Table Speech

A Bridge to the World, Yoneyama Scholar
My Experience as a Yoneyama Scholar


October 6th,2004

Executive Director / General Manager of the Rotary Yoneyama Foundation
Mr.Yukio Miyazaki
Yoneyama Scholar
Ms.Qui-Mei Chen

Executive Director / General Manager of the Rotary Yoneyama Foundation
Mr.Yukio Miyazaki

It was the beginning of 1950 when food was still scarce and members gathered at the Imperial Hotel bringing their own lunches as only tea was being served, when the Yoneyama Foundation was organized by Chairman Josaku Furusawa..

The purpose was to help and assist youth who came to Japan to study from the Asian countries, and make them understand that Japan would not go to war again and was a country committed to peace.

Other Rotary Clubs were encouraged to join in this endeavor and in 1967 the current Yoneyama Memorial Scholarship Foundation was incorporated.

Up to June 2004, 12,206 overseas scholars in Japan had benefited from the Yoneyama Scholarship. Korean students were the largest percentage with 27%, with Taiwanese receiving 24.6% and Chinese 23.5% with Malaysians, Vietnamese and Indonesian students following. At first, the scholarship was given to needy students but this was changed to aiding students receiving high grades. It is our Rotarian’s desire to help overseas students who make efforts to understand a different culture, and flexible in their human relations and excel in their scholastic grades.

However, due to a reduction in donations in recent years, we have had to reduce the stipend given graduates from 120,000 yen monthly to 100,000, and for post graduates from 150,000 yen to 140,000. However, for students from Korea and Taiwan conducting further research here after receiving their degrees abroad, there has been no change for their stipend of 180,000 yen monthly.

For the year 2003, our income was 151,771,000 yen and expenditures 173,440,000 yen and the difference was paid by using the reserve funds we have building for the past 10 years.

A survey was made of 2,600 Yoneyama scholars inquiring as to the benefits they had received from the Yoneyama Foundation, and 92.7% replied that financial aid had been most important. Another 48.8% stated that they had been able to appreciate Japanese culture and its standard of values. Another 36.6% stated they had become acquainted with Rotarians and had received mental and spiritual aid from their counselors, with 34.3% stating that this contact had affected their lives. Other replied that became acquainted with Rotarians and their families, and had come to know their family life and make friends while others said that by speaking at Rotary Clubs they had been able to convey some of their own culture.

In other words, the Yoneyama Foundation is providing assistance to students which cannot be calculated in money terms.

As the largest scholastic foundation in Japan, we must understand the significance of our aid and reaffirm its purpose.

We must point our that by stressing the characteristics of the Yoneyama Foundation and working closely with schools and enterprises we must encourage the interchange of culture and personnel and cultivate persons who will be able to contribute to wards society by intellectual collaboration, and that in these difficult times explore for a new system in tune with changing times.

Yoneyama Scholar
Ms. Qui-Mei Chen /now studying for a Doctor’s degree at Tokyo University Post Graduate Medical School.

Having been fortunate enough to be accepted as a Yoneyama Scholar, I have been able to make monthly visits to the regular meeting of the Tokyo Rotary Club. As I was in the company of Japan’s business and professional leaders I was tense at the beginning, but was warmly received and I was able to converse freely.

I was able to listen to table speeches which covered a wide field from politics, the economy, kabuki and entertainment. As I had a strong interest in Japan’s society this made me understand much better. I learned of your service activities, such as the clearance of landmines and your assistance to persons in the developing nations.

It has been four years since I came to Japan to study, and I was deeply moved at how the Yoneyama Foundation was born as memorial to the founder of Rotary in Japan.

“Do unto others what you wish to have done to yourself” was the hope of Mr. Yoneyama, and the story of his life. I too, wish to return my debt to society in the same spirit.

As a Chinese studying in Japan, I wish to serve positively to enhance the friendship and understanding between our two nations.

I am happy that at the Athens Olympic Games, both my country and Japan did quite well. 4 years from now it will be held in Beijing, and I am hoping that it will be an opportunity for the peoples of the world to become better friends.
Finally, I would like to thank the many Rotarians who have supported me, my Counselor, Mr. Nobuhiko Tanabe and former Counselor, Mr. Motohiko Ueda.