Chairperson, Board of the Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan
Chancellor,The Ritsumeikan Trust
President, The Ritsumeikan University
Ritsumeikan is a comprehensive private academy with a rich international background, having some 50,000 students throughout its schools, colleges and graduate schools. Since its establishment in 1900, Ritsumeikan has been promoting the spirit of “freedom and innovation” and has been striving to create a school that is constantly innovating. As expectations of educational institutions rise and, in 2020, as Ritsumeikan reaches 150 years since its founding and 120 since the academy’s establishment, we will continue to pursue our academy’s mission and make steady and sincere efforts to carry out education and research reforms.
At Ritsumeikan, positive interactions with Chinese universities and research institutions started even before the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China in 1972. Today, Ritsumeikan promotes academic, faculty and student exchanges under partnership agreements it has signed with more than 90 Chinese universities and research institutions. There are more than 800 international students from China studying in our colleges and graduate schools, and many colleges actively promote education and research in a variety of academic fields related to China.
The Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan, founded in Kyoto in collaboration with Peking University in 2005, was the first Confucius Institute in Japan. This was followed by the Tokyo Confucius Classroom (Tokyo Gakudo) in 2006, the Osaka Confucius Classroom (Osaka Gakudo) in 2008, which was established in partnership with Tongji University, and the Biwako-Kusatsu Campus Confucius Classroom (BKC Gakudo) in 2014. Presently, the Institute is carrying out Chinese language programs and cultural exchange activities in six locations that include Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga.
I believe that fostering mutual cooperation and correct understanding in areas such as culture, language and societal issues between China and Japan will most certainly contribute to the national interests and development of both countries. The Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan is determined to continue its efforts to develop language education and cultural programs in order to facilitate bilateral friendship between China and Japan through peace-oriented, cultural and academic activities and exchanges, in its continuing mission to become a bridge between the two countries.
Director, The Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan Professor, College of Letters
|A Place for Citizens and Students to Know China
Established in October 2005, the Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan became the first of its kind to be established in Japan. Over the past 14 years, we have been able to accumulate our efforts to promote mutual understanding and exchanges between Japan and China through such activities as popularizing and improving Chinese language education and introducing Chinese culture to others. However, even with efforts such as ours, the results of a Japanese Cabinet Office survey announced in 2021 showed that despite an increase from the 14.8% figure in 2016 (the lowest since the survey began), only 20.6% answered that they have friendly feelings towards China. In regards to Japan-China relations, it comes to no surprise then to find that 85.2% answered that they don’t think relations are good.
On the other hand, consistently over 75% to 80% answered that they believe that developing a good future relationship between the two countries is important. In addition, the rising proportion of young people ages 18 to 29 who say that they have friendly feelings towards China surpassed 41.5% in 2019.
As for disentangling this contradiction between people’s negative feelings toward China and their desire to improve bi-lateral relations, there is no better way than by promoting dialog at the grassroots level. The premise of “dialog” is that by understanding the words and culture of another, you will begin to accurately see and really know the other. The high percentage of youth that have friendly feelings toward China may be a result of the large amount of common ground with China. We hope that through your participation as citizens and students, the Confucius Institute will become a “place to know China”.
At the end of the story “My Old Home” written by Lu Xun, a man regarded as the father of modern Chinese literature, is the sentence, “For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many pass one way, a road is made.” As we gather many others to walk together with us, let’s create a “road for dialog” based on mutual understanding between Japan and China.
President, Peking University
|The Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan is one of the first Confucius Institutes created in the world and is the first Confucius Institute established in Japan. Since it was established as a contact point and bridge for Japan-China cultural exchange, it has played an active role in various activities like the promotion of Chinese language education, the enhancement of Chinese culture, and the expansion of bilateral exchanges between Japan and China. It has also established a distinctive education and learning style producing a synergy effect with Chinese language education and cultural exchange activities. Furthermore, we are pleased to announce that the Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan has been awarded the “Advanced Confucius Institute” award three times in the past by the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and the Confucius Institute Headquarters.
In the future, we believe that the Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan will, with the partnership and efforts of both universities, achieve further success and contribute to the expansion of the Chinese language education business in Japan and the promotion of youth exchange between Japan and China. And we sincerely hope that our universities’ tree of friendship will continue to flourish forever.
President, Tongji University
Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering
|Innovation in science and technology has brought great change to the world, and people’s destinies have become more closely linked together than ever before. To take on challenges for the future hand-in-hand, universities have a heavy responsibility to promote interpersonal and cultural exchanges and facilitate mutual understanding. The Osaka Confucius Classroom (Osaka Gakudo) of Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan, established by the partnership of Tongji University and the Ritsumeikan Trust in 2008, has played an active role in promoting Chinese language education and Chinese culture and in fostering friendship and cultural exchanges between Japan and China.
“Even though we are far apart, if we truly know each other, a deep sea of clouds will be no problem”. We truly hope that the Osaka Confucius Classroom of the Confucius Institute at Ritsumeikan will, as a platform for Japan-China cultural exchanges, serve as a cultural ambassador and contribute greatly to the inheritance, creation and further promotion of Chinese language education and Chinese culture.