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PKU Youth in Sino-Japanese Communication

OCT . 24 2017
 Peking University, Sept. 29, 2017: On August 29, Sino-Japanese Youth Exchange Meeting was successfully held at Peking University. Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council, raised three expectations to Chinese and Japanese youths: to witness, to communicate, and to be visionary. She encouraged students to look to the future with history cherished in mind and to bring positive stimulations to the Sino-Japanese relationship.

Looking back to history, PKU has always been an active participant in Sino-Japanese communication. In 1898, Liang Qichao drafted The Constitution of the Imperial University of Peking based on Chinese conditions with schooling rules borrowed from Japan. In 1903, the first group of PKU students were sent abroad with Japan as their main destination. The avant-garde of the New Culture Movement prevailing in China during the 1910s and 1920s also traveled to Japan for further study.

Nowadays PKU still plays an important role in promoting non-government exchanges between China and Japan, and provides a platform which has given thousands of youths from both China and Japan the chance to communicate and to hold a more objective view on the Sino-Japanese relationship.

JING Forum: the friendship cemented in one meeting

Five years ago, Chen Jingfu, a sophomore of PKU School of Journalism and Communication, organized and participated in the 2012 JING Forum. Due to the Diaoyu Islands dispute, the relationship between China and Japan was rather intense, which brought great obstruction to the 6-year-old JING Forum. However, youths from Peking University and Tokyo University cast off controversies and bravely anatomized the existing issues into which they gave a sharp insight. Besides the discussion about the status quo, they also focused on common development issues and committed themselves to solving these problems

After the forum, Chen’s interest toward Japan was intensely aroused. He then learned Japanese, attended the summer school in Japan, and took the internship in Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan. Like Chen, Norifumi Takei from Tokyo University, who attended the forum and became intimate with Chen, has a great interest in China as well. After the forum, he revisited China annually and reunited with Chen in either China or Japan.

Jing Forum

There are many similar stories during the JING Forum: some of the participants became friends, some found themselves in love with international affairs, and some chose to work and settle down in the other country—all participants have approached a more genuine China and Japan through this platform.

Affection for Peking University: love generated by understanding

In the fall of 2014, Ami Higuchi, a freshman of School of International Studies drew the attention of many PKU media. Ami’s father came to PKU Department of History in 1979, got his bachelor’s degree there and married a Chinese girl.

Ami Higuchi

From Ami’s perspective, the communication between China and Japan is not only embodied in political and economic aspects, but also in diverse ways of communication. For instance, her family members are using different ways to promote the friendly communication between the two countries. Ami’s father chose to teach Chinese ancient philosophy at Soka University; her mother took part in making a TV drama Daichi no ko co-produced by NHK and CCTV; her sister launched her own education company and adopted an international education concepts to broaden the horizon of young students; Ami herself, with several PKU friends, launched the Project Abroad, which provided a platform for PKUers to learn more about the entrepreneurship condition in Japan.

When it comes to the plan after graduation, Ami said that her mother had settled down in Beijing after retiring, and her father would also join her mother after retirement. As for herself, she will stay in Beijing to start her own business and continue her observation and exploration of this miraculous country.

Road of Studying abroad: keep history in mind and forge ahead

Japan’s newly-appointed ambassador to China Yutaka Yokoi is an old China hand worthy of the name: not only is he enamored of Degang Guo’s hilarious cross-talks, but also immersed in Kunqu opera The Peony Pavilion.

His in-depth knowledge of China cannot live without accumulating experience for years, and PKU is the window through which Yokoi first gained an insight into China. In 1978, Yokoi joined Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and chose to learn Chinese. In September 1980, he was sent to the Department of Chinese language and literature, PKU, for advanced studies, and stayed there for 2 years. Since then, he had been to China four times and got promoted from the Secondary Secretary and Counsellor at Embassy of China, to Asia Bureau’s Section Manager of China, Consul General in Shanghai, and Envoy to China. He was commended as “the trump card in the China school”. In March 2016, he was again sent to China to serve as Japan's new ambassador to China.

Yokoi’s experience is an epitome of how PKU has functioned in exchanges with Japan since Chinese economic reform. Many Japanese students have become “PKU Youth” via exchange programs and have embarked on new voyages to explore China at PKU. At present, PKU has signed University-Level Exchange Agreements with 37 universities in Japan and maintained close relationships with University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Kyoto University, and etc. In the fall of 2016, 272 Japanese international students chose long-term studies on campus, ranking top 3 among PKU’s international students.

Aside from school-level exchanges, there are many interactions on the level of student organizations, such as Association for Sino-Japanese Communication, Jing Forum, and etc. Whether Sino-Japanese relations fell to the worst or recovered gradually, these organizations would always carry out activities regularly, which have provided valuable platforms to review history and face challenges for both Chinese and Japanese students.

Deng Xiaoping once said: “Advancing Sino-Japanese friendship and cooperation is not a matter merely requiring one or two decades; instead, we have to view this relationship from a long-term strategic perspective, and promote it with consistent efforts.” The foundation of Sino-Japanese friendship consists in the folk, while its future is attached to the youth. The 45th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Japan reminds PKUers to remember the history, foresee the future by retrospecting the past, and use wisdom and strength to build a broader bridge of friendship between China and Japan.

Greetings from China and Japan:

Liu Yandong (Chinese Vice Premier): The friendship between China and Japan is based on the folk with its future tied to the youth. Education transcending culture, race, and religion, is the crucial force to promote dialogues and is the significant approach to carrying, spreading, and extending the core value of culture.

Yasuo Fukuda (Japan's former Prime Minister): Japanese students should communicate more with Chinese youths to deepen mutual understanding, and to be determined to construct a new era.

Cheng Yonghua (Chinese Ambassador to Japan): I expect students from Japan and China to achieve academic excellence, give full play to their strong points after entering society, and make efforts to enhance mutual comprehension, improve Sino-Japanese relations, and enlarge common interests.

Yutaka Yokoi (Japanese Ambassador to China): I hope young students from China and Japan can make friends and strike up friendships.

Lin Jianhua (PKU President): The past not forgotten serves as a guide for the future. I hope that young fellows can remember the history from which experience and lessons are drawn. The like-minded become intimates at the first meeting. And I expect you students to communicate in broader domains.

Kaoru Kamata (Waseda President): China and Japan are irreplaceably important neighbors. The Friendship from generation to generation between the two countries is the crux of world peace and prosperity.

Written by: Zhong Yaoqiong, Wei Yunqi
Edited by: Wei Yunqi, Yan Shengnan
Source: PKU News (Chinese)