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Japanese monk: Bury me in Xinjiang
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08:12, September 10, 2009

Japanese monk: Bury me in Xinjiang
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Wearing Japanese-styled cassock, Yasutaka Kojima, a prominent Buddhist monk from Japan told this reporter in fluent Chinese: "Xinjiang is my second home. I will very much like to have my ashes buried in the Taklimakan Desert."

Those who get to know Yasutaka Kojima won’t feel surprised by his belief. Since 1982, the Japanese monk has visited Xinjiang, in northwest China, for more than 120 times. He is proud to be lauded as "the person who has witnessed the prosperity and progress of Xinjiang region".

In 1982, Kojima came to Xinjiang for the first time to do jewelry business. "However, I was deeply fascinated by this land even though my business venture failed," he said.

Kojima said that Xinjiang had been part of the territory of China since ancient times. He proved it in 1995 when he financed and directed a Sino-Japanese joint research team to do archaeological study in the Taklimakan Desert.

Yasutaka Kojima

The team’s greatest discovery was a color-embroidered brocade with lavish patterns that have eight Chinese characters (Wuxing Chu Dongfang Li Zhongguo), which literally means "China will rise when the five stars appear together in the East."

The brocade

The place where Kojima found the brocade is what was known later as the "Pompeii of the Silk Road", Niya. It is called "Jingjue State" in China's Han Dynasty.

According to Han Shu which recorded the history of Han Dynasty, Jingjue State was governed by Western Regions Frontier Command, which was established by the central government of Han Dynasty.

Kojima and other archaeologists estimated that Jingjue State had been attacked by foreign invaders which destroyed the magnificent civilization there, because they found many scattered household articles surrounded by piles of corpses.

Kojima said that the brocade with the words of "China will rise when the five stars appear together in the East" reflected historical fact of Chinese people wishing for peace.

He said that the most important reason for Chinese civilization having existed for thousands of years to this day, is that Chinese people have been longing for peace and unification. History shows that only peace and unification would make China prosper and thrive, while separation make people suffer.

"Except for the Silk Road, foreigners know little about Xinjiang. They are so far away from Xinjiang," Kojima said. "There are plenty of rumors about Xinjiang riot circulating in foreign countries, because they still have mis-understandings about this region. I will do my best to tell the world a true Xinjiang and the progress over the past 60 years that Xinjiang has achieved."

In the past 30 years, Yasutaka Kojima has donated over 30 million yuan to Xinjiang, and supported to preserve the Kizit Thousand Buddha grottoes and to research on historical relics of Niya and Dandanwulike.

He has set up 5 Sino-Japanese friendship schools in Xinjiang and established scholarship for Xinjiang University, which has awarded more than 3400 students.

He has been rewarded by China's Ministry of Culture for making prominent contribution to Xinjiang's culture, historical relic and education, as well as Sino-Japan cultural exchanges.

By PD Online reporter Wang Xiaoli

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