2019 Activity Report

March Activity Report

31 March 2020
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Attendees at the Haiku Book Launch at the University of Pretoria

Haiku Book Launch

The Centre for Japanese Studies hosted a “Haiku Book Launch” event. The event took place at the Merensky Library Auditorium at the University of Pretoria. The Guest of Honour was the Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of the Mission, Mr Shuichiro Kawaguchi from the Embassy of Japan in South Africa.

A staff member of the University of Pretoria, Ms Anthea Pretorius compiled this Haiku with an African theme.

Prof Hennie Stander, the Acting Director from the Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) did the opening and welcomed all the guests. Ms Keiko Arai from the Centre for Japanese Studies presented a small introduction on the background and origin of Haiku.

Dr Antony Goedhals, from the English department did an explanation of the Haiku style of poetry.

The author, Ms Pretorius did a presentation and took us on a journey of her work.

There was a good mix of both UP personnel as well as members of the public. Only a few select students with an interest in poetry were invited on this occasion.

Ms Keiko Arai seen here in a traditional kimono with the collector of Japanese artifacts

Ms Keiko Arai dancing at the Embassy Celebrations

Emperor’s Birthday Celebrations

The Embassy of Japan in Pretoria, South Africa has a celebration in honour of His Majesty The Emperor of Japan.

CJS Staff member Ms Keiko Arai was invited by the Embassy to do a traditional Japanese Dance. She arranged to be accompanied by a musician. Ms Arai is an accomplished dancer.

She borrowed the beautiful silk heirloom kimono from a collector of Japanese artifacts, here in Pretoria.

Japan Cultural Expo at Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria South Africa

Japan Cultural Expo

The Embassy of Japan hosted a three day Japan Cultural Expo at the Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria, South Africa. The expo started on a Friday and ended on a Sunday. There were various exhibitions and demonstrations including the martial arts. Ms Keiko Arai of the Centre for Japanese Studies also rendered a traditional Japanese dance. Lots of the students wanted to take pictures with her. The event was a very big success and drew huge crowds. CJS encouraged all their students to attend as the Brooklyn Mall is situated not far from the university.

Ms Keiko Arai (CJS) with Professor Cornellisen from the University of Stellenbosch

Visit to Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town

Ms Keiko Arai and Mr Martin Manganye of the Centre for Japanese Studies visited Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province.

They met with Professor Elisabetta Porcu from the University of Cape Town and Professor Scarlett Cornellisen from Stellenbosch University. Both professors are involved in Japanese Studies and CJS met with them for possible collaboration in the Japanese studies research areas.

Japan Day

A Japan Day was held at the Oude Libertas Slow Market in Stellenbosch on 15 March 2020. As can be seen by the poster above the program was full with interesting items for people of all walks of life.

February Activity Report

29 February 2020
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pic; Centre for Japanese staff members with staff from the Mamelodi Sewing Clinic

Visit to Mamelodi Campus

The Mamelodi Campus of the University of Pretoria is located to the north of Pretoria. This campus is for first year students who need to do a bridging course in order to study in a particular field but were not able to gain access to the course directly due to poor marks.

The campus has various projects that involve the township community of Mamelodi. One of these is a sewing clinic. Amongst the items sewn are carrier bags made with indigenous African prints.

These items are especially attractive to Japanese people and a huge order was placed from Japan.

Pics; Sophia University students on a campus tour, at lectures, socializing and discussion session at University of Pretoria

Sophia University Study Tour

Students from Sophia University came on a study tour to University of Pretoria.

The Centre for Japanese Studies arranged various activities for the students.

Professor Harris gave them a lecture on the History of South Africa and Dr Shangase also delivered a lecture on Political Science. They were treated to a campus tour of the Main campus as well as the Mamelodi campus.

We also arranged for a student to take them to the Voortrekker Monument as well as the Union Buildings. They had a group discussion with some of our students at one of our residences and enjoyed authentic South African food.

They were very impressed with their visit and we hope to see more of this type of activity between UP and students from many other universities in Japan.

Pics, Mixed tour group of students and non-students from Japan

TigerMov brings Japanese Tourists to South Africa

TigerMov is a Travel Agency run by a Japanese lady living in South Africa. She brings tourists from Japan to visit South Africa. Part of the tour arranged was the University of Pretoria.

They were a mixed group of both students and non-students. They were a small group of 8 and a tour coordinator. The Centre for Japanese Studies arranged for them to meet and have discussions with South African Japanese language students and a campus tour.

We were delighted by the entrepreneurial spirit of the travel agency lady who does this on her own. What an inspiration!

Pics, University of Pretoria students attending the APU session

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) from Japan

Mr Keith Peter Ongaria, an Admissions Officer from the International Division of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan came to the University of Pretoria to do an Information Session.
Mr Ongaria spoke about the great advantages of studying in Japan, the scholarships offered to African students and the opportunities given by APU to international students.

The Centre for Japanese Studies invited all students in a general broadcast. The response was overwhelming as students packed the venue to capacity. We were only expecting 50 students but we got more than 80 students.

From previous years it is clear that the interest amongst students to study in Japan is growing tremendously. We promised the students another session like this later in the year as many of them could not attend due to lectures.

Pic; Ms Keiko Arai (CJS) with Mr Koichiro Nishikawa

Visit from Mr Koichiro Nishikawa

Mr Koichiro Nishikawa is a doctoral student from Tokyo University of Agriculture. He is a botanist and continuing more than 20 years of research on Azioaceae in South Africa.

He visited the Centre for Japanese Studies as part of his visit to UP. He was scheduled to visit Professor Lise Korsten who is the Head of Agriculture at the University of Pretoria.

Ms Keiko Arai hosted him to a tea at her office in the Centre.

January Activity Report

31 January 2020
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pics; University of Pretoria (UP) beginning of January and Last week of January 2020

Orientation and Registration of New Students

The University of Pretoria officially opened for registration for new students on 13 January 2020 but the registrations were held at another UP Campus and not the main Hatfield Campus.

So from the beginning of the year the campus was deserted except for a few staff members as can be seen from the top pictures.

Then the last week of January it was Orientation Week for all the first year students. The campus came to life and was buzzing with activity for all the new comers. Tents and huge events were set up to attract the first years. There were displays and dancing and singing and huge jungle gyms as well as sports displays.

All other students (second year onwards) start campus on 3 February 2020.

Pic; Professor Hennie Stander (CJS), Mr Takumi Hamada (Embassy of Japan), Ms Keiko Arai (CJS – JICA), Mr Shunsuke Fujiwara (Embassy of Japan)

Visit by Japanese Embassy in Pretoria

Mr Shunsuke Fujiwara the Economic Researcher and Mr Takumi Hamada the GGP Consultant from the Embassy of Japan in South Africa visited the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Pretoria.

They made a courtesy call to introduce themselves and to get to know the personnel at the centre.

They met briefly with the Acting Director, Professor Hennie Stander and Mrs Anita Devchand the Administrator.

The Centre has very strong ties with the Japanese Embassy and it’s always good to strengthen the relationship.

Pic, New student from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Ms Fakino Akaishi and UP student Ms Mishka Devchand

New Student from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS)

It is with great pleasure that the Centre for Japanese Studies at University of Pretoria welcomes Ms Fakino Akaishi from TUFS.

Ms Akaishi will be spending a year with us and visited CJS.

Ms Mishka Devchand a third year BCom student, also the daughter of the Administrator at the Centre assisted Ms Akaishi with the registration process and other useful information. She also took Ms Akaishi to the International Student Division to sort out her lectures.

Pics L-R; Mr Martin Manganye (CJS – JICA), Ms Keiko Arai (CJS – JICA) & Mr Hloniphani Dube

Interest in Japan

Mr Hloniphani Dube visited the Centre for Japanese Studies. He is the founder of Data Science Start-up at Wits Tshimologong.

He has a strong interest in the culture and industrialization of Japan. He wants to visit Japan and learn how things work and how Japan was industrialised.

He would like to bring this knowledge to Africa.

CJS encourages both students as well as the general public to visit our Centre should they express an interest in learning about Japan. The Centre tries to assist as best as it can.

Pics; Dolls display at CJS, brochure and Yukata

Gifts from Japan for CJS

Ms Keiko Arai travelled to Japan in December / January and bought gifts for the Centre very generously paid for by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

One of the many items was a set of Japanese Dolls. Almost every household that have girls have these doll collections. 3 March is Girls Day in Japan and these dolls are part of the celebration.

The South African students at UP will be thrilled to learn yet another aspect of Japanese culture.

Ms Arai also bought a Yukata that Mrs Devchand had the privilege and honour of modelling. It will be used for events that CJS hosts to showcase the Japanese culture.

We are humbled by the generosity once again of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and wish to express our heartfelt gratitude.

December Activity Report

31 December 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pic L-R; Ms Keiko Arai, Mrs Anita Devchand, Mr Martin Manganye and Professor Hennie Stander

Year End in South Africa

It’s that time of the year again when everything in South Africa winds down and all the corporations and academic institutions operate on skeleton staff. This means that they don’t have their full complement of staff but a few people in support positions to hold the fort down.

Over the December period when the schools close down for the academic year, most South Africans take a month long more or less vacation. This is the time when you find all the shopping malls decorated with beautiful Christmas trimmings. People shop for their vacation and for Christmas which is celebrated by almost all the people. The roads are quiet and the campuses are deserted but the only places that are busy are the beaches, holiday resorts and the shopping malls.

University of Pretoria is no exception. Most staff are away and those that choose to stay behind spend quiet days catching up on filing or cleaning up their offices.

December is also the time for Year End functions and all the departments at UP also have their own private functions which is paid by the university. Some departments go to wellness centres for pampering spa treatments but most go for lunch or away for braai (Our term for barbeques) to restaurants.

CJS went to the Loftus Park Mall to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. It was wonderful to socialize with colleagues and not talk shop! Everyone was very relaxed and after lunch we departed for home.

Pic; Dr Harrison Bheki Hlabane pictured with Ms Keiko Arai at the Global Japan Office

Visit by Dr Harrison Bheki Hlabane

Dr Harrison Bheki Hlabane visited the Centre for Japanese Studies with the aim of collaborating for a Sports Expo that he is planning for next year.

He studied his Masters and PhD at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan. He majored in Law and then went onto pursue his interests in Sports. He studies the impact that a major sports event like the Rugby World Cup has on a country, in this case, Japan.

Pic, Sophia University students Anju Hirayama and Yuho Isobe with Mishka and Vittesh Devchand at the Japan stall

Sophia University students return to Japan

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Kaita Ikeya, Yuho Isobe and Anju Hirayama who all returned to Japan this December. They were also sad to be leaving but were looking forward to their next adventure as they all three went to USA to try and secure jobs.

We became very fond of these students who visited us very often at the centre for tea and biscuits. Yuho and Anju were also very helpful to us during our seminars by assisting at the reception tables. They also partook in the International Students Day event that was held at the University of Pretoria where the Japan stall won first prize for Best Stall. Anju sang a traditional Japanese song at the cultural part of the event.

Pics; ABE function and seen here is CJS’s Ms Keiko Arai on the left with Ms Eva Nderumaki from JICA in the centre

ABE Function

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) hosted a Business Networking Fair in Johannesburg. CJS staff Mr Martin Manganye was there to lend a helping hand.

The fair convenes professionals who are the ex-participants of the ABE Initiative program from all over Africa, Japanese companies from Japan and South Africa, public and private companies from South Africa, Government entities and the Government of South Africa and others representatives from African Countries.

The aim of the fair is to provide an avenue where the parties from Japan, South Africa and across Africa can network on Business opportunities.

The fair took place at Emperors Palace Hotel in Johannesburg.

Professor Hennie Stander, the Acting Director of CJS attended the function as representative of the University of Pretoria.

Pics: Artifacts on display at the pop up Japanese Exhibition and Invitation

Japanese Exhibition

A private pop up exhibition of antique Japanese art and artifacts was held on 30 November 2019 in Johannesburg. The Centre for Japanese Studies was informed and subsequently invited over 1000 people to the event.

Mr Alan Samons exhibited antique Japanese scrolls (some remounted on rigid supports for ease of display), antique and vintage kimono, obi and tea bowls from his own collection.

He remounts old scrolls and screens on rigid supports that make them easier to display in a western home, yet keeping to the traditional Japanese style. His tea bowl, kimono and obi collection has become a hoarding passion and incorporate new pieces as well as antiques.

The one day event was hosted by Caroline Schulz-Vieira and she had her ceramics on display. Her work has a very strong Japanese influence, especially after her recent trip to Japan. There was also bonsai, food and flower arrangements, all in Caroline’s beautiful Parkview home.

This is the first of what will hopefully become an annual event.

November Activity Report

30 November 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pics; Professor Otsuka’s seminar at the University of Pretoria

Professors Keijiro Otsuka and Tomoko Hashino

The Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) hosted a seminar and academic session in conjunction with the Embassy of Japan.

The Embassy of Japan arranged for the husband and wife duo to come to South Africa. The Centre for Japanese Studies through the University of Pretoria arranged a public seminar at the university premises.

The two Professors hail from the Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University. Prof Otsuka’s talk was on “Lessons from experience of cluster-based development in Asia and Africa” with the sub themes of Innovation and learning from abroad and the case of the automotive industry in South Africa. Prof Hashino’s talk was on “Lessons from history of catching-up development in Japan” with the sub titles of Education and learning from the West and the case of silk weaving clusters in Japan.

The seminar was well attended with the venue being filled to capacity. We were also honoured to receive Ambassadors from other Embassies other than Japan as well as government officials as our guests. The evening was a huge success. The next day the two professors met with academics to have a discussion.

Pics; Profs Otsuka and Hashino on their campus tour with the guide in front of Kya Rosa & in a gholf cart

Campus Tour of the University of Pretoria

The Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) arranged for a tour of the campus for the two professors and arranged for a guide to show them around and explain the historical buildings. They Kya Rosa was the first building of the University of Pretoria and is located right next to the Main Entrance of the Hatfield Campus. This was the starting point of the tour.

CJS also arranged for them to take the tour in a gholf cart and they were very thrilled with the ride and enjoyed it immensely. They loved the campus and found it to be very beautiful with the Jacaranda trees still in bloom and everything looked so green and colourful. The tour lasted for an hour.

Pic; Ms Keiko Arai with Centre Acting Director, Prof Hennie Stander and Mr Martin Manganye

Ms Keiko Arai joins CJS

With the departure of Mrs Tomoko Kawakita, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) engaged the services of Ms Keiko Arai as the next expert to assist CJS. Ms Arai was a former teacher in Japan prior to joining JICA and hails from the city of Kiryu in the Gunma Prefecture. She worked in Jordan, Afghanistan and Pakistan before coming to South Africa. The Centre for Japanese Studies welcomes Keiko and we look forward to a wonderful relationship going forward.

Pics, Exchange student at UP from Sophia University, Ms Anju Hirayama enjoying Cape Town, a province in South Africa

Pics, Mr Yuho Isobe also from Sophia University visited the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Mozambique

Japanese Exchange Students at UP tour South Africa and Africa

It was with wonder that the South African students observed that their Japanese counterparts who came to UP as exchange students had such an adventurous spirit. The students not only toured South Africa but also other parts of Africa. We found them to be very brave and courageous as the boys travelled on their own.

Anju Hirayama our only female exchange student from Japan visited the Mother City of Cape Town as well as KwaZulu Natal. She enjoyed her visit as she met up with students from other African countries.

Kaita Ikeya, a student from Sophia University travelled from the top of Africa from Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania through to Mozambique and back into South Africa.

Yuho Isobe, another student also from Sophia University met him in Mozambique and then went onto Zanzibar and finally to Cape Town before returning to Pretoria.

October Activity Report

31 October 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pics; Oversight Committee Members at the Embassy of Japan South Africa

Centre for Japanese Studies Oversight Committee Meeting

The Embassy of Japan hosted the annual Centre for Japanese Studies’ Oversight Committee Meeting (OCM) at the Embassy in Groenkloof. In attendance from the University was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe, The Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Vasu Reddy, the Acting Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies Professor Hennie Stander, Deputy Deans, Professors Maxi Schoeman and Sandy Africa, Mr Martin Manganye and Mrs Anita Devchand.

From the Japanese delegation we had the Minister-Counsellor Mr Shuichiro Kawaguchi from the Embassy of Japan, Economic Counsellor Mr Osaki, from Japan Chamber of Commerce Mr Makoto Ichikawa, from Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Mr Yoshiaki Ishihara, from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mr Tomohiro Seki and Ms Keiko Sawada, From the Embassy of Japan, First Secretary Mr Yasuhisa Kitagawa and Second Secretary Ms Akari Watanabe.

Professor Reddy chaired the meeting and welcomed all attendees. The Vice-Chancellor spoke about his visit to Japan for TICAD and the follow up SAJU meeting followed by the Minister-Counsellor who said a few words of welcome.

Thereafter a report was given by Prof Stander on the activities of the CJS for the year as well as a breakdown of the Financial Statement. Some of the delegates were invited to dinner by the Ambassador at his residence for a high level discussion.

Pics; Farewell breakfast for Mrs Tomoko Kawakita at the University of Pretoria

CJS JICA staff member returns to Japan

Mrs Tomoko Kawakita was assigned from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as an Expert to assist the Centre for Japanese Studies. She stayed at the centre for 3years as her contract was renewed. She was instrumental in creating contacts with Japanese academics and academics from the University of Pretoria.

In the absence of a Director at the Centre, Mrs Kawakita held the team together and it was business as usual.

Her contribution beyond and above her call of duty was recognized and spoken highly of by the Dean, Deputy Dean as well as the Acting Director.

As a colleague and friend she will be sorely missed as several colleagues spoke of her efficiency, energy and expertise.

We wish her all the best in her future endeavours and look forward to keeping in contact with her. She left South Africa on 28 October 2019 to return to Japan.

Pic; Jacaranda Trees in full bloom before a storm

Pic; Jacaranda flowers make a carpet of purple after a storm

Jacarandas in full bloom

Pretoria in South Africa is where the University of Pretoria is located. It is also famously known as the “Jacaranda City” because almost all the streets are lined with Jacaranda trees. From September onwards the trees are in full bloom with beautiful purple flowers. Unfortunately it also the start of the rainy season in Gauteng so thundershowers are very common. The rains really hard for short periods of time and all the delicate flowers fall off in the process. With the Jacarandas, a beautiful carpet of purple flowers is the result of the aftermath of the storm.

Pics; Posters from The Embassy of Japan in South Africa inviting UP Students to watch Rugby matches

Pic; Yuho Isobe and Anju Hirayama at the Embassy for the Rugby Match

Rugby World Cup

This year proved to be very exciting due to the Rugby World Cup being hosted in Japan. Not only were the Japanese community in South Africa excited but many South Africans travelled to Japan to watch the games. South Africans especially from the Pretoria area are huge rugby fans.

The Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) put up posters of the event for our students. The Embassy of Japan in South Africa also invited our students on two occasions to go to the Embassy to watch the Matches.

Mr Martin Manganye from CJS as well as our exchange students from Japan attended the events.

It turned out that the games were really nail-biting and much fun was had by all.

September Activity Report

30 September 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Professor Shinichi Takeuchi from TUFS with Vice Chancellor, Professor Tawana Kupe from UP
Professor Takeuchi of TUFS seen here with other participants at the SAJU follow up meeting

UP Vice Chancellor visits Japan for follow up SAJU Meeting

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe spent time in Japan to attend the SAJU follow up event on 27 August 2019.

The event was hosted by Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) represented by Professor Shinichi Takeuchi. The VC, Professor Tawana Kupe met with professors that participated in the SAJU Conference earlier this year at the Future Africa Campus of the University of Pretoria. In attendance was the VC of Free State University (South Africa) Professor Francis Peterson as well as Professor Nagao from Hiroshima University.

Presidents and Vice Presidents representing Hokkaido University, Sophia University, Tsukuba and Naruto University also travelled to Tokyo for this meeting.

Dr David Sekao Seminar

Dr Sekao has a long history in education environment ranging from being a teacher, education specialist and teacher educator. During his tenure with the Department of Basic Education as a Chief Education Specialist responsible for mathematics in the General Education and Training band, he was part of the team that developed the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).

Dr Sekao was first introduced to Lesson Study in 2012 and 2013 during the training offered by Miyagi University of Education in Japan and in 2016 and 2017 in Naruto University of Education in Japan.

Lesson Study is a teacher development approach which originated from and is widely used in Japan. Documented evidence of the effects of Lesson Study on teacher development has led to increasing interest to use Lesson Study outside Japan.

Sophia University student at UP travels Africa

Mr Kaitha Ikeya who came to study at University of Pretoria as an exchange student from Sophia University decided to explore Africa. He left on a solo mission to Egypt and is planning to travel by local transport all the way back to South Africa.

His travels will last for one month as he explores various African countries on his way back down south. He plans to visit Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to name a few countries.

(L-R); Mrs Tomoko Kawakita, Mr Martin Manganye, Mr Yasuyuki Okazaki and Associate

Visit by Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in South Africa

The Director, Public Diplomacy Strategy Division, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan in South Africa, Mr Yasuyuki Okazaki and an associate came to the University of Pretoria for a courtesy visit. They were accompanied by the First Secretary from the Embassy of Japan, Mr Yasuhisa Kitagawa.

They met with the Deanery of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, the Dean Professor Vasu Reddy, The Acting Director, Professor Hennie Stander and the Deputy Dean, Professor Sandy Africa.

They were also given a tour of the Centre for Japanese Studies Offices.

August Activity Report

31 August 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Mr Martin Manganye from CJS flanked by Mr Yuho Isobe and Ms Anju Hirayama from Sophia University

New Arrivals

Two students from Sophia University joined University of Pretoria (UP) for a six month exchange visit.

Yuho Isobe and Anju Hirayama were very thrilled to experience the Humanities 100 year celebration concert soon after their arrival at UP. They also saw an exhibition of art work displayed by the Humanities art students.

Mrs Tomoko Kawakita JICA Expert assigned to CJS, Professor Kosuke Shimizu from Ryukoku University and Kaitha Ikeya from Sophia University

Professor Kosuke Shimizu visits UP

The Humanities Faculty was proud to invite Professor Kosuke Shimizu to visit UP. Professor Shimizu is from Ryukoku University in Japan and is a Professor in the Faculty of International Relations, Department of Global Studies, Dean of Research and Director of Afrasian Research Centre.

He was one of the visiting professors that participated in the SAJU Conference earlier this year. On his visit to UP this time he delivered a public seminar titled: Temporality and Rationality of Buddhism: with the experience of Kyoto School of Philosophy.

He also attended a networking session that was arranged by Prof Maxi Schoeman with other academics from UP. Lots of good comments were received on Professor’s presentation and we hope to see him again soon.

Visitors from Japan seen here with Mrs Tomoko Kawakita and Mr Martin Manganye at CJS Offices

Group Tour from Japan

A group of eight young individuals both male and female visited the Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Pretoria as part of their visit to South Africa. They were a mix between undergraduate and postgraduate students.

They came to South Africa on a private tour and stopped over at the university. They were given a tour of the Hatfield Campus before they departed to continue their journey across the country.

Pics; Mrs Anita Devchand assisted by her children Vittesh and Mishka Devchand and Arsenio Botha.

Choose UP Day

The Centre for Japanese Studies showcased Japan at the Choose UP Day. Choose UP Day invites all grade 12 applicants who applied to study at UP and got accepted. Thousands of visitors including parents visited UP on that day. They also got to see the campus and all its facilities and were given talks by the Deans of all the various faculties.

Pics; Japan Stall at University of Pretoria for International Student Day, Yuho Isobe, Anju Hirayama & Vittesh Devchand in traditional Japanese clothing

International Student Day

The Embassy of Japan in South Africa was invited to showcase Japan at the International Student Day at the University of Pretoria.

The Centre for Japanese Studies assisted the Japanese Students studying at UP to exhibit a stall. Among the students from Japan was Ms Anju Hirayama and Mr Yuho Isobe. Also assisting on that day was Mr Vittesh Devchand. All three wore traditional Japanese clothing. Many other countries also had stalls like Botswana, Canada, Sudan, Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe to name a few.

We are very proud to announce that Japan won the competition for Best Exhibition! Ms Anju Hirayama also beautifully sang a traditional Japanese song at the Song and Dance event.

July Activity Report

31 July 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and IT, Professor Sunil Maharaj together with Professor Masafumi Nagao, Visiting Professor to CJS, University of Pretoria, Research Advisor, International Development Centre of Japan and Professor Emeritus Hiroshima University and Professor Elma van der Lingen, Head of Engineering and Technology Management.
Minister Counsellor from Embassy of Japan Mr Shuichiro Kawaguchi, Mrs Tomoko Kawakita JICA Expert assigned to CJS and Resident Representative of JICA Mr Tomohiro Seki.

Seminar at University of Pretoria

The Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) together with the Graduate School of Technology Management hosted a seminar entitled: “Mutual Learning to Industrialise and Develop: New Approaches to Africa-Asia Cooperation”. The presenter was Professor Masafumi Nagao, Visiting Professor to CJS, University of Pretoria, Research Advisor, International Development Centre of Japan and Professor Emeritus Hiroshima University.

Amongst the attendees were the Chairperson of the University’s Council, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, representatives from JICA, Toshiba, National Research Council, Department of Science and Technology, Centre for Advancement of Scholarship, Graduate School of Technology Management and the Centre for Japanese Studies.

Prof Nagao’s presentation was very informative and he captured the audience attention. All in all it was well received by all the attendees.

Professor Masafumi Nagao and Vice Chancellor and Rector of the University of Free State, Prof Francis Petersen.

Visit with Vice Chancellor of University of Free State

The Rector and Vice Chancellor of the University of Free State, Professor Francis Petersen extended an invitation to visiting University of Pretoria Professor Masafumi Nagao to visit the University of Free State for 2 days.

Professor Nagao met with various academics and amongst them the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, the Dean of Natural and Agricultural Sciences the Senior Director of research Development.

Amongst the discussions that took place were; Prof Peterson’s upcoming tour to Japan, University of Free State’s relationship with Japan Universities, UFS Business School and Entrepreneurship.

Professor Petersen will be visiting Japan in August and will attend the SAJU meeting as well as TICAD VII.

Farewell to TUFS student

The staff of the Centre for Japanese Studies were sad to see TUFS student Mr Naoto Mihara return to Japan.

Mr Mihara came as an exchange student to study at the University of Pretoria for a year. He visited South Africa’s famous Cape Town as well as KwaZulu Natal and the Mpumalanga Province to see the “Big 5”. The Big 5 are the elephant, buffalo, rhino, cheetah and lion.

He was very impressed with the University of Pretoria and South Africa and said they exceeded his expectations.

Ms Wendy-Rose Govender and her friends as well as class mates at TUFS

UP Exchange Student at TUFS

Ms Wendy-Rose Govender is in love with the culture of Japan and finds that the food Japan has to offer is amazing. She learnt about Buddhism and how it affected the country and lives of the Japanese people. She found that the lecturers were very enthusiastic and that the classes were very interesting. She also made a lot of international friends. She has returned to South Africa and wishes to thank TUFS for this wonderful opportunity afforded to her.

Ms Virginia Theuri and friend from Wits University, South Africa, selling African food at a stall at a Hokkaido University Festival.
Ms Virginia Theuri admiring the beauty of the Magnolia(白木蓮) that Spring has ushered in.

Welcoming Spring

University of Pretoria exchange student at Hokkaido University, Ms Virginia Theuri shared pictures of her welcoming spring. She is having a wonderful time exploring Japan in her spare time and has been participating in a lot of cultural activities at Hokkaido University.

Mrs Tomoko Kawakita pictured with Mr Keith Ongaria from APU

Mr Keith Ongaria, an Admission’s officer from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University visited the Centre for Japanese Studies.

Mr Ongaria explained APU’s interest to collaborate with CJS and Kakehashi on assisting South African students who want to study at APU. He also explained about the tuition reduction scholarship at APU.

APU will arrange a meeting between delegates of CJS and APU at their Tokyo Office to discuss more about potential collaboration so we can expect more development in the this area in the future.

June Activity Report

30 June 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pictured here; The Ambassador of Japan to South Africa, His Excellency the Honourable Mr Norio Maruyama giving a speech at “Japan House” and members of the SAJU Committee
Pics; The Ambassador of japan to South Africa, His Excellency the Honourable Mr Norio Maruyama and Prof Maxi Schoeman from the University of Pretoria

Dinner at the Ambassador’s Residence “Japan House”

The newly appointed Ambassador of Japan to South Africa, His Excellency, the Honourable Mr Norio Maruyama invited all the South Africa – Japan Universities (SAJU) Committee as well as sub-committee members to his residence “Japan House” for a thank you dinner.

The Ambassador thanked everyone for their effort in making the SAJU Conference a huge success and briefly mentioned the G20 summit.

A beautiful buffet of authentic Japanese sushi freshly prepared on site by a chef especially brought in for the evening as well as traditional Japanese sweets for dessert was enjoyed by all.

Pics; Visiting Japanese student Kaita Ikeya with Mr Martin Manganye, Ms Lisa Sanders and the team from Toks & Tjops

Sophia University Exchange student interviewed for South African TV

Sophia University exchange student at University of Pretoria Mr Kaita Ikeya together with Embassy of Japan employee, Ms Lisa Sanders did a promotional item for a local television channel, DSTV KykNet. The programme will be broadcast on the Toks & Tjops slot. They were interviewed to promote the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan. Joining them and giving the thumbs up in the studio was CJS-JICA employee Mr Martin Manganye.

Pics; Prof Masafumi Nagao conducting interviews with students at University of Pretoria

Interview with University of Pretoria students

Visiting Professor at the University of Pretoria, Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University, Research Advisor, International Development Center of Japan, Professor Masafumi Nagao stayed behind after the SAJU Conference as he currently has a contract with University of Pretoria till September 2019. As part of his stay here at UP, he continued conducting interviews with both undergraduate as well as post graduate students. He expressed his desire to get the students to tell him how they envisioned their future both in their personal capacities as well as for their country.

Pics; UP Alumni, Mr Wesley Human featured in JICA calendar

UP Alumni on JICA Calendar

First UP exchange student to Hokkaido University, Mr Wesley Human returned to South Africa to graduate only to return to Japan. He found his experience as an exchange student so life changing that he secured himself employment teaching English in Japan in Sapporo City in Hokkaido. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) featured him in their 2019 Calendar for the month of June. Wesley has been a true inspiration to the students who aspire to visit Japan and is very much in contact with CJS as well as students of UP.

May Activity Report

31 May 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Talk by Dr Tomoko Kitagawa

Dr Kitagawa presented a talk at the University of Pretoria on 16 May entitled “Making the Rules by Breaking the Rules: Deciphering the History of Mathematics and Computing”

The talk gave an overview of cryptographic methods and highlights various mathematical concepts that have led to the development of the algorithm of encryption and decoding.


Dr Tomoko L. Kitagawa studied mathematics at the University of British Columbia, and received her Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. She taught history classes at Harvard University, including a seminar on the history of East Asian mathematics. Her classes were well-received and she was cited as one of the students’ favourite professors at Harvard by the class of 2012. Her first book in Japanese became a national bestseller in 2012. She conducted her academic research at the University of Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, and the University of California, Berkeley. Based in Oxford, she is currently working on a research project concerning a global history of mathematics.

Pic; Study in Japan Fair at the Fortis Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa

Study in Japan Fair

Hokkaido University – Lusaka (Zambia) Office co-hosted the “Study in Japan Fair” on 22 May 2019 with the Centre of Japanese Studies.

The event took place at a hotel in Hatfield, Pretoria which was within a few minutes’ walk from the University of Pretoria Main Campus. The following universities were represented; Hokkaido University, University of Tsukuba, Yokohama National University, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Prefectiral University of Kumamoto, Kyoto University and Asahi University. The turnout was overwhelmingly successful with over 300 students attending.

Pic; Jazz musicians at the Meet and Greet Cocktail hosted by University of Pretoria

Meet and Greet Cocktail – SAJU Forum

On the eve of the South Africa – Japan (SAJU) Conference, 22 May 2019, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe hosted a Meet and Greet Cocktail to welcome all the guests both Japanese and South African university representatives for the conference and his counterpart, Vice President of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Professor Jun Matsukuma as well as Minister-Counsellor Mr Shuichiro Kawaguchi, of the Japanese Embassy in South Africa. Once the formalities were concluded, guests were treated to some delicious finger foods and there was also a live Jazz band in attendance.

Pics; SAJU Conference registration and Conference Centre

Pic; SAJU Conference at Future Africa Campus, University of Pretoria

4th South Africa – Japan (SAJU) Conference entitled The Human Being in the 21st Century in the Context of Global Changes

The University of Pretoria co-hosted the 4th SAJU Conference at their brand new Future Africa Campus. The Campus boasts a state of the art conference venue, a hotel as well as a large dining hall. The conference was attended by over 200 Japanese University and South African delegates including Vice Chancellors and Vice Presidents, CEO’s and Directors. The purpose of the conference was to establish a collaboration between academics, institutions to tackle the world’s problems. There were a series of lectures and seminars as well as thematic discussions held concurrently. There was also a poster session covering three areas of current interest. Prior to the event there was an Academic Tour organised for the Western Cape and after the event, a Heritage Tour in Gauteng which was well received and enjoyed by the participants.

Gala Dinner

The University of Pretoria hosted a Gala Dinner as part of the SAJU Conference at which the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Ms Naledi Pandor as well as the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency the Honorable Mr Norio Maruyama gave speeches.

April Activity Report

30 April 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Anita Devchand

Pic; Ms Wendy-Rose Govender with Ms Anita Devchand and at TUFS having fun.

First UP Student heads to TUFS

Ms Wendy-Rose Govender made history by becoming the first University of Pretoria student to go on an exchange program to Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS). She left for Japan on 1 April 2019.

Wendy-Rose is a second year Industrial Engineering student at the University of Pretoria. She was very determined to study in Japan and even though she could not find any courses towards her degree she chose the following modules for which she does not receive any credits: Japanese, Greek and Roman Mythology, Modern English Literature, Topics in Religion and Popular Culture in Japan. We wish her well during her stay in Tokyo!

Pic; Ms Virginia Theuri(left) from South Africa pictured with other international exchange students at Hokkaido University

Another UP Student goes to Hokkaido University

Ms Virginia Theuri, a University of Pretoria (UP), 2nd year student also left in April 2019 for an exchange program to Hokkaido University. She is the 3rd student from UP to go on the exchange program to Hokkaido University. She is currently studying for a BSc degree in Genetics, Psychology and Human Physiology at the University of Pretoria.

Virginia chose to do the following modules at Hokkaido University: Japanese language, grammar, vocabulary, Kanji, Japanese Culture and Career Planning. As can be seen from the photo above, Virginia is fully embracing the Japanese Culture. We wish Virginia great success with her studies!

Pic; MEXT Scholarship recipient from South Africa Mr John Verner with books that he donated

Mr John Verner, a UP graduate won the coveted Japanese Embassy MEXT Scholarship and realized his dreams to further his studies by doing research at Hitotsubashi University. John graduated with his Masters in Econometrics last year from University of Pretoria.

He started learning Japanese language through a private tutor in Johannesburg whilst still in High School. The more he learnt about Japan and the Japanese culture, the more he longed to visit Japan. He did extensive practices teaching himself to learn the Japanese language and then took further lessons from Ms Hiromi Spinola, who runs the JLC for the Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) here in Pretoria.

John was generous enough to donate over 20 books to CJS library that he had purchased for his own use. We thank him and wish him all the best!

Pic: Dr Nisa Paleker with a class she taught at TUFS

UP lecturer Dr Paleker does a visit to Japan

Dr Nisa Paleker, a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Historical and Heritage Studies went as a visiting Fellow to Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS). She compiled the following article.

From October 2018 until February 2019, as a visiting academic, I was the guest of the African Studies Centre of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS).

TUFS is quite small with students in the thousands rather than tens of thousands. Small classes and extended teaching sessions are refreshingly different to what one is used to at the University of Pretoria where large classes and a mad dashing from lecture venue to lecture venue or main campus to satellite campus are more common experiences. TUFS is a truly global institution in the composition of its student body. Students from East, South, Southeast and Central Asia share naan with students from Latin America; African students from various locations on the continent sip sake with students from Europe and the US with Japanese students frequently mediating as friends, interpreters and guides. One of the highlights of this visit was undoubtedly the TUFS Festival held in November. Over five days in the third week of November, TUFS students served foods from a variety of global regions and entertained with stage performances and plays rooted in a variety of global cultures and traditions.

The four-month stint also provided an opportunity for research seminar presentations at TUFS and Kyoto University, as well as a short visit to Hiroshima. As a historian, one of the immediate sensory experiences in Kyoto and Hiroshima, and to a lesser extent in Tokyo itself, was the relationship Japanese society has with its history. History was a sensory experience because of the corporeality of the past, and not only in memorials, buildings and statutes but also in the way in which Japanese people inhabit history. History is a garment woven of pride, with some threads of remorse, and yards of optimism from painful lessons learned the hard way.

Article by Dr Nisa Paleker
April 2019