Data: March 15 (Fri), 2013

Place: Fukuoka Airport International Terminal
Koda Eiji (Fukuoka Airport Building Co.,LTD Manager, Community & Public relations department)
Kazumi Dills (Fukuoka Airport Building Co.,LTD Assistant manager, Administrative section sales department)

The airport, the gate where people and things come and go.   With the desire to know what sort of things the people working there feel everyday, we listened to two people from the company that runs Fukuoka airport.  For Youngdoo, who has been going back and forth between South Korea and Fukuoka at the pace of once every two months for this project, Fukuoka airport "has the feeling as if it were a part of my front yard." 

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Roughly 4000 people leave the country through the international line of the Fukuoka airport in 1 day.
This number increases annually, and it will continue to multiply from here on.

Young) I've heard that you have been working here for 5 years, but could you tell me the flow of changes in the airport, such as the increase or decrease in the number of passengers?


Dills) As for the international routes, in the case of an international incident, for example SARS, influenza, or the Lehman shock, passengers suddenly increase or decrease when there is some big incident.  There is about one of these kinds of things a year.  If we are talking about lately, it was only for a little bit, but there was a time period when passengers were fewer, around the Great East Japan Earthquake the year before last. After that, it has been improving, but passengers to China have been fewer slightly due to the situation last year.


Young) How is the fluctuation of Japanese passengers going overseas changing?


Dills) Even in the middle of these years, the number of passengers for this year is increasing. Since LCC's (low cost


carriers) are rapidly increasing in Fukuoka, the state is that passengers are increasing quite a bit overall.  The routes to South Korea are also increasing.


Koda) Last Year, roughly 920 thousand Japanese people departed from the country.  In other words, if we assume these are round-trip then 1.8 million people are using the international route. Also, roughly 560 thousand people are people from other countries entering Japan.


Young) If that is so, then about how many people are using it in one day?


Koda) If it is one day, then on average roughly 4000 people leave the country, and 4000 people enter the country.


Young) That's a large number.  I think the airport is used by a lot of people, but have you ever had some kind of trouble with, for example, a Korean customer?  Also, I think it is questionable to assume that the type of trouble is different depending on the country, but could you tell me if there is any such thing?


Dills) These last few years, young Korean passengers are really increasing.  Families of the young generation and students are using carriers such as LCC's and coming to Japan.  It seems like many of them shop for items like brand goods in South Korea and buy sweets at the airport.  There has been no trouble in particular.  Oppositely, what I thought when I went to South Korea was that I felt there were a lot of Chinese customers. Since Chinese customers often move around in groups, I felt that vigor, or rather, a power different from Japanese people. (laughs)



An airport close to the residential district.

The location has its advantages, but there are also problems with noise and time restrictions.


Young) Fukuoka airport is convenient because it is very close to the city center, but could you tell me some good points and bad points about this?


Dills)  First, it is often said that a good point of Fukuoka is that it is not too much of a city, but it is a city in itself.  Almost everything that is in Tokyo is here, plus there is the point that the town is compact so it is easy to go shopping, and the city is in a place where a person can get to nature like hot springs, mountains, and the ocean soon, so from the point of view of the people living here, it is extremely convenient.


Young) Oppositely, don’t the residents cite problems to the airport because they are close and may feel inconveniences?


Koda) Since it is an airport very close to the town, we can only use the airport from 7 in the morning to 10 at night.  Essentially, an airport is something that can be made use of 24 hours a day, but there is a restriction in the amount of time we can use Fukuoka airport because of the noise problems.  Also, the route is made so that planes fly from the northern side, in other words, from the ocean, so that the planes fly above residential districts as little as possible.  Even so, we are sometimes told that it is loud, and depending on the direction of the wind, they sometimes turn over and come into the airport from the mountains.  At that sort of time, there are naturally problems about noise.


Young) When was Fukuoka Airport built? 


Koda) The airport was built in Showa 20 (the year 1945).  Originally it was an airport made by the Japanese military for the war, but after losing the war the American military started to use it.  In 1972 it became an airport for civilians, but even now there is an institution of the American military inside the airport.  Since the current International line was completed here in Heisei 11 (the year 1999) that was 14 years ago.  Before that, the international line was in a building in the same row as the domestic lines.


Young) When did an airplane first take flight from Fukuoka to overseas?  Also, from which country was the first entering international flight to Fukuoka?


Koda) The first regular service was the airplane flying between Fukuoka and Busan, in Showa 40 (the year 1965).


Young) Oh, Busan.  Is that because it is close?


Dills) I think the reason is probably that the distance is close and that there are many Zainichi Koreans in Japan, perhaps.  Many Zainichi Koreans are working also in the duty free stores.  There are also foreign exchange students.  Koreans are very familiar around here.


Young) I have been going back and forth between Fukuoka and South Korea since last year, and since it is very close, I have been saying even to Korean people that I want them to come and see the performance in Fukuoka.  When I said this, many people said that they have already been to Fukuoka.  There were also people who have come to Fukuoka many times.


Dills) Even for shopping, it seems like they come as a family and buy things that are used regularly, like daily necessities, rather than special things.  I hear that they often go to places like drugstores.  Also, it seems like Koreans know what is delicious in which restaurants.



Half of Foreigners who come to Fukuoka are South Koreans.
South Korea is an overwhelmingly common destination for overseas flights from Fukuoka. 

Young) I think that a lot of people are using the airport, and I think that the sales point is different based on the season or the country, but with what kind of strategy is Fukuoka airport being approached?


Dills) First, talking about the duty-free store, the things that people are interested in vary by the country that they are from.  For example, now sweets are the most popular among Korean people.  The most popular sweet is  "Hiyoko" (a sweet made from flour and white kidney beans in the shape of a chick).  Which sweet is popular is different based on the country.  Therefore, we are having "Hiyoko" made that are only sold at Fukuoka airport. Also, through the Internet, we are having Korean travel agencies hand out coupons for Fukuoka airport.  We are also doing the same thing for China.  Since Korean people especially often use the Internet or smartphones, we are thinking to consider PR from those kinds of people from now on.


Young) Can you tell me what countries most passengers are from?


Koda) In the top 3, most are South Korean people.  Half of foreign passengers are South Korean people.  Next is Taiwan.  They are about 17%, and China is 15%.  There are many South Korean people, far surpassing the rest.  Customers from Thailand are increasing.  As a rough distinction, there are more people leaving Japan, and less people coming into Japan.


Young) So then, which is the foreign country that people most often go to from Fukuoka?


Dills) That is also South Korea.  Even now, there are more people going there on day-trips. 


Young) I heard that in South Korea the popular sweet is "Hiyoko," but what sort of things are popular for people from other countries?


Dills) The sweet from Hokkaido "Shiroi Koibito" (a cookie with white chocolate inside, literally translated as "White lover") is popular among Chinese people.  It is not a sweet from Fukuoka, but it is sold in the airport.  The chocolate "Royce," which is also a sweet from Hokkaido, is popular among people from southward countries.  Particularly, the sweet "Royce" (a chocolate brand) has popularity among people from Thailand and Singapore.

Young) That is interesting.  Why are these popular? 


Dills) Since "Hiyoko" is a Fukuoka sweet, it's a very happy thing for us.  We won't know unless we investigate what Korean people are buying at other airports.  I think that rather than the customers who think "I am in Fukuoka so I will buy Fukuoka sweets," the customers who think "Since I am in Japan, I will buy Japanese sweets" are increasing.  By the way, "Tokyo Banana" is popular among Taiwanese people.  
 In reality Tokyo banana is only sold in Tokyo and is not sold anywhere in Fukuoka city, but it is sold here especially because there is an airport duty-free store.



This airport, with one runway, has the most arrivals and departures in Japan.
Approximately 17 million people use the domestic and international lines combined in a year.

Young) About how many airplanes are arriving in Fukuoka's international airport from overseas?


Koda) About 200 planes arrive in one week.  From 8 to 27 flights in one day.


Young) About how many arrive in Fukuoka from other cities on the domestic route?


Koda) About 180 flights in one day.  180 flights are arriving, and 180 flights are departing.  At the peak time, either there is one arrival or one arrival and one departure every 3 minutes.


Young) Is that a lot in comparison with Japanese domestic airports?


Koda) This airport is the number one in Japan among the airports which have one runway.  Fukuoka is number 5 in domestic lines when you combine places that have several runways like Haneda or other airports.  We are about number 5 in international lines as well.


Young) That is a lot more than I thought!


Koda) It is increasing even more this year.  There were 2.5 million passengers on the international line the year before last, and last year there were 2 million passengers.  I think that since the domestic lines are also increasing, the number of passengers will be about 17 million people.  Assuming this, this airport will be number 3 or number 4 in Japan when we consider both the domestic and international lines.


Young) I think that a lot of people come because Fukuoka has something special, but what do you think that appeal is?


Koda) I think that people travelling domestically come on business rather than sightseeing.  It seems there are many who come through Fukuoka and go to areas in Kyushu.  It is convenient because many plane flights go to Fukuoka.  Because sometimes the number of air flights is fewer when you go to rural areas.

Young) I see.  This is probably a bit of a strange question, but what sort of thing would you bring if your flight was "the last flight" from Fukuoka airport?  Oppositely, if you were coming back from abroad and your flight was "the last flight," and you could bring something back to Japan, what would you want to bring, and from what country?


Koda) Well... As for what to bring from Japan, if it was Fukuoka, I would bring these strawberries from Fukuoka called "Amaou," ("Sweet king")  because they are very delicious and I would want everyone to eat them.  I would want to bring that kind of delicious food.  As for what to bring back from abroad... if it was me, I would want to bring back Korean Nori (seaweed).  Because I really like it (laughs).


Dills) That is difficult (laughs). If it was something mental, I think both Japan and Korea have national characteristics of liking to interact with people, and since I think that that kind of hospitality is very high-level in Japan, I would bring that.  If it were a thing, it would be rice.  Especially since when I go to Europe and America there is no delicious rice.  As for what I would bring back... every country is probably the same, and I think that the educational method has been changing based on the time period, but I feel that Japanese children and young people are not being brought up in a global way, even though currently global things are in demand, and so I would like to bring in that kind of global standard.



The airport makes the exchanges between countries, between people,
A place that Fukuoka cannot be without.

Young) I think that you come into contact with a lot of foreign people, since you are working in an airport.  For example, when you see things like the circumstances of demonstrations in Japan or abroad, what sort of things do you feel?


Koda) I think that I want them to resolve it quickly.  I think that it cannot be resolved without a discussion, plus since historical backgrounds change based on the point when people look at what is real and what is not true, and this is true for the past as well, but I think that they should discuss while thinking about what happens from here on out.


Dills) I also think that it is very important to make contact with a lot of people.  I think misconceptions arise no matter how many times you meet someone, and I think that in the course of meeting a lot we can overcome national borders, understand each other, and make connections.


Young) The airport is a place where something comes in from the outside, and then something goes out.  What do you think are the good and bad points from it being this kind of place?


Koda) As a person working at the airport, I am very happy to be able to feel people from various countries near me.  Sometimes I go out to greet arriving passengers, and when we can communicate heart to heart, I am happy and the other person is also delighted.  Also, when I see people leaving from Japan, returning passengers, I also feel joy.  I think that Fukuoka could not be without the airport, which also has the significance of making the exchange of those kinds of feelings.


Dills) I also feel the same kind of thing.  I don't really feel anything bad or troubling.  I think that there are more good things, with the significance of international exchange.  I think that we want a person coming to Fukuoka from a foreign country to have a good impression of the first and last glimpses of Japan that they see in Fukuoka.  I think that, probably, the staff working in every part of the airport also has that kind of feeling.  Then, since I think that not only in the airport but the people in the stores and sight-seeing spots of Fukuoka also have more opportunities to come into contact with foreigners than before, in that way, even though at different times there are various problems between countries from various international situations, perhaps that wall does not exist between people.  Therefore, I think that it would be good if we could go from small exchanges.


Young) What kind of job do you think you would be doing if you didn't work at an airport?  Also, if there is something that you are trying your best at every day, please tell me about it.


Dills) Since I thought that I wanted to do a job dealing with people from the start, and since I wanted to do work having to do with people from overseas, I don't know what I would do if I wasn't doing this job, but I vaguely think that I would want to do that kind of job.  There are many sections in the company, but before I was in the system section.  One might think that you wouldn't have much to do with people in that sort of section, but even though I was, there were various kinds of people, and, for example, even if there was some kind of trouble, I didn't think that was a hardship as long as I was in contact with people.  There are quite a lot of selfish customers (laughs).  But I have never really thought that was hard.


Koda) I think that I would be working in Fukuoka even if I weren’t doing this job.  I really like Fukuoka, and since I think that I always want to live in Fukuoka, I think I would definitely want to do a job that benefits Fukuoka or a company that has its headquarters in Fukuoka.


Young) Why do you like Fukuoka?


Koda) Because the festivals are fun, the food is also delicious, and then the people are really warm-hearted, or in other words, kind to others.  I think that I want to raise children in this environment.  I think that we have Fukuoka especially because of them.  As for trying your best... Fukuoka is a town where sports are really big, and I am the coach for a boys' rugby team.  There are 18 students, but some can do it well, some cannot. However, in order to have everyone like rugby, it's no good to be angry all the time, so I also give them praise, and I also enjoy watching them become able to do what they couldn't do before.  Sometimes I'm not able to take time for myself, but the coaching job is fun.


Young) That is wonderful.  Thank you very much for taking a lot of time out of your busy schedules to talk with me today.

Text: Tsutui Aya




Date: March 15 (Fri), 2012
Place: Fukuoka Central Post Office

Koyasako Junichi (First Sales Department Head)
Yoshimura Yumiko (Customer Services Supervisor)

Many packages and letters are sent to someone by picking up the sender's sentiments, crossing over the ocean, and going back and forth through the town. Even in the current age with the spread of the Internet, the postal service is something that we cannot do without. With Young’s request to " visit the post office that takes on a central role in Fukuoka!" we called upon Fukuoka's central post office and asked to speak with them.
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Especially because the Internet has spread,
we can feel the merits of a letter all over again.

 Young) I think that perhaps now the number of people who contact each other through the internet is increasing and postal items are fewer than before,  so how did the number of postal items change before and after the growth of the internet?


Yoshimura) Certainly, since the Internet is fast and convenient, the number of postal items is decreasing.  Internet or videophones are probably being used for simple daily communications.  But, for example, a grandma, who has a grandchild living overseas, will come and send out a card with a heart-filled, hand-written message for special occasions, and she will hand us a hand-written card with a Japanese-style stamp affixed onto it at Christmastime.  Since I think that the person who receives that kind of heart- filled letter is also happy, even though the number is probably decreasing, the letter's merit is also being reconsidered just as much as the Internet is growing.


Young) There is military conscription in South Korea, and at that time we can't see our family or friends, so we send and get letters. Of course, we are happy to have letters at that kind of time.  I think that the role of the postal service and letters is very important.  About how much of a difference is there between the number of postal items that are sent to Fukuoka from abroad and the number of postal items that are sent from Fukuoka to foreign countries?


Koyasako) There are overwhelmingly more arriving.  Especially, many of the postal items sent from abroad are for business.   Including EMS, a thing that transports packages, there are many postal items from Fukuoka addressed to South Korea and China.  Therefore, we are also strengthening that service.


Young) For example, when Korean people or Chinese people living in Fukuoka send packages to their own country, what kind of things do they mostly send?


Yoshimura) A lot of them is clothes and everyday items.  There are also a lot of food items like Fukuoka's sweets.


Young) When I was little, we would write words like "I appreciate it" and "Thank you" to the delivery person at the bottom of the letter.  Working at the post office, at what times do you feel the significance of the post office? 


Yoshimura) Since I am at counter services, my job is to take in postal items that customers bring to send.  At times when heart-filled packages are sent, like when someone wants to have their relatives taste Fukuoka’s sweets, even though my job is actually just taking in the package, the thing I feel the most being at the counter is that I am happy to be able to be involved, even if just a little bit. 
Now, the thing I have been feeling the most is that I wish I could speak Chinese or Korean.  It has been up to 10 years that I have been working at the post office, but I have been feeling that necessity daily more than I did around the time that I started working.  When I hear them talk about life styles of people from different countries while conversing with customers, I learn something and it is fun.  Including those kinds of parts, this is a career worth doing.  I can see various things, without being limited to the small stuff.  Conversations with customers are really fun.


Young) Oppositely, are there any hard things in doing your job?  For example, things like communication were hard because you couldn't understand what a foreign person was saying?  Don't you have times when you think that you wish foreign people would come after understanding beforehand what kind of place the post office is?


Yoshimura) Words are certainly a difficult problem.  Since I don't understand Korean or Chinese well, in the case that a person who comes doesn't really understand Japanese, we will make the exchange in English, but there are times when it is quite difficult to communicate since English is neither of our mother tongues.  But, we do as much as we can to cooperate, and in the case that there is no way we can understand each other, there are employees who are proficient in Korean and Chinese in our company, so we get help from those people.

If there is something that they don't understand, I would like them to ask, no matter how small a matter it is.  We also think that we would like to do as much as we can.  If there are any doubts, we hope that people would tell us directly.


Young) About how many postal items are sent from abroad?

Koyasako) Packages and Postal items that arrive from abroad are sent on the same route as domestic postal items until delivery.  Therefore, we actually don't know in detail.


Young) So, about how much do you send overseas?


Koyasako) I think that we take in about 15 to 16 letters a day over the counter at the Fukuoka central post office.  There are about 30 packages like EMS.  But, since that is the number that we receive directly over the counter, there are also other things that are put directly into the post.  I think there are more put into the post.


Young) It is less than I thought.  I am worried that the jobs of postal workers are decreasing... 


Koyasako) Certainly the number of postal items is decreasing because of things like the spread of the Internet, and the workload itself is also decreasing.  Therefore, I think that we have to deal with it in correspondence to the situation and times.


Young) The work will also increase when many people come! 


Koyasako) That's right (laughs).

There is happiness in being able to be involved,
even a little bit,
In sending a letter or package to an important person.


Young) From now on I will be sending many letters (laughs).  Since the postal service has been around from a long time ago, this is probably hard to think of, but what sort of thing do you think would happen if the post office disappear from the world?  In what way would people exchange their feelings with someone?


Yoshimura) I have never really thought about it... because the post office has been there all the time without fail, since the time I was born. If it did disappear it would be an inconvenience. Things like "ochuugen" or "oseibo," (gifts commonly given in the summer and the end of the year, respectively), seasonal gifts that are peculiar to Japanese people would be disturbed, and becoming unable to send handwritten things like letters would also make us unable to communicate with far away relatives by letters.  I think that we would probably be lonely.


Young) I think that the joy of receiving a letter written by hand is much greater than receiving e-mail.  If the post office disappear I wouldn't be able to receive things sent by someone, and we wouldn't be able to deliver something I sent. Then I think I would be sad, because it would be like the thread connecting me and someone would be completely cut. If the situation will become like that, what do you think the people would feel?


Yoshimura)  As of now, springtime is a season in which people enter new schools or go out into society.  It is a time we can feel that kind of communication between people, like when a grandma or grandpa send a package with a letter attached to their grandchildren to tell them that they did a good job.  We remember that sort of things even after we become adults.  Therefore, I think people would be sad if that sort of thing was lost.  When something is handwritten, it has that person's style, or character.  There is also the local dialect of their area.


Koyasako) Historically speaking, 150 years have passed since the postal industry started, and the obligation is put forth by law to maintain a network all throughout the entire country.  It is the case that we are obligated to keep the post office as an infrastructure.  For that purpose we are doing our best to increase the use of the postal service, and thinking various things administratively in order to maintain this network.


Young) I use the post office often, but I often think about in what way people can meet, in what way a person and a country can meet by the post office.  There is the role in the post office of connecting people, connecting a person and a country.  By the way, by what kind of method will you use at the post office to increase postal items from here on out? Also, I would like to hear if there is anything that you want users of the postal service to know about how much effort you are putting forth.


Koyasako)In order to receive the customer's business, I think that the most basic foundation is to be able to provide superior quality service that can satisfy the customer.  We deliver speedily and precisely in the number of days promised.  That is the most important thing.  I think we will do everything for that.  And then, first we have people understand the convenience of the postal service, and upon that we have been making the effort to have people feel the good points of letters, and I think that we will continue this from now on as well.


Yoshimura) Since I am in a position where I can deal with customers directly at the counter, I think to value the first person-to-person connection.  When I can please the person I am dealing with at the counter, I can have them think that they will come to the post office again.  I think that becomes the special extra, especially because we have the trustworthiness of delivering items reliably, and as a human being, as a person, creating a customer service where communication can be made is not just receiving letters or postal items, but on top of that I think that I want to continue taking care of the connection in which there can also be love between us as people.

Text: Tsutui Aya






Date: March 11 (Mon), 2013

Place: Centro Italiano
Doriano Sulis

We visited Fukuoka’s Centro Italiano, in the center of Fukuoka, and requested to speak with its director, Doriano. Doriano came in 1974 and is now in his 39th year in Japan. With Youngdoo’s request of “I want to ask someone who has been here for a long time what they have felt, been able to see and notice especially because they are not Japanese!” Doriano was bombarded with many questions from Youngdoo. Each and every one of Doriano’s words, which were based on many years of experience, were very interesting, and it seems that Youngdoo himself became able to see the entirety of his piece a little more from this interview.
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Companions from different cultures leading their lives together,
It's fun especially because the differences are advantages.

Young) Thank you for making time for me.  I have been feeling various things while going to and from Fukuoka and South Korea since last year, and among those I was thinking, "what kind of place is Fukuoka, and this country called Japan?"  I wanted to talk about this with someone who is not Japanese.
While I am Korean, sometimes I am unable to see my own country clearly without trying to separate from South Korea. When I stepped back and looked at this country, South Korea, I came to see various things, and for example, when I talk with a foreign person who is in South Korea, I am taught things that I couldn't see myself.  On that point as well, I would like you to tell me what you have felt while living in Japan for a long time.  I heard that 38 years has passed since you came to Japan.  I think that you have a lot of friends and family in Italy, but do you ever feel homesick for your family, friends, or your own country?


Doriano) Even now I have been going back and forth between Italy and Japan, so I don't really feel it to that extent.  One time, when I hadn't gone back for about 4 years, I thought that I wanted to see my friends and family, but it wasn't like I felt homesick for the country.  I think that I want to see my family or friends rather than the country, though in this era we have Skype and it doesn’t feel as far away as it used to, I don't feel homesick that much.


Young) I heard that your life has changed since you encountered the instrument called the Chikuzen Biwa. Is that something that you encountered in Italy?


Doriano) That was since I came to Japan.  At the time, I didn't think that I would be in Japan for a long time.  Or rather, I didn't think that far.  I thought that it wouldn't be easy to live here, and I thought that even if I did live here, it would be about one year.


Young) What sort of thing was your impetus for coming to Japan?


Doriano) I married a Japanese woman in Italy, and we came to Japan after living together for 2 years.


Young) On what occasion did you meet your wife?


Doriano)  I was doing puppet theatre in Italy.  There was my friend's store, where he repaired old furniture from periods like the Renaissance, and sometimes I helped out and worked there part-time.  That friend liked the puppet theatre that I was doing, and the puppet’s hand from the play was used in the store as a decoration.  I met a Japanese woman who liked that.  That was the first time we met.


Young) When you became married at that time, how did the people around you react to you marrying a foreigner?


Doriano) There was no special reaction in my family.


Young)I think that there are a lot of hard things even when people from the same country get married.  I think that it is even harder when two people from different cultures meet and live together, but could you tell me if there have been any happenings or misunderstandings that arose from differences in each other’s cultures?


Doriano) I think that everyone is different, because each person is different and each time is different... of course, there are differences between us, but I think that the differing of cultures is a big plus. It is very fresh to discover and know each other's differences daily. We are often told that if you get married, every day is the same so you will lose interest, but I don't think that happened with us.



The image of Japan as unusual,
Completely changed from meeting one Japanese woman.


Young) It is important to enjoy the differing of cultures.  I think that you had an image of Japan and Asia when you were in Italy before meeting your wife.  On the other hand, I think your wife also had an image of Italy before she went to Italy.  How did that image change after meeting each other and getting married?  Also, please tell me if there is an image that has been changed since you started living in Japan.


Doriano) The image of Japan introduced in Europe at that time, especially in Italian media, was not that good.  I didn't think that I wanted to go to Japan based just on what I had read in newspapers or seen on TV.  At that time, the image of Japanese people singing the company's song before work, what can you call it, maybe you can say militaristic, this image was strong.  The rest were things like the sight of crowded trains in Tokyo's subway system, Japan as monotonous, only these kinds of images were introduced.  It was that kind of time.  Therefore, we had the impression that Japanese people were working all the time, but when I met her, there wasn't that image at all, so oppositely my interest was spurred on.  Because of that, when I came to Japan, I grew to like Japan more.


Young) Do you have any advice for living in Japan for people who are thinking that they want to live in Japan or people who want to come to Japan from now on?


Doriano) That is difficult (laughs).  Westerners think they are the center of the world (laughs), so my advice would be to hold back that part, and take in Japanese culture for the good and the bad.  I think this is not just Western people, but I want them to be conscious of taking it in without weighing everything with their own standard of values.
One more thing is that, when you are in your own country, being unable to see your own country is that "your country" is all the environment of things like your job, friends, and family.  So, when you go to a foreign country, you completely see everything from the outside.  Even though you don't know everything about your own country, you try to completely see foreign things from the outside.  So, I think that there is a completely unbalanced viewpoint.  Therefore, you have to think for yourself about why it is different.  If you lose things like your preconceptions and genuinely look, you can see your own country more clearly than when you were living outside.


Young) On the other hand, if you have advice about in what way foreigners who come to Fukuoka and Japan should interact, please let me hear it.


Doriano) That is also difficult (laughs).  In Japan's case, there is this word "foreigner," ("Gaijin" in Japanese).  The word "foreigner" indicates people except for Japanese people.   Therefore, Italians in Italy and Americans in America are also "foreigners."  But, in Italy's case, we call people who come to Italy from foreign countries "foreigners," but we don't say "foreigners" for Japanese people in Japan or Americans in America. So, sometimes I can't get a grasp on the word "foreigner" when it comes up in conversation with a Japanese person. That is a strange feeling.  But I often hear that when Japanese people say the word "foreigner," they have the image of Western people.  For example, Chinese people are "Chinese." I think that even among the same foreigners, it seems like it is divided by rank or by category.  Therefore, I think I want them to make contact with foreigners as evenly as possible (laughs).


Young) This is a separate question, but what Japanese food do you like?


Doriano) There are a lot of things that I like, but... what I disliked from the start was natto.  I dislike sticky things.  Now there are a lot of Japanese restaurants in Italy, but since there weren't many a while ago, I couldn't properly know about food culture.  So, it was hard for half-a-year after coming to Japan.


Young) What is your particularly favorite thing?


Doriano) My favorite thing is Sushi.  But it is not that I like any kind of Sushi, and I like the Sushi at a certain restaurant (laughs).  If it gets to the point of eating Sushi that is not good, I would rather eat Yakisoba (laughs).



Not just imparting Italian culture,
But bringing the Italian culture one thinks is wonderful to Japan.

 Young) There was talk about how you were doing puppet theatre, and so I think that you know the importance and power of words, but by now the time you have been living in Japan is longer than the time you were living in Italy, right?  I think that you already aren’t inconvenienced by words, but could you tell me about any hardships from not being able to express your feelings or thoughts well at the time when you came to Japan?


Doriano) When I came to Japan I only knew the word for "Goodbye." So, at first it was hard.  I came to Japan, and when up to half-a-year had passed, I encountered the Chikuzen Biwa and became an apprentice of a Biwa craftsman, and all day everyday I listened to that teacher's Japanese, or Hakata dialect, and learned it little by little, but I also did things like study kanji by myself.  I haven't been to a Japanese-language school.  I actually wanted to do the theatre or puppetry that I had originally been doing, but I thought it was impossible.  It's because those things completely cannot be done if you cannot manipulate words.  So, I think it was hard until I could learn the language.  So, now, finally I am doing things like translating plays together with a Japanese person.  I think that translation has to be done with two people.  When both of the languages are not the native tongues of the people, the real meaning cannot be translated.


Young) Could you tell me the impetus by which you thought to start this kind of center? Please tell me the most difficult and the happiest things from running a center that mutually imparts cultures? 


Doriano) I came to Japan in 1974.  At that time, the majority of Japanese people's images of Italy were of spaghetti.  Not even Michaelangelo, not even Leonardo de Vinci (laughs).  That was very stressful. That spaghetti was also totally different than the one in Italy. Like Napolitan Spagetti (laughs).
As we just talked about it, the longer you live in a foreign country, the clearer you can see your own country.  The good points and the bad points.  When you are in your own country you can become habitually into your own culture, but when you go out, you can see it well.  I think that when I was in Italy, I didn't seem to have much of an interest in Italian culture.  But, I properly came to understand its virtues, and I started to think that I want to introduce Italian culture to Japan.  Additionally, I thought that I wanted to teach Italian, and I started an Italian-language classroom.
At the time that I started it, the name was the Italian Cultural Center.  The objective was to introduce Italian culture and to do an Italian- language classroom.  I thought that I would introduce the Italian culture that I like and Japanese people do not know.  I do not mean anything good. I wanted to introduce what I liked.  Therefore, in the beginning I introduced Italian movies.  A long time ago Italian movies had come into Japan, but the number was rapidly becoming fewer. In 1984, we did the biggest Italian film festival in the whole country.  7000 people came to it, and I was really glad about that.  This center has no relationship with the Italian embassy; it is a 100% personally financed center.  While teaching Italian, we held various events with those profits.  I was also told from the outside that this center would definitely not go well (laughs).  Even so, while making profits from the classroom or events, we are introducing Italian culture to Japan little by little by opening things like Italian art exhibitions, calling Italian musicians and having concerts.

Young) What part of Italy are you from?


Doriano) I was born on a small island called Sardinia, but I was raised in Rome from around my childhood.


Young) When you were in Italy, was your specialty puppet theatre?


Doriano) Originally I was doing music and playing classical guitar.  I was in a 7-year school, but in the fifth year my friend, who was in a nationally famous Italian theatre troupe doing puppet theatre, got sick, and I went to help out when I was asked if I would go in his place.  That was the beginning.  My life changed from there. At the time I went to help without knowing anything, and it was the first time I operated a puppet, but I was praised for it (laughs).  Since then, I quitted music, and I entered that theatre troupe.  This Puppet theatre was not children's theatre, it was theatre intended for adults.  It adapted (Vladamir) Mayakovsky or (Samuel) Beckett's works to puppet theatre.  I was with the group for about 2 years, and then after that I made my own puppet theatre troupe.  It was a theatre troupe for puppet theatre.  Because of that I did performances throughout Europe.


Young) Lately, do you have the feeling that you want to go back to the world of puppet theatre again?

Doriano) No, I don't. (laughs)


Young) Is it that you have lost interest towards puppet theatre?  Or is it because you haven't done it for a long time?


Doriano) Neither of the two.  The puppet theatre that we were doing had a lot of things that satirized society in political motifs.  That can get a sympathize in my own country, but it is impossible in Japan.  Of course that sort of thing can't be done in Japan, and to begin with, I have completely lost interest in that sort of thing.


Young) Now, which is your nationality?


Doriano)  Italy.  I just have the right of permanent residency.


Young) For example, have you ever thought that you want to change your nationality?


Doriano)  A long time ago it was hard to get the right of permanent residency.  I was making Biwa, and since I became the sole successor, I could get it.  Before it was said that you should naturalize and get Japanese nationality rather than getting permanent residency, if you were going to live in Japan for a long time, but I didn't want to do that. 


Young) Currently, are you teaching disciples rather than making it by yourself?


Doriano) I am making and restoring Biwa, but I am not teaching.  Now I like to restore old Biwa rather than making new ones.  In restoring you have to restore it to just as it was a long time ago, so cheating won't work.  Since in the old days Biwa craftsmen were making and competing with each other, there are many instruments that are really like wonderful pieces of art.  For example, there is the Biwa spool of thread, but this one part is a wonderful art piece.  When that is broken, you can't make it like it used to be, so you take it off, use a different thing, and re-make it.  That is "repairing."  But the "restoring" that I am doing is taking several months to make that piece as it was before.  I make it as it was before through trying many possible solutions and learning from mistakes, searching for a way of making it that is unknown now. That work is inevitably fun. 



Regardless of nationality, what is important
when getting to know a fellow human being,
is looking at your partner in the eye when speaking to them.


Young) It has been about 10 years that I have been traveling between South Korea and Japan, but what I am always thinking is how can people meet each other, person to person, without any preconceptions.  At first I thought "I wish people could meet each other, person to person, regardless of things like their country," but lately I have started to become conscious that "perhaps if we meet each other upon recognizing each other as a Japanese person or a Italian person we are more likely to be able to make an environment where people can meet each other smoothly, person to person." Therefore, I want to ask you, Doriano, who has been living for a long time in a country that is not your native country, how can people communicate well in the midst of different languages or without any information about the other person?


Doriano) I was also thinking the same kind of thing around the time when I had just come to Japan.  I thought that no matter what country you go to, people are people.  But, no matter what there are cultures and lifestyles behind people. Because various things like education or complexes or bad experiences are complexly entwined.  But it is important to know each other after understanding that.  This is something I learned in Japan, but you can make communication more smoothly if you reserve yourself and receive more from your partner.  Especially when you meet a person from a different culture, the necessity of meeting the person is lost if you don't have curiosity.
Now I have come to think that it is more comfortable to be one-on-one with a person that I can communicate with deeply rather than to meet a lot of people.  When it is two people, I think that perhaps even if the ways of thinking are different, they can understand each other if they speak to each other properly.


Young) This is probably a bit of a strange question, but if, for example, you had to go away from the earth, what would be the only thing you would want to take with you out of something that is in Japan or Italy? Could you tell me one each for Japan and Italy?


Doriano) That is the same for Japan and Italy- Woman (laughs).


Young) Next is, oppositely, what is something in Japan and Italy that is the one thing you want them to get rid of?


Doriano) If it is Italy, there are many things (laughs).  But if it were only one ... In the case of Italy, it would be "randomness." Because there is a little bit of haphazardness.  Japan is the opposite of that.  I think it would be good to have a little more flexibility with the things that are rigid.
This is something I experienced once when I went back to Italy, but in Italy the buses run even in the middle of the night.  The bus I was riding at the time had about 12 to 13 passengers in it, and one person, who was about 60 years old, got on the bus really drunk.  The bus driver was worried, and when he asked the drunken person where he lived, that person's house was really far away from the bus stop.  So, the driver asked the person "shall I drop you off at your house?"  Then all of the bus passengers applauded those words, and so the bus went on to the front of his house.  I also escorted the man who was drunk and couldn't move, to the entranceway to his house, and he was able to get home safely.  That was a really happy incident.  Of course, everyone who was riding together was really happy.  So, sometimes the parts of Italians that are haphazard sometimes bring forth wonderful things.  I thought this incident is a bit impossible in Japan. 


Young) Now, I am doing work that combines various parts as a production of theatre and dance, and I was feeling like I was losing sight of the piece's entirety.  I think that I became able to see a little of the entire picture that I couldn't see because of the talk we had today.  I am very happy.  Todays interview was an opportunity for me to reconsider the essence of the piece.  Thank you so much for this precious time.


Doriano) This is not what we were just talking about, but looking at people in the eye when speaking to them is important for relations between people.  I also looked into Young's eyes and felt very interested.


Young) Please let me talk with you more again.  I think that I would like to visit here again before the performance.  Thank you very much for this talk.


Text: Tsutui Aya



Date: Mon, July 30, 2012
Place: Fukuoka City Hall
Okuda Masahiro (Residential Planning Section Manager)

From the perspective of “Who exactly makes the town?” we thought to interview someone in the city hall who thinks about this professionally from an administrative standpoint. Okuda has been engaging in work that deals with urban planning in Fukuoka City for almost 10 years. He explained to us how urban planning is set up and executed and about the characteristics of Fukuoka city, based on the document “2012 Fukuoka City Planning.”
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What kind of town is Fukuoka city?
Several things that he wanted to know to make a piece in this town.


Municipal Official, Okuda) Positionally Fukuoka and Busan straddle the Korean Straight and face each other.  As a matter of course, there was movement back and forth from a long time ago.  In the case of Fukuoka, it is mostly reclaimed land, including the city center, and a long time ago there was a harbor called Sodeminato, and with this harbor as the center Hakata’s merchants did trade with Korea and China and the town prospered.

After that, Toyotomi Hideoyshi divided the town of Fukuoka into districts, and this is called “Taikoh Machiwari.” This division was similar to Kyoto in that the frontage, width, was narrow but the depth was large, and it is said that this made the prototype for Hakata.  After this kind of town prototype was made, Kuroda Nagamasa made Fukuoka’s Chikusen a whole country, and established that daimyo’s castle as Fukuoka castle.  With that Fukuoka caste as the center, a river flows through the center of the town, on either sides of this river there were two towns- the people of the castle lived in a samurai town called Fukuoka, and the people who go by Kyoto were in Hakata, the merchants’ town.  After that, in the Meiji period, when they established the city, there was talk about whether to make it Fukuoka city or Hakata city, they took a vote, and the result was that Fukuoka city was established.  From there, it is getting bigger as it annexes surrounding areas little by little.  Just when Fukuoka had gotten in order to some extent, there was the Second World War, and at that time the entire town around here was quite burned up by the war damage.  Then, the war ended, and most of the town now is the town planning operations from post-war reconstruction, which is building roads and re-doing residential areas.

In addition to that, they also filled up the land in the ocean little by little, and the town of Fukuoka came to be as it is now.  From there it got bigger as a town, and about just before the Korean War Shimonoseki and Fukuoka became the gathering places for those returning to Korea.  There were many people, who gathered here to return to Korea, but the Korean War happened and there were quite a number of people who couldn’t go back to Korea, and therefore Fukuoka is a town in which there are a lot of North Koreans and South Koreans. From about that long ago until now people are going back and forth, and it’s become a town where they also live reciprocally.  One feature of Fukuoka’s city planning is that there is the airport, an entranceway to the sky, in a place nearby the city center.  The entrance to the sea is towards Hakata/ Chuofutoh, and the bullet train running from Hakata station is the entranceway to the land.  These three entranceways join together, making this an easy town for people to come and go.  I think that internationally there are few places that have this many modes of transportation joined together. 

Also, the so-called city center and the sub city center, which interpolates it, are made in a Y-shape.  When you put together the city center and the sub city center, in a new base formation on the east and the west, there are Island City and Kyushu University.  Kyushu University is 1 of only 7 imperial universities from a long time ago, and it is a school with many international students from Korea and China.  
Fukuoka is a well- balanced city with a moderate degree of ocean, mountains, and agricultural land.
All over Japan the number of people is declining with an aging population and declining birth rate, but Fukuoka has the prediction that the population will continue to increase until Heisei 47 (the year 2060).  Now the population is about 1.48 million people, but at its peak it is predicted that it will exceed 1.6 million people.  The population will increase but we will try to make it that nature is unaffected by people as much as possible, and we will put forth an effort to maintain and improve the buildings in the town center.  While there are various problems inside the city, the current mayor Takashima will start with tourism and have people come from overseas to Fukuoka, and so we are putting effort into servicing the area around the port in the hopes that Fukuoka will be the place of arrival and departure for tourism in Kyushu.
Since there is no big river in Fukuoka, there is also the difficult side that we can’t invite a factory that uses water in large amounts, and so the base of our idea is that we want to build up the town with tourism as it’s number 3 industry.


Young) I now know something that I didn’t know at all before.  Thank you very much.  The city workers are making the foundation for the citizens’ lifestyles and an environment in which they can work, an environment that supports them in working, gaining an income, and living.  I think it is a very fortunate city.  This is about advancing the operations of making Fukuoka into a city of tourism, but I think by doing so it will cause various harmful effects- what is the thing that you are the most worried about?


Foundation Staff Member) From the cultural side, the bureau will become the culture and tourism bureau from this year because of adjustments in the organization, and even the bureaus who were doing only the promotion of culture will be put together into one bureau of “Tourism.”  As the strategy has changed, in addition to promoting culture of the citizens as the bureau has done, we also have to aim for the economic result of attracting tourists.  There are a lot of various cultural associations locally, but promoting the original culture and attracting tourists are two different things, aren’t they?  Other cultural foundations have been raising a voice of concern, saying that by trying to attract tourists, perhaps what we have tried our hardest to do genuinely until now will be thought of as a little dishonest.


Young) When you aim for the structure of the city, what do you think of the most when you make it?


Municipal Official/ Okuda)  Speaking of structure, we decide the roads at the beginning in Japanese city planning.  We decide the roads, and then we make the buildings while looking at things like the volume of traffic.  If we said that in terms of the human body, the bones are the roads and the muscles are the buildings.  So, since even if we put on a lot of muscle the bones will quickly break if they are weak, we think while perceiving that balance.  So, first we make the roads, and then we decide the volume of the buildings, a way of thinking called city planning floor space index.  In that index, the business district is a district that allows the construction of buildings that are 4 to 8 times the area of the lot.



If we compare the entirety of Japan to the human body, Tokyo is the brain, Fukuoka the right eye.


Young) Mr. Okuda, how long have you worked in the municipal office?


Municipal Official/ Okuda) It will be 18 years since I started working in the municipal office.  I was in Tokyo before Fukuoka, but I wasn’t a government worker.


Young) Can you tell me some differences between Tokyo and Fukuoka from your point of view?


Municipal Official/ Okuda) Tokyo is like if Fukuoka’s city center spread far outwards.  Since there are only the areas of Hakata station and Tenjin in the city center of Fukuoka, and because people and institutions are concentrated there, I think that Fukuoka is easier to live in than Tokyo, in regards to the centralization of amusement facilities and business institutions.


Young) Just now, you made the example of the structure of bones and muscles, but if you thought of Japan as one human body, what part would Fukuoka be?


Municipal Official/ Okuda) If we go with the parts of the body, Tokyo is the head, and then next comes Osaka and Nagoya.  In Japanese textbooks those areas, including those cities, are called the three largest metropolitan areas, and then the Fukuoka metropolitan area is always ranked about after those three.  Therefore, I guess it is the questions of what is the fourth most important part of the body.  Next, it is necessary to be able to communicate.  Based on that, if we assume that the next level is that we see things with our eyes and recognize them, and then we put forth words from our mouths and communicate, Fukuoka is the right eye, I guess.  The left eye is probably Sapporo (laughs).


Young) I am really interested in the relationship between the growth of a city and the growth of human beings’ lifestyles, but even in Seoul or Busan it is not always the case that lifestyles will become abundant when majestic roads and tall high-rise buildings are constructed.  I can’t think that humans’ happiness grows in the same degree as when the shape of the environment in which I live is rapidly built, after all if it’s that “City development = Happy,” then people living in New York, or people living in London, people living in those kind of cities should naturally be happy, but now tribal people, like those that live in the forest have a much higher level of happiness in comparison to people in the city.  Instead of jut the city being developed by a plan, don’t we have to think of some different form to give happiness to the people living there?  From a different viewpoint, I think that city development is not just constructing buildings, but there is something else that has to be thought about, isn’t there?  Regarding that, I think that parks and business districts are also made from the people living in Fukuoka, but are you thinking about something other than that? 


Municipal Official/ Okuda) Just as you said, naturally there are various value systems about whether a city is good or not.  When you ask what a city plan is planning, the city is something that is made when people gather, and if there is not some kind of rule there it is very difficult to live.  First, I think the move to get ride of the problems of difficult living is in the beginning of the ideology of city planning.  It is important to decide basic rules in order to make it easier to live there.  In the middle of this we decide what things can and cannot be built along the skeletal road system while color-coding everything.  Of course, like you said there are various institutions, and it is the job of administration to drop various things that were in that decided plan, regarding the point of what kind of institution people find value in.  For example, when an institution is built, if it is the case that it should be near a station where people gather, then it will be built near a station- I think this is done in each respective station.  I can understand Mr. Young’s opinion, and I think that it is our job to do the best service for the citizens while talking with each other and freely expressing these kinds of opinions in the municipal office.



Fukuoka, from the outlook of “Tourism,” aims to be the arrival and departure point for Asia.


Young) Since I am an artist, I can do what I want to as my job, but I suppose that it is difficult for those in the municipal office to comply exactly with what the citizens say.


Municipal Official/ Okuda) When civilians make a cultural institution, there is a proper system for hospitality, and that is something that we request from the cultural side, and that those in city planning also consider.
Regarding the part of the conversation when you talked about what is happiness, I think that the city is diverse.  People gather here because various things can be done.  As one of those, I think that the cultural component is an important factor, and that is properly put into city planning’s point of view, and that sort of policy is also in our vision.


Young) Aren’t there times when you can’t strike a balance between your own individual values and your values as a city official?  Isn’t there a difference between your values and the city standards? 


Municipal Official/ Okuda) Of course there are, but so long as I am a government worker as my profession, I suppress my personal feelings as much as possible.  Of course, if there is a time when it is okay to speak my opinion as an individual I will say it, but when that is not the case I don’t think well about expressing my personal opinion as a public standpoint.


Young)  Is there something that you want to do from here on out?


Municipal Official/ Okuda) There are many things that we want to do, but since no matter what it costs money, something has to be done fiscally first.  Whether it be making the cultural institution that was mentioned before, or making a plan to blossom as a city, the incoming tax revenue is limited, and so if there is no effort to raise the tax revenue, we can’t invest in the things we really want to invest in.  There are a lot of things we want to do, but I think that what we put as our maximum priority out of the money in our purse is decided by society’s state of affairs, the issues recognized at that time.


Young) Thank you for teaching me many things that I really didn’t know before.
I don’t know if it is okay to say this sort of thing, but it would be good if we could talk while drinking somewhere.  If you have any free time in Fukuoka, please call me. (laughs).


Sato) Just by looking at a map I can tell that Fukuoka and Busan are really close, but is there a consciousness of Fukuoka within Asia?


Municipal Official/ Okuda) Now the decision of the composite plan is beginning for the first time in 25 years throughout Fukuoka, and of course continuing to be a central city open to Asia is a point in that plan.  Busan is closer than Osaka, there are frequent comings and goings to those cities in Asia, we naturally think that the viewpoint of gathering tourists is important from here on.  We think that we want to make Fukuoka a place of arrival and departure for tourism, like customers from all over Asia come on a cruise boat and go to places like Kyoto or spots in Kyushu with Fukuoka as their base.  First, we will have various generations, various people come to Fukuoka.  Since Fukuoka’s main industry is the service industry, we have to make it known as a place where various people can intermingle, and we are thinking considerably about attracting tourists.

Date: Mon, July 30, 2012

Place: Mail-Order Company Office
Naomura Shinichi (Mail-Order Company’s Representative Supervisor)

YoungDoo holds a strong concern towards “things and people coming and going between two countries.” We sought a person who manages a company that stocks and markets products from China or South Korea. This person was actually born in South Korea and crossed over to Japan in his childhood. He also spoke of his experiences at that time.
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A Zainichi Korean who succeeded in business in Japan.
His secret to success, and the feeling unexpressed on his surface.


Naomura) I was born in Korea, and after the war, I came to Japan when I was 8 years old. That was when I was in the 3rd grade of elementary school, so 50 years have passed. Since I was born in Seoul’s Mabo, my mother, sister, and I, the three of us came to Japan. I had almost totally forgotten Korean, but since I thought that I would do mail-order of Korean goods for my job, I had to remember Korean all over again. My mother is now 91 years old. My father passed away when I was 3 years old. Since not a single photo was left of him, I was all my mother had, and so I tried really hard in Japan. 30 years have passed since I started this job.


Young) You have been doing mail-order for 30 years, and mainly what products do you deal with?


Naomura) Among products for daily life, mostly cleaning products. It is because these can sell no matter what the economy is. During Japan’s bubble economy, things relating to precious stones and watches were the main product, but from a long time ago I wanted to deal with something that I could constantly sell, plus I don’t have an eye for precious stones, and since I didn’t have interest, I didn’t deal with things that would sell explosively.


Young) What do you think about how the products that you bring spread among Japanese households? It is just a product, but also sometimes that family becomes happy, and aren’t there also times when the household culture changes?


Naomura) When the Lehman shock happened, I assumed there would soon be an influence on Japan, and I put two price options for the same product. When I put out the two propositions, I had to sell the products cheaply because of the Lehman shock crisis, and I decided to sell them at less than one-third of the price. People in the company and the broadcasting office were worried, but the cheaply set price was a success. Especially because of the Lehman shock, I had an opportunity to re-think about how to make business.


Young) When you find new products at a convention and buy them, aren’t there times when the product that is actually delivered is different?


Naomura) That happens too many times. (laughs)


Young) Isn’t it that you can trade with China, Korea, and Japan, because the company president knows the cultural characteristics of each country?


Naomura) In the case of trading for Japan, in the case of recently producing in China, I oversee the manufacturing and until the inspection of the finished product. Since the sense in that area is very different between Japan and China, I think that if it is not managed precisely, you can’t sell it in Japan.



Finding a job in Japan was an obstacle. For this reason, he shifted to starting his enterprise.


Young) Is there something in which you feel a difference between Japan and Korea?


Naomura) In Japan the relationship between master and apprentice for artisans has been properly retained, and there is still a culture of that being inherited.  I think that is a very wonderful thing.  In contrast I feel like in Korea that sort of relationship between master and apprentice is disappearing.  For Zainichi, finding a job was an obstacle.  So I started this company, and in my company there is no discrimination, and Chinese people and Korean people are also here.  I think due to the spread of the Internet that classification of nationalities has gone away.
When I was 8 years old, I came to Japan, and when I was an elementary school student I couldn’t communicate at all, and I clung to my mother.  There was also a time when after I was beat up by classmates, I went to the beach, faced in the direction of Korea, and shed tears.  After I became a junior high school student my body got bigger and I had a rebellious spirit, to the point where I beat up the classmates that beat me up.  From a certain time, I saw that the name of a criminal on TV was a Zainichi name, and I felt that as a Zainichi living in Japan, I should live seriously.  The reason is because the country that raised me is Japan.  Now, I always go to Korea once every 1 to 2 months and visit my family’s graves.  In Japan I visit the graves of my mother’s side of the family.

Zainichi living in Japan had almost the same situation, but since there were examples before us that we could succeed if we tried our hardest, like Masayoshi Son, and for my own goal, I saw people who had succeeded like that and I thought that I can do it to, and so I tried my best.


Young) After the war, there are sometimes periods when relations between Japan and Korean become worse, but what do you think about this?


Naomura) Now, I naturalized and became a Japanese person, but I think that disputes happen easily when countries are close in distance, and it is difficult to have good relations.  In order to become a country with the same standing, it is necessary to have  the same economic power of a high-power country.  This cannot be forgotten in regards to the history of Japan and Korea, but it is not necessary to always show this on the surface.

For methods of getting information, there are several on the table.
However, one should experience it for himself, without fail.


Young) Whenever I come to Japan, I study something and go back.  If it is Korea, it is a country that has the driving power to quickly implement an idea after it is put out there, but I think that Korean people should study the customs of Japanese conversation, the customs of a calculating way of doing a job.


Naomura) It’s too bad, but in Korea there was courtesy towards one’s parents or the elderly, but I feel like those have

gradually disappeared.


Young) Do you have family?


Naomura) My oldest son is 30 years old, and my oldest daughter is 27 years old.  My oldest son is doing internet- related work at my company, and my oldest daughter is a singer.  I came to Japan, got married, had children, and made friends around me, but I thought about succeeding in Japan and then returning to Korea, but now I think like that was an impossible idea.


Young) This is an idea from me, but as for products that are popular recently, we can’t know how someone will use the product as seen from the side that is making it, and we can’t know who is using it as seen from the buyer’s side.  I think it would be interesting if we could actually know these things.  If we could trace from a product’s manufacturing in China until it reaches the consumer, I feel like something unexpected would be found.  
I am a human being who does dance, and I am doing this kind of project while I am going back and forth between Korea and Japan.  Could you give me some words?


Naomura) Start from the question of “Why” for everything carried out in Japan, and please make a standpoint that attempts to take in and understand that from a cultural standpoint.  There are a lot of ways to get information, but no matter what, I recommend that you experience things for yourself.


Text: Tsutui Aya

Date: Sun, July 29, 2012

Place: Korean Restaurant in the city
An artist residing in Fukuoka

On this day we met an artist based out of Fukuoka and conducted an interview while having a meal at a Korean restaurant. This person’s grandmother is actually from Jeju-do, South Korea. With roots that straddle South Korea and Japan, how will this young generation perceive and treat this, what kind of future are they trying to depict- it seems that YoungDoo received a lot of power from this time.
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What I want to know is “Just one thing” that is inside a human being.
Now, the singular set of values for you to be able to have in Fukuoka.


Young) If you were to compare the country of Japan to a human being’s body, what body part would it be? Then, please tell me why you think so. I think it is difficult, but it’s because I want to know what kind of image you have. Could you think about it lightly for me?


Artist 1) I think it is the heart. That is because I am making this place the base of living. I lead my life here, an even if I was to live in a different region, I think this place would still be the base, so it is the heart.


Artist 2) By the process of elimination, I think it is probably the eye. Or it would be the nose or the mouth. If we take it as that, I have nasal inflammation so my nose doesn’t work really well (laughs) so maybe the mouth. That has the meaning of eating, and coming to Fukuoka, if we talk about what I want to satisfy when I am meeting with my friends, there is no place to excite the eyes, so I guess it is the mouth. You can eat delicious things and make people happy.


Interpreter) I think it is the belly. Fukuoka is a second hometown for me. As for the belly, no one is conscious of it, but I think it is an important part. It is in the center of the body. It feels like the belly.


Young) Okay, this time if the whole earth was a human body, what body part do you think Japan would be? I think you can’t eliminate the fact that you are Japanese from your sentiments, but try to not be conscious of that as much as you can, and what part do you think it is?


Artist 1) When it becomes earth-scale my way of thinking changes a little, and since my grandmother is from Jeju I think about that, and although I was not born there, my grandmother’s hometown is in Korea, and so I am always conscious of that. I don’t really think that I am pure Japanese, and because I am always conscious that I am not 100% Japanese, and it is difficult to think about the earth as a human body but I would like to think that I have Korea and Japan in both hands.



Being able to feel the good points that they didn’t know about this town
After leaving Fukuoka once and then coming back.
Wanting to search for the possibilities as an artist in this town.


Young) Then, I have thought of a question again. If you were exemplify Korea as a human body inside the earth, what part do you think it is? You don’t have to think so hard about it, a light answer is okay. Image-wise, what kind of feeling do you get?


Artist 2) I think that my consciousness has changed in the past 2 to 3 years. And that is because I became able to speak Korean and my contact with others increased and so I think that a part of my body has been made that was not there before. I think that it wouldn’t be this way had I not made contact, but I think it came out because of the contact.


Artist 1) Hand? Because there are various meanings, and there are many things that I want to know. Probably the feeling of wanting to grasp with my hand.


Young) Yesterday, I asked this to a different person, “If 99 out of 100 things in Fukuoka were things you didn’t like, and there was only 1 thing that was good, what do you think that would be?” When I asked this, I was told it was love.


Artist 2) I think so, too. If it wasn’t there I couldn’t do anything. Working or living. Especially because I can think of it as my girlfriend’s hometown, even if there is a part I don’t like, I can forgive that. Of course, now I can see other good parts besides that, but 4 years ago I think that was the one thing.


Artist 1) At one time I didn’t like Fukuoka, and I left, but at that time I knew nothing about Fukuoka. I came back and I got to know things that I didn’t know, and I thought this is a good place. I thought it would be good if I could make this my base for my activities as an artist. I left Fukuoka with the assumption that I would become an artist in Tokyo, but I came back and thought that I would try and see how much I can work as an artist with Fukuoka as my base. Probably that is mostly because the environment where I settled down was good.


Young) If we were to say that there was something that you wanted to bring from the continent (Asia), including Korea and China, for the sake of Fukuoka or Japan, what would that be? Not just objects but something, including things like philosophy or culture, which you think that if you brought it people would be able to live prosperously and happily.


Artist 1) I sometimes think that Japanese people are a little weak in things like vitality, or that kind of strength, when compared to the continent. It is not everybody, but because the weak part of Japanese artists is that they cannot clearly assert themselves, I think that it would be good if there was more of that, but I also think that if that happened the good parts of Japan would also be lost, maybe. It’s difficult. (laughs)



What they want to export from Japan is the sense of hospitality.
There are no manners or rules; there is the heart that considers others.


Young) Oppositely, if you could transmit one thing from Japan to the continent, such as China and Korea, what kind of thing do you think would be good?


Artist 2) For example, when you go to a restaurant, the people at the restaurant take care and do a lot of things to be hospitable to the customer. Of course, I think that human beings have that sort of thing on hand to some degree, but I think Japanese people are very precise towards that sort of thing. That sense. Not Western etiquette or rules, but a heart that thinks of others when people come into contact. I think that is a part that is absolutely not in manuals or rules.


Young) If we assume that there is something that we could bring from another country and into Japan for its own sake, What kind of thing do you think that would be? Or, is there something that you don’t want to enter Japan?


Artist 1) What I don’t want to enter Japan are things like nuclear weapons or war arms. Because there are none in Japan.


Artist 2) I want various things to come into Japan. Then I want to see what Japan will become. Refuse or except it. It is probably interesting to see. If everything is rejected, nothing new will happen. Just now you asked “what would be good to bring into Japan?” I think maybe it is good to bring anything. Because Japanese people will be the ones to effect change from there. Then, I think it is good if they try to experience it, try to sense it, and recognize if it is a good thing or a bad thing. Because if I encounter something delicious or poignant overseas, I think that I want to tell my friends or people I know about it. I think that is not re-arranging something so that it is Japanese style, but instead bringing it in as it is, and seeing how it feels. I feel like that way is more human.


Young) When I think from the situation in Korea, now Korea is rapidly chasing after new things, and this destruction of various good things from the past for new things are reflected in not jut things but also in the ways of thinking. Since there is a feeling in Korea of running to the edge of capitalism, I think that I want that sort of thing to disappear.
Even in the art sector of Korea things are rushed, as if someone is saying faster, faster, and there is no flexibility to prepare carefully and build something up. In that meaning, from Japan I want to bring that flexibility, or rather that feeling of carefully creating. I think it is good if artists could create in this way. What you just told me about caring and consideration for others, since I can feel it whenever I come, I think it is a good thing and I think that is something I would like to accept.

Text: Tsutui Aya

Date: Sat, July 28, 2012
Place: Kyushu University Hakozaki Campus
Tsuda Mitsuo (Kyushu University Graduate School of Design Faculty of Design Technical Staff)

We interviewed Tsuda Mitsuo, who is active in various settings of Fukuoka’s art scene, and received a guided tour from him including Kyushu University’s Hakodate Campus’s historical buildings. This encounter was the impetus that led to a March performance to be held in Kyushu University.

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The performance setting will be Kyushu University, which contains Japan’s history.
By meeting him at this time, we could envision how the creation would unfold.


Tsuda) I am originally not from Fukuoka, and my hometown is Hyogo prefecture’s Awaji island in Kansai. I socialized with Zainichi people around when I was in junior high school. This is not at the Awaji island where I lived as a boy, but really close by some of my helpful male relatives were living in a place with Korean people. I remember that on the opposite shore of a nearby river there was a community of Korean people. Other than that, in junior high school my friend went back to North Korea, and then his name was no longer “Kinoshita” but it changed to “Paku,” and this sort of thing happened often. Also because it is Kansai, this sort of thing was familiar. But of course the other side of the river near my relative’s house left a lasting impression on me. They were raising pigs, so at the same time that there was the smell of pig, in February pretty costumes like chima were left out to dry, and the scene of those costumes dancing in the wind was a really memorable scene.


Young) You took me to a variety of places like the viewing platform, or the place where an airplane crashed, but why did you think of taking me there?


Tsuda) The person I am now is made up from my child memories, like the ones I just told you. Our bodies are made up of things like what we have seen or what we have heard, and I think Kyushu University also probably came about in this way. So instead of me wanting you to see the buildings of Kyushu University, how can we perceive the history of Kyushu University? For example we just talked about the phantom and about the vivisection done at the school. But, there was the Kyushu University that for some reason had to do that, but because the buildings that have stood here since long ago have seen everything, the bad along with the good, I feel like memories are jam packed in those buildings.


Young) It was a really great time for me. I was just moved by your words that various experiences and what we see make us. In Korea there is also war, so as far as old buildings in Korea, there aren’t many left. Since there is the ideology of capitalism, there is a focus on new economic development rather than protecting important buildings or important memories. So, there aren’t that many old buildings left like in Japan. There are those kinds of old buildings in the minds and hearts of Korean people, but we cannot feel it with our own hands or confirm it by actually going to see it. Therefore, although we cannot see the good memories and the bad memories carved into these historical buildings, I think it is a waste if the important buildings full of history standing here disappear.


Tsuda) I also think so. In Fukuoka, there is also the side of easily thinking to get rid of these buildings that we want to keep for the sake of efficiency. It’s a little different than Kyoto’s old towns, and this trait is probably a side of Fukuoka that I dislike.



Fukuoka is a pretty good place. But, there are few professionals.


Young) How many years have you been in Fukuoka?


Tsuda) For about 30 years. After I went to a University of Education in Fukuoka, I was aiming to go to Tokyo University’s graduate school, but I spent about 6 years dilly-dallying, going to Nagoya, Kansai, and whatnot, and in the end I settled down in Fukuoka.


Young) Now, your job is teaching students in Fukuoka, and are the dreams and aspirations you etched out when you were young different from the dreams and aspirations that young people have now?


Tsuda) I think the students now are clever and have a clear outlook. They aren’t dumb like us. (laughs) In all kinds of ways, our values and passions had a degree of instability to them, but I think people now have become more stable.


Young) If we assume the students now have become more stable, is that because they are afraid of some kind of change?


Tsuda) It’s not the case that their sense and sensibility is inferior. For example, if it is a dark place, you can adjust the light to the dark place and properly perceive it. But, it is just that you are shifting to a dark place. So, if you ask if the field of perception is vast or narrow, it is becoming narrow but, in a very dark place, in the very middle of it there is a little bright spot, and there is a little wavering. And they are going to go on shifting it. The instability is little, but they are perfectly shifting


Young) Is that sensitivity?


Tsuda) Yes, they are more sensitive than we were in our day, and they are choosing that. If there is little instability, I feel like they understand for themselves if it will waver based on where they shift it to.
That is, rather than knowing oneself well, they understand what part they are in. That is understanding one’s position well, not one’s possibility. There is the feeling of showing the utmost sense in one’s position. But there is also the point that they aren’t really thinking about other possibilities.


Young) Even with liking Fukuoka on the whole, is there just one part that you cannot approve of?


Tsuda) Rather than not being able to approve of something, I think that it is much better than other places. I think it is a fairly better place than Tokyo, and often there are people who say that there is nothing in Fukuoka or information doesn’t come through here, but I don’t think that is so. Just, for example, when there is like an art-related job in Tokyo, there are many professionals, and so when the job is ordered it can be done quickly by a professional. But there are still few of that kind of professionals in Fukuoka.


Young) Oppositely, is there something in Fukuoka that you couldn’t be without?


Tsuda) Yamakasa festival. (laughs) But, Yamakasa festival is also probably the thing I hate the most. When the festival is held there is a really heavy feeling, but when the festival floats come out I think that I wouldn’t be living in Fukuoka without this.



I want them to make a piece that they feel convinced about.
Everything begins from there, so the talking ends.
I want to see that kind of piece.


Young) Tsuda, what do your children want to be when they grow up?


Tsuda) Now she is saying that she wants to be a painter. I am telling her that she won’t make any money, though. (laughs)


Young) Is the dream that you wish for your daughter the same as the dream that your daughter wishes for?


Tsuda) I think that they are probably totally different.


Young) What kind of work do you want your daughter to do?


Tsuda) I think that it’s good if there is one thing that one can continue doing until death, and I am not really thinking “do this.” I want her to properly think about her future, and I also want her to work, but I think it is also okay to separate one’s career from one’s life work. There is no idea about working in order to make a living.


Young) I don’t live in Fukuoka, and I don’t have that much information about Fukuoka, but I have to make a piece in Fukuoka. But, there is so much that I don’t know that I am a little scared now. I have the confidence that I will make a good piece, but since I don’t live in Fukuoka, and I am not Japanese, I came to Fukuoka, and I am groping for what I can make, what I can do here. Of course, I will make the piece just as I have felt, but for Mr. Tsuda now, if there was only one piece that you could see, let’s say that was a piece that I made. What kind of piece would you want me to make?


Tsuda) That would be a piece that Youngdoo himself feels convinced of. I think a piece that seems like it came from Youngdoo is the best. I bet that is where it will start, and it’s good if all talking ends there.


Young) Now, I am meeting with various people, hearing them speak, and getting hints for my piece, but I think that I will make a story, create a piece about the Fukuoka that I myself thought of, after all. Is there any place in Fukuoka that you want to show to me?


Tsuda) There are several. There is an old apartment in Gokushomachi called Daikokusou. Also there is a small apartment from early Showa period that is near Kushida shrine called Gion apartment. Then in the Hakata machiya area around Gokushomachi there are places like Shofuku-ji or Jotenji, and since there are a lot of Zen temples in Fukuoka, there is probably something in that sort of place that feels like Korea.


Young) I probably can’t go this time, but next time I come I would like for you to show me around.


Tsuda) Sure, let’s go. I was going on adventures in the back alleys of Hakata, so I will show you around. Now, there are fewer back alleys, but…

In the Hakata dialect “Ohman” = “Don’t mind”
Pass that kind of Hakata temperament to other countries, and onto Japan’s young generation.


Young) This is an extreme, but if we assumed that out of the whole world only Fukuoka is peaceful and comfortable, and from here if there was only one thing that you would like to suggest to the whole world, what would it be? Oppositely if we assumed that only Fukuoka was a poor and hard place, what sort of thing would you like to bring in from another country?


Tsuda) In Hakata dialect there is a word “Ohman” and I think that is probably close to “No problem” “Don’t mind” or “Not so but it’s so easy,” and people in Hakata have that kind of temperament. Same as these words, We also have the phrases “Daitai Kogenatode Yokacchanaito?” and “Yokayoka.” I think it is good to take these ways of thinking to places outside, and it would be good if Fukuoka’s young people also had them.


Young) If we were to bring something from another country into Fukuoka to make it better, what do you thing would be good to bring in?


Tsuda) A cultural center, someplace to cultivate culture. I think that an art center is the most necessary. Not just because I am doing it, but because there is originally an element of art in Fukuoka. There are a lot of traditional crafts like Hakata puppets or Hakata weaving. When you go to Busan, there are several movements to place value in traditional things. So I think it would be good if we did that sort of thing.


Young) Oppositely, is there something that Fukuoka wants to tell Asia?


Tsuda) History. I am always thinking that we had better precisely tell that sort of thing. Including political things and various problems, and its not the case at all that I am suggesting to leave behind or shut in bitter history- I think that we had better take the stance that we should tell the reality. However, there are many people in the country of Japan that do not want to talk no matter what because of political problems, but there is also the bad point of us not telling that history to young people now. I think that we should go on talking about it, and I think that we have to make a device for young people to grasp that sort of thing amongst themselves. I think it is wrong if we just say “Come because we have good things” or “We brought culture so please come and look at it."

Text: Tsutui Aya

Date: Sat, July 28, 2012

Place: Fishing Harbor at Itoshima City
Umemoto Masami(Fisherman)


With YoungDoo’s request to talk with a person who lives and works in relation with the sea that is between Japan and Korea, we met with Umemoto、who has spent many years as a fisherman at Itoshima fishing harbor. Umemoto has been carrying out the fishing business for three generations, with his father and his son. After listening to Umemoto、YoungDoo thanked him by performing a dance. Against the backdrop of a blue sky, the smell of salt water, and boats swaying amidst the waves, the sight of YoungDoo’s was effervescent for even the watching dog
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The ocean that connects Korea and Japan. I want to hear straight from someone who works on that ocean. Thoughts towards the ocean, thoughts about the livelihood of a fisherman.

Young) I wanted to meet with a fisherman no matter what. Since I was raised in the countryside, I have done and have often seen agriculture. But, since I have never, not even once, met with a fisherman, I became really concerned about what kind of thoughts they have and what kind of lifestyles they lead. Fukuoka is a town near the ocean. I thought perhaps fishermen are the most important in Fukuoka, and I asked for today’s interview.


Umemoto) Now, even when you say fishermen, there are many people who started after graduating from high school, but we became fishermen in Showa 29 (1954). In those days we mostly didn’t go to high school, and that’s because we started working after we left junior high school. Around the time I left junior high school, a fisheries high school was established and the second class of students had started. But I didn’t go to high school, and my father said I suppose it is better for you to start working, so I became a fisherman.


Young) What kind of fish are you catching?


Umemoto) This one ship is a boat with five tons, and with this one ship we put out a rope with barrels attached to it, take up the rope a little bit, and tow for a little. Then we heave up the rope and lift up a net from the bottom of the ocean. What gets caught there is bream and threeline grunt- that is mostly what gets caught. Other than that various kinds of fish will get in, but mostly small and medium size fish, bream is what we are specially catching.


Young) Are your father and grandfathers also fishermen?


Umemoto) Yes, back to my great-grandfather who was a fisherman.


Young) When you were small, was there a profession you wanted to do that wasn’t fishing?


Umemoto) Since I had bad seasickness since I was a child, I really told my parents that I didn’t like the idea of being a fisherman. Since several of my friends were going to the fisheries high school, I thought that I would try to go there and take on a different job. But it wasn’t like there was some other job that I wanted to do. I was thinking I would do a different job.


Young) Are your children fishermen now?


Umemoto) My children are fishermen, and my grandchildren are becoming fishermen. My son went to the fisheries high school that I was thinking of going to and became a fisherman. That grandchild went to a national oceanic technical school (national technical school) in Karatsu and is becoming a fisherman. Therefore, from my grandfather to my grandchild, we are generations of fishermen. In my father’s day they didn’t use nets like we use today, they mostly used a fishing rod, and it was enough that they could make a living.

In the old days when you talked about a net, someone from a family with a certain social standing, the head of a group of fishermen, got together all the tools, hired fishermen, and fished. So, other than that person, people made a living with a fishing rod. And sometimes if they were hired they would go to this head person’s group and work. It was that kind of lifestyle. I have also been working since I left junior high school in Showa 29 (1954), and I have also worked at this kind of fishermen’s group.

But, since I had bad sea-sickness I thought once that I would quit, and I left, but I was stopped by my parents and I went back. From then I thought that no matter what, instead of being employed, I would do it myself. I thought that if I was going to do fishing in the long run, instead of being employed, since I had a certain amount of experience, I would do it myself, and then I bought a boat. From the beginning I couldn’t buy a big boat, and so I bought a medium-sized boat. And then after that I got a big boat. Since then, I have bought boats to replace the ones I already had, according to necessity. And there are also trends, same as cars.

Since in the middle of all of this my son said he would become a fisherman, we are fishing together. Since my grandson is becoming a fishermen, we are fishing together, the three of us. Since I will also be 75 years-old, I’m thinking about retiring sooner or later and leaving everything up to my son. (laughs) 

Fathers and sons, Three generations go out to sea. 
The “family business” continues until now and from here on out.


Young) If you lived in the city center I think it is difficult for three generations to do the same profession, but here three generations can do this work. How do you feel about that now?


Umemoto) Now, fishing is becoming more severe, and until now we could make a living somehow because we could catch a lot of fish. But, my son and my grandson both want to do this work because they like it, so we are doing it together. And now we are fishing as three generations, fathers and sons. If the person likes it, there is no need to take on a different job.


Young) Now, it seems like it has become difficult to feed one’s family by being a fisherman...


Umemoto) Now, various fishing cooperatives are consolidating. In the past we did fishing unions by ourselves but this consolidation is a restriction from the country. There are these sorts of things in order to do things like make new fishing harbors. Because, after all, if the country doesn’t construct the fishing harbor for us, we cannot get it done as individuals. First, 2 to 3 fishing cooperatives in the neighborhood consolidated. Because by doing so, successors are set up and the work becomes easier. In running a fishing union by oneself, various things stop functioning well, and we are afraid that afterwards we won’t be able to receive assistance from the country, and so inevitably there has to be consolidation. When it becomes a big association, there are merits and demerits.


Young) Because of that, was your income also reduced?


Umemoto) It was. Of course now tourism has become prosperous, and because for one period of time consumers moved away from fish, sales have become bad a little bit, and prices have collapsed. In the name of revitalizing the village, they are making many places that sell directly. And the shelves of fish dealers’ stores are rapidly being scraped off. There is also that state of affairs of that region, and the circulation is getting worse than before. We are catching to a substantive degree, but the prices have become cheaper. It’s not just fishing, but I think this is also in agriculture. The increase of consumer’s choices is good, but it’s not how it used to be.


Young) What kind of reason was behind the consolidation of the unions?


Umemoto) The biggest reason was that there were no successors. More people took on other jobs, and the number of young people left lessened. I think farmers also experienced this. A small fishing harbor couldn’t solve the problem of successors, or of equipment, and the chance of solving these was greater, to some extent, with consolidation. Also, by doing so, we could also get assistance from the country.


Young) After the consolidation, did things get better?


Umemoto) It’s barely been 4 years since consolidation, but from what I can see few things have gotten better. There have been more inconveniences.


Young) There is also a good part from consolidation for places that don’t have a successor.


Umemoto) I think that is so. I think there are a lot of small places for which consolidation was good.


Young) Aren’t there a lot of dangerous things when you work in the ocean?


Umemoto) Now there are various machines, but it’s dangerous if you overdo it and try to operate them in stormy weather. Because it is a limited space. There was also a time when there were a lot of accidents. There aren’t that many accidents now. Now the entering of large-scale ships from China is troubling. Since there are situations where we are finishing in the same place on the sea route, sometimes those kinds of passenger boats disturb fishing. Also, because fish and vegetables come into the marketplace from Korea and China.



Mountains have the virtues of the mountain. 
But, no matter what, I like the ocean with its unobstructed view.


Young) Now is there a difference in your feelings when you see land and when you see water?


Umemoto) There is a difference. Even when I go on a trip, I think that I want to go someplace where I can see the ocean rather than the mountains. (laughs) Because being able to see the ocean is more beautiful. The mountains have the virtues of the mountains, probably, but after all when I can see the ocean I feel like I am on top of the world.


Young) Now you are living here, but have you ever thought that you want to try living in another land near the ocean?


Umemoto) Since I think that this place is the most suitable for fishing, I don’t think about working in other places. Because this place is blessed by nature. I can’t work without this kind of environment. No matter how close I am to the ocean, it is impossible if there is an industrial area. Because here there is almost no pollution in the ocean. It’s a beautiful sea.


Young) What do you wish for the futures of people who are working here?


Umemoto) We became fisherman soon after graduating from junior high school, but now because there are a lot of people who also properly go through high school, study, and become fishermen, I want them to be able to fish well. We have been doing our jobs with only experience, but because those people also study and get experience, I want them to go on and do something more than this.


Date: Fri, July 27, 2012
Place: An apartment complex in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka City
2nd generation Resident South Koreans (7 people) 2nd generation resident South Koreans gathered in one room.

At first everyone was nervous but, the atmosphere soon softened with YoungDoo’s calm speaking style and everyone’s cheerfulness, and everyone told about the history of Fukuoka’s resident South Koreans and their own upbringing, among other topics. In this fun setting, it was like there never was any tension, and later everyone joined YoungDoo and started dancing.

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People who lead their lives as Zainichi Koreans.
With what thoughts and feelings have they lived, and what kind of life has it been.

Youngdoo) I’m from Jeollanam-do Yeongam-gun. I started theatre in high school. I wanted to study more and moved to Seoul after graduation. I joined a theater and started doing theatre, and during this time I became interested in dance and ended up doing dance. As for Japan, I started having exchanges since 2004. Since I received an offer at the end of last year to make a piece relating to Fukuoka, I am really happy to participate in this project with the attitude of studying the town of Fukuoka, which I do not know at all. Actually, when I came to Fukuoka I didn’t know anything besides tourist sites, and since I don’t know about the region, I thought to study what I don’t know by meeting with different kinds of people before making the piece in Fukuoka, and through the introduction of a cultural foundation I have come to meet with Zainichi Koreans living in Japan. I am glad to be able to meet with you today through this kind of opportunity. Did the foundation of everyone’s lifestyle begin with Fukuoka?


A) I am from Yamaguchi prefecture. From Shimonoseki. Many of our fellow Zainichi live in Fukuoka. In terms of the whole country, Fukuoka is a region with many fellow Zainichi. 

B) For me, 50 years have passed since I moved from Kitakyushu and started living in Fukuoka city.

C) I am the only one here who was born and raised in Fukuoka.

D) I was born in Kobe and came to Fukuoka when I was married. My daughter lives in Kyoto.


Young) Was everyone born in Japan? Did anyone come from Korea?


Everyone) We were born in Japan.


D) Along time ago before the war, my father came to Japan around 1920 to save up money, and my mother came shortly after him. My siblings and I were born then. I was born in a coal-mining town in Iizuka, and I am 86- years- old. Because of that, I am second generation. Among other Zainichi, I have been told it is strange for me to be second generation at my age, but it is because I came before there was a forced migration for labor. So, most people my age are first generation, but I am second generation.


E) My parents were born over there, and I was born in Japan. Since the war ended when I was 6-years-old we came to Fukuoka to go back to Korea but the boat (a fishing boat) couldn’t go out because of a storm, and we have been in Japan ever since.


B) After the end of the war we tried to go back to Korea, and people from places around Yamaguchi and Kyushu gathered in Fukuoka. At first fishing boats were going back and forth but, the storms became awful, fearful, and we weren’t able to go back and so began living in Fukuoka- this is like most people in Fukuoka.


Young) A lot of time has passed, but don’t you think that you want to go back to your native place?


D) I’ve never been, not once. But, I don’t think that I want to go. I still have relatives over there, but everyone has gotten older so, if there is not some correspondence, I don’t think that I want to go that far to meet them. If I wanted to go, I could go soon, but I don’t feel a necessity to go.


Young) Do you all get together often?


Everyone) We get together about 2 times a month.


Young) You know each other very well.


F) No matter how busy we are, we get together 2 times a month.


B) When I was a child, I went to Korea a lot. I sometimes followed my mother to her hometown. The last time I went to Korea was when I was in the 6th grade of elementary school, and it was the last time my two siblings and I went to our relative’s house in Korea. A Korean school was established and I commuted to that school until the fourth grade, but I was not able to go there anymore because of the Japanese police. In those days, Korean schools in Japan were shut down.


F) We were born in Japan but, since our parents kept speaking Korea, Korean was the language of our lives.



Everyone gathers twice a month, without fail. 
Lately, they enjoy watching Korean dramas.


Young) Everyone has been living in Fukuoka for over 50 years but, please let me hear about any inconveniences or good things you have experienced here.


B) In other regions it is hard when typhoon season comes, but Fukuoka is an easy place to live because it doesn’t suffer that much damage from typhoons. Lately we all get together and enjoy watching Korean dramas.


D) My parents’ hometown is near Busan, so they couldn’t speak the standard language and could only speak Busan’s dialect, and so I was raised listening to that dialect and can’t understand when I watch Korean dramas because they are speaking in the standard language. Lately, when I hear the words that young people are speaking, I completely do not understand what they are saying.


Young) After the war, since Korea was North and South, I think that you had to decide your own nationality but, did you choose either one?


Everyone) Our nationality is North Korean.



Especially now nationalities are divided into North and South, but it has nothing to do with us. 
This is because there is no need for hostility.


Young) Everyone gathered in Fukuoka with the intention of returning, but were there people at the time who didn’t want to return to Korea?


D) After the end of the war, if we were in Japan we didn’t know when we would’ve been killed and so everyone was scared and wanted to return to Korea, but my grandfather and grandmother, everyone returned to Korea after the end of the war, but since just my father has children, even if he returned to Korea he would have had to make a living, and so he had to make those preparations (He had to make the foundation of their lifestyle from nothing). He thought to make those preparations and then return to Korea, so he stayed in Japan in order to save money.

Eventually he got older, his children got bigger, and it became unnecessary to return to Korea. And so, we didn’t return to Korea and my father said he wanted his grave to be in his hometown (Korea) upon his death as his last request, and so my mother took his bones to Korea. There she was making preparations for his grave, but while my mother and others were going back and forth, packages and money were being sent. So, the person who was preparing the grave for her wanted this money and was arguing with other members of the family, and when my mother become unable to go there, he stopped maintaining the gravesite. There was a lot of trouble with those family members but in the end it was about money.


B) It is not necessary to change one’s nationality to visit Korea once or twice. My children are all of Korean nationality. There is no need to change their nationality to go to Korea. Everyone gets together up to 2 times a month, but everyone is not of the same nationality, and we don’t really care about that. We do things together like sing songs, exercise, and have parties at the end and beginning of the year. Now the countries are divided into north and south, but since we were of Korean nationality before this division, now there is no hostility even if the country is divided into two.


Young) What kind of lifestyles are all of your children leading?


D) My oldest grandchild is married, my second oldest is a high school English teacher. One is a dancer in a musical revue led by Zainichi in Tokyo. The younger one is a teacher in a Korean school. The younger son is also a teacher in a Korean school.


C) My father came to work as a peasant in a farming village in Kurume to save money before the war. From there, when he was making a steady living he called my mother over and she started living here. I was born at that time.


Young) During a poor childhood, did you have instructions from your parents to remember or protect something?


D) That was a time when eating was the highest priority, so there wasn’t that sort of thing. My parents soon sent the money they saved in Japan to Korea, and there wasn’t any money in our household. That was when people were buying fields or mountains. And so, they sent a lot of money to Korea but eventually they weren’t able to go back after the war, and the money that they had sent became useless. They ended up not seeing each other.

Especially because of being in Japan, Korean customs were taught strictly.


Young) For you and your children, did you think it was obvious to marry people of the same country?


D) In our era, romantic love itself didn’t exist. It was a time in which it was usual to marry the partner whom our parents had chosen, even if we have not met them.


C) It was also a time when they wanted to marry off their daughters quickly to lessen the number of mouths to feed.


B) 84-years-old. My birth, upbringing, and schooling are all in Japan. I learned Korean at night school after I passed 30. There I learned the words and the alphabet. I could listen to Korean since my parents were speaking it, but since I couldn’t speak it, I learned it here. Everybody acquired the Korean language in this way.


D) In that era, even though we could speak Japanese there was a household rule that you cannot speak Japanese at home. (They spoke Korean in the home) This rule was strictly enforced at the home in which I was married. When I was married I only had two changes of clothes, and we had to eat together. Especially because we are in Japan, Korean customs from long ago were taught strictly. Since my husband didn’t know this situation, he said things to me like “why not eat together?” Since Korea and Japan were both in that kind of era.

As for Korean schools in Japan, North Korea gave assistance to the schools in the 1970’s, but Koreans in Japan also did things like invest their own assets, because they had to provide funds for the school, and since they couldn’t build the school in the city center, they cleared land in the countryside and even did the work themselves. There were also people who were successful in business and invested their money there,


B) Because the Korean school in Iizuka was in a coal-mining town, there were a lot of Koreans. The coal mining culture disappeared, students decreased, and because education in Korean schools is not compulsory, and even though the second and third generations do not know about Korea, it was even difficult for them to learn about their country. Since there was no money to send children to Korean schools, students decreased, and 3 years ago Iizuka’s Korean school was gone.

The basis of their lifestyle is Japan, but marriage is a different story. The biggest reason is because they are used to their lifestyle with fellow Zainichi.


Young) Did your children marry Japanese people? Or did they marry Zainichi Koreans?


Everyone) They married Zainichi Koreans.


Young) Were they told to do so?


D) I think that since they are too used to their lifestyle with fellow Zainichi Koreans, isn’t it hard to deal with living with a Japanese person? They are too used to an environment that is not Japanese and not Korean, it is neither, and so if it is not a fellow Zainichi, then there is a difference of feeling.


A) That’s how it used to be, and recently it is completely romantic love.


Young) Among your children, is there anyone who was married to a Japanese person?


A) My two sons both married Japanese people. It’s because my two children both work in Japan and so they only socialize with Japanese people. That’s a natural thing.


C) Even if the person is Zainichi, since there are people who went to Korean schools and they are also people who went to Japanese schools, it’s natural that this divides them.  There are also people who have an international marriage, but they have difficulties with the law. That is, the born child will be Japanese. Japan made the law in this way in order to get rid of Zainichi.
(*Currently, when the birth registration is sent to the Korean side, the individual can acquire a double citizenship with Japan)


D) I socialize more with friends who live near me than with family. I also socialize with Japanese people a lot. There is an image that Japanese people are bad but that is completely not the case when you actually get to know them. That’s all talk from the media or the government, so it is not on the civilian level. I value interacting with and greeting fellow citizens.



Rather than far away family members, another person nearby.
There is no difference related to the town where they live; Only their nationality is different.


Young) Is there a difference between all of your lifestyles and Japanese people’s lifestyles?


D) I don’t know about other Japanese people, but at least in the town where I live there is no change at all. It’s just that only nationalities are different. That’s what I believe.


G) In my case I belong to two associations for the elderly, and I go to a Japanese elderly association and a Zainichi elderly association.


D) It’s necessary to make it so that we have an equal standing, say if I take one thing, I give one back, reciprocally.


Young) Where is the real difference between Zainichi and Japanese people? Isn’t there a difference between the real intentions and their public stance?


D) I don’t know a person’s real intention, that is inside of them, but I don’t have that kind of discriminatory consciousness. A long time ago various kind of people, Japanese, Korean, lived in the same place, like a tenement, and they lived while helping each other, but now people living together in the same apartment have lost that kind of exchange. I think it was good before, as people had a lot of exchange among themselves.


Young) In order to know about Fukuoka, this has been a chance for me to know the real thing. Since it is inexcusable for me to listen to all of your stories about the past and leave, I would like to do a traditional Korean dance while playing Korean music. I will dance a folk song to a piece of music called the song of youth.

Text: tsutui Aya

Date: Wed, May 9, 2012
Place: Hakozaki Shrine, Hakozaki Fishing Harbor, Asian Highway Ceremony, Genkai Island

On this day we first visited Hakozaki Shrine and the nearby Hakozaki Fishing Harbor.  Hakozaki Shrine, with its beautiful shrine path that stretches all the way from Hakata bay to its inner sanctuary.  The shrine`s god is believed to be the god of protection abroad and sea travels, and the beach at the end of the shrine path is also the location of the “Oshio Idori,” a  ritual of Hakata’s well-known Yamakasa.
Next, we went to the bay.  I am sure you know of the Asian Highway Route 1, which stretches from Tokyo/Nihonbashi to Turkey.  Since it is said that the path from Fukuoka to Busan is regarded as the only sea-route along that highway, a ceremony was being held.  Surely, when we looked, there was a sign put up on the Fukuoka City Expressway for “AH” (abbreviation for Asian Highway).  There is a romantic feeling when I think about how this road crosses the ocean and continues until Turkey.
Then, with YoungDoo’s request to ride a boat from the harbor, we boarded a municipal ferry and went to Genkai island.  It is about 30 minutes from Hakata port.  This island had a lot of damage from the earthquake that occurred here in 2005, but now the houses were new and being maintained.    
 Usually one can walk around the whole island in one hour, but since we walked slowly while taking in the sights, it took 2 hours.  Pet bottles and aluminum cans with Korean written on them had drifted onto the shore.

Date: Tues, May 8, 2012

Place: Hakata Port/ Fukuoka City Museum

As the first step in this project, YoungDoo said that he wanted to see the port. The port, the place where people come from someplace and try to go to someplace. YoungDoo’s first inspiration was asking what meaning this port of the ocean has to the people of Fukuoka/ Japan. At Hakata Port boats of all sizes were coming and going, one after another. Actually, Hakata port is Japan`s biggest international terminal for foreign passengers. It is said that in one year approximately 870 thousand people board and alight here. Incidentally, 80% of those people are on the route for South Korea. It is 3 hours from here to Busan by high-speed boat. In the port`s container yard, the containers were stacked together or lowered successfully like a puzzle. YoungDoo observed the appearance of this with great interest. Also, on this day we visited the Fukuoka City Museum where the curator gave us a commentary on the exchange between Japan and Korea since ancient times.

Workshop for High School Students
March 4th (Mon), 2013 @ Fukuoka Kourinkan High School
Subject: Fukuoka Kourinkan High School
Participants: 10
On the occasion of Jung Youngdoo’s residence in Fukuoka,taking his time between schedules,we asked him to lead a workshop at Fukuoka Kourinkan High School. The workshop incorporated many factors that are important for actors, including   "How can one scoop out their partner's feelings without putting out words?"  "Can one trust his or her partner with his or her body?"  "What does it mean to observe things?"

<From Participants' Surveys>
- I am glad that I joined the theatre club.  Thanks to this, I was able to have great encounters and experiences.
- It was fun, and these new ideas will be points of reference for me later.
- I wanted to make interact with everybody more, and I want to participate if there is this kind of workshop again 
- Everyone's personality was shining
- At first I wasn't able to move freely, but at the end I could move with ease
- I felt that it is important to feel the things around me with my 5 senses on a regular basis



“Body and Movement Workshop”

Time: 6pm- 8pm, Fri, July 27, 2012
Venue: Pon Plaza Hall
Subject: Foreigners residing in Fukuoka, or Japanese people with interest in this project
Participants: 22 people

The participants were from six countries, including Japan.  In this workshop where three languages, Korean, Japanese, and English, were flying back and forth, everyone seemed a little nervous at first, but when they started moving their bodies, they threw off reserve, smiled and spoke.


< Participants’ Feedback>
It was incredibly interesting to dance, let out breath, and speak out.  When doing this with people from various countries, there are various ways of using the body, which was interesting./
Just because everyone came from different countries, it was unique and fun./
Since I have no experience dancing, I was lost at first but, I could feel good doing this.  Dance has no national boundaries./
As it was my first time having international exchange and moving my body, I was nervous at first but, it was really fun./
My body feels free and enjoyed.

Time: 7-9:30pm, Sat, September 22, 2012
Venue: Fukuoka City Foundation for Arts and Cultural Promotion/Conference room
Subject: Male Actors over 30-years-old
Participants: 8 people

We carried out an audition to select a performer for a one-man show to be performed in March.  Actors based out of Fukuoka came together.  After starting with stretching and theatre games done in pairs, everyone showed their prepared monologue in a variety of situations.  It was a calm time, in which YoungDoo said “I brought all of you a souvenir!” and everyone munched on Korean sweets.

December 8 (Sat), 2012

Venue: Fukuoka City Foundation for Arts and Cultural Promotion Meeting Room

Candidates: Dancers who are Fukuoka city residents or have a connection with Fukuoka city

Participants: 14 people

The audition was held to select performers for a dance piece. On this day, Youngdoo was coming on a one-day trip from Seoul! However, his incoming plane was drastically late, and he was essentially in Fukuoka for about 4 hours. Regardless of the sudden time change, all of the applicants participated, and the audition overflowed with their enthusiasm.


When the audition began, Youngdoo gave choreography to the dancers one by one. As the audition went ahead with Youngdoo’s calm tone of voice and rhythm, the dancing became intense all of a sudden, and everyone was covered in sweat. On top of this the beat was changed, improvisation was added, solos were danced… even though it was a short period of time, the audition was very dense.

<YoungDoo’s comments after the audition> 
The time I had with everyone was fun and meaningful.  Also, I was greatly impressed by everyone who did his very best.  Therefore, choosing one person out of everyone was very difficult.  I thought that even outside of this project, I would like to meet with everyone again someday and work together.