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Professor Bai Gang gives guest lecture on history of Japan-China cultural exchanges

Professor Bai Gang, formerly the minister counselor at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Tokyo, gave a special lecture in Meimeikan on Monday, June 11. The title of his lecture was “Japan-China Cultural Exchanges: the Past, the Present, and the Future.”

Since retiring from the diplomatic corps, Professor Bai has returned to China, where he serves as the Director-General of the China-Japan Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Research Center at Beijing Foreign Studies University. In fluent Japanese, he spoke to an audience of about 50, many of them first-year students from the College of Arts and Sciences.

In simple, easy-to-follow language, Professor Bai traced the history of Japan-China cultural exchanges back to the Yayoi Period, when Japan sent Kentoshi and Abe no Nakamaro as emissaries to the Tang Dynasty rulers of China. He also introduced some of the works of Li Bai, a Chinese poet with whom Abe was acquainted. Later he described the exchanges leading up to Japan’s resumption of diplomatic relations with China in 1972.

Many of the students in the audience have just begun their study of Japan’s and China’s histories, and to them Professor Bai offered the following summation: “The most important thing now is for these neighboring nations to show an interest in building and maintaining a safe, stable relationship.”

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