Beyond the infrastructure and financial aid Japan has been providing the kingdom, many talented Khmer students have also benefited from the close friendship between the two historic nations. In fact, several students fly to Japan every year to complete their education through Japanese scholarships. But even when these students spend years in the East Asian country, they still carry with them their identity. As proof, the Cambodian students of an institution in Ōita Prefecture held the first ever Cambodian Week.
From December 3rd to 7th, young Cambodians in Ōita Prefecture, Japan celebrated the “Cambodian Week” to showcase the history, culture and literature of the Kingdom of Wonder.
For one week, the Cambodian flag was proudly raised in the city of Beppu as traditional Khmer food, dances, literature, costumes were introduced to the eyes of hundreds of students, faculty members and Beppu citizens. The event, organised by the Cambodian and foreign students of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), was the biggest event organised by Cambodian students in Japan.
Themed “The Identity of Cambodia: Angkor Wat”, Cambodian Week was aimed at promoting the ancient architectural structure as the country’s symbol. Several dance performances, decorations, games and activities gave every participant the chance to know Cambodia in a deeper and more intimate level.
The week-long celebration was complete with colourful parade, Apsara dancing, fashion show, Angkor Wat booth, authentic Cambodia food and clothes, and traditional romantic drama presentation.
“I still cannot believe we just organised the first-ever Cambodian Week at APU. Words cannot be expressed how thankful I am towards all the team leaders, core members, sponsors, participants, APU staff, and everyone involved in making this happen,” said Chhort Chhorravuth, Sub-Representative of Cambodian Week 2018.
“I hope that through this event, more people will get to know Cambodia. Also, I hope this would inspire other Cambodian students in other countries to challenge the impossible. We might be few in numbers, but this should not be the reason for not trying.”
And because there are only very few Cambodians studying at APU, the Cambodian Week was also made possible by students from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.
The student organisers also received guidance from Mr Nou Sophen, producer of Apsara TV, Mrs Sros Chhom, owner of restaurant in Siem Reap, and from the Nagoya and Kansai student organisations.
Khmer Times, Asian Vision Institutute, CJTT, JMT Trading Company, Ohanayasan and Atsuki Jonetsu Cooperation served as sponsors of the event.
APU, a private educational institution in Ōita Prefecture, fully supports multi-cultural events such as Cambodian Week, as proof of its openness to different cultures and races inside its very own premises. The school regularly holds Thai Week, Indonesian Week, Chinese Week, Taiwan Week, Sri Lanka Week and Nepal Week among others.
Students at APU are well-equipped with resources, skills and motivation to connect with students from other nations and regions, and build a community that values differences and upholds unity.