In a bid to increase research and bridge Egypt-Japan relations, Cairo University will be starting an institute for Japan studies next month, which will cover research in both arts and sciences, The Mainichi reports.
It will also serve as an information centre for the Egyptian public to learn about the island nation, such as through proposed Japan-related public lectures.
The university said they have hired 10 Japanese researchers for the institute’s Faculty of Arts and co-operated with several Japanese universities to compile materials for the digital library, which will be accessible for research purposes.
This new development follows a growing interest among Egyptians in Japan, including the Japanese approach to education.The Egyptian government has even implemented common practices used in Japanese schools to instill discipline and cooperation, such as daily classroom duty rosters and requiring pupils to take responsibility of their classroom and corridors’ cleanliness.
“Many Egyptians admire Japan for its miraculous development after World War II, but they know very little about the actual state of affairs over there,” said Adel Amin Saleh, chair of the university’s Japanese Department.
“In addition to deepening understanding about Japan, we also hope to make (the institute) a bridge that can help bring back the fruits from the enhanced understanding back to the Egyptian society,” he said.
Egypt and Japan maintain a “strong friendship” with each other, with strong economic and trade relations.
Egypt-Japan modern relations began in 1922, when Japan recognised Egypt’s independence. Since then, both countries have maintained a friendly relationship.
Cairo is the only city in the Middle East and African region where Japan has an Information and Culture Center at the Embassy of Japan and Japan Foundation’s office.
Cairo University’s department of Japanese language and literature was established in 1974 in their Faculty of Arts, of which many Egyptian translators and Japanese-language tour guides graduated from. It also serves as a centre for Egyptians to learn Japanese language in Africa and the Middle East.