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PKU Personalities| An Advocate of Youth Dialogue: Kaori Kohyama

MAR . 18 2021
Peking University, March 18, 2021: Peking University students and alumni are spread all across the world. PKU Personalities interview series is a part of our determination to keep Pekingers connected in this time of global isolation.

This series of interviews aims to introduce notable Pekingers dedicated to international dialogue and cross-cultural communications to the rest of our PKU family and the world. With International Women's Day falling on 8th March, this month's PKU Personalities will feature a special interview with Kaori Kohyamaabout her journey in empowering women.

Kaori Kohyama, currently enrolled in the Master's program at Peking University's Yenching Academy, is also one of the graduates in the 2020 Batch of Double Degree Program between PKU and Waseda University. She was a major in Political Science at Waseda and in International Relations at PKU. Kaori is also a scholar under the Asian Future Leaders Scholarship Program (AFLSP) at Bai Xian Asia Institute.

International Experience at PKU-Waseda

Kaori credited the Double Degree Program between PKU and Waseda University as the catalyst in helping her grasp a more balanced holistic view of various global issues and international relations of today, as she learn and understand them from varying cultural perspectives.

Kaori attending a lecture seminar at Waseda University

"Studying at Waseda allowed me to gain a better understanding of the western demographics of the world today, as we learn to analyze international politics in greater accordance to western values, and a lot of East Asia cultural perspectives were less mentioned back then. However, having the opportunity to study in PKU offered me a brand-new perspective to how I would analyze things back then as I learn to see, judge and analyze from the 'East' side of the history"

Apart from acquiring a more well-rounded cultural perspective, Kaori also emphasized how the international experience allowed her to rediscover and appreciate the various connections and origins between the Japanese culture and the Chinese culture.

As the main emcee for ceremony commemorating the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic ties in 2017, Kaori mentioned how participating in these events allowed her to recognize, see and experience the real diplomatic issues between the two countries which may often seem overly theoretical in the classroom.

A tear-shedding but noteworthy experience

Kaori recalls a stark contrast between her study experiences in Waseda and in PKU.

"Apart from the different academic and cultural perspective China has dawned on me, I do feel the differences in the university culture in Japan and in China."

Kaori shares that the university culture in Japan is generally designed to be more socially inclined and place less, if not little, emphasis on academic grades. Kaori further explains that obtaining an undergraduate certificate, regardless of your grade points, is relatively adequate enough to be qualified for most firms in Japan. However, her experience at PKU taught her otherwise.

Whilst emphasizing on students' social services and non-academic achievements, Kaori realized how Chinese universities at the same time, still continue to hold high regard of key academic results as one of the competing factors in the intensively-large market.