BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Masaaki Miyasako was among the 3,000 Japanese young people invited to visit China in 1984 to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the normalization of the China-Japan relations.
For decades, Miyasako, professor emeritus with Tokyo University of the Arts and a prestigious cultural heritage protection expert, has endeavored to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation with China and made a remarkable contribution to the preservation of Dunhuang grottos.
Thirty-five years later, Miyasako is in China again, now leading a delegation of young Japanese students, with whom he fondly shares his observations of China's development over the past decades.
The delegation is the second batch of Japanese university student dispatched by Japan-China Cultural Exchanges Association to visit China on a tour from June 11 to 17.
At the invitation of the China-Japan Friendship Association, the group, comprised of 110 students and scholars from 40 institutions of higher education as well as personnel from the association, is scheduled to visit Beijing and northwest China's Gansu Province, where the Dunhuang grottos are located.
The Chinese and Japanese governments have designated 2019 as the China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year, and agreed to arrange exchanges and visits for 30,000 young people of the two countries in the next five years, said Song Jingwu, vice president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
Song, delivering a welcome address, expressed his hope that these Japanese students can form strong friendships with their Chinese peers.
"There is a lot that we now need to learn from our Chinese friends, including the Belt and Road Initiative, a great concept that the Chinese people are now promoting," said Miyasako.
Miyasako said he hopes this generation of Japanese students can take over the relay baton of exchanges and serve as a positive influence for the relationship between the two countries.
EXQUISITENESS OF THE FORBIDDEN CITY
The delegation attended three interactive workshops at the Palace Museum, located in the Forbidden City, on Tuesday afternoon, on seal carving, porcelain painting and court necklace making.
"There are profound ties between the cultures of China and Japan," said Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum. "We learned from each other during ancient times, and we can still do the same today."
A first-time visitor to China, Marie Ogura, a student from Heian Jogakuin University, said the Palace Museum is "delicate and exquisite."
Ogura said she was impressed by the sense of community and strict self-expectation in China.
Hayato Miura, a senior at the Law School of the University of Tokyo, just completed his year-long studies at Peking University. "China has a diverse culture and a profound history."
Japanese society has a fairly limited understanding of China, said Miura. "I hope the Japanese public can take part in more cultural exchanges to see the real China."
Minami Yamaguchi studies at Tokyo University of the Arts and visited the Palace Museum two years ago. This time, she brought a drawing book to sketch the buildings and decorations.
Noting her interest in Chinese culture, with which Japanese arts are closely related, Yamaguchi hopes to get to know more friends in China through paintings.
SEEING THE REAL CHINA
Suiko Wakano, from Heian Jogakuin, has made four trips to China. "I have many very friendly Chinese friends in Japan. We often go to restaurants, temples and shrines together."
"With a love of Chinese culture, I chose to major in Chinese classics," said Yuri Iida from Keio University.
Iida said Chinese people are very warmhearted and she enjoys such close feelings between people.
On Wednesday, the delegation climbed the Great Wall with 40 students from Beijing Forestry University. They also cooperated to complete nine illustrated descriptions of selected specimens at the university museum.
Kenjiro Kase entered Kyorin University in 2018, where he made Chinese friends and became interested in Chinese for the first time.
Having now learned Chinese for a year, Kase said he felt the dignity of Chinese culture through visiting the Palace Museum and the Great Wall.
Hana Nakanishi specializes in ancient Chinese poetry. "I wish to become a teacher after graduation to pass on the fun of Chinese poetry to my students, and to tell them about the real China."
"Starting a decade ago, I bring my students to Dunhuang every two years, offering them an opportunity to learn more about China," Miyasako told Xinhua. "I am willing to serve as a bridge between them and China."