Message from Professor Richard Toye

Message from Professor Richard Toye
Message from Professor Richard Toye

Message from Professor Richard Toye


Professor Richard Toye(リチャードトイ教授)よりメッセージをいただきました。

It was a very great pleasure to give a lecture at Konan University. It was very interesting to visit Kobe for the first time (this was my fourth visit to Japan but I had only visited Tokyo and Fukuoka before). I was highly impressed by the university’s modern building and state-of-the art facilities. I found it fascinating to discuss with Professor Boyles and Professor Palmer their experiences of working and living in Japan.

I admit it was quite a challenge for me to work out what information to include in my lecture. Of course, I already knew that Konan students would have considerable knowledge of the theme on which I was talking -multiculturalism- and that they would be able to understand English well. However, as I was writing my lecture I realised that there were many aspects of British culture and history that might be unfamiliar to a non-British audience and therefore would need explaining. After all, British students learning about Japan would need many things explaining to them, including some rather basic things about the how the political system works! So, I decided that I would try to explain as many as possible in as simple a way as possible, even if there was a risk of telling the students things they already knew. This presented me with some new problems, as I realised that I often talk in academic jargon that would be unfamiliar to many British people, let alone to Japanese students! An example is the word ‘discourse’ which in effect means simply ‘a way of talking about things’, but which is often used in academic language as though its meaning is obvious. So I learnt a useful lesson about the need to make things as clear as is possible, although I don’t know whether or not I actually succeeded!

I have been asked what advice I would give Japanese students. Specifically for those studying multiculturalism I would suggest reading Ali Rattansi’s book Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011). More generally, I would urge students, if possible, to spend some time studying abroad. I say this partly because I regret the fact that I never did so myself when I was young! But I also say it because, even if you intend to live in Japan permanently, it is a very good idea to get a good understanding of how another society works. In addition, the skills you learn (including language skills) will make it easier to get a job at the end of you studies. Finally, I wish you all good luck and happiness during your remaining time at university.

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