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

2019年6月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.6

2019年6月30日/June 30th 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子

国内の他大学と比べて少し早く学期末を迎えたヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学では、6月上旬に多くの学生が全ての試験を終え、夏休みをスタートさせました。国外へ出る学生も多いため、この時期は例年イベントを開催しても参加する学生が少なくなります。

それでも、6月17日に行われたドキュメンタリー映画「MIKOSHI GUY 祭の男」の上映会には多くの学生が参加しました。日本国内の祭り文化の再興を願い活動する宮田宣也さんを追ったドキュメンタリーで、上映後はご本人との質問セッションがありました。参加者からは、作中に登場する所作や掛け声の意味や、神輿と神道との関わりについての質問がいくつも挙がりました。大学内には映画に登場する神輿が展示され、多くの人の目を惹いていたようです。今後も、学生たちが授業外で日本・日本文化に触れられる機会をたくさん作っていきたいと思います。

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また、今月の読書クラブでは、2年生のイエヴァさんによる日本語の本「リムとキム」がクラブの本棚に新たに追加されました。物語・絵ともにイエヴァさんの完全なオリジナル作品です。Facebookで新しい本の情報を見た学生たちが早速クラブでこの新刊を読んでいました。「リムとキム」の他にヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の学生が作った日本語の多読本は読書クラブのページで読むことができます。

https://sites.google.com/view/kaunasjapanesereadingclub/our-books?authuser=1


2019年5月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.5

2019年5月31日/May 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子

日本の春と変わらぬ気持のいい陽気が続いていたのもつかの間、今月上旬は雨や曇りの日がばかりで、気温も10度以下。しかも、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の5月といえば、学年末の多忙な時期です。学生たちは論文・課題・発表・試験の準備に奔走し、皆少しお疲れ気味でした。
そんな中、大盛り上がりだったのが5月17日に行われた日本語スピーチコンテストです。今年が2回目となる今回は、12名の参加者が『交通』をテーマに素晴らしいスピーチを披露してくれました。初級の部ではフランスの車のレース『ル・マン24時間耐久レース』について魅力たっぷりに語ってくれたトマス・ユオドゥスヌキスさん(ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学)が第一位になりました。中級の部ではギーティス・モツクスさん(ヴィリニュス大学)によるリトアニアの首都・ヴィリニュスの交通機関の変遷についてのノスタルジックなスピーチが一位に輝きました。審査員たちを最も悩ませた上級の部では、リトアニアの若者が経験する免許取得までの長く苦しい道のりを漫談口調で語ったマタス・シュカルヌリスさん(カウナス工科大学)の『運転、頑張りましょう。』というスピーチが第一位に選ばれました。

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第二回日本語スピーチコンテストの様子

学生にとって本番が最も大事なのは言うまでもありませんが、自分の意見や考え、経験を日本語で表現するために費やした準備期間も、日本語学習においてはとても大切です。原稿を書いたり、スピーチの練習をしたりする中で、学生たちの日本語は磨かれていきました。また、今回はヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学だけでなく、他大学やギムナジウム(高校)からの参加が多かったことが嬉しい点でした。学習者同士が交流し、励まし合えるイベントを今後も増やしていきたいと思います。

また、今月は『ドラゴン・アカデミー』の一環としてカウナス市内で高校生向けの遠足を行いました。『ドラゴン・アカデミー』とは本学のアジア研究センターが取り組んでいる教育活動の一つで、リトアニア国内で東アジア文化・言語に関する知識を広めることを目的としています。今回は地元カウナスのLSMUギムナジウム(高校)の生徒6名が参加してくれました。アジア研究センターのアンドリュス先生を中心に日本語クラスのリトアニア人学生2名、日本からの留学生5名がチームとなり、カウナス鉄道駅や杉原千畝の博物館などを含む『杉原ルート』*を高校生らと共に巡りました。リトアニア人学生はガイド役として、杉原千畝や当時のカウナスの様子などについて紹介しました。日本人留学生たちは移動中に高校生たちと英語でコミュニケーションをとりながら、日本について話したり、質問に答えたりしました。
リトアニアではいくつかのギムナジウムで日本語が選択科目として採用されており、若い人たちは日本語や日本文化に強い関心を持っていることも知られています。授業やワークショップだけでなく、留学生との会話などインフォーマルな交流の場も、リトアニアの児童や生徒たちに日本について知ってもらう大事な機会となることをこの遠足で実感させられました。

*今回の遠足で使用した『杉原ルート』はカウナス市が発行している日本人向けのガイドマップで紹介されている『杉原千畝ルート』を参考に計画しました。この『杉原千畝ルート』は戦間期のカウナスでユダヤ人たちのためにビザを発行し彼らを助けた杉原千畝氏にまつわる場所を紹介しています。PDF版の地図はWEBページ(https://visit.kaunas.lt/en/maps-and-guides/)からダウンロードすることもできます。

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杉原千畝のプレートの前で記念撮影(カウナス鉄道駅)

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高校生に説明を行うVMUの学生(ヤン・ツヴァルテンディク記念碑)


2019年4月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.4

2019年4月30日/ April 30th 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子

今年度よりヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学GJOのコーディネーターを務めます、高木伽耶子です。2015年より本学で日本語・文化のクラスを担当してきました。日本人が少ないこの国で、いかに日本語の使用機会を見出すか、現地のリトアニア人学生の日常生活に日本をどのように結びつけるかということを常に意識しています。GJOコーディネーターとして、今後さらに現地学生が日本語や日本に触れられる場を提供すると共に、日本からの留学生がクラスの外でリトアニアについて学べる機会を増やしていきたいと思っています。よろしくお願い致します。


今年のリトアニアは例年より暖かく、いつもは5月まで待たなければいけない桜も、4月の中頃には咲き始め、イースターの休みには満開になっていました。リトアニアでは桜が新しい春の風物詩になりつつあります。ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の学生たちも、杉原千畝記念館の庭や川沿いに咲いた桜でお花見をしていました。
冬が長いリトアニアでは春になると皆、外での活動を楽しむようになります。週2回の『カウナス日本語読書クラブ』も今月は外で開催されました。今年の2月からスタートしたこのクラブは日本語の『多読』が主な活動内容です。学習者のレベル別に作られた100冊以上の多読本の中から好きなものを選び、参加者たちは黙々と、そして次々に本を読んでいきます。非漢字圏の学習者にとって、『読む』は日本語学習の大きなハードルであると言われています。この活動を通じて、日本語を『読む』楽しさを感じてほしいと願っています。
また、日本語中級クラスの学生たちは、ガイドになりきってカウナスの名所を日本語で案内するという『カウナスガイド』に挑戦しました。複雑な建築用語や歴史・宗教に関する言葉に苦戦している学生が多かったようです。卒業後、日本語を使って仕事がしたいと考える人は少なくありませんが、日本企業のないリトアニアではその選択肢が非常に限られており、日本語のガイドはその数少ないうちの一つです。授業やイベントを通じて、実践的な場面での日本語の使用を意識させるような機会をどのように増やしていくかが今後の大きな課題です。


2019年3月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.3

2019年3月31日/ March 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

Our biggest event during March was Asian Week, organized on March 4-8 for the fifth time already. VMU Asian Week is a one week-long cycle of events dedicated to East Asian countries – China, Japan and Korea. It is done through the presentation of specific aspects of culture, arts and cuisine.
This year the event took place in venues of VMU and other public places in Kaunas, introducing Asian cuisine, languages, cultures, martial arts, etc. Japanese culture took very important part during this week. Ambassador of Japan H.E. Shiro Yamasaki participated in the opening ceremony, while his wife introduced Japanese cuisine for Kaunas citizens during the Day of tastes. CAS social partners in Lithuania actively participated in the organization of this event. Events organized last year were a great success and attracted a lot of attention from the general public, schoolchildren and media.

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This month I am finishing my duties as Coordinator of the Global Japan Office. Last two years since the establishment of GJO were an amazing period of my life. However, I am leaving my position at Vytautas Magnus University, and now it is time to pass this responsibility to younger generation. Ms. Kayako Takagi, who is Japanese language teacher at our university, will take the coordination of GJO from April.
Using this opportunity, let me express my appreciation for Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for establishing Global Japan Office in Kaunas and for an opportunity to coordinate it. It was big honour to work in this position.
As I continue my life and will remain in activities building bridges among the nations, I do hope we will have even more opportunities to work together in future.


2019年2月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.2

2019年2月28日/ February 28th 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During February we organized two more screening of our documentary movie. One of them was in Kaunas on February 7, where many people came, including Kaunas city Vice-mayor Simonas Kairys. Another screening was hosted in Nagoya by the request of Nagoya City. It was organized on February 8 at Zuiryo Culture Theatre and attracted many spectators. Unfortunately, the representative of GJO could not participate, but the event was organized by Nagoya side.

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On February 25, 2019, Japanese-Lithuanian Dictionary was expanded with a new function of Kanji dictionary and moved to the new address (jishokun.lt). From now, the users will be able not only to search the words, but also to get some information about every kanji, including its kun- and on- readings, number of strokes, basic structure, usage frequency and even animation. An exchange student from TUFS, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi contributed much for this project.

This month was also dedicated for preparations for the future events.
1) The annual Asian Week is planned for the first week of March, and will include a variety of Japanese culture related activities. GJO started preparations for it together with VMU students, Japanese exchange students and our partners in Lithuania.
2) Hiroshima University Speech Contest is planned in May. We already started preparations for it.


2019年1月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.1

2019年1月31日/ January 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During January, it is vacation season for our students. Therefore, no major events were organized, and the majority of time this month was spent for the Kanji dictionary project.
By February 25, 2019, Japanese-Lithuanian Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) will be expanded with a new function of Kanji dictionary. The users will be able not only to search the words, but also to get some information about every kanji, including its kun- and on- readings, number of strokes, basic structure, usage frequency and even animation. That means, a database of ~4000 kanji must be created and tested. An exchange student, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary.

As this month had very few events due to vacation season, it was also dedicated for preparations for the new year. Global Japan Office is planning several projects for this year.
1) Documentary about Ch. Sugihara. As the first documentary movie by GJO had a huge success, the project for a new documentary was applied for several foundations. In the case of successful financing, the creation would start on April 2019.
2) The annual Asian Week is planned for the first week of March, and will include a variety of Japanese culture related activities. GJO started preparations for it together with VMU students, Japanese exchange students and our partners in Lithuania.

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3) Hiroshima University Speech Contest is planned in May. We already started preparations for it.


2018年12月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.12

2018年12月31日/ Ⅾecember 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

December is exam season at our university. Therefore this month had very few events. However, it was dedicated for preparations for the next year. Global Japan Office is planning several projects for the next year, and these projects were submitted during December.
Documentary about Ch. Sugihara. As the first documentary movie by GJO had a huge success with numerous screenings and positive feedback, the project for a new documentary was applied for several foundations. It is planned as a movie about Chiune Sugihara and the story will be presented through the eyes of witnesses. In the case of successful financing, the creation will start on May 2019.
Kanji project. By March 2019, Japanese-Lithuanian Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) will be expanded with a new function of Kanji dictionary. The users will be able not only to search the words, but also to get some information about every kanji. Present GJO intern, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi from TUFS, is helping with this project. He continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary.
During December, the result of the previous GJO internship conducted by Ms. Chen Jiahui, was finally publicized. She prepared 40 very nice texts about different places of Kaunas, and these texts were put on the Online dictionary. Now, the users of the dictionary can find very helpful information about Kaunas and its sightseeing spots.

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Example of the page of the dictionary with picture and text by Chen Jiahui.


2018年11月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.11

2018年11月30日 / November 30th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During November, coordinator of GJO was visiting Japan, and participating in numerous events. He introduced the the Documentary “Kaunas, the City of Sugihara and Japan” through the screenings, and made several lectures about the Japanese studies in Kaunas, so introducing the activities of Global Japan Office. The screenings took place in Tsuruga, Yaotsu, Ochanomizu University and Tokyo University of Foreign tudies. The screenings were extremely successful, and attracted wide audiences.

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Screening in Yaotsu

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Screening in Ochanomizu University

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Screening in TUFS

An exchange student, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt), creating its new function as kanji dictionary. The project is planned to finish by February, 2019.
On November 12, a new agreement was signed between Vytautas Magnus University and Ochanomizu University. This agreement helps promote Japanese studies even better.


2018年10月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.10

2018年10月31日 / October 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During October there were three more screenings of the Documentary “Kaunas, the City of Sugihara and Japan” on October 18-19th, 2018, which was created with the cooperation of Global Japan Office. The screenings took place in Druskininkai, Kurkliai (the birthplace of Steponas Kairys, who is featured in the movie) and Anykščiai. The screenings were extremely successful, and attracted wide audiences. Among the guests, Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania Mr. Shiro Yamasaki and Anykščiai City Mayor also participated.
During November, 4 screenings are planned in Japan, including TUFS Cinema Hall.

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Screening in Druskininkai

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Screening in Anykščiai

An exchange student from TUFS, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt), creating its new function as kanji dictionary. The project is planned to finish by February, 2019. There were several meetings with him to discuss the progress.
On October 23, a new agreement was signed between Vytautas Magnus University and Gifu University. This agreement helps promote Japanese studies even better.


2018年9月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.9

2018年9月30日 / September 30th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

September was the busiest month for Global Japan Office during this year, as we have two our biggest annual events.

Sugihara Week (GJO participated as partner of this festival) lasted during September 3-9, and was a range of events taking part in various places of Kaunas. Such events as Sugihara Symposium, Cherry Trees Planting, film screenings, exhibitions and concerts were organized. The festival attracted the audience of approximately 4000-5000 and is considered as one of TOP10 events of Kaunas this year. Among the honorable guests of the festival were Mr. Takanori Kawai (Vice-Governor of Gifu Prefecture), Mr. Yukio Murase (Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Fukuyama), Mr. Masanori Kaneko (Yaotsu Town mayor), etc. The event also attracted numerous researchers and artists from Lithuania and Japan. In total approximately 100 participants from Japan joined the activities.

Detailed program of Sugihara Week: http://asc.vdu.lt/wp-content/uploads/SW_lankstinukas_JP.pdf

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The 29th EAJRS Conference was organized on September 12-15. This conference changes its location every year, and this year Kaunas was selected as the most suitable place for its organization. GJO was one of its organizers together with the European Association of Japanese Recourse Specialists. The Conference attracted 97 participants from such countries as Japan, China, USA, Canada, India, France, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia etc.
The main topic of this Conference dedicated to localization of resources in the global context, thus this year the topic was “(G)localizing Japanese Studies Resources”. Furthermore, considering the fact that the Conference was organized in Kaunas, a city having strong relations with Chiune Sugihara, who was saving Jewish lives here in 1939-40, part of the conference was be dedicated to resources related to the World War II.
European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists is one of the biggest organization uniting Japanology specialists in the world providing special attention to accumulation of Japanology resources, creation, management and distribution. Its conferences occur annually since 1994 mainly in the Western European countries and attract hundreds of specialists from all around the globe, not only from Europe and Japan but also from Australia, United States and Asian countries.

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More information: http://www.eajrs.net/conferences/2018-kaunas

A new exchange student, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi arrived on late August to Kaunas. He met GJO coordinator during late September, and we had discussion regarding further possibilities. As Mr. Yaguchi expressed his will to join the internship program, he will join the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt), creating its new function as kanji dictionary. The project is planned to finish by February, 2019.

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On September 24th, 2018 VMU Centre for Asian studies together with the Komaru Kotsū Foundation and Hiroshima University Lithuania Center organized Japanese language contest. The authors of the best speeches Salomėja Jurėnaite and Matas Jagelavičius won an opportunity to participate in an international Japanese language program on February-March 2019, in Hiroshima University, Japan.


2018年8月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.8

2018年8月31日 / August 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During August 21-September 01, Hiroshima University Summer Fellowship was organized in Lithuania, Vytautas Magnus University. 24 students spent two weeks in Lithuania learning English language, Lithuanian culture and history, also participating at homestay program.

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Also, Global Japan Office helped organizing Kaunas-Yaotsu schoolchildrens’ exchange. 22 shoolchildren from Yaotsu Secondary schools participated at homestay program in Kaunas and had teaching program at J. Dobkevičius Secondary School.

August was very active for preparations, as two big events are organized during September.

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-9. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/08/lietuviskai-29-oji-eajrs-konferencija/


2018年7月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.7

2018年7月31日 / July 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

The Documentary「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」was finally introduced to Japanese audience. On July 28, Japan Premiere took place in Gifu city. Around 200 guests attended the screening, including the citizens of Gifu, as well as guests from Tsuruga, Kobe, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, etc., including the people who contributed for the movie. The Premiere was officially opened by Ambassador of Lithuania Gediminas Varvuolis, and GJO Coordinator Dr Aurelijus Zykas participated as well. A big Nemunas Ensemble from Lithuania (Kaunas) also joined the screening. After the screening, a discussion about the movie and Japan-Lithuania relations was organized. Next screenings of the movie are planned in Kaunas, during Sugihara Week. Partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.
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Facebook of the Documentary is: https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8

Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester finished her internship of the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project. The renewal of database is planned in October.
During May, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:

    • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanities, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
    • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年6月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.6

2018年6月30日 / June 30th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

On June 1, there was screening of the Documentary「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」in Lithuania‘s capital Vilnius. Around 80 guests of Vilnius, including film directors, Embassy staff, etc. attended the screening. After the screening, a discussion about Japan-Lithuania relations was organized. Next screenings of movies are planned in Japan and will be organized in late July in Gifu Prefecture. The partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.
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Facebook of the Documentary is: https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8
Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester is working as an intern at the Centre for Asian Studies. During June she was working with the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project. The renewal of database is planned in October.
During May, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a venue for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first time such conference takes place in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年5月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.5

2018年5月31日 May 31st, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

As the Documentary「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」was launched in April, this month was dedicated for its further promotion in Lithuania. The main cultural event was screening of the movie on May 4 in Lithuania‘s Port City Klaipėda. Around 100 guests of Klaipėda attended the screening. After the screening, a discussion about Japan-Lithuania relations was held and the activities of GJO in Kaunas explained. Partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.

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Facebook page of the Documentary : https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8

Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester is working as intern at the Centre for Asian Studies. During March-June months she will be working for the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project.

During May, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:
Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年4月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.4

2018年5月5日 May 5th, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

The main cultural event was Premiere of the movie 「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」 organized on April 26 in Cinema “Romuva” Temporary Hall. Around 150 invited guests attended the premiere, including Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania Mr. Toyoei Shigeeda, Toshiba Europe, Ltd. Vice-president Mr. Koshi Noguchi, Members of Lithuanian Parlament, Kaunas City Council, University‘s authorities, etc.
Partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.

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In the documentary, the story of Kaunas – Japan bilateral relations are revealed through four personalities who prior the World War II became bridges between the two countries. It is Yukichi Fukuzawa – the first Japanese who mentioned and wrote about Kaunas in his diary. In 1862 together with the mission of 36 Japanese he traveled through Lithuania by train and went for a short stroll in Kaunas. The author of first Lithuanian books about Japan – Steponas Kairys. In 1905 he was amazed by a small distant country which managed to defeat ten times bigger Russia and inspired Lithuanians to seek independence. Even after visiting Japan for a few times, journalist and traveler Matas Šalčius decided to reach this country from Kaunas once again… on a bike. And finaly, diplomat Chiune Sugihara united both countries in 1940 with his heroic act.

Facebook of the Documentary is: https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8

Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester is working as intern at the Centre for Asian Studies. During March-June months she will be working with the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project.

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During March, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年3月 活動日誌 / March 2018 Activities Report

2018年3月31日 March 31st,2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

March was full of cultural events. The main of them was VMU Asian Week 2018 organized on March 5-9 in various venues of VMU and other public places of Kaunas. This was a one week-long cycle of events dedicated to Japan and other East Asian countries. The event, organized since 2014, is aimed to introduce general public with the East Asia region through the presentation of culture, languages, martial arts, cuisine. This year’s event was extremely successful, attracting wide range of spectators. Only the Day of Experiences alone was participated by around 500 guests, including schoolchildren of schools of Lithuania, students and elderly people.
More than 20 institutions and more than 100 volunteer students (including ~30 international students) were involved into the preparations. Global Japan Office became one of the partners of the event for the first time.
Link of the event: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/01/vmu-asian-week-2018/

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Poster of the VMU Asian Week
Pictures can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/VDUAzijossavaite/

Another event of this month was Kimono Show on March 12, provided by a famous Japanese kimono designer Nobuaki Tomita. During his presentation Mr. Tomita explained the history and principles of Japanese kimono and dressed 5 participants with very beautiful kimonos.
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Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester has started internship at the Centre for Asian Studies. During next 4 months she will be working with the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project.
To make the dictionary more useful, it will obtain a new function. Detailed descriptions of Lithuanian sightseeing objects will be added to the data basis and will become usable by Japanese tourists as an electronic guide. After entering some sightseeing object to the dictionary (such as トラカイ城 or 杉原記念館), tourists will be able to see detailed description.
Ms. Chen will be participating in the first (pilot) phase of the project and she will create the descriptions of the sightseeing objects in Kaunas. Supposedly, this activity will help her to understand better Lithuanian culture. She has already selected 40 objects to describe. The internship activities are planned to finish by the end of June.

During March, GJO was coordinating 3 big projects of this year:
• Creation of the documentary about Kaunas and Japan. As shooting in Japan and Lithuania is over, creators are editing the movie. After discussing with Toshiba International Foundation, the release date was fixed for April 26. The 4 minutes promo version was created for Japanese audience, and it has been already spread to some Japanese municipalities (Gifu Prefecture, Tsuruga city, etc.) for promotion. The GJO is one of the creators of the movie. Thus, its logo appears in the end roll of the promo version, and will be in the final version.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8&feature=youtu.be
• Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
• EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.
Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年2月 活動日誌

2018年3月5日 / March 5th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

February marks the beginning of new Spring semester at our Vytautas Magnus University. 25 students from Japanese universities started their semester. Some of them met together on February 12, when we introduced the activities of the Centre for Asian Studies and Global Japan Office to them.
The student from TUFS, Ms. Chen Jiahui started her new semester at Vytautas Magnus University. She met me in mid-February and we have discussed her plans for the new semester. Ms. Chen is also invited to join the internship of the Centre for Asian studies. She will contribute for to the creation of the descriptions introducing the main sightseeing attractions of Kaunas to Japanese people. These descriptions will add new function to the online Lithuanian-Japanese dictionary and will be useful for the Japanese tourists.

February 9, the screening of exchange students who are willing to study in Japan for a one-year exchange (starting from Fall semester of 2018) was concluded. During the selection procedure, 8 students were selected to study at Japanese universities.

We did not have any cultural events this month. However, it was dedicated for the preparations for our biggest cultural event of the year: VMU Asian Week (Global Japan Office is one of the partners of the event), where the introduction of Japanese culture will play a key role. More than 20 institutions and more than 100 volunteer students (including ~30 international students) are involved into the preparations.
Ms. Chen was also very positively involved as a volunteer in the preparations for a Japanese language reading contest. She was helping the Lithuanian students to prepare their speeches.

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Meeting of the main coordinators of VMU Asian Week 2018
Link of the event: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/01/vmu-asian-week-2018/

During February, GJO was coordinating 3 big projects of this year:

  • Creation of the documentary about Kaunas and Japan. As filming in Japan and Lithuania is over, creators are editing the movie. The release is planned in late April. The 4 minutes promo version was created for Japanese audience, and it has been already spread to some Japanese municipalities (Gifu Prefecture, Tsuruga city, etc.) for promotion. The GJO is one of the creators of the movie.
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GJOリトアニアが制作に協力したカウナスと日本に関するドキュメンタリー映画のプロモーション映像

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned on September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.
    Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/

2018年1月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, Jan 2018

2018年2月5日 / February 5th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

25 students from Japanese universities will be studying at VMU during Spring semester. Despite January is vacation period, the majority of Japanese students reached Kaunas and VMU in the end of January. The meeting with all Japanese students who newly arrived is planned on February 12.

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In the photo: the first students from our new partner, Fukui University, visiting Global Japan Office in late January.

In December, VMU started screening of VMU students who are willing to study in Japan for one year exchange (starting from Fall semester of 2018). During January, the students could choose from the list of 16 partner universities (including TUFS) the most suitable for their studies. Thus, GJO was actively promoting the bilateral exchange program and consulting the possible candidates regarding the universities. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies was also introduced for to university students. The final selection procedure is planned on February 9.

During January, GJO was coordinating 4 big projects of this year:

        • Creation of the documentary about Kaunas and Japan. As filming in Japan and Lithuania is over, creators are editing the movie. The release is planned for late March. The 4 minutes promo version was created for Japanese audience.

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      • VMU Asian Week is one of the biggest events of VMU, and this year it will be on March 5-9. It is organized by the Centre for Asian Studies (CAS) at Vytautas Magnus University together with the students’ clubs “Hashi”, “Wu Wei” and “Hallyu”, while the partners of the event are Global Japan Office, Embassy of Japan, Embassy of Republic of Korea, etc. VMU Asian Week is a one week-long cycle of events dedicated to East Asian countries: Japan, China and Korea. The event is aimed to introduce general public with the East Asia region through the presentation of culture, languages, martial arts, cuisine. Events organized last time were a great success and attracted a lot of attention from general public and media.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/01/vmu-asian-week-2018/

      • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO is one of the partners of the event.
      • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2017年12月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, Dec 2017

2018年1月5日 / January 5th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During December, GJO coordinator Aurelijus Zykas continued his visit in Japan and mainly conducted filming activities. Together with the camera man, Kristijonas Jakubonas, in 10 days of shooting they visited 10 cities (including Tokyo, Nagoya, Gifu, Yaotsu, Tsuruga, Kobe, Kyoto, Yokohama, etc.) and conducted more than 20 interviews with scholars and opinion leaders in Japan. The documentary supported by Toshiba International Foundation will cover the prewar history of the relations between Japan and Kaunas. The film screening is planned in late March.

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Interview with Tsuruga City Mayour

In December, VMU started screening of VMU students who are willing to study in Japan for one year exchange (starting from Fall semester of 2018). Presently, the students can choose from the list of 16 partner universities (including TUFS) the most suitable for their studies. During December, GJO was actively promoting the bilateral exchange program and consulting the possible candidates. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies was also introduced to our university students. The final selection procedure is planned in mid-February.
Ms. Chen Jiahui, an exchange student from TUFS at VMU, successfully finished the one semester study program of Lithuanian language and culture. She was among 3 students (out of 28) awarded for best academic achievements.
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Ms. Chen together with the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and the Coordinator of Lithuanian language and culture program


2017年11月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, November 2017

2017年12月7日 / December 7th 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During November, the coordinator of GJO Aurelijus Zykas was visiting Japan due to the implementation of two Japan-related projects implemented by GJO.
The first one is the creation of documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). Thus, Aurelijus Zykas was preparing for filming, checking the documents in archives and meeting the scholars. He was actively keeping in touch with such institutions as Fukuzawa Memorial Centre, Diplomatic Archive, Yaotsu Town, Tsuruga City, Kobe City, etc. to be prepared well. Filming in Japan started on November 28.
The second project is the Sugihara Week 2018, which was settled on the first month of September, and the financing was already secured from Kaunas Municipality. Therefore, while being in Japan, Aurelijus Zykas met with the representatives of different institutions (such as Japan Sakura Association, Japan-Lithuania Friendship Association, Japan-Lithuania Economic Communicy, etc.) to negotiate regarding the successful implementation of next year’s Sugihara Week.

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Meeting with Japan Sakura Association in Tokyo

As Aurelijus Zykas was on his business trip in Japan, he also used this opportunity to visit some partner universities. Among them was International Christian University and TUFS. In both universities, Aurelijus Zykas met the highest representatives and had opportunity to talk about future development. In ICU, the major topics were about strengthening teachers’ exchange and joining Erasmus+ network, and continuing successful students exchange in BA, MA and doctoral level. In TUFS, the coordinator briefly introduced the results and achievements of the first months of development of GJO Kaunas.
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2017年9月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, September 2017

2017年10月2日 / October 2nd 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

This month was the busiest during this year. Sugihara Week (Global Japan Office took place in its organization as partner) of September 02-08 was a big festival consisting of various events in various spaces of Kaunas, which attracted the audience of approximately 4000-5000. The main organizers of the event were the Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas City Municipality, Sugihara Foundation and the Embassy of Japan.
Among the honorable guests of the festival were Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone (Member of Parliament), Mr. Hajime Furuta (Governor of Gifu Prefecture), Mr. Masanori Kaneko (Yaotsu Town mayor), etc. The event also attracted numerous researchers and artists from Lithuania and Japan. In total approximately 200 participants from Japan joined the activities.
The event was extremely well covered by Lithuanian media. At least 20 articles and interviews (including those in National TV and Radio) were conducted.

20 students from Japanese universities are presently studying at Vytautas Magnus University for a new semester and academic year. This is the biggest number of Japanese exchange students in VMU’s history.
Ms. Chen Jiahui is a new exchange student from TUFS at VMU and has successfully started her studies. She met the me on September 21 and had a talk together about her studies and challenges in Lithuania. Ms. Chen is actively participating in the classes and is very eager to learn new things, including very difficult Lithuanian language.
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On September 13, the detailed orientation about exchange possibilities for VMU students who are studying East Asian languages was conducted by the International Affairs Department and GJO. Approximately 50 Lithuanian students of first and second year were participating in the orientation. Also, the contest for bilateral exchange was announced. Therefore, I was consulting the students who are willing to study in Japan. The interviews are planned on October 03.
In Summer, GJO proposed to help the Sugihara Museum by translating the texts from English to Japanese which will be used as explanations of exhibition in the Sugihara Museum of Kaunas. As the translation work was successfully conducted thanks to the enormous help of TUFS, this fact was widely promoted during Sugihara Week.
It was announced by the Ambassador of Japan during the Opening Ceremony (where c. 700 people participated). Later, during the Press Conference of the event, Sugihara Museum awarded the Letters and Gratitude dedicated to the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and to the Global Japan Office in Kaunas. On behalf of TUFS, GJO coordinator received the Letters.
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Photo of the Award ceremony. From left to right: Kaunas Vice-mayor, Rector of VMU, Wife of the Chairman of Sugihara Foundation, GJO coordinator, Director of International Affairs of VMU, Director of Sugihara Museum
During September, I paid two visits to European universities, where I also briefly introduced the activities of the Centre for Asian Studies and GJO. The first visit took place in Oslo University on the occasion of EAJRS (European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists) conference on September 15. The second visit was to the University of Latvia as part of Nord Plus teaching visit on September 22-27.

Besides, this month was also active because of one Japan-related project implemented by GJO. We are creating the documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). September was mainly dedicated for shooting the spaces of Kaunas related to the stories (as well as some events of Sugihara Week), while in October the shooting will be continued in all Lithuania. For the project, shooting in Japan is planned in December.

※ユダヤ人画家による版画:ユダヤの伝統的なオイル・ランプを表している。ランプは、光の象徴で、杉原氏の功績を世界の中で光のように広げることを表現している。


2017年8月 活動日誌 / Activities Report August 2017

2017年9月2日 / September 2nd 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

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 / Activities Report, July 2017

2017年8月1日 / August 1st, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

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).
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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:
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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 / Activities Report, June 2017

2017年6月30日 / June 30th, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

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 / Activities Report, May 2017

2017年5月30日 / May 30th, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

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.

lithuania1705_1

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 / Activities Report, April 2017

GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

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 / Activities Report, March 2017

GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

 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