Isao Tomita is a pioneer of synthesized music and a leading Japanese composer. In our top story, we will present an extract from the lecture held to commemorate Mr. Tomita's reception of the 2015 Japan Foundation Award.
The Japan Foundation carried out a "designer-in-residence" program titled "DOOR to ASIA" in and around Rikuzentakata City on the Sanriku Coast from December 1 through 12, 2015, with the participation of seven young designers invited from ASEAN member countries.
This happened during spring break in my second year of high school. We traveled by plane from Tokyo to Taipei, and after disembarking from the plane, while my family waited at the baggage claim, I went to the bathroom on my own. Then, as I tried to return to them, I got a bit lost due to my lack of a sense of direction. As I was wandering around, I heard someone asking me a question: "Are you Japanese?"
The Japan Foundation invited a group of young intellectuals, with an interest in social issues in contemporary Japan, from Southeast Asian countries for its program. It aims to promote and deepen exchange between specialists, as well as build and strengthen network, in order to establish joint and cooperative initiatives in Asia toward tackling these issues. In FY 2015, under the theme of "Revitalization of Rural Areas and Creation of New Values," the program seeks to provide a comprehensive introduction to the issues confronting rural society in contemporary Japan, such as depopulation, rapid decline of population, and super-aging society, as well as the actual state of the country that has emerged as a result of these issues. It also provides an opportunity for learning about the initiatives taken by the Japanese central and local governments, civil society, and individuals to resolve these issues. Tans Szue Hann and Dang Thi Viet Phuong, two of the program participants, have written their impressions on the program and how they make use of the experience they gained from it for the future.