Educational center in Kabul honoring Tetsu Nakamura faces difficulty

The Yogmiuri Shimbun
Amanullah Temory, right, teaches Japanese grammar in a classroom of the Nakamura Educational Center where a poster of Nakamura is displayed on the wall in Kabul on May 23.

TEHRAN — A private academy, opened in April last year in Kabul and named after the late Tetsu Nakamura, who contributed to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, is facing a difficult management situation.

The Nakamura Educational Center has been struggling to maintain its operations under the rule of the Taliban-controlled interim government.

It seems that the Taliban’s hardline stance on education for women and girls has adversely affected the center’s ability to attract people who would want to study in its classrooms.

On May 23, a Japanese language class was held in the center. Amanullah Temory, 32, the class’s instructor, explained grammar beside a poster on the wall depicting Tetsu Nakamura.

But there were no female students in the room. Though 15 students, including female students, attend the Japanese language class, the Taliban demanded on this day that there be separate rooms for men and women.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tetsu Nakamura

The center provides such classes as science and English in addition to Japanese. When it opened, about 200 people attended the center as students. Today, the number has fallen to about 100.

This is due to the deterioration of Afghanistan’s domestic economy following the retaking of the country by the Taliban, in part because of economic sanctions from Western countries.

The center’s tuition fee is 300 afghanis (about ¥440) a month. The fee is set low, so that even people in economically difficult situations can attend.

The center’s instructors are not paid wages. Temory has taught students while spending down his savings to pay the 500 afghanis needed for round-trip commutes between his home and the center.

The rent contract for the building in which the center is located will expire in June. Officials of the center are currently searching for a sponsor so that the contract can be renewed.

The center was opened by Samiullah Malang Azizi, 41, who formerly ran a hotel. He even became a subject of conversation in Japan when he named his second son, who was born two days after Nakamura’s death, Nakamura.

For now, the Taliban have shown no signs of viewing the center’s exchanges with Japan as problematic.

But Malang Azizi said that he has repeatedly received death threats from those who regard the center’s activities unfavorably.

Despite this, he asserted, “To realize the development of Afghanistan that Dr. Nakamura aimed for, I cannot stop moving forward now, at this stage.”

Tetsu Nakamura was a medical doctor and local representative of Peshawar-kai, a nonprofit organization for providing medical care and irrigation assistance. In this position, Nakamura contributed to the improvement of living conditions for a large number of Afghans.

On Dec. 4, 2019, Nakamura was killed by an armed group in Jalalabad in the east of the country while in a moving car. He was 73. He was beloved by many Afghans for his thoughts and actions.

Malang Azizi believes that it is important to convey Nakamura’s will to future generations, which will sometime contribute to the country’s development. He said his goal is to establish branches for the center in all 34 provinces of the country.