Building Cultural Bridges: How One Man Made a Difference

    It can be difficult to imagine how a single person is able to change the way two countries view each other. It’s mainly due to the fact that cultural differences often lead to misunderstandings – which then lead to poor ties. However, it’s crucial never to discount the passion and willingness to see things through, as the actions of even one individual can make the world a better place. Even more surprising is the fact that one man was able to help the relations between Japan and Russia, countries with very different ways of life.

    Dr Patokh Chodiev was born in the year 1953 in Uzbekistan. He attended the MGIMO, or the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he graduated with flying colours. His degrees were in International Law – and Japanese. Even when he was younger, Dr Chodiev was passionate about Japan, and fascinated by their culture. It is perhaps one of the most significant advantages of vast differences in culture; a fascination that could grow into something much more.

    As a founder

    Dr Chodiev has had many accomplishments over the years, as the founder of Eurasia Bank, and Eurasia Insurance, with the latter growing to be Kazakhstan’s leading overall insurer. While these are indeed monumental accomplishments on their own, he’s also best known for founding the International Chodiev Foundation, which is responsible for helping spread Russian and Japanese culture between the two countries. One exhibit, in particular, is known as the Kubota Collection, a unique series of kimonos that was created using Itchuku Tsujigahana, a dying process perfected by the late Itchuku Kubota.

    The reason why this is such an important exhibit is that the Kubota Collection is widely regarded all around the world, and millions of people have come to see these extravagant masterworks. The foundation sponsors this exhibit and is the reason it’s able to travel abroad and be praised by people all over the world.

    Using culture as the bridge

    Thanks to this exhibit as well as different festivals promoting Russian and Japanese culture, the influence of these two countries has spread, improving their ties with each other as well as their relations with the rest of the world. It’s incredible to think how these simple events can do so much to improve harmony and help foster mutual respect around the world; and how all of this was made possible thanks to the initial efforts of a single man.

    With J-fest occurring in Moscow and the Exchange Festival happening in Japan, both countries are learning more about each other’s cultures than they ever have, allowing their citizens to partake in culture and help them to appreciate what the other country has to offer.

    To conclude, sometimes it can feel like it’s impossible for a single individual to be able to make a difference, especially when it comes to helping countries see eye to eye. However, Dr Chodiev proves to be a remarkable example of someone able to help forge bonds through the sharing of culture.