Former Japanese PM visits ECNU and discusses “fraternity”


17 September, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama visited ECNU where he and his delegation met with ECNU president and academician Qian Xuhong. In a speech titled Mission of China and Japan in New Era of Asia, Mr. Hatoyama spoke to students and teachers at ECNU about the political affairs in the modern era in relation to the Asian continent.  

Initially, Mr. Hatoyama accepted an invitation to visit ECNU from president Qian while attending the inauguration of the ECNU Alumni Association of Japan in January.

ECNU president Qian Xuhong meets with the Yukio Hatoyama-led Japanese delegation.

Mr. Hatoyama and his wife visit the Exhibition Hall of the History of ECNU. 

Prior to the lecture, chaired by ECNU vice president Zhou Aoying, Mr. Hatoyama and his wife were shown around the Exhibition Hall of the History of ECNU.  

Mr. Hatoyama delivers a speech titled "Mission of China and Japan in New Era of Asia".

At 3:30 pm the lecture hall was packed with students and faculty when Mr. Hatoyama walked onto the stage, saying hello in Japanese to the audience whom responded delightfully by saying hello back to him.  

I can feel your genuine hospitality,” he said. “It makes me very happy.” He also shared with the audience about his personal connection to Shanghai. My wife was born in Shanghai. The city means a lot to us. I'm so happy to give a lecture here.  

As former prime minister of Japan, it was made clear from the beginning of the lecture that the value of a country lies in its ability to bring happiness and joy to the world, and in order to elaborate on the dialectical relationships between economic growth and the intangible form of happiness. Mr. Hatoyama also stressed that economic growth wouldn’t necessarily make people happier due to ongoing problems with the global economy such as bilateral trade disputes, national economic barriers and a disparity between the rich and poor.  

In response to this, he shared with the audience a motto that had been in his family for generations: Fraternity.

My grandfather introduced the idea of fraternity into politics and admonished young people to respect, understand and support each other, he said.

A motto that has been in  Mr. Hatoyama's family for generations: Fraternity.

The audience.

In his point of view, fraternity is the bridge between freedom and equality, two important concepts deriving from the development of human society. Moreover, being fraternal is characterized by self-reliance and interdependence. He quoted from the ancient Chinese text “Doctrines of Universal Love” written by Chinese philosopher Mo Zi, which advocates for reconciliation in a state’s affairs, seeking harmony among the state and its citizens and not living in uniformity.  

Mr. Hatoyama expressed that an ideal solution is to build a regional community in a world that is today filled with backlashes from nationalization and globalization. Different from the whole world advocated by globalists or a country by nationalists, a regional community takes several neighboring countries as a whole, he said.  

During a meeting between president Qian and Mr. Hatoyama, China's Belt and Road Initiative and the idea of an East Asian community were discussed as a way to jointly promote the happiness of humanity, in which both aim to enhance regional communication and build a stable and peaceful world.  

On these ideas, Mr. Hatoyama said building the concentric circles in the spirit of love will help resist threats from historical disputes, wars, and the rapidly deteriorating environment of Earth’s planet.

Mr. Hatoyama comes up with the idea of building the concentric circles in the spirit of love.

The concept of “fraternity” can be traced back to the ideas of “benevolence and forgiveness that was originally written in the Confucian Analects. This concept applies not only to interpersonal and international relationships, but also the relationship between human beings and nature. We should be sober-minded about the fact that nature is our mother, whom we should love, said Mr. Hatoyama. He then outlined some proposals for mutual cooperation in Sino-Japanese affairs such as building super grids in Asia, sharing solar energy, developing hydrogen storage technology and disposing of marine plastic waste.

ECNU vice president Zhou Aoying presides over the lecture.

A student raises a question.

Mr. Hatoyama answers questions from students.

After the speech, Mr. Hatoyama answered questions from students of ECNU SAIAS, Japanese majors of the School of Foreign Languages, and journalists.  

He encouraged the youth of the two countries to enhance friendship and mutual trust, while he hoped that Chinese students could exert leadership in enhancing exchanges between civilizations in East Asia through Chinese history, language and culture, so as to contribute to the happiness of humanity and the peaceful development of the world.

Edited by Siyuan Zhang    Proofread by Joshua Mayfield    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


East China Normal University