Oka Kozo was elated when he heard that Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda was to visit the small, sacred city in which he
The 68-year-old teacher, who teaches Japanese at the Xintan
College of Qufu Normal University and is one of only a handful of
Japanese expatriates in the city, was even more delighted when he
found out Fukuda will also visit a number of other places he once
On Saturday, Fukuda will visit the major port city of Tianjin,
where Kozo lived for seven years before moving to Qufu in
"I am so happy that as well as visiting Beijing, the prime
minister will go to two other cities I have worked in," Kozo
"I think the prime minister will get a better understanding of
China after he visits Tianjin, where he can see firsthand the
modern development of China. And in Qufu he will see a great
example of the country's traditions, culture and history," Kozo
The Japanese teacher said he first learned about Confucius in
middle school, memorizing Analects such as, "Is it not a delight to
have friends come from afar".
"Lots of Japanese people of my age are interested in Confucius
and Confucianism," Kozo, who first visited Qufu in 1995, said.
"Qufu, and Shandong Province as a whole, is a place rich in
history," he said, adding that he always enjoys going sightseeing
at the weekend.
Many elements of Japanese culture originated from China, Kozo
Fukuda's trip to Qufu, the birthplace of China's culture, could
help Japan recognize the contributions Chinese culture has made to
the country's development and the positive role it can play in
bilateral exchanges, the teacher said.
"At least Japan is sending out a message that it is willing to
forge good relationships with its neighbors such as China and South
Korea," he said.
(China Daily December 29, 2007)