SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

  • 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
  • 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       
  • Bao Lian Qun “Multilingual Localization in China during COVID-19 Pandemic”

    Soon after the new coronavirus infections was discovered, Chinese government sent more than 42 thousand medical personnel, which included national army medical teams, to 16 cities including Wuhan city in Hubei Province. We saw the Chinese words like “抗疫(fight with infections)“、”援湖北”(assist Hubei), "最前線(forefront)”、”出征(go to the front)“ in mass media and slogans of each medical teams. Mass media reported repeatedly that medical personnel were sent to the “front” (Hubei province) and was being prepared for “fighting” against infections. People nationwide were strained.  There was another “war” actually besides the “corona”. The “language war”.  Languages are strong “weapons” which are indispensable in daily lives and in social activities. But medical personnel, who were sent to Hubei, had difficulties in languages. Because there were a lot of elderly persons who spoke dialects which medical personnel baffled. Both sides could not communicate with each other’s and medical care was hindered.  As you may know, there are 56 races in the Chinese main land and you may understand there are a lot of dialects also. What I like to draw attention point out here is there are big differences among such dialects, except for few dialects, is standard Mandarin. It is said that they could not communicate each other in the past when they have crossed a mountain. People in Japan, where standard Japanese language is popular, may not be able to believe in such situation. We can say that standard Chinese language are not prevailing in the whole area in China. People, who weren’t had school education, cannot speak standard language. Especially, in the pandemic, elderly people who did not had school education or people who spoke only local dialects had difficulties in communicating with the people who came from other areas.  There are three dialects in Hubei province. Southwestern Mandarin, Lower Yangtze Mandarin and Gan Mandarin. These three dialects are divided to smaller dialects. Medical teams, who were sent to Hubei Province, engaged in their medical treatment divided into nine areas.Four areas in Southwestern Mandarin speaking area (Wuhan, Jingzhou, Yichang, and Xianyang), three areas in Lower Yangtze Mandarin area (Xiaogan, Huangshi, and Ezhiu), Huanggang dialect area and Xianning dialect area where they speak Gan dialect. Medical personnel could not understand such dialects and that affected treatment.  And patient could not answer the questions which medical staves asked and answered in local dialect as they do not know standard Mandarin.  When the medical team of Qilu Hospital in Shandong University arrived Huangang City, they realized difference of language. A nurse Mr. Z. started “self-help” because he realized communication difficulties between medical staffs and patients and affected to their medical efficaciousness.  He completed “Communication Book between Medical Staffs and Patients” on February 1 and put it to practical use at the Medical Center in Dabie-shan area.  Mr. G. who belonged to the fifth medical team in the hospital and arrived at Wuhan on February 9, realized also language problem and completed “Wuhan Dialect Practical Hand Book” (『国家援鄂医療隊武漢方言実用手册』), under cooperation of doctors and other university staff member in Wuhan, within 48 hours after his arriving at Wuhan. They used it immediately.  Mr. Li Yu-ming, Language Resources High-precision Innovation Center in Beijing, came to know that medical team in the hospital, have edited “Wuhan Dialect Practical Handbook” (『抗撃疫情湖北方言通』). And he organized a service team named “Language Service Team for Fighting Infections” under cooperation with Universities, research institutions and enterprises and completed, in only three days, a “tool” named “Wuhan Dialects for CORONA Infectious Control”. This handbook introduced translation and conversation between nine dialects in Hubei Province and standard Mandarin.  It contains 156 vocabularies and 75 sentences which are used in infection control and medical treatment. He gave this handbook to medical personnel in the “forefront” and to patients.  There are various “tools” for language problem at medical sites. Web-Site- Net-Version, On-Line Telephone, Telephone Counseling, Net Text etc.DUB (data under voice) and Micro Video are always reproduced. We have “WeChat” version too. In this “tool”, everybody can start sound reproduction system by scanning QR cord and listen sound broad casting so that sentences spoken by standard Mandarin and dialects can correspond.Moreover, “Fusion Media Pocket Book” is printed in the style of pocketbook and “TikTok” version is also prepared. Beside such tools, there contains various software like dialect translation software, voice sending software by intelligent, telephone medical assistant robots, and retrieval site by the company “Qihoo 360(Technology)” which can confirm whether it is a mere rumor or not. The government of Hubei province and Wuhan city offered video simultaneous interpretation service to overcome “language” problems.     Utilizing such printed matters, they established “Foreign Language for Corona Control“、and “Easy Chinese Language for Corona Control” (『疫情防控外語通』)and offered to medical sites and foreigners. It is said that “Easy Chinese language” (『疫情防控“簡明漢語”』) was made getting a hint from “Easy Japanese language” which are given to foreigners in Japan. More than 500 people and a lot of organizations and types of industry are involved in participation of “disaster language service” by “Language Service Team for Fighting Infection”.We understand now that huge number of people, not only medical personnel but people, who belong to other fields than medical field, involved in medical countermeasure and offered “disaster language service”.  SGRA Kawaraban 648 in Japanese (Original)  Bao Lian Qun / Professor, Oita University(Japan), Researcher at 中国言語戦略研究センター(Nanjing University)    Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala