ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学(リトアニア)活動日誌/Vytautas Magnus University(Lithuania)GJO Activity Report

2017年8月 活動日誌

2017年9月2日
GJOコーディネーター
オウレリウス・ジーカス

This month was University’s vacation. Semester officially started on August 28.
Therefore, 20 new students from Japanese universities arrived to Vytautas Magnus University in the end of the August for a new semester and academic year, including Ms. Chen Jiahui form TUFS. This is the biggest number of Japanese exchange students in VMU’s history. On August 31st, GJO coordinator Dr Aurelijus Zykas met the majority of them in the office, introduced the activities of CAS(Center for Asian Studies) and GJO, and promoted Sugihara Week.
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Moreover, during August, CAS and GJO was very active in youth exchange in school level, helping Lithuanian schools to develop exchange programs. As very successful examples, visit of 20 schoolchildren from Yaotsu schools and of 15 children from Shonan Gakuen could be mentioned. Both projects will have continuation in future. During the visits, GJO coordinator shortly introduced the activities of GJO in Kaunas for the Japanese and Lithuanian children.
This month was extremely active because of several Japan-related projects implemented by GJO:
Preparations for Sugihara Week, which will be held in Kaunas on September 2-8. This will be very big event, which will attract not only Lithuanians, but also Japanese and Jewish tourists and mass media. Among the honorable guests, Y. Nakasone (Member of Parliament), H. Furuta (Governor of Gifu Prefecture) and other honourable guests are planning their visit to Kaunas. As the Centre for Asian Studies is one of 4 organizers (including Kaunas Municipality, Embassy of Japan and Sugihara Foundation), Global Japan Office will become official partner of the event.
Program: http://asc.vdu.lt/wp-content/uploads/Lankstinukas_EN.pdf
The Facebook of the event is https://www.facebook.com/Sugiharaweek/
Creation of documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). The August was mainly dedicated for research needed for this project and shooting already started.


2017年7月 活動日誌

2017年8月1日
GJOコーディネーター
オウレリウス・ジーカス

As this month coincided with University’s vacation, no events were organized this month. 15 students from Japanese universities who studied at VMU during 2016/17 academic year successfully returned to their home country.
However, four students from TUFS participated at Lithuanian Language Summer School organized by Vytautas Magnus University. During their stay in Lithuania they had intensive Lithuanian language classes, learned about Lithuanian history, culture and society and had some sightseeing activities. They also were met by Vice-Rector Ineta Dabašinskienė. I met them at the Global Japan Office and introduced our activities (see picture).
Lithuania170829_1
Previously GJO proposed to help the Sugihara Museum by translating of the texts from English to Japanese which will be used as explanations of exhibition in the Sugihara Museum of Kaunas. The translation work was successfully conducted thanks to the enormous help of TUFS. This fact will be promoted during August and September (especially during Sugihara Week) and will become very important contribution of TUFS to the development of Japan-Lithuania relations.
This month was active because of several Japan-related projects implemented by GJO:
Preparations for Sugihara Week, which will be held in Kaunas on September 2-8. This will be very big event, which will attract not only Lithuanians, but also Japanese and Jewish tourists and mass media. Among the honorable guests, Y. Nakasone (Member of Parliament), H. Furuta (Governor of Gifu Prefecture) and other honourable guests are planning their visit to Kaunas. As the Centre for Asian Studies is one of 4 organizers (including Kaunas Municipality, Embassy of Japan and Sugihara Foundation), Global Japan Office will become official partner of the event.
Promotional baner is as follows:
Lithuania170829_2
The Facebook of the event is https://www.facebook.com/Sugiharaweek/
Creation of documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). The July was mainly dedicated for research needed for this project and shooting already started.


2017年6月 活動日誌

2017年6月30日
GJOコーディネーター
オウレリウス・ジーカス

The biggest cultural event co-organized by GJO this month was a public lecture and discussion with Japanese Zen master Shodo Harada Roshi, which took part at VMU Big Hall.
Moreover, Vice-Rector of VMU, Prof. Ineta Dabašinskienė visited TUFS during late June. She met with the authorities of TUFS and participated at the international symposium on the Baltic and Slavic languages organized by Sophia University. Ambassador of Lithuania in Japan, Mr. Egidijus Meilūnas, made a welcome speech during the Symposium. On June 20, teacher of TUFS, Dr Eiko Sakurai was awarded a special award for developing Lithuanian studies in Japan by the Embassy. Vice-Rector also joined the ceremony.
Vice-Rector’s visit was announced by the Lithuanian MOFA: https://jp.mfa.lt/jp/lt/naujienos/lietuviu-kalba-susilauke-japonijos-kalbininku-demesio
As a new project, GJO proposed the initiative to translate an amount of texts from English to Japanese, which will be used as explanations of exhibition in the Sugihara Museum of Kaunas. Sugihara Museum is lacking substantial funding, thus needs external help. The Museum recently became well known in Japan, and attracts some funding for the repairs of the building itself. GJO proposed to help the Museum by translating of the texts, which will be volunteered by the students and teachers of TUFS. Translation work is supposed to be finished by mid-July.

Topic of the month: Č. Sugihara as an important part of the work of GJO Kaunas
As this Summer is mainly dedicated for the preparations of Sugihara Week and creation of Documentary “Kaunas the city of Sugihara”, more should be said about the personality of Chiune Sugihara, who is the main tie between Kaunas and Japan (also between TUFS and VMU), thus is very important for further development of the projects.
Chiune Sugihara was vice-consul of Japan, appointed to Kaunas (which then was the capital of Lithuania) during 1939-1940. He lived in the city of Kaunas, and during very short period saved the lives of at least 6000 Jewish refugees, by issuing famous “Visas for Life”. These transit visas helped the Jews to escape Lithuania and to reach Japan via USSR. Later they reached their final destinations in USA, Australia, Canada and China.
After 1990s Sugihara became world famous, especially in Israel, Lithuania and Japan. Since then, quite many books on him are being published, and the memory of Sugihara is becoming more and more important. In Lithuania, there are quite many places related to him, including Sugihara Park, Sugihara Street and the Monument “Moonlight” in Vilnius. In Kaunas, the building of the former Consulate survived and became a Museum of Sugihara. Kaunas Tourism Office created Sugihara Route oriented to Japanese tourists, which includes the Museum and other related places: Metropolis Hotel (where Sugihara issued the visas), Kaunas Station (where he was issuing them from the window of train), etc. Recently, with the active participation of GJO Kaunas, Sugihara Group for the Development of Relations between Kaunas and Japan was created. Moreover, there are plans to create Sugihara Street, Sugihara Square and even Sugihara Stairs in Kaunas. The last but not the least, this year Sugihara’s list became a pretendent to be inscribed into the List of World’s Memory by UNESCO.
In this context, GJO Kaunas is very active in using the name of Sugihara for building closer cooperation between Lithuania and Japan, and also between VMU and TUFS. One of the initiatives is the Sugihara Week, which will be held on September 2-8, and will attract Lithuanian, Japanese, and Jewish artists, participants and mass media.


2017年5月 活動日誌

2017年5月30日
GJOコーディネーター
オウレリウス・ジーカス

The biggest cultural event organized by GJO this month was a Kabuki and Japanese Buyo performance, co-organized on May 12 and supported by the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania. This became be the second on-stage kabuki performance ever in Lithuania and attracted nearly 700 people.
Moreover, this month, the MoU with Hiroshima University was signed. The ceremony was held on May 8th, and the Memorandum was signed by Rector of Hiroshima University Prof. Mitsuo Ochi and Rector of VMU Prof. Juozas Augutis. Throughout the same day the delegation visited the Centre for Asian Studies and the Faculty of Humanities. The Vice-Rector Prof. Toshiyuki Sato also delivered a lecture about kanji for VMU students and was appointed as visiting professor of Vytautas Magnus University. More information with photos can be found here:
http://asc.vdu.lt/2017/05/agreement-with-hiroshima-university-signed/
During May 15-20, I also visited Stockholm and had negotiations with Stockholm University regarding the cooperation. During the meetings, the activities of Global Japan Office in Kaunas were presented.

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Topic of the month: On the developing academic network in Japan
As this month marked a new partnership in Japan with Hiroshima University, more should be said about the expanding network of partners of Vytautas Magnus University in Japan.
The partnership with Japanese universities in VMU started from 1997, and the first partner of VMU in Japan was Kansai Gaidai University. Initially, the expansion of the network was quite slow, but during last 6 years it has expanded from 4 universities (in 2011) to 18 universities in 2017. Presently, Japan is the number one partner of VMU, as it has the biggest number of active bilateral agreements (more than in USA, France or Germany). The majority of the agreements were initiated by the Centre for Asian Studies. For comparison, VMU has 10 partners in South Korea, 7 in People’s Republic of China and 4 in Taiwan.
With Japanese partners, different types of cooperation were developed. First of all, there is very active students’ exchange, and every year 15-25 students are being exchanged with Japanese universities. This academic year, 14 students from Japan are studying at VMU (including one student from TUFS), and 10 VMU students are studying at Japanese universities. 9 VMU students were already sellected for studies in Japan from Autumn.
Japanese universities are also organizing short term fellowships for students to visit VMU, when they spend several days or weeks in Lithuania and Kaunas, learning culture, languages and communicating with local students and communities. Such programs were organized for Showa Women‘s University, Bunkyo Gakuin, etc.
Besides, teachers‘ exchange and joint research is also implemented successfully. Among the cases, for instance, teaching visits from Osaka University, Meiji University, Showa Womens‘ University, etc. were implemented, while I was invited to teach at Meiji and Saga Universities. Japanese professors are invited to Next month, VMU Vice-Rector Prof. I. Dabašinskienė is planning to visit TUFS and to make a presentation during the conference.
The highest level of cooperation was achieved this year in the framework of Global Japan Office between VMU and TUFS. This framework should further enhance the cooperation in all levels, including students and teachers exchange, joint research and other activities for achieving better mutual understanding and cooperation, not only between two universities, but also between two countries.


2017年4月 活動日誌

GJOコーディネーター
オウレリウス・ジーカス

Topic of the month: On the developing of relations between Kaunas and Japan
Although this month was not rich by events related to Japan, it marked several important isues in the development of Japanese studies in Kaunas and Lithuania. GJO Kaunas of TUFS is socially active in developing Kaunas-Japan relationships, and this month was very important in this aspect.
Kaunas, a city in the middle of Lithuania, has many symbolic relations with Japan. The story of diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who issued visas for life in Kaunas during 1939-40 is worldwide famous. However, there are several other interesting stories that should be remembered and further promoted. For instance, the first Japanese ever to visit Lithuania were the First Japanese Embassy to Europe (第1回遣欧使節) of 1862, who visited Kaunas on their way from St. Petersburg to Warsaw. A young translator Y. Fukuzawa was in the Embassy then and wrote nice memories about Kaunas. The Lithuanian politician, Mr. S. Kairys, who wrote the first Lithuanian books on Japan in 1905 also spent long time and left imprints in Kaunas.
To make these and other stories more popular in Lithuanian and Japanese societies, the Documentary on this topic is being created (supported by Toshiba International Foundation), and April marks the start of the project (it must be finished by April, 2018). Therefore, during April, GJO coordinator spent several weeks in Japan to make the initial research and to prepare for filming activities (in Japan they are planned for late Autumn).
Another important step this month was the establishment of the Sugihara Group for Kaunas-Japan Relations Development (supported by Kaunas Municipality) on April 24. The main purpose of the Group is to bring together a range of organizations and active Kaunas residents, who are contributing to the relations between Japan and Kaunas. The group is formed by representatives of different organizations responsible of different fields. Deputy Mayor of Kaunas, Mr. S. Kairys was appointed as a chairman, and me (GJO coordinator) was appointed as deputy chairman. The members of the group are Dr. Arūnas Gelūnas (Member of Parliament), Mr. R. Garbaravičius (Chairman of the Board of Sugihara Foundation) and various representatives from the sectors of tourism, business, culture, education, etc.
The establishment of the Group was covered by media in the following article: http://kauno.diena.lt/naujienos/kaunas/miesto-pulsas/kaunas-stiprins-draugyste-su-japonija-808858
VMU mainly raises 5 objectives for the development of Japanese studies: conducting research; expanding library funds; developing the international network with partner institutions; developing Japanese language, culture and society education; organizing cultural events.
Presently VMU has ~85 students studying Japanese language in 6 levels, and 18 partner universities in Japan. For students‘ exchange, every year 15-25 students are being exchanged with Japanese universities. As for TUFS, one student is presently studying at VMU.


2017年3月 活動日誌

GJOコーディネーター
オウレリウス・ジーカス

 The greatest event of March, 2017 in the history of Global Japan Office, Kaunas, was the official opening of GJO itself on March 13. This event was organized by the close cooperation among TUFS and VMU with the cooperation of the Embassy of Japan.
First of all, we met at the VMU Rector’s office to introduce the universities and to discuss regarding the further cooperation possibilities. Later, the Memorandum of Understanding and the Addendum regarding the student’s exchange was signed. The Ambassador of Japan H.E. Toyoei Shigeeda kindly participated during the meeting.
Later we all moved to the new building where the GJO is placed. Due to the space limits, GJO will use my table and my office room. However, the building is very new and modern, it was opened only 6 months ago. The faculties of Humanities and of Political Science, and the International Department are placed in this 6-floor building. The Centre for Asian Studies and GJO are placed on the 4th floor of the building.
In the new building, we organized GJO opening ceremony. It was so nice, that so many people came, including our social partners (representatives of business institutions, municipality, cultural institutions, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, etc.) and students. The speeches were delivered by Prof. Juozas Augutis (VMU Rector), H.E. Toyoei Shigeeda and Prof. Hirashita (TUFS Director of Administration). Finally, the MoU of the establishment of GJO was signed.
VMU mainly raises 5 objectives for the development of Japanese studies: conducting research; expanding library funds; developing the international network with partner institutions; developing Japanese language, culture and society education; organizing cultural events.
Presently VMU has ~85 students studying Japanese language in 6 levels, and 17 partner universities in Japan. For students‘ exchange, every year 15-25 students are being exchanged with Japanese universities. As for TUFS, one student is presently studying at VMU, but after officially becomming partner institutions, the exchange should intensify.

Photos of the event can be found in this link:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwPT3fI6gHNQQldJZllJSXNZYVU?usp=sharing