Tainan-Sendai Cultural Week Promotes Life Education and Cultural Heritage through VR Technology-國立成功大學永續發展SDGs

Tainan-Sendai Cultural Week Promotes Life Education and Cultural Heritage through VR Technology

SDG9

Tainan-Sendai Cultural Week Promotes Life Education and Cultural Heritage through VR Technology

Synergy Correlation

Professor Cheng-Ta Yang from the Department of Psychology at NCKU, along with two doctoral students, Kun-Tang Zhang and Shu-Hsuan Feng, embarked on a journey to Sendai, Japan, once again initiating Taiwan-Japan exchange after a hiatus of 3 years through VR-based life education and cultural experiences. The purpose of this visit was to exchange knowledge on disaster life education and cultural heritage. Professor Yang, in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts, aimed to provide a unique life education and cultural experience to the people of Tohoku, Japan, from a Taiwanese perspective, using VR technology.


Professor Yang's team prepared two VR games: "Where are you" and "Island Adventure." The former, based on shared natural disaster experiences between Taiwan and Japan, incorporated the similar pronunciation of Taiwanese and Japanese to raise awareness of disasters and introduce the Taiwanese dialect. The latter is a historical and cultural sea battle game where players assume the role of Zhi-long Zheng from the 16th-century maritime era, safeguarding their maritime trading interests. Through these games, players could understand Taiwan's historical background and cultural characteristics, fostering a deeper understanding of Taiwanese culture.


This activity traces back to the pre-pandemic period when Professor Yang, in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts, conducted an interdisciplinary course titled "Taiwan Summer Festival in Japan: Psychology × Technology × Cultural Innovation." Under the guidance of mentors, students from various departments jointly created VR games that combined technology, psychology, and humanities. At the end of the course, they traveled to Sendai to share their creations with international friends, promoting cultural, academic, and tourism activities between Taiwan and Japan, Tainan and Sendai, and NCKU and Tohoku University. However, physical exchanges were halted after 2019 due to the pandemic. Now, with the easing of the pandemic situation, Professor Yang and the Miyagi Prefecture Japan-Taiwan Friendship Association decided to resume exchanges, hoping to continue the emotional connection through technology for life education and cultural heritage.


The first day of the activity on February 15 began with a speech by Mr. Mitsuya Aizawa, President of the Miyagi Japan-Taiwan Friendship Association. He expressed great excitement at restarting the exchange and hoped that the VR experiences brought by the NCKU team would allow the Japanese to learn more about Taiwan and provide a different perspective on life education through VR.


Guests highly praised the VR experiences. Julia Gerster from the International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University stated that combining VR technology with disaster elements was innovative and significantly raised disaster awareness among the public. The "Island Adventure" game was especially popular among both children and adults. Through the game, players could learn about Taiwanese history and culture, which was greatly appreciated by those who experienced it, providing them with a new understanding of Taiwan. Traditional Taiwanese tea and Sendai Tanabata traditional handcrafted colorful balls were also offered at the event, enriching the experience and well-received by the local Sendai residents.


On the second day of the event, February 16, Professor Yang's team visited the 311 disaster area in Minamisanriku Town. Mayor Sato personally attended the event, experiencing the VR exhibits and delivering a speech expressing gratitude to Taiwan for its assistance during the 311 disaster. He warmly welcomed Professor Yang's team and highly praised the use of VR for disaster life education. Mayor Sato also expressed his intention to visit Taiwan this year and hoped for deeper exchanges through similar activities.
 
During the event, Mr. Abe, a 26-year-old who experienced the tsunami at the age of 14, shared his story of survival and family reunification after being separated. His resilience and positive outlook deeply moved and inspired everyone present. Two students who participated in the event expressed their deep appreciation for the opportunity to showcase VR and, after visiting the disaster area, were deeply touched by the resilience of the local residents and the support from the outside world. They realized the importance of cherishing life and found the exchange to be profoundly meaningful.


Reflecting on the two-day event, Professor Yang expressed his joy in leading students to apply their professional knowledge and provide Japanese people with cultural experiences and different life education experiences. He also hoped for more friendly exchanges between Taiwan and Tohoku, extending beyond tourism to include long-term cooperation and exchanges in disaster prevention and life education.
 

Professor Cheng-Ta Yang from the Department of Psychology at NCKU, along with two doctoral students, Kun-Tang Zhang and Shu-Hsuan Feng, embarked on a journey to Sendai, Japan, once again initiating Taiwan-Japan exchange after a hiatus of 3 years through VR-based life education and cultural experiences. 

Mayor Sato personally attended the event and experienced the VR exhibits.

Professor Yang (the 2nd from the right) expressed his joy in leading students to apply their professional knowledge and provide Japanese people with cultural experiences and different life education experiences.

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