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Categories

  1. Career
    1. My One and Only
    2. Interning at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
    3. S. Takata Memorial Research Library and My Research Theme
    4. Building a Career in Japan - Don't let the Japanese people beat you in linguistic skills and cultural comprehension -
    5. 67 years after World War II
    6. What is a life plan? From the National Bar Exam to becoming a painter
    7. Job-hunting experience note -Receiving a job offer from the first-choice company is not a dream-
    8. Job-hunting experience note -Self-analysis is about "Constructing one-self"-
    9. The skill-levels of world-class top talents are extremely high. That is why, in order to compete against the world, ambition and aspiration is necessary.
    10. Japan's passport did not come falling from the skies. Fight now for the respect of the future Japanese.
    11. OECD Internship Report
    12. Settling down in Waseda
    13. Be true to yourself, boldly step forward into the things that excite you!
    14. Job Hunting experience notes
    15. In Finland, as an Artist and a Researcher
    16. Using My experiences from Waseda,
    17. Waseda:An everlasting bond
    18. Recent report from Denmark
    19. Submission from WiN member (Recent Report)
    20. Memories of Waseda
    21. My experience at Waseda
    22. My time at Waseda University
    23. Teaching Position at Korea University
  1. Event Reports
    1. C21 Tokyo Challenge
    2. Enjoying a taste of South-East Asia: Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwiches and Milo
    3. Looking Back on the "Go Global Japan" English Presentation Contest
    4. Student Visa Day at the American Embassy
    5. 3rd Place Finish in the "Hong Kong Cup"
    6. Students' Day at the American Embassy
    7. ASIAN STUDENTS ENVIRONMENT PLATFORM 2012: Environmental field studies by students from Japan, China, and Korea
    8. Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 2: Non-academic conference learning
    9. Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 1: Academic conference learning
    10. The 7th Foreigner's Traditional Japanese Dance Exhibition: Waseda University student performers' questionnaire interview
    11. [Event] Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 at Waseda University - ended in a great success!
  1. Gourmet
    1. What Do You Do With a Major in Ramen?
  1. Others
    1. "Ship for South East Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP)"
    2. Exchange Students from US Reunite at Waseda after 30 years
    3. "Like" WiN on Facebook!
    4. WiN Blog starts
  1. Sports
    1. Learning How "To Think" Through Waseda University's Track & Field
    2. Participating in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
    3. "Participating in the XXV Winter Universiade Games (2011/Erzurum)"
    4. My experience with Waseda's American Football Bukatsu
  1. Study Abroad
    1. Shifting Cultivation and the Challenge of Sustainability in Mopungchuket Village, India
    2. Building the TOMODACHI Generation
    3. Kakehashi Project Report
    4. The Double Degree Program at Peking University
    5. Camping and Snowshoeing in Canada
    6. An Encouragement of two-stages approach to study abroad
    7. Studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia
    8. A new kind of Study Abroad
    9. 14-Day Short term Study Abroad Program in Chowgule College, Goa - "What can I do? What can they do? What can you do?"
    10. From Tsugaru strait to the African highest peak Kilimanjaro
    11. PIANO LINE -Seattle Study Abroad Chronicles-
    12. In Finland, as an Artist and a Researcher
    13. What I learned about China through Shanghai Fudan University
    14. Why are those who've experienced study abroad programs a little different? -Full Japanese SILS student reveals the whole story of studying abroad -
    15. China, The Neighboring Country You Do Not Know ~ My Encounter at Peking University ~
    16. Study Abroad Experience Notes
    17. C'est la vie! This is life! Work hard, Play hard.
    18. Study abroad @ Taiwan
    19. Study abroad @ Beijing
  1. Study in Japan
    1. Visiting the Prime Minister's Residene
    2. IPS Summer School 2016: Culture Meets Culture
    3. The World is Smaller than We Think
    4. Waseda Summer 2016
    5. The Opportunity of a Lifetime
    6. Experiencing Village Life at Kijimadaira
    7. A Fantastic Opportunity
    8. A Rewarding Experience
    9. An Amazing Experience
    10. Take Me Wonder by Wonder
    11. I Couldn't Ask for More
    12. Another Kokusaibu Story
    13. SAKURA Exchange Program in Science
    14. I Want to Go Again!
    15. More than Good Sushi
    16. Immersive Experience into the Japanese Culture
    17. 40 Years of Memories in a Photo
    18. Experiencing Everything First Hand
    19. Waseda Summer Session wasn't like any other Summer Camp
    20. Looking Forward to the Past
    21. Weeding a Rice Paddy ~Field Trip to Niigata~
    22. Japan Study Students to Waseda: A message from the class of 1983-84
    23. Developing Medical and Welfare Robots ~The Challenges of Kabe Laboratory, Faculty of Human Sciences~
    24. Recollecting experiences of Exchange Programme at Waseda
    25. Kuroda Kazuo Interview: About Studying in Japan
  1. Volunteer Activity
    1. Taking the first step in volunteering
    2. "Volunteer experience in earthquake-hit area Natori"
    3. "The Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Volunteering"
    4. How my perspective changed through volunteering
    5. Tohoku Volunteer
    6. Great East Japan Earthquake    "Fumbaro East Japan Support Project"

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Blog

67 years after World War II

Profile
Name:Tadayoshi Kojima, Adviser of Chicago Tomonkai 
Born in 1936, Tokyo, JAPAN
Graduated in 1959 School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
Living in the United States over 20 years since 1986


 
On December 8th 2012, when Dean of the Center for International Education Professor Iino
and his staff visited Chicago with the Japan Program coordinators of Great Lakes Colleges
Association/ Associated Colleges of the Midwest (GLCA/ACM), they took the opportunity to
organize a lunch reception. 17 participants including previous exchange students to Waseda
from GLCA/ACM along with Chairman Kamazawa and two other members of the Chicago
Tomonkai participated in the event. 

Kojimasan.JPG
Mr. Kojima in the front row, third from left
 
December 8 (Japan Time) was the day when in 1941, the Japanese Navy attacked the U.S
Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and triggered World War II. Decades later, on December
7 1991 (U.S Time), the then-President Bush attended the ceremony commemorating the
50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Around this period, the Japanese embassy
issued a warning of possible terrorist attacks on US-based Japanese businesses, but
no serious incidence occurred. Since then, the ceremonies continue to take place every
December 7, but national media attention has waned over the years, and only a handful 
of the local newspapers touch upon the incidence. The historical facts, however, has
undoubtedly been ingrained.

When I looked around at the faces of the participants of the lunch reception, it was clear that
at 76, I was not only the oldest participant in the room, but the only person who was born
before the war began. 
Asahi Shimbun newspaper sometimes features a column in their Readers’Voices section
called “Passing Down Stories from the War” (“Kataritsugu Senso”). The people who submit
their stories are all in their 70s, 80s and 90s. They are witnesses to history. I myself, also
being a historical witness, decided that I too should be eligible to pass down the story of
my experiences from the war. 

Living the War, The Day of Defeat and Student Days:

As early as I could remember, Japan had been fighting in the Pacific War. In Kawagoe,
Saitama, where I was sent away for my own safety, I caught a glimpse of a B29 bomber
plane in the blue sky and firmly believed that they were actually Japanese planes. I simply
would not believe that American planes were actually flying into our country. From then on,
we started to evacuate into bunkers every time air raid sirens started, and even then I was
adamant that the Kamikaze, or the “divine winds” would blow and protect Japan, and defeat
the evil enemy forces of America and Great Britain. That was what the imperial education
doctrine instilled in us during that era.

On August 15, 1945, I was in the third grade in elementary school when the Emperor made
his speech to inform the people that he had accepted the Potsdam Declaration.  I couldn’t
understand what he was saying as there was too much static from a radio, but as I listened
to the adults near me talking, I finally realized that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to
the Allied Forces. We lost the war. The shock of the war coming to an end was too great to
describe in words. For China, it is a day to commemorate victory against Japan, in South
Korea they refer to it as “Restoration of Light Day”, and in North Korea it is a day to celebrate
“Liberation of the Fatherland”. Since that day, my surroundings started to change dramatically. 
 
Elementary school.png
3rd grade students at their End of Year ceremony, 1946. A hoanden (a small shrine containing a
photograph of the Emperor and Empress as well as a copy of the Imperial Rescript on Education)
is visible in the background. 

The Occupation Forces started stationing around the country, and US military officers were
driving around freely in their Jeeps. When we kids spotted some GIs, we would rush up and
hassle them for some chocolate or chewing gum. The food shortage from the war was still
harshly felt. Steamed barley and rice (mostly barley oats mixed with a small amount of white
rice) was a luxury for a growing boy during the famine period, when potatoes instead of rice
had become our staple. In the fall, when the ears of rice would hang low, we would go out as
a class and catch locusts as they filled our bellies nicely. We also caught other kinds of treats
like crayfish, catfish and river snails. In 1951, when I was in 3rd grade in middle school, the
San Francisco peace treaty was signed. Printed materials were no longer labeled PRINTED
IN OCCUPIED JAPAN but simply PRINTED IN JAPAN. This was when it really hit me that
Japan had finally been liberated from occupation.  I returned to Tokyo to start high school
and was a member of the boating club during my 3 years in high school, but in college I
didn’t participate in any club activities. I spent my days doing just nothing - this was to make
up for all the free time I missed out on in high school through the demanding club activities.

From College Graduation to Working in the United States:

The year I graduated college, 1959, was a difficult year to find employment. This was when
the fixed exchange rate was 360 yen to US$1, so companies were all working hard for
foreign currency payments. Because of the foreign currency shortage, all Japanese people
had to have a guarantor to travel overseas, or work in an export company to be issued
foreign currency. Traveling abroad for pleasure and sightseeing was still an impossible
dream for us. 
The only available option for me to study overseas was to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship
to study in the United States. I had already found a job with an automotive electrical parts
manufacturer in Gunma, and after I started working there I discovered that the founder of the
company was an alumni of the School of Science and Engineering of my college, and that
he was also old school friends with Masaru Ibuka, the founder of Sony. 

As the Japanese economy developed, the number of cars exported to the United States
increased. That hit the American automotive industry hard, and in 1981 Japan agreed to
limit the number of car exports, to support the rebuilding of the American automotive industry.
Later, in order to “quell the trade tension between Japan and US”, it was declared that local
production would be a necessity. So in 1982, Honda became the first Japanese automobile
manufacturer to set up a plant in Ohio, and other Japanese car makers followed suit to open
manufacturing plants inside the United States.

My own company also began planning local production as our partner car manufacturing
companies began building manufacturing plants in America. So in 1986 I was dispatched
to Chicago to survey for a new factory location. We chose a rural city in central Michigan,
built our first factory and from 1988 began manufacturing and distribution. In 1996 our
second factory opened in Indiana. I never would have dreamt, after losing the war in the
3rd grade, that I would later work side by side with Americans in the manufacturing business.
I worked in charge of local operations for 16 years in total -12 years in Michigan, 4 years in
Ohio- with some intervals based in Japan. During the economic bubble there were some
Japanese who would arrogantly boast that “there was nothing to learn from America”, and
I now regret how we were letting ourselves be carried away with the “Japan as Number 1”
mantra.

While working alongside Americans, I always tried to keep in mind that Japanese companies
and workers like ourselves all had an obligation to contribute to the local community, as we
were guests allowed to do business in America. It’s about coexistence and co-prosperity.
In the summer of 2007, I retired at age 71 from my position but I still love Chicago and am
now in my 23rd year living in the States. When I look at the 20 years Japan lost after the
economic collapse, it seems painfully clear that countries, corporations and people must
always have modesty within them. After pride and vanity comes downfall. 

This year I will be celebrating my 77th birthday. As a Japanese, I look back at my past and
realize how turbulent our times had been since Japan lost the war 67 years ago.

FILTECH(060606).jpg
A poster presented to the company by a local elementary school children after a factory visit
 
Message to WiN members: During my days as a student, it would have been unthinkable
for Waseda students who wished to study abroad in America having a wide variety of
possibilities as they do today, in this amazing era. Through my time living in the United
States, I learned about things I had missed out on as Japanese, and things I needed to
learn. At the same time, I became capable to witness the strengths and weaknesses of
my country from the other side of the Pacific. Young people should actively pursue an
experience overseas to hone themselves, and to work for the benefit of not just Japan but
for the whole of the planet along with people from many nations and ethnic groups. In my
opinion, “Global Citizen” is not a nationality. What is important to have when one travels
abroad is a strong sense of Japanese independence. Questions regarding your roots will
always be brought up. In order to answer this question as Japanese, one must be educated
in Japan’s history -particularly contemporary history- and have correct knowledge of the
Japanese language and pride in their nation’s history, culture and way of life. One cannot be
engaged in international exchange if one does not know their own country. It is also impossible
to improve your English without first being properly equipped with the Japanese language.
I was hoping for Ex-Prime Minister Noda (Waseda alumni) to stay and work hard in his
position a little longer, but the new Abe Administration will now bring Japan into a new step.
They say that Japan as a society has become very stagnant, and young people feel
discouraged to have dreams or hopes. I believe that the Japanese mentality has the
potential to overcome such hardships when pushed to the edge. A true leader who can
make swift and confident decisions and bold actions will emerge during such a difficult
time, particularly from the young generation. This senior citizen has no intention to forfeit
his own duties, but I have high expectations that the younger generation today will lead
Japan to becoming a crucial player in the global playing field.
 
January 2013
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