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【动力英语】'Have a strong potential for helping each other'  

2009-09-15 07:27:05|  分类: 动力英语 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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'Chinese people actually have a strong potential for helping each other'

Young volunteers from Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers College in Anhui Province pledge their oath of service on July 14, 2008, before heading off to the earthquake-stricken areas in Shaanxi Province to aid education there. The mass volunteer movement led by Chinese youth after the earthquake impressed Yoshitaka Matsuura. Photo: CFP

By Zhang Yuchen

Yoshitaka Matsuura believes he holds a different point of view toward China and Chinese people from other Japanese in China.

'Actually, not so many Japanese know so much about modern China. They know a lot about the ancient history of China, but not so much about modern China. In fact, this might be the same for both countries,' the 34-year-old advertiser told the Global Times via e-mail.

'Therefore, I thought it is very important to understand what is happening now in China, and really learn from China, and communicate that to Japan,' he wrote.

'I think this is very important, and I hope I can keep on contributing to mutual understanding between the two countries in the modern sense.'

As a student and researcher at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University in Washington DC and at Tongji University in Shanghai, Matsuura wrote to the Global Times 'Studying in the USA and then studying in China, as well as working, this interesting experience gives me different perspectives on China.'

At the Elliott School of International Affairs, Matsuura studied closely under a leading China specialist in the United States – Harry Harding – dean of international affairs and political science until 2005.

'At Elliott School, I got to learn very pragmatic and realistic up-to-date knowledge about modern China,' wrote Matsuura.

'I was greatly impressed and intrigued by the great change in China, which I think is the largest motivation that lead my whole career to China.'

Matsuura had a chance to travel China for three weeks in 1998 as a study trip, as a course of George Washington University. Starting from Beijing, he visited Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong.

Changes

Matsuura came to China for the first time in 1988 when he and his family visited Shanghai and Suzhou.

'At that time, I only visited those two areas. I remember our family took a small bus to Suzhou, and there were no highways at that time, so we had to go through farmland,' Matsuura wrote to the Global Times.

'There were farmers selling fruit and vegetables coming up to our bus and knocking on our bus window. I was quite surprised at that time.'

Many Japanese companies went to the US for business in the early 1980s when the Japanese economy was rising. Matsuura was living in New York because of his parent's job. His family took advantage of living on the east coast to travel to neighboring countries.

'Before coming to China, I lived in New York for four years, went to Italy, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, Australia and Hawaii. I thought China was very different at that time, compared to Japan or other countries.

'I remember going to a department store in Shanghai. My memory is that there were not as many products as we see now in Shanghai. Also, at night, I thought the city was quite dark.

'I felt kind of like a tense atmosphere. I think I was also a little bit nervous, because it was my first time to come to a country where my Japanese or English doesn't work.'

Now Matsuura and his family live in Shanghai, feeling 'a big, big development in the city.'

'I think the city of Shanghai now is very energetic and full of power that attracts people from all over the world,' he wrote to the Global Times.

'No matter whether it is business, art or entertainment, I feel energy and growth, and many things are happening. I think my first impression in the late '80s was the opposite.

'[It was then] quite quiet, not so much energy yet, and not so much happening. Very different from now.'

Matsuura was impressed by the city's changing landscape.

'Many tall buildings have been developed and new stores and restaurants coming up every day. There is always something new happening in this town. If you are away for a week, you will literally see some difference when you come back.'

'Also what I think is great is that, at a global standard, very high quality products and service or food are now coming into Shanghai. Now in Shanghai, I can start to enjoy top-tier service! If I can afford it.'

Internet power

Working for Hakuhodo, the second-largest advertising company in Japan and the ninth-largest in the world, Matsuura focused on Chinese youth and did a lot of consumer research based on his company's philosophy of seikatsusha 'needing to know the consumers deeply and more holistically, understand not just the consumption side, but also the life of people.'

Matsuura's professional interests lie in Internet consumption among the new generation.

'As for the Internet, in China many youths tell me that there is no limit. They say that they can get everything from the Internet.

'This includes music, drama, movies, etc. But in Japan, there are a lot of restrictions therefore making much of the content not available online.'

This is a big difference, he said.

'This makes a big difference in their attitude toward the Internet. Also in Japan, there are fewer TV channels, and most of the TV channels are nationwide channels and they focus on entertaining youth. So it seems like there is more content on TV that interests the youth of Japan.'

'I think post-'80s-born Chinese are happy that they have some power that other generations don't have, which is the power of the Internet, and they contribute to China or society through this channel. I was intrigued by their power and creativity. This shows the huge potential of this new generation.'

But at this moment, Matsuura said he also saw the movement was still spontaneous, and one could say, somewhat occasion-oriented.

'I think there will be more and more post-'80s-born generation interested in making a constant and independent contribution in the coming years.'

'Actually in Japan, I have never seen a mass movement led by youth like in China, like the anti-France movement, or the volunteer movement after the earthquake.

'I sometimes think that Chinese people actually have a strong potential for helping each other.

'I see that sentiment sometimes on BBS (bulletin boards), helping others by giving information, and also when I was studying in the USA, I saw a lot of Chinese students helping each other. Whereas not so much helping each other by Japanese students.'

  • Source: Global Times
  • [22:29 September 13 2009]
  • Comments

Chinese youth face greater challenges and more intense competition than Japanese youth due to the larger income difference in China, believes Yoshitaka Matsuura. Photos: CFP

Social pressure

Compared to young Japanese people, young Chinese face competition and were under greater pressure from unemployment after graduation, according to Matsuura.

'I always think people in Japan are quite happy, although they do not perceive their happiness.

'This is because the disparity, or the difference in income is very small.'

'In Japan, if one graduates from university – which the majority of Japanese do – you will earn a monthly income of about 200,000 yen ($2,150), or about 14,000 yuan. Most people are pretty much the same.

'However, in China, it might start at 2,000 yuan ($300). Some might start from 3,000 or 4,000 yuan, and there is about 2-3 times difference, based on your skills and ability.

'Therefore China is very much skill-based, whereas Japan is still based on the seniority system and lifelong employment system.'

That is a big difference, according to Matsuura.

'And this is why I mentioned that the Chinese youth face a bigger challenge and competition. In China, you must be really talented and have skills to be successful in society. However, actually, I personally feel that this is more persuasive, and would give people more motivation to work.'

After two years of research and interviewing hundreds of young people, Matsuura recently published his Japanese book New Chinese Youth Market – Targeting the post-'80s Generation, in which Matsuura hoped to 'introduce the reality of China and the facts about Chinese people to Japan.

'Because most Japanese people do not understand Chinese people, there is still a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding.'

'My experience at Tongji University gave me opportunities to interact with real university students which was also a very precious experience for me,' he wrote.

But he thought Japanese youth face a lot of problems too.

'For example, the NEET problem is quite severe. NEET means 'Not in education, employment or training'. Seems like many youth are losing their motivation toward life in Japan.

'I think there's not so much of this tendency in China yet because it is a growing economy, but I am thinking there will be similar social problems quite soon in China as well, as the economy and society is changing rapidly too.'

Cultural differences

Matsuura was impressed hobbies and interests including Japanese cartoons, movies, American TV shows, games and rock music are popular among young Chinese.

'Actually, youth is becoming more and more global, sharing most of the information around the world. Also at the same time, they are starting to be conscious of who they are.

'Hence they are starting to love their country and their culture and history. I see this sentiment both in China and Japan.'

Matsuura wrote he was going to Tokyo the next day, then Bangkok on Saturday and then Kuala Lumpur next Tuesday.

'So tired,' he wrote.

'I have a lot of these jobs because I speak English, I guess,' said the advertising man.

Matsuura named his three daughters so that the pronunciation of their names would all be the same in Japanese, Chinese and English.

'I want my kids to understand and enjoy these different countries and cultures, and meet many friends and enrich their life,' he said.

'This is what I have learned so far by making a lot of Chinese friends, and I hope my kids can meet the same happiness too.'

'Chinese people actually have a strong potential for helping each other'

  • Source: Global Times
  • [22:29 September 13 2009]
  • Comments

 

Yoshitaka Matsuura

"It is very important to understand what is happening now in China, and really learn from China, and communicate that to Japan."

General Manager, Strategic Planning Division, Shanghai Hakuhodo

Fast facts: Yoshitaka Matsuura

1975 Born in Yokohama, Japan

Early 1980s Moves to and settles in New York with his family

1988 Visits China for first time, including Shanghai and Suzhou

1993 Studies international law at Gakushuin University, Tokyo

1997 Studies China's history, diplomacy and commerce at the Elliott School of International Affairs in the George Washington University.

1998 Second visit to China on three-week tour of cities.

1999 Studies Chinese for three months at Beijing Language and Culture University

2000 Works in Japan's second largest advertising firm Hakuhodo in Tokyo

2003 Co-authors Future of Asia Map 2010

Summer 2006 Studies at Tongji University, Shanghai as a senior scholar, beginning two years of Chinese studies. Research topics include "China's new media", "the latest corporate communication strategy" and "media contact of changing consumers".

In the Chinese media, he is particularly interested in the Internet and mobile phones and other new media. Recruited as a senior researcher in Chinese advertising and media in the College of Communication and Arts at Tongji University.

2008 Works as General Manager, Strategic Planning Division at Japan's second-largest advertising firm, Shanghai Hakuhodo.

2008 Authors New Chinese Youth Market – Targeting the post- '80s Generation

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