explained Picasso himself joined supervision of threads and colors which were used for making tapestry. According to him, he visited a school near the Museum and discussed with students how they feel in their heart in front of Guernica.   A few days later, Guernica became a topic again at home. My son, primary school student, told us that teacher told him about a picture book, the word account is low, titled “Sensou sinai (we do not engage in War)”. According to my checking, it was written by Shuntaro Tanigawa. I recalled he has said in some TV interview that it was at his junior high school age when there was the Great Tokyo Air Raid, WWII in 1945.   I think it is great to engrave the history of War in children’s heart by handing down the War using pictures and picture books for thoughts of peace. According to my son staff member of the Museum told him “In Japan, student study about Guernica at the sixth grade in elementary school.” I asked my wife “Is it sixth grade when you learn about Guernica?” She replied, “At seven-year-old!” She added “I had a birthday present titled “Beautiful Picture” written by Kako Satoshi at the first year of elementary school. Guernica was introduced in this book. Shuntaro Tanigawa and Kako Satosi ! There is no place where I, as a scholar of international relations can do. Because they convey easily toward wider generations what they like to say and remains in readers’ heart long.   I had a class this spring about “International Relations” and “Learn about history of international relations”. And I taught about difficult issue “War and Peace” also. We recalled war and peace in the 20th century and thought of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine together. I told students that there is a war in the 21st century and now is the time to consider war strongly. I have been reading difficult academic books about war and peace. However, I like to read now easier books which are written for ordinary people and children.    In autumn term I will keep in mind to speak to students about war and peace more easily to understand.     SGRA Kawaraban 716 in Japanese (Original)     XIE Zhihai / Associate Professor, KYOAI Gakuen University     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • CHEN-Yijie “Meaning of the Original in Art Appreciation”

    When I majored in art history, teachers repeated their words “In art appreciation, it is the most important to watch original works”. At first, I had a little doubt in such words. It may be necessary to check the original when you appraise authenticity together with paper, print and mounting. However, if you like to enjoy the art, is it important to discriminate original and copy?   Thanks to the progress of technology, it became possible to preserve high-precision print replica or graphics data. There is an anecdote. When a Chinese specialist for Chinese art history found a famous masterpiece of the Chinese Southern Song Dynasty in a hotel in Japan, he was much surprised. It was a copy made by Japanese publisher “NIGEN-sha”. A copy which can deceive professionals is said to be the one “which is almost the same with the original. But it is one rank lower than the original because it is copies”. However, high-precision graphics data can be enlarged easily and be confirmed in detail. On the other hand, when you see the original in museum, you cannot discriminate because it is too dark and too far. I think it better to use graphics data than the original when you analyze graphics.   I got an answer against such question about “the original” when I studied in Japan. I would like to state my impression taking Japanese arts as an example.   First, there are differences in ‘size’. In Japanese paintings, ‘byoubu’ (folding screens) and portraits account for a large percentage. However, when we see byoubu and portraits in catalogues or graphic data on PC, those sizes become smaller than the original due to limit of size of catalogues. Impact on viewers depends on size. Impact which you look up on portrait in hall of ‘Nijo Castle’ in Kyoto is incomparable with sensitivity which you see illustrations in art books. Figure painting is the same. Life-sized graphics can shorten a distance between appreciators and figures in painting and leave an impression as real human beings. In case of gigantic buddha or God in religious mural paintings, it emphasizes its impersonality and awake sublime respect of viewers. If size would be changed by duplicates, it will become difficult to understand real intention of producers.       Next, there is a unique appeal in material. In Japanese art, mineral paints or gold /silver leaf are used generally. Paints which are made by mineral reflect by change of beam. This glittering shimmer bring transparency and liveliness in scenes. Photo printer and graphic data cannot bring such charms of the material. Gold or silver color is one of the most difficult points to reproduce in photos and become worse when you print. The works by Higashiyama Kai (1908-1999) are good examples. I have tried many times to confirm his pictures in works of art or lectures by Power point. But I could not feel charisma.  It was the year 2018 that I found its beautifulness when I saw his original at “Higashiyama Kai Exhibition at his 110th birthday anniversary” at the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art. When I stood in front of his paintings, I had a feeling which I wandered in the dark and chilly forest at night.      Lastly, I think it is impossible to find intention of creators in their composition without special display methods. When we talk about painting on the ceiling of lecture hall in temples, “Happou Niramino no Ryuu” (Dragon which glares in all directions) is famous. When you look up at ceiling, you feel that you are stared by dragon wherever you are. You can see such dragon at Shokokuji-temple, Kenninnji-temple, Nanzennji-temple and Tenryuji-temple, all in Kyoto. Some Byobu (folding screen) create three-dimensionality using its ruggedness. Both “Unryu-zu byobu” (folding screen of cloud dragon) (The important cultural property of 1773) by Maruyama Oukyo (1733-1795) and “Kan-getu” (winter moon) by Konoshima Oukoku (1877-1938) (you can see at KYOCERA Museum of Art in Kyoto) are these kinds of pattern.   During these few years of my studying in Japan, I saw a lot of the original paintings which  broadened my horizons and recognized deeply the important meanings of “the original” in art appreciation. I would like to share such knowledge with all of you.       SGRA Kawaraban 713 in Japanese (Original)     CHEN-Yijie / 2021 Raccoon, Doctor of The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (International Research Center for Japanese Studies)     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala
  • HU Shi “Genetic Modification”

    You can see words “genetic modified” or “non-modified” on labels of goods at supermarkets or convenient stores. We are taking a lot of “genetic modified foods” without noticing them because technologies of genetic modification are applied in feeds or materials of processed foods. As I have been researching for genetic modified plants as a student in Japan, I would like to explain about genetic modification here.     What is “Gene”? According to a course book of biology, genes is made up of DNA segment which carry genetic information. “What is DNA?” Answer is Deoxyribonucleic Acid. Then, what is Deoxyribonucleic Acid? Questions and answers are endless. Simply put, genes can be said to be an engineering drawing for creatures. This drawing determines how creatures grow adapting to the environment. In case of human beings, genes determine gender, appearances, physical conditions or having congenital and untreatable diseases. It may determine lives of descendants.     There are many technologies which can change quasi figuration. For example, single-edged eyelids can be changed to double by operation. People can change their eye-color by wearing contacts. Gender can be changed by operation too. Changes mentioned above are superficial and things which are set on by genes cannot be changed. Some people cannot lose weight even though they eat less foods. Why? Some people do not become ill even though they do not exercise. Why? There are persons whose diseases are incurable. Why? … People think “Everything is determined by God”. However, it is genes that decide everything. The work of scientists is deciphering of this engineering drawings of “genes” to change our daily life.   What is “Genetic Modification”? Genes modification is technology which install a part of creature’s genes in cells to other creatures and express. Simply put, when creature ‘A’ has an adverse point for its’ quality of life and creature ‘B’ has no such point, creature ‘A’ can survive having no adverse point by transferring genes of ‘B’.    The first genetic modification plant was tobacco in 1983 in America. In 1994, genetic modification tomato, called ‘Flavor saver tomato’ was sold for the first time in the world. Genetic modification crops have merits such as disease and pesticides resistance or big volume of yield amount. In Japan, they are importing big amount of genetic modified crops and using as raw materials for processed foods and livestock feeds. It is said that 90% of corn, cotton, rapeseed and soybean are genetic modified crops in Japan.    Safety of genetic modification crops If you worry about genes transformation to human beings, I do not think it is “impossible” logically. “Spider-man” in the movie was born bitten “genetic modified super-spider”. But I do not think it to be materialized in these few decades. For example, there is a question about modified rice plants which BT genes are introduced. “We know insects in such rice plants are killed. However, are they harmless for human beings?” When insects eat modified rice plants, protein which are produced by BT genes will combine with receptors of insects. And it results in killing insects. Human beings or other creatures which have no such receptors as insects have no effects. There remains concern a little in safety of genetic modification crops. Don’t worry about imported genetic modification foods. Because they are imported under severe safety inspections.   “Genetic modification” is technical term and there are no relations with “good” or “bad”. There are no relations with “right” or “wrong” in technical term. It is possible that we, as consumers, do not serve genetic modification foods on the table. It is possible also that we avoid putting on clothes which use genetic modification cottons. I hope you would not deny results of research by scientists.      SGRA Kawaraban 711 in Japanese (Original)     HU Shi / 2021 Raccoon, Nissan Chemical Corporation (in charge of development of pesticides)     Translated by Kazuo Kawamura English checked by Sabina Koirala