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.

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

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