TOPICS April 2022

Concern about Russians in Japan

As the Russian army continues to invade Ukraine, some Russians in Japan have been subjected to hate speech. The chairman of Nankai Broadcasting Co., Ltd., Mr. Tanaka, is worried about this trend.

He is the original author of the movie, “The Prisoner of Sakura (Sorokin no Mita Sakura)”, based on the Russo-Japanese War. Mr. Tanaka has been trying to promote exchange between Ehime and Russia.

While he condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he warns against unrelated bashing of Russian people. Even though there were some objections, the broadcasting company, as originally planned, held a symposium on the movie at the Sako no Ue no Kumo Museum on March 12.

At the symposium, a curator of the museum, Mr. Kawashima, introduced a document kept in an elementary school in Matsuyama from the Meiji era, which instructed children not to say bad things about the Russian prisoners because it would do more harm than good for Japan. He explained that the Japanese at that time followed the international law that called for humane treatment of prisoners of war.

On the 19th, the movie was broadcast for the first time on television. Mr. Tanaka said, “People in Matsuyama have been protecting and taking care of the cemetery for the Russian prisoners who died here, which has been the pride of Matsuyama. These activities should be honored as a grassroots approach.”

(March 12,13,19, Ehime Shimbun)


Zero Km Monument Was Placed

The Ehime Cycling Life-Style Promotion Association placed a “Zero Kilometer Monument” in front of the main building of the Prefectural office for cycling fans to mark the start of the Shikoku Circuit Route. This route was established in 2017 to promote the regional nature and culture, imitating the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This is a project to 1,000 km cycling challenge, and about 1,300 cyclists have completed it.

The monument is a circle 2 meters in diameter, which was designed with the image of swirl. Ms. Tae Hitoto, PR Ambassador of “Cycling Island Shikoku” encourages cyclists to try the double completion of the cycling routes both in Shikoku and Taiwan.

(March 12, Ehime Shimbun Online)


Peace Bell Ringing from Matsuyama

On March 10, the Ehime Council of UNESCO Associations, concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, held an event called “Peace Bell” in Matsuyama.

The Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO declares that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” Based on the declaration, the council called for the suspension of the invasion.

On the same day, they decided to raise funds in the prefecture to support Ukrainian people who are refugees in Romania in collaboration with the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan. About 20 people from six UNESCO associations in Ehime participated in the event. They struck a golden bell in turn in front of the Ehime Newspaper Co., Ltd. building with a wish for the end of the war.

(March 11, Ehime Shimbun)


Black Garlic Boom in France

Black garlic, a fermented garlic originating in Japan, is very popular in France. The machine used at farms there to produce black garlic is made in Ehime. A translator living in Ehime facilitated the export of the machine. He also started to produce it himself as a side business.

Minaka Isa who manages a translation company in Matsuyama is the one who introduced the machine. He was born in Paris and came to Japan after studying Japanese at the university. He has been a translator for nearly 40 years. He has translated novels written by Hiroyuki Itsuki and Mari Koike, very famous Japanese novelists, by the order of the Agency of Cultural Affairs. He moved to Matsuyama about 10 years ago and has become a naturalized Japanese citizen.

Mr. Isa ran across black garlic three years ago when Hidenori Saeki, President of M.S.A. Co., Ltd., a manufacturer of black garlic machines, asked him to facilitate the export to France. It took one year to translate all the necessary documents, such as the contract, user’s manual, etc. into French, and started exporting in 2020.

His interest in black garlic developed while he was preparing the documents and gaining knowledge about it. Then he decided to purchase one for himself. He built a hut in his back yard to install the machine, and started production in summer last year. His product is currently available in Matsuyama, and he also started planting garlic without any use of pesticides.

The exported machine played a part in popularizing black garlic in France. The machine was installed at Maison Boutarin in Province, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Boutarin. The production of black garlic in France was originally started by them, and now about 20 farms are involved.

They said that the machine made in Ehime provided optimum fermentation, and the finished product had a taste of “baked fruit” without acridity.

Maison Boutarin produced about 3.5 tons of black garlic and shipped it all over France last year. It is appreciated as one of the ingredients in upscale restaurants and served with foie gras and escargot.

(March 9, Asahi Shimbun Digital)

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