On May 13, it was my great honor to receive the letters of credence from the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda. It is the last step of becoming an ambassador in Lithuanian side. My mission starts from May 23, and new procedures in Japan awaiting. https://www.lrp.lt/en/media-center/news/the-president-presented-letters-of-credence-to-the-lithuanian-ambassador-to-japan/38350
My Homeland called me on a mission. When I got a call from the State Department last September, I realized that life could still surprise me. The procedure was long and took seven months, and it was even more difficult that I could not share this news with those around me at that time. Just…
After three years of intensive work, we finally can enjoy the result of the project. I am really glad that together with my colleague Linas Didvalis we just have launched a new internet website ritoja.lt, which narrates the respectful and warm collaboration of two geographically distant nations, Lithuania and Japan. We have created it commemorating…
I am really glad that finally long term preparations will have an outcome as Japan Days in Kaunas WA. I admire all the team who have been working with this project, and invite everybody to join the events. The most anticipated events of the festival include: a joint project of dance theater “Aura” and the…
Today, our Kaunas team joined the concert of the LithuaniaNOW festival taking place in Gifu City. Although we participated here online, but at heart we were together with our friends in Japan. Gifu came into my life in 2016, when we started a project to strengthen ties between Lithuania and this prefecture of Japan. It…
Meeting an old friend Seo Jinseok, who is participating in the International Translators’ Seminar in Kaunas now. It was so nice to hear he is recently so active in developing Lithuanian studies in Korea, and continuing translations from Lithuanian to Korean.
On February 05, 2020, cozy ceremony took place, during which it was an honor to receive the Order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan for merits in the development of Japanese studies in Lithuania. I thank to all my friends who have come this long way together, and to the Ambassador of Japan…
My first travelogue book "Colors and Flavours of Japan" is a more personal diary about Japan. Based on my personal experience full of nostalgia and humor, I tell about my life in two different cities in Japan: Tokyo and Kanazawa.
The book was released in 2014 and later reissued in 2015 and 2017. Last time - with additions.
The book presents the wonderful, diverse and rich cultural heritage of Japan, its people, and way of life. Between the chapters, I insert lyrical textual miniatures inspired by aspects of Japanese culture. There is also a lot of food and description of Japanese dishes, related to the stories in the book.
My second travel book, published in 2018, “Red and Green Taiwan” is the first ever book on Taiwan written in Lithuanian language.
Taiwan is the second Asian country I personally felt in love. I loved the calm and at the same time sensitive people, the landscapes, the way of life, the hustle and bustle of the cities and the complex history and identity. In the book, I share stories that were born during my trips to Taiwan and invite the reader to a fun trip around the country’s major cities, historical sites, Aboriginal villages. Between the chapters of the book, I insert my lyrical miniatures, which lead the reader to the texts of the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi.
Taiwan is a beautiful country, washed by the seas, full of beaches, carved mountain ranges, jungles and national parks. The country is littered with centuries-old temples, museums and lakes of spectacular beauty. In the book the reader finds practical advices for travelers to Taiwan, information about the protected historical monuments, festivals, food culture and the most important sights.
During the Second World War, thousands of Jewish refugees could escape the Holocaust in Europe through Japan. The visas issued by Chiune Sugihara, Japanese vice-consul in Kaunas (Lithuania), are known as Visas for Life.
The documentary tells the authentic story through the eyes of survivors, inviting you to join a tremendous journey, which starts in Poland, crosses different continents and ends in Israel, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and other new homelands.
It is not just a story about Sugihara. This is a story about the numerous named and unnamed heroes, who made this path possible by forming a chain of courage and goodwill.
By following the stories of survivors, the documentary shows that every single link in this long chain of courage was essential.
Language of the movie: English with English subtitles.
The movie was created by Aurelijus Zykas, Kristijonas Jakubsonas, and Linas Didvalis with generous support by Toshiba International Foundation.
Currently, our team is developing the website Ritoja.lt, which will be launched in Spring, 2022. It is designed to introduce the history and present situation of Japan-Lithuania relations.
In twenty different topics, we cover such topics, as the beginnings of relations between the two countries, interesting events in history, as well as current relations in politics, culture, education, sports, and, of course, economics. All topics are richly illustrated, with examples, photos, graphs, and authentic documents.
My acquaintance with Japan began thanks to a dictionary, and for a long time I cherished the dream that someday a comprehensive Lithuanian-Japanese dictionary would appear. Before it was launched, I created the database for 12 years, and since then new words are constantly added. I am grateful to many people who contributed to the implementation, including Ambassador A. Kudzys, Y. Kamijo, and others.
This dictionary was launched in February 25, 2016 as an open access website. It consists of more than 80,000 entries, or about 3.5 million characters. It is supplemented by about 500 illustrations and more than 100 thematic tables that cover the fields of culture, economics, politics, law, nature, and other sciences.
I believe that the dictionary can be useful both for Japanese learners of Lithuanian and for Lithuanians who use Japanese. Thanks to the technical solutions of my colleague L. Didvalis, this website works as a Lithuanian-Japanese, Japanese-Lithuanian or Kanji dictionary.
The documentary was released on April 26, 2018, in Kaunas cinema “Romuva”.
The stories of Lithuania-Japan bilateral relations are revealed through four personalities who prior the World War II became bridges between the two countries. It is Yukichi Fukuzawa – the first Japanese who mentioned and wrote about Kaunas in his diary. In 1862 together with the mission of 36 Japanese he traveled through Lithuania by train and went for a short stroll in Kaunas. The author of first Lithuanian books about Japan – Steponas Kairys. In 1905 he was amazed by a small distant country which managed to defeat ten times bigger Russia and inspired Lithuanians to seek independence. Even after visiting Japan for a few times, journalist and traveler Matas Šalčius decided to reach this country from Kaunas once again… on a bike. And finally, diplomat Chiune Sugihara united both countries in 1940 with his heroic act.
Creation of the documentary, supported by the Toshiba International Foundation (TIFO) started in the summer of 2017. Its main participants were Aurelijus Zykas, Linas Didvalis and Kristijonas Jakubsonas. 20 scholars and politicians have participated in the shooting of the documentary both in Lithuania and Japan. Through 2017 November – December the shooting has been taking place in various places in Japan. During this time the team visited 10 cities in Japan, where they met with scholars and public figures, filmed related places, objects and documents.
The 15-minute length documentary was released in 2021. At the request of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it briefly presents the history of Chiune Sugihara and his "Visas for Life" in a simple and understandable language. This Japanese diplomat resided in Kaunas (Lithuania) in 1939-40. By issuing transit visas to Japan, he rescued thousands of Jewish refugees who tried to escape war-torn Europe.
The film is designed to introduce the story of Sugihara to people, who already are aware of the story, and to those who know nothing about it. The documentary is full of authentic material - photos of that era, video images, memories of the survivors. This story connects many countries and spans through different times.
The main language of the film is English, there are subtitled versions in English, Lithuanian, Japanese, Hebrew and French.
Nowadays image communication practices create numerous dilemmas therefore it has both proponents and opponents. Lithuania is not an exception. On the one hand, an outrage exists in the media over the fact that Lithuania is presented as the motherland of Hannibal Lecter. On the other hand, there is a question, weather tax payers’ money are being used correctly and effectively by investing them into such intangible and rationally hardly explainable activities as cultural diplomacy or brand of the nation.
Country’s image is an almost magic cloud of associations and symbols that lingers in the heads of intangible mass of foreigners. Is it safe to state that it is capable to determine such rationally calculated matters as state’s economy, tourism flows or the number of lives lost in wars?
The main country, the author is interested in, and of which the most examples are provided in the book, is Japan. It is so not because he personally is involved in it and conducts his major research. According the author, Japan’s experiences in this field could help Lithuania to find the answers to certain questions while solving dilemmas or choosing tools.
The first my edited volume was published in 2012. The volume presents a collection of articles and materials from international symposium "Japanology within Asian Studies in Lithuania: Historical Perspective and Present Situation" held on 3-4th of November in 2011. The articles of this volume present the development of East Asian (Japanese, Chinese and Korean) studies in Lithuania with a special emphasis paid to Japanese studies.
Supported by: Japan Foundation
Published by: Vytautas Magnus University
Edited by: Aurelijus Zykas
The Dissertation „Policy of Country’s Image: the Experience of Japan’s 21st Century Public Diplomacy“ defended in 2011, investigates the peculiarities and changes of Japan’s public diplomacy during late 1900’s and early 2000’s, and identifies the factors, which influenced or hindered its success.
The raised question was, how Japanese Government manages to achieve the success of its international image in early 2000’s and what are the main newly raising challenges in the post-Cold War world. Author constructs self-dependently the structural-process scheme of the policy of country’s image, including not only such constituents as the aims, the object, the subject, the means and activities of it, but also pays special attention to the factor of resources of country image, integrating them into the scheme through the mechanisms of encapsulation and immanent triangle.
Applying this scheme to the analysis of selected governmental documents and expert interviews, author researches the structure of Japan’s public diplomacy of 2001-2009, identifies its tendencies since 1970’s, and highlights its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
My second travel book on Japan, published in 2021, presents the cultural and natural heritage of this country.
Unlike the "Colors and Flavors of Japan", this book doesn’t have many personal stories. It is more of a travel guide inviting you to visit seven different regions of the country. I try to reveal the features of Japanese culture, history, art by leading readers through magical temples, gardens, castles, mountain villages, spectacular cities, stations and even bustling intersections. In separate sections, I introduce traditional crafts and local dishes, while some aspects of Japanese culture are revealed in a unique language by my cheerful companion - the blue knitted cat named Kicius.