Yu-Ai May issue 2019 — Korean PAX report by Iori Fujimoto

Yu-ai Friendship
Newsletter of the World Friendship Center, NPO

Impressions of participating in this Korea PAX
Iori Fujimoto

This Korean PAX was my first time living overseas, and also the first cross-cultural exchange. Participating in this program gave me a lot of experience and knowledge.

First is the history of Korea. In this program, I mainly learned about the issue of comfort women. Through this study, I fully realized how Japan turned away from the issue of comfort women, and how painful the victims and bereaved people felt. Because we Japanese are not interested in this issue at all, are not educated, and are very rude to the other party, We felt that we had to be more aware, and be more active and appeal to the government to get closer to the solution, so that we can build a good relationship between our two countries. Also, at the question and answer time about Ms. Matsumoto’s testimony of the exposure to the A-bomb, I clearly felt the difference in thinking between the Japanese and Korean, such as “Why Japanese forgave Americans for the atomic bomb” and “Why we never ask for apologies”. I thought that this difference in thinking also cause us missing each other.

Next is Korean culture. This was mainly due to homestaying, and it was possible to obtain an experience that could not have been obtained by sightseeing while staying in a hotel. For example, handmade Korean food, shops that only locals know of, you can feel the local culture more directly than famous tourist spots. In addition to meals and sightseeing, I was able to learn a little bit of Korean through conversations with my host family, local people, and children.

Lastly, what I think was the best part of participating in this program is that I gained a new family. It’s my host family, but they welcome me warmly from the first day, treat me like a real family every day, and on the last day they said, “You are our family, come to Korea. Whenever you come, you can stay here anytime. “

All of these experiences were something that could never be gained by ordinary sightseeing or travel, and even though it was a short period of only 6 days, it was a very deep and meaningful time, and it was a program that I was really glad to participate in. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the people at the WFC and the Peace building for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
Thank you very much.

Translated by Minao Capper

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