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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Research into Chinese Society - China deciphered from diversified viewpoints -

Mr. Shinsuke Harada
Graduated from School of Commerce, Waseda University, in Mar. 2008

As the Beijing Olympics is upcoming, there are growing interests in China from various aspects, including economy, environment, and politics. This seminar is a comprehensive exercise aimed at deepening the understanding of contemporary China by delving into the intriguing theme for each student. During the first semester, students read fundamental references and make discussions, and during the second semester, students present their researches.

Through this seminar, I learned especially that "Japanese people blindly assume the characters of Chinese people, and hardly know the truth about them." I realized that Chinese social behavior is influenced by mental aspects, such as "face," "relationship," and "humanity"; they emphasize "ego" without caring for others; and they behave while discriminating their relatives from others. In addition, through the study of environmental issues, especially "emissions trading," I noticed that we cannot solve global environmental issues unless we change the way of thinking centered on governments and firms.

At first, I felt inequality in the fact that Japan gives monetary and technical assistances to Chinese firms that have not allocated money for reducing environmental burdens, but I understood that it is important to discuss on a global scale, in order to solve the problems of global warming and cross-border pollution.

Students surrounding Professor Kazuo Uno (center). The author is at the rightmost in the back row.

In the seminar, we sometimes left the classroom and went into town. We went to Jinbo-cho for visiting the store specializing in Chinese books, and Ochanomizu for visiting "Kanyourou," the restaurant linked to Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai, who flourished during the Xinhai Revolution. Our learning space extends to outside campus. We could lively chat with professors about non-academic topics, while savoring Chinese dishes.

However, when students present their researches, the atmosphere in the classroom becomes tense. Since the number of students is small, each student has to remark many times, and each student's responsibility is heavy. Our professor mentioned, "You should fail while you are student. Then, accumulate experiences and become able to cope with any kind of counterargument." Thanks to this advice, I gained more confidence every time I made a presentation.

Through the exercise, I learned the importance of discussing problems from diversified viewpoints. I am certain that this experience will become a precious asset in the future. (The author attended this seminar in fiscal 2007.)

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)