A Japanese official has proposed that Indonesia become the center of a “renaissance movement” in the Asia-Pacific region due to the historical fact that the country was the focal point of Austronesian culture in the past.The consulate general of Japan in North Sumatra’s Medan, Yuji Hamada, said that based on archeological research, it had been proven that Indonesian culture had strongly influenced Austronesian cultures, adding that Austronesia included Chile, Madagascar, New Zealand and Taiwan. Their languages also tend to be similar with the Indonesian language. Take the example of the language used during the reign of Japan’s Ochinawa Kingdom, which was like Indonesian. “These [findings] show how Indonesian cultures are still going strong in other ethnic groups. According to the findings, I propose Indonesia to be the starting point of a renaissance movement in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Hamada.
Hamada was speaking in Medan on Thursday during an international seminar on the Cross Culture and History of Asia Pacific in Indonesia. The seminar was attended by 175 participants, ranging from consulate generals and scholars to students, and included visitors from countries such as France, India, Japan and Malaysia. Daud Aris Tanudirjo of the department of archaeology at the faculty of cultural sciences at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University, who was also a keynote speaker at the seminar, agreed with the proposal, saying that nearly half of the world’s heritage was influenced by Austronesian culture, which mostly emanated from Indonesian culture. “Several theories maintain that many of the world civilizations were inspired by Austronesian culture,” said Daud, adding that this was the reason why Austronesian languages were simple and easy to learn. Meanwhile, the secretary of the Forum for Asia Pacific Culture and Historical Studies, Erond Damanik, who was part of the seminar’s committee, said that all suggestions put forward during the event would be passed on to the government. (The Jakarta Post)