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Yoshiko Sakurai

【#254】JINF Launches Japan Study Award to Deepen Understanding of Japan

Yoshiko Sakurai / 2014.07.10 (Thu)

July 7, 2014

     It may be needless to say that I love Japan. I really feel that values nurtured by our ancestors are precious.
     When reviewing Japan's history, I feel that Japanese have lived with nature and featured moderate cultures and civilizations, and fine-tuned sensitivity to humans. I also feel proud of and confident in our ancestors who have courageously tackled crises.
     When we felt that the Japanese spirits were left idle in the postwar regime, however, we launched the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals out of a sense of responsibility. Our original purpose was to reconstruct Japan. One of our goals ever since has been to spread and deepen Japanese studies in the international community.

Japanese qualified to make international contributions
     The international community is filled with misunderstandings rather than knowledge about Japan. The Chinese government started its struggle with Japan over history under the "patriotic education" campaign in the early 1990s when Jiang Zemin was Chinese president. In the face of Chinese and other foreign political strategies about historical issues, however, Japan has remained silent, failing to communicate Japanese values and historical facts to the rest of the world. As a result, we are now plagued with criticisms and repercussions regarding comfort women and Yasukuni Shrine visit problems.
     If historical facts are communicated to the world, the comfort women problem will disappear. If the Shinto religion is understood in the world, Japanese political leaders' visits to the Shintoist shrine of Yasukuni may no longer be any problem. This is the reason we should recommend Japanese studies in the world.
     But reversing the negative situation alone is not our aim. Japan's way of being and values contain many qualifications for contributions to the 21st century human society. We wish to deepen and promote Japanese studies for the sake of a better international community.

Dr. Doak chosen as first award winner
     We have recently built on $1 million in contributions from Ms. Mari Terada to launch the Mari Terada Japan Study Award to realize our wish.
     Dr. Kevin Doak, professor at Georgetown University, has been chosen as the first Japan Study Award winner for his excellent study, which has concluded that Japan, while having the emperor, the Shinto priest king, as the anchorage of the unity of its people, is a country of healthy civic nationalism where religious freedom is guaranteed. A special award has gone to Liu Anwei, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, a Chinese expert on Japan, who has carefully and deeply developed intellectual history of a Chinese litterateur、well-versed in Japanese culture, to give us a hope of breakthrough in soured Japan-China relations.
     We wish to further promote such excellent Japan studies. I believe the wish is a drop of water which eventually can make a large river. We at JINF would like to contribute to the international community by disseminating information and values of Japan to the world to open up a new horizon for the country.
Yoshiko Sakurai is President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.