OSAKA, April 3 -- A Chinese exchange student was commended Thursday by a major group consisting of local newspaper and wire companies for his courageous behavior when he rescued a nine-year boy out of a swollen river about half a year ago in the western Japanese city of Osaka.
Yan Jun, 26, attending a postgraduate program at Osaka City University, received the trophy for the annual Happy New Person award, which is given to the person who most impressed newspaper readers in the year before. Yan was given the trophy by an executive of the daily Mainichi Shimbun, who is also the representative of the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association.
Local reports noted that he had found the schoolboy in the water when he was taking a jog on a day in September last year along the city's Yodo River, where the water level had increased due to overnight rains brought by an approaching typhoon that day, and he jumped into the water and successfully pulled out the drowning boy.
Receiving the award at a ceremony held on Thursday in the university, Yan told reporters that he was at the same time impressed by the wider reaction of the Japanese media's coverage of the story, which encouraged him in his studies in Osaka.
According to Mainichi, which first reported the topic on the following day, Sept. 17, the media group's decision was based on a letter sent from a 20-year-old student living in Nara Prefecture, western Japan, who was overwhelmingly touched by Yan's humanity.
The annual award is organized prior to the day, April 6, a date that when pronounced in Japanese sounds like the present-tense verb "read".