Learning The Japanese Culture In Malaysia

Last update: 17/12/2014

By Intan Farhana Kamal Effendy

JOHOR BAHARU (Bernama) -- Being an expatriate has its own challenges but for Hideaki Fujita, 65, moving to Malaysia, proved to be a fascinating experience.

After being in the country for the last eight months, the headmaster of the Japanese School Johor (JSJ) in Johor Baharu is amazed with the host nation and its people.

He had served as the headmaster of a Japanese school in Thailand and Switzerland previously, but he sees his stint in Malaysia as something different.

Fujita believes the good vibes between Malaysians and the Japanese originate from the Look East Policy advocated by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the 1980s.


Fujita, who hails from the Saitama Prefecture of the island of Honshu, loves the typical Malaysian hospitality.

He finds that Malaysians like the Japanese are friendly and welcoming towards foreigners despite the differences in cultural and religious background.

The Look East Policy especially has helped Malaysians to understand the Japanese better and vice-versa.

As such, he strongly believes the policy should be continued especially in introducing the respective cultures.

"I hope that the Look East Policy will continue for a long time so that the younger generation will enjoy the benefits of the policy like seen for more than three decades," he said in an interview with Bernama recently.

Fujita too is contributing in the spirit of the Look East Policy by rolling out student exchange programmes to foster better friendship and understanding, something compulsory in his school.


In learning to appreciate better one another, on Nov 4, a total of 58 students and teachers from JSJ and Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Seri Alam Satu (SKBSA) here took part in a cultural programme that has been on-going since 1997.

Among the activities held to highlight the unique culture of the Land of the Rising Sun include several traditional games - Kendama Koma, Sumo One Legged, Sumo Push, Sumo Paper, and Origami.

Apart from that, students attending the programme also learnt to communicate in the Japanese language, don the traditional kimono and savour the Japanese delicacies.

"As a headmaster, I m responsible to ensure that the students here are aware of the Japanese culture. Therefore, we provide various activities so that the younger generation are exposed to the Japanese cutsoms and culture," said Fujita.


Fujita, the father of three and grandfather to another three is happy to note that Malaysians are learning more about the Japanese and the traditions through Japanese drama and music that has won the hearts of many Malaysians.

Though the new technology has created a major impact to the society, the old culture and ways should not be forgotten and could still serve as a guide for the present generation.

As for Mohd Harris Iso, 12, of Japanese-Malay parentage, he was ever ready to help other students familiarise with the Japanese customs and ways tough he was not fluent in the language.

"At home we communicate in Malay and English, so there is no problem for me to mix with the others and this is an interesting experience," he said adding that it is worth knowing another culture.

"Maybe, there are many interesting things that youths like me could learn apart from the Japanese culture and share together," added Mohd Harris.