The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > People



Third-place Prize Winner of The Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship

Mr. Naoto Okamura

He wanted to know more about other cultures. He wanted to communicate with many different kinds of people. These are the reasons explaining Mr. Okamura's serious efforts to learn English while he was an undergraduate student. Through reading newspapers in English and listening to the FEN (Far East Network) Radio, he got the job he was looking for?working as an interpreter and translator in Hong Kong. In 2005, when Director Yoji Yamada came to Hong Kong to promote his new movie "The Hidden Blade (Kakushiken Oni no Tsume)," Mr. Okamura was in charge of the director's interpretation. During our interview with Mr. Okamura, he said, "I still remember when Director Yamada explained, 'The idea of respecting ancestors and Bushido came from Chinese Confucianism. I hope you would realize that we are connected with our ancestors after watching the movie.'"

Throughout his working stay in Hong Kong, Mr. Okamura made many new discoveries?including particularly Japan's unaccomplished way on expressing herself in international society. In order to find out the cause behind this, he decided to return to Japan and make good use of his experience in studying 'Japan as an Asian country.' And thus, he applied for The Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies at Waseda.

This spring, Mr. Okamura won the third place in The Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship contest. In his interview, he detailed his way towards winning the prize in a delighted manner: "In fact, I had participated in the same contest the previous year, but my work was rejected. I didn't realize the panel was looking for articles like feature stories, instead of essays focusing on personal opinion. Therefore, this year I decided to focus my concentration on reporting the current situation. I'm glad that it was a right choice to make." After working a year as an assistant correspondent at the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Okamura learned that it is a basic requirement for a journalist to report the facts correctly.

Beginning in July this year, Mr. Okamura worked as an intern at Reuters for three months. When we asked him about the main differences between a news agency and a newspaper company, he answered, "News agencies place more emphasis on delivering information in a speedy fashion, while newspaper companies tend to provide in-depth coverage on the same topic. My internship allowed me to make a deep comparison of the parts played by both."

After finishing his internship at Reuters, Mr. Okamura started thinking that maybe it was not a necessity to tie himself to a particular subject. Meanwhile, he is working very hard on his master's thesis due in January next year. It is interesting to see how he will improve himseld as an English journalist. Let's wish him all success in his upcoming challenges.

What is "The Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship"?
The Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship is an annual scholarship award organized by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ), to encourage and support university students who are aiming at entering the field of foreign journalism. Participants are judged by the articles they submit in English on one of the given topics. The first place prize will be 500,000 yen; second place prize 300,000 yen and third place 200,000 yen.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Naoto Okamura

Born 1972 in Tokyo. Graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan Yoyogi High School (Toritsu Yoyogi Koukou). He finished his bachelor degree at Dokkyo University in 1997. After his graduation, he entered Fujitsu Microelectronics Pacific Asia Ltd. and started living in Hong Kong. He served as an interpreter and translator at the company and The Hong Kong International Film Festival. He was admitted to The Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies at Waseda University in 2006, after his return to Japan. In March 2008, he won the third-place prize at The 2007-2008 Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship award organized by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ). He treats the books of "Korogaru Hong Kong ni Koke ha Haenai" (*1) and "Belarus no Ringo" (*2) as his life consultants.