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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

Student Reports

Student Reports

Understanding the Real China

Keisuke Inada

I spent the last semester at Peking University. It was a short but fruitful time because I met plenty of nice people. In this report, I would like to describe my impression of China as a state, which was gained during my own trips and daily life.

Most of the Japanese people might have negative images of China. They would be formed via the mass media and based on only a part of the country. Yet, there is a “world” that is much more diverse and broader than we could expect. China has approximately 1.4 billion people and the territory is 25 times larger than Japan. The study in China enabled me to realize that China is too huge as a single nation, which was a really valuable finding.

China has the diversity incomparable to other countries. In fact, it is almost similar to a continent like Europe consisting of several countries such as Germany, France, Spain and so on. Whereas Mandarin is used as a standard language, dialects in various areas like Cantonese and Shanghainese are very different and could be categorized as discrete languages. According to regions, individual beliefs or ideologies might be miscellaneous as well. For instance, while there would be more conservative people in Beijing, those in Shanghai would be more liberal. Moreover, regional foods have various characteristics. Indeed, Cantonese food in the South is relatively sugary; on the other hand, Sichuan food in the West is spicy. Between remote areas, we could recognize even apparent differences such as skin color and body dimensions.

When it comes to China, people might come up with environmental pollution because of intense urbanization and industrialization. However, I have seen various beautiful and magnificent natures. 0n a trip to Jiuzhaigou, extraordinarily clear lakes and multi-level waterfalls were charming. In Zhangjiajie, I was overwhelmed by the dynamic scenery of unique rocks and mountains.

In the life of Beijing, there are a lot of chances to find more advanced technologies than Japan. Many electric buses and bikes drive on roads, and solar power has rapidly developed and prevailed around the country. Citizens do not need to possess cash in going out since they can use applications for the electronic settlement like WeChat and Alipay. They are available in small stores and taxis and for a quick payment between persons. The China’s beauty of nature and development of the information and environmental technologies are not well-known in Japan.

Through the life in China, I did not simply accommodate myself to China’s claims. Rather, I sometimes felt how deep our discords were. However, observing the reality of China, I realized that the generalization about China, which was common in Japan like “China is a country which …”, was not reasonable at all. In human relationships, it is essential to candidly understand a person in order to solve a problem and deepen a tie with him or her. This would be true of relations between sovereign states. Since China’s presence is extremely massive for Japan as for security and economy and the trend will be further reinforced in the future, Japan must fully comprehend China to survive in the international community. Therefore, I appreciate from the bottom of my heart the CAMPUS Asia Program which provided me with the first experience to grasp the real China.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The lake and colored leaves in Jiuzhaigou OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The unique rocks and monkeys in Zhangjiajie