A Haiku Poet’s Life to Be Introduced to The World in English

Santoka Taneda (1882-1940) was a free-verse haiku poet who lived in a hut called One-grass Hut in Matsuyama for the last 10 months of his life.

His life originally became the subject of a book written in 1971 by Sumita Oyama (1889-1994). Oyama moved to Matsuyama after the second world war, to reconstruct the hut and edit the poet’s complete works. He made efforts to honor and evaluate the poet, who was unknown at that time.

Recently the book was translated into English by an American author, William Scott Wilson, aged 77. Just after graduating from university in 1966, he traveled between Tokyo and Shimonoseki by kayak and became attracted to Japan. He published a lot of books to introduce Japanese zen and bushido to the world. He was impressed with that original book 40 years ago and now realized his dream of translating it. The Japanese government decorated him as a foreign national in 2015.

In 2018 he visited places related to Santoka, including Matsuyama, where he met with members of the Matsuyama Santoka Club and the Matsuyama Shiki Society. The title of the translated book is “The Life and Zen Haiku Poetry of Santoka Taneda. It includes a translation of Santoka’s “Diary of the One-grass Hut”. He translated the haiku to carefully express Santoka’s view of the world. It was published by Charles E. Tuttle Publishing Co., Inc.

(September 18, Ehime Shimbun)

New Communication Hub at Ehime University

Ehime University announced that an “E.U. Regional Commons” to facilitate communication between students and local residents will be built at the Johoku campus, and open for the public in 2022.

According to Ehime University, the construction started at the end of July south of the main entrance, and it will be a three-story’ steel building. The total budget is about 360 million yen.

There will be a “Regional Community Square (provisional name)” 1st floor which is designated for both students and local residents to interact each other. There will be a “Media Front (provisional name)” on the 2nd floor which will consist of space to edit and upload movies and photos and a studio which can be used for filming. There will be a “Regional Sustainability Space (provisional name)” on the 3rd floor which will provide meeting space.

A big screen (approximately 2.9m x 4.8m) will be hung outside on the wall of the south side to project movies to introduce the activities of Ehime University and related facilities, and local news during the daytime on weekdays.

Ehime University launched special website, and is asking for suggestions for a nickname for the new facility. The deadline is November 26th.

For further information: 089-927-8968 Ehime University Public Relations Office

Special Web-site: https://www.ehime-u.ac.jp/eu_regional_commons/

(September 29, Ehime Shimbun)

10th Anniversary of Mican

Mican, a mascot of Ehime prefecture, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on November 11. Although it is very popular and has won the runner-up at a mascot competition in 2015, there are very few opportunities to meet people now due to COVID-19 pandemic. Ehime prefecture launched special website to celebrate his 10th anniversary to create celebration atmosphere.

Mican was ‘born’ on November 11, 2011 after the prefecture accepted proposals of its appearance and name. It was designed based on a dog, with citrus tree leaves as ears, and a citrus flower on its tail. It also had friends, “Dark Mican” and “Ko Mican (Little Mican)”.

Mican is still very popular, and it and its friends received 3,691 New Year greeting cards from all over Japan as well as from overseas. According to the prefecture, the number of permits issued to use the image were 1,959 in FY2019 and 1,630 in FY2020. He can be seen as dolls, on masks and the packages of various food items. The sales of related goods have grown to 53.7 billion yen in total from 2012 up to the end of August 2021. There are 30 costumes of the three mascots, Mican, Dark Mican, and Ko Mican which are available to rent.

Mican was appointed as an Extraordinary Deputy Governor for PR in 2017. Although Mican had been actively taking part in various events held in Ehime, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited its activity.

Currently Mican is working hard to provide information through SNS. Its official Instagram feed and Twitter are renewed everyday Monday through Friday.

 An event to celebrate the 10th anniversary is planned at Ehime Kodomo no Shiro on November 14, although it is subject to change due to the situation of Covid-19.

For further information: https://www.pref.ehime.jp/h12200/mican-kanzume/10th/

(October 2, Asahi Shimbun Digital)

High School Students Suggest Ideas for Refugees

There was the final of a competition called “Sketch the Future 2021—Idea Competition” online on September 26, where the young suggested various ideas to approach the problem of refugees who escaped from conflicts and persecutions. It was organized by an NGO called “World Vision Japan” and marked their fourth year.

This year’s theme was “Live in Harmony” focusing on Syrian refugees and Jordanian people whose country has been accepting refugees. Since the Syrian civil war has been prolonged, the number of Syrian children living in Jordan has been increasing. They go to Jordanian schools at different hours from Jordanian children. There are some problems that can cause prejudice and discrimination because of lack of opportunities to interact among children.

The NGO looked for ideas to help children with different backgrounds to understand each other and go to school in peace. A hundred ideas were entered for the competition from young people under 30, and 9 groups reached the final including a 4-student group called “Global East” from Matsuyama Higashi High School. They suggested an athletic meet where children, parents, and neighbors make mixed teams with the Syrians and Jordanians, and participate in various events adopting different cultures, such as radio gymnastics narrated in Arabic, a water jar race, a local-sweet-snatching race, and a dance inspired by the Matsuyama dance yakyūken.

They got the Audience Award by winning 51 votes out of 116 viewers. One student said, “We have been thinking of something fun to make children be friends with each other and come up with the athletic meet. We would like to keep considering refugees as part of an international community, not people far away.”

(October 4, Ehime Shimbun)

2021 Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded to Syukuro Manabe

On October 5, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the award of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics to Japanese-American Syukuro Manabe (90), Senior Researcher at Princeton University, and two other scientists. Manabe, from Shikokuchuo City, Ehime, developed a climate change model that included atmospheric and ocean circulation. His achievements in focusing on greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and his continuing pioneering research on predicting global warming were highly evaluated.

He is the 28th Japanese Nobel Prize winner, and the 12th Nobel laureate in Physics following Takaaki Kajita, the 2015 Nobel laureate, from the University of Tokyo.

Manabe has been engaged in meteorological research since the 1950s. He has developed an atmospheric-ocean coupled model that combines atmospheric flow and ocean circulation to simulate long-term climate change on a computer.

His paper, published in 1989, uses this model to predict changes in climate over the next 70 years. He concluded that if greenhouse gas emissions increase by 1% per year, global warming will increase, especially in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Later, observations confirmed that this prediction was generally correct.

The award ceremony will be held online on December 10 as it was last year because of the pandemic. The banquet with the royal family will also be canceled. Instead, the winners will receive medals and diplomas in the country where they live. The prize money of 10 million kroner (about 120 million yen) will be shared among the three laureates.

(October 5, Extra Edition of Ehime Shimbun Online)

Godiva Opens a New-Style Shop

Godiva Japan, Inc., famous for its high-end Belgian chocolate, opened a new-style shop “Godiva Matsuyama Mitsukoshi Store” on October 6 in line with the reopening of Matsuyama Mitsukoshi

The new shop incorporates fragments of Tobe pottery ware and gilding washi (Japanese paper), which combines locally produced Ozu washi with French gold leaf gilding for use in interior decoration, making a bright and elegant interior.

New products include Ichiroku Tart Chocolate in collaboration with local confectionery maker Ichiroku Honpo. Red-bean paste is mixed with yuzu peel and Belgian chocolate, which is wrapped in sponge cake blended with cocoa. In addition, they also sell Iyokan Peel Chocolate blending the fresh flavor of Iyokan and the bittersweetness of the peel. A Godiva shop that sells local products is the first of its type to be opened in Japan.

Jerome Chouchan, President of Godiva Japan, said, “We used Ehime’s special products in our store, and we created new value. We want people to rediscover the charm of where they live.”

(October 6, Yomiuri Shimbun Online)