Kazuki MIYAZAKI – Bai Xian Scholar, 2018 cohort; candidate for master’s degree in international relations and politics, Yenching Academy of Peking University (YCA). Kazuki’s passion for sustainable peacebuilding in Asia led him to the AFLSP, which has empowered him to take concrete steps towards effecting positive, long-term change in the region.

After learning about “negative peace” (the absence of violence) in a peace studies class, Kazuki developed an interest in building sustainable peace in Asia, something that requires both negative peace and positive peace (tackling and preventing the root causes of conflict).  It comes as no surprise then, that BXAI’s mission – to build bridges across cultures – greatly resonated with him at the time, compelling him to pursue a master’s degree in China studies in Beijing.  “China is a very important player in Asia, and thus, a critical component of sustainable peacebuilding for the continent,” says Kazuki.

During his first year at YCA, Kazuki not only immersed himself in Chinese culture and enjoyed opportunities to meet influential leaders from different fields, he also took the initiative to conduct extensive research on Sino-Japanese relations.  In examining the correlation between tourism and public opinion, he discovered that visiting another country generally helps people develop a more positive, balanced view of that country.  This seemed most clearly demonstrated amongst the Chinese: as the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan increased over recent years, the Chinese people’s perception of Japan also dramatically improved.  On the contrary, he found that the number of Japanese visiting China had remained stagnant, and that overall, Japanese people still held a relatively negative view of China.

Now in his second year of study, Kazuki is acting on his research findings by working to attract more Japanese tourists to China.  “I started ‘The Middle Kingdom Adventure,’ a project that aims to promote China as a travel destination for Japanese through online content featuring my trips to various Chinese provinces and UNESCO World Heritage sites,” he says.  “My hope is that more Japanese will discover China’s diversity and charm as I have.”  Though the project is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kazuki has turned challenge into opportunity by posting about his personal experiences in China to counteract the many insensitive and unkind comments surfacing online about the outbreak.  “During these difficult times, we should not judge others based on our own biases, but instead stand together and support one another.  As Bai Xian Scholars, we should think about how we can be our best and take actual action to create a better society,” says Kazuki.