2017 KIP Regional Study Report 【2017 University Students’ International Conference in Yamaguchi (JUNICON)】

2017 University Students’ International Conference in Yamaguchi was held from May 3 to May 6 and hosted by Yamaguchi Prefectural Government and KIP. About 70 students including international students living in Japan gathered in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, where Meiji Restoration originated. During these four days, we discussed issues which Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan and world are facing, from both global and local perspectives, visited Shoka Sonjuku and Meiringakusya to learn history, and experienced local industries such as Hagi-yaki and forestry.

May.3 (Wed) Opening ceremony, Visit to the Hagi Museum
May.4 (Thu) Tour in Hagi City (Shoka Sonjuku, Meiringakusya etc.), Discussion I "How to make use of the education in Shoka Sonjuku to that in modern junior and senior high school"
May.5 (Fri) Visit to local industry places, Discussion II "Should we take a trade protectionism stance to promote the declining local industry?", Interaction with local people
May.6 (Sat) Reflection "Think about programs to know the attractiveness and issues of each region", Closing ceremony, Free time in Hagi City


—Opening ceremony—

—Committee meeting in the evening—

—First time making Hagiyaki—

—Lecture by the honorary prince in Shoka Sonjuku—

—Forestry experience—

—Making salted fish—

—Discussion by international students, and students from Kanto and Yamaguchi area—

—Group photo at Kikugahama—

【Comments from participants】
Although it was my first time to visit Hagi City, I clearly came to feel from the story of local people that the Meiji Restoration originated here and Shoka Sonjuku existed here. I felt like the attitudes of local people who had been proud of history and culture in their area and trying to develop and succeed them, gave me an answer how to invigorate local area. My experience to discuss international issues and educational issues with local students also gave me a stimulus. This program became a good opportunity for me to think about “what is Japan” and “what is history.” (Yoshinosuke Koizumi, 4th year at University of Tokyo)

Strongly sympathized with the philosophy of KIP, I participated in 2017 University Students’ International Conference in Yamaguchi (JUNICON). In the process of learning "will" and " ability to take action" of great people in Yamaguchi Prefecture with students gathered from over the country, and the process of conducting visit to local industries and discussion, there were many opportunities to make me think how I could take valuable actions. I will never forget the attitude of keep challenging towards the future and cultivating two viewpoints of "local" and "global", and will make use of what I have learned this time in my future. (Ryo Furuya, 4th year at Yamaguchi University)

JUNICON was a wonderful opportunity to meet various people and cultivate a strong bond with them. When I had a visit to Susa's fisheries industry, I learned about local economic circumstances. Through the discussion, I could gain insight into a difference in ideology between the education in Shoka Sonjuku and that in Modern era. I am satisfied with having many opportunities to use Japanese and having been able to improve my Japanese ability. I am looking forward the next program. (Pohl Michel, 1st year Master’s degree at University of Tokyo from France)

I went to Yamaguchi for JUNICON and was able to have a fulfilling time. The venue was very attractive and I could feel the warmth of people in Yamaguchi through interaction with them. We had discussion sessions after having deepened our knowledge on the field, and I was stimulated by the presentations of other groups and by the questions from them. I was able to talk and spend time with participants who have different backgrounds and the program was very meaningful for me. (Sumika Hayashi, 3rd year at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University)

Participation in JUNICON became one of the most wonderful experience I have ever had. What I think is the best thing through this participation is that I could learn how to grasp things diversely from various perspectives. Discussion in KIP was perfect for cultivating the ability to think things overlooking. Through a meaningful visit, I was able to create a good connection with the region, and the operation was done smoothly. I would like to contribute more as a member. (Divya Anand, 2nd year Doctor’s degree University of Tokyo from India)

I participated in this JUNICON program as a university student from host prefecture. What I felt once more through this program was how fun it was to express each other’s ideas and values with students who had different backgrounds. Even though there is something I was thinking about for a certain problem, it is quite different when others think about that. Although I am sometimes able to have such an experience in Yamaguchi, I was able to expand my insight more because there were many students from Tokyo and other area, and we could discuss from various perspectives this time. Moreover, though I have visited Hagi City two years ago for sightseeing, I have never considered the specific issue in that area and what kind of person Shoin Yoshida was. It was a good experience to visit with a viewpoint of 'learning'. (Tatsuya Yamamoto, 4th year at Yamaguchi University)