2024/03/04 12:41

"Japan was the first in the world to advocate for the abolition of racial discrimination on the international stage."

INTERNATIONAL

Japan as "the Light of Hope in Asia"  By Henry S. Stokes

"Insights into Japanese History from British Journalist Henry Stokes"

In this narrative, British journalist Henry Stokes shares perspectives on Japan within the context of world history.

"I was 18 years old when I befriended a young Lebanese refugee of the same age who had fled from the war during my working holiday in Australia. Hearing about his depth of knowledge in politics and religion, and his dream of studying at university to protect his country, I was shocked that someone my age had such experiences.

During my time studying in the UK at the age of 20, I received news that a friend who had returned to Iran for conscription had passed away, and I had to send his belongings back to his family.

Both friends spoke highly of the Japanese people who, since the era of white colonialism, have opened up the world. Similar stories resonated with people I met from Indonesia, India, and Africa during my studies.

However, in Australia and the UK, I felt uneasy as a Japanese person on Victory Day, given the historical context. In Japanese schools, I had only been taught about the negative aspects related to Korea and China, leaving a sense of guilt. Wanting to know the truth, I began to research and even explored the stories of my grandfather's generation who were in the military.

Later, I lived in South Korea for a year, and I found that many elderly people believed that Korea's development was thanks to Japan. Upon further investigation, I discovered that Seoul National University was established before Osaka University, highlighting Japan's contributions to local education.

China shares a similar sentiment. Japanese efforts in building railways, initiating industries, and fostering the development of Manchuria (northeastern China) significantly improved the lives of local residents. The educated class in China is well aware of these contributions."

"I also learned that it was the Japanese who, for the first time, advocated for the abolition of racial discrimination on a global scale."

"While the Nazi regime in Germany, which was in alliance, sought to exclude and discriminate against Jewish people, the Japanese, in contrast, opposed discriminating against Jews and worked to protect their human rights worldwide.

Our ancestors have done remarkable things that have reverberated across the world.

I want to pass down this pride to the next generations with the conviction that our history is one to be shared with pride."

"The purpose of events like the International Red and White Singing Festival (IRWS) and activities such as the Student Interpreter Volunteer program is to not only learn about Japan but also to engage with people from various countries while studying Japan. The goal is to become someone who can speak about Japan in foreign languages.

Participating in such activities is immensely beneficial for those considering future study abroad, aiming for a good job, wanting to make many international friends, and, above all, aspiring to become an internationally recognized figure.

Through volunteer activities, let's learn about the greatness of Japan together!

Here are some testimonials from your seniors:

We have renewed the Student Interpreter Volunteer Guide website. Regular activities are held at Osaka Castle and Toyokuni Shrine every 2nd and 4th Saturday at 11 AM. If you are interested, please join our Zoom orientation session for more details. Visit the website for more information: [Link: https://gc-volunteer-guide.jimdosite.com/]"