Interview: Japanese young man hopes to contribute to cross-cultural communication between Japanese, Chinese teenagers

(Xinhua) 09:48, January 17, 2022

TOKYO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Daichi Nakashima, an editor at a Japanese publishing house, told Xinhua at a recent reading event in Tokyo that he hopes his novel can help more Japanese, especially Japanese teenagers, increase "their understanding of other cultures and contribute to the cross-cultural communication between Japanese and Chinese teenagers."

In 2019, Nakashima, who won the Panda Cup Japan Youth Essay Contest in Japan, wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping to send his greetings and best wishes and express his willingness to promote China-Japan friendship.

Xi wrote back to him, expressing his hope that the young people of the two countries would make positive contributions to creating a better future for bilateral relations.

Nakashima was greatly encouraged, saying he takes it as his mission to make positive contributions to creating a better future for bilateral ties.

The Japanese young man said so and did so. Since then, he has spent his spare time helping Chinese students apply for Japanese universities at an overseas study service agency, while volunteering to help students who have just arrived in Japan catch up on the Japanese language.

During this process, Nakashima gained a deeper understanding of the difficulties foreign students face in their study and life after coming to Japan, and their efforts to integrate into the Japanese society, which he recorded in his first novel, Polaris of the Border.

The main character, a Chinese girl who followed her mother to Japan as a child, tells the story of her struggle to assimilate into the Japanese society and find her identity while helping foreign students and befriending many foreigners.

The novel won the 61st Children's Literature Award for New Writers organized by Kodansha, a famous publishing house in Japan.

The novel combines elements including Chinese pop songs and popular foods, from which readers can learn about Chinese culture and people's living conditions. The Kodansha jury said it is "a work that crosses borders and thinks from the perspective of the earth."

"There is a lot of children's literature in Japan about Japanese children overcoming difficulties and achieving success, but there are very few works featuring foreign children, and there are very few novels about cross-cultural communication. Maybe that's why 'Polaris of the Border' stands out," Nakashima said.

Nakashima said he hopes people would communicate across cultures while keeping in mind their own cultural roots.

"Due to the epidemic, people from Japan and China have had fewer opportunities to meet and communicate in the past two years. I hope Japanese readers can feel the real and fresh side of other countries through my novel," Nakashima said.

"This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. I hope my novel can be translated into Chinese in the future and contribute to the cross-cultural communication between the young people of the two countries," he said.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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