Symposium promoting friendly Japan-China relations through languages held in Okinawa

Symposium promoting friendly Japan-China relations through languages held in Okinawa

On July 6, at Okinawa City Civic Hall, a symposium was held to promote a future of friendly Japan-China relations through language learning.


July 10, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On 6 July, a symposium to promote a future of friendly Japan-China relations through the learning of languages was held at the Okinawa City Civic Hall in Yaeshima, Okinawa City. With Professor Moritake Tomikawa of the Okinawa International University as coordinator, panelists stressed that youths from both countries should interact through language learning.

Associate Professor Hong Chenhui from China’s Fujian Normal University, who has experience teaching Mandarin in high schools in Okinawa, said, “Okinawa and Fujian have had a historically close tie. Through interacting and learning words from both languages to understand each other, I hope we can build a future where the youths are friendly to each other.”

Chairperson of the Society for Testing Chinese Proficiency, Japan, Keiji Ueno, said, “The number of students taking the Test of Chinese Proficiency is showing a declining trend in recent years, from a peak of 25,000 to about 15,000. This might be caused by issues surrounding Japan-China relations, such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute. However, the ability to get a deeper understanding of our neighboring countries through the study of their languages is something that will never change.”

Fujian Normal University lecturer Huang Yiyan explained that in Fujian Province alone there are 26 universities offering Japanese Language studies. He said, “The number of Japanese learners in China in general is increasing. I would like to deepen our mutual understanding by encouraging people to understand the languages of both countries.”

Akemi Sesoko of the Japan Institute of Culture and Economics (Naha) stressed the importance of learning new languages to prevent misunderstanding. She said, “Even for international relations, people should not come to a conclusion just based on bits and pieces of information. Instead, it is important that people arrive at a conclusion by learning the languages, and looking at the original source.”

Wang Dongyan, who runs the Asahi Chinese Class in Naha, said, “The current social trend where people dislike others even if they have never met is strange. I would like to develop mutual understanding with having conversations together.”

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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