On September 1, 2017, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Myanmar and interviewed His Excellency Mr. Thurain Thant Zin, the Ambassador of Myanmar. His Excellency Mr. Zin explained that like Japan, Myanmar has had a high focus on literacy from a long time ago. Myanmar had educational institutions similar to Japan’s ‘teragoya’ system, established since the 11th century. H.E. Mr. Zin also explained to us that people from Myanmar value religious teachings, such as reincarnation. 89% of Myanmar citizens are Buddhist and holidays are related to religion. An example of a similarity between Japanese and Myanmar teachings is the respect for parents and love for grandparents.
"H.E. Mr. Zin told us about his impressions on Japan. He was amazed about how Japan keeps their traditions such as the custom of wearing Kimono and Yukata. The ambassador said that Myanmar also holds a custom of wearing traditional clothes called longyi.
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After World War 2, Myanmar’s relations with Japan got closer. H.E. Mr. Zin believes that peace can be found through forgiveness. For instance, despite the harsh things that Japan had done to Myanmar, Myanmar was able to forgive us and we were able to achieve friendship and peace. The Ambassador’s goal is to make the world peaceful to the limits of his power and to treasure his religion."
"H.E. Mr. Zin expressed message towards Japanese students to keep their culture, to travel around the world, and to learn and communicate with people with different backgrounds.
H.E. Mr. Zin kindly invited us to the Reception on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary on the Independence Day of Myanmar on January 25, 2018.
The reception was held at Ayeyawady Hall at the Myanmar Embassy in Shinagawa. Myanmar Embassy staffs were all wearing longyi. The guest of honors, the minister of Justice Ms. Yoko Kamikawa addressed congratulations. We enjoyed Burmese cuisine and traditional dances."
On January 5, 2015, the International School Network visited the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Tokyo, Japan to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Khin Maung Tin.
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is a country situated in South East Asia. The country has around 800 islands with a coastline of 1300 miles. About half of the area in Myanmar are forests, including plains, rivers, and mountains. The country therefore has a large supply of wood. Nature in Myanmar is well preserved, home to a diverse variation of animals including elephants, tigers, rhinoceroses, deer, and monkeys. Myanmar has a generally humid and hot climate, but snow may fall in the North. People who live in the villages near Inle Lake travel by watercraft on the floating gardens flooded with water. Rice is grown in fields in Kachin State are grown in beautiful steps.
There are around 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar, and spoken dialects differ by region. The educational system of Myanmar, originally based upon the temple education, adapted to fit the British system, and since their independence in 1948, the country has a national educational system. Cultural values of the people in Myanmar include respecting the elderly, as Buddhism is widely practiced. Myanmar is famous for ancient and religious sites and cities, such as Pagoda sacred temples (which there are a number of 4446 in total), the Rock of Mt. Popa, Mandalay Palace, and the bolder of Kyaikhtiyo. The U Bein Bridge is a 1.2 km long wooden bridge that stretches across Taung Thaman Lake. Martial arts of the country include bando, an unarmed martial art, and banshay, which is a weapon-based martial art.
Myanmar is a country full of festivities, with traditional festivals celebrated during every month of the year. In April, the people in Myanmar celebrate a water festival, where people pour water on each other to wash away sins of the previous year. Originally, scented water was sprinkled from a small bowl, but now many people use hoses and water pistols to splash water. The New Years in April is celebrated by caring for elders. People visit the elderly and wash their hair and cut their nails. People also take visits to traditional temples. In October, to mark the end of the rainy season, people in Myanmar celebrate a fire festival where they hold balloons and have impressive fireworks.
Myanmar and Japan have had a very friendly relationship, which increased to heighten after Japan supported Myanmar during their independence. The Ambassador stated that he was sure that the relationship between Myanmar and Japan will continue to be well.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina)
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kurumi Onishi 10th Saint Maur International School
Karen Nishina 5th Saint Maur International School
Haruka Shiga 5th Saint Maur International School