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Touring exhibition sheds light on Chinese heritage in Japan

By JIANG XUEQING in Tokyo | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-08 10:00

Former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda said Japan hopes to learn from China what civilization is and how it is achieved at the launching ceremony of the Japan stop of a global touring exhibition in Tokyo on Dec 6. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A Japan stop of the Journey Through Civilizations global touring exhibition is expected to help young Japanese understand Chinese civilization, bring people together, and dispel misunderstandings, experts said.

The one-month special exhibition at Waseda University in Tokyo will utilize digital technology to allow students and visitors to the campus to immerse themselves in the extraordinary charm of cultural relics such as the Yinxu, Sanxingdui, and Liangzhu ruins, and explore the origins of Chinese civilization.

"The origin of Japanese civilization has much to do with China …We have developed to this day thanks to the benefits of Chinese civilization. In the face of an ancient civilization, we approach it with respect. We hope to learn from China what civilization is and how it is achieved," said former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda at the launch of the special exhibition in Tokyo on Wednesday.

"We also look forward to continuing to inherit civilization in the face of potential harm from issues such as climate change, natural disasters, and population decline," Fukuda said.

Xing Bo, vice-president of China Media Group, organizer of the global touring exhibition, said by engaging in good neighborliness and companionship, the interactions between China and Japan embody the Eastern wisdom of "valuing harmony and seeking common ground".

"Genuine connections between hearts are necessary for profound relations. The foundation of friendship between China and Japan lies in people-to-people exchanges, and cultural exchanges are the basis of mutual trust," Xing said.

Cultural exchanges between China and Japan have a long history and a magnificent breadth.

People from both countries use Chinese characters in their writing, draw life wisdom from classical Chinese studies, and share a common appreciation for activities such as the game of chess, calligraphy, painting, flower arrangement, and tea ceremonies, said China's Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao.

In the new era, Sino-Japanese cultural exchanges continue to incorporate fashionable elements, revealing a fresh vitality, Wu said.

Chinese science fiction literature and fashion have entered the daily lives of the Japanese people, while Japanese animated and literary works have long been enjoyed by Chinese audiences, he added.

The Journey Through Civilizations exhibition has already been held in various locations, including the United Nations headquarters in New York, Kenya, Peru, the United Kingdom, and France.

This touring exhibition is an attempt to further promote global cultural exchange, serving as an extension of the Belt and Road Initiative, said Kiyomi Seno, chairman of the Japan-China Society.

The exhibition is a very meaningful initiative to help young people understand Chinese civilization, he said.

"A significant portion of Japanese culture has its roots in China, and in many aspects, it has been influenced by Chinese civilization. Understanding Chinese civilization also allows insights into the cultural heritage of the Japanese people. Such activities contribute to enhancing mutual understanding among the youth of China and Japan," he said.

"Through the opportunity of the special exhibition in Japan, we aim to reacquaint people with what Chinese civilization is, as many young people are currently unaware," Chiang Cheng-yin, adviser to the dean of academic affairs at the international affairs division of Waseda University, told China Daily.

"We want young individuals to experience the cultural connections between China and Japan, recognizing the roots of Japanese culture in China, and gaining exposure to diverse cultures," Chiang said.

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