Even at the age of 100, Yang Enze, one of the founders of China's optical communication, does not stop his research and teaching as a professor at Tianjin University.
Besides his pioneering achievements as the chief engineer of China's first optical communication project for practical use in the 1970s, Yang is also known as a survivor and a witness of the war of Japanese aggression against China.
"I was admitted to Wuhan University in 1937, the year when Japanese troops attacked the Lugou Bridge, also known as Marco Polo Bridge, on the outskirts of Beijing, on July 7," said the senior recalling the start of his academic study.
The incident marked the beginning of Japan's full-scale war against China during World War II and triggered China's full-scale resistance against the invasion.
Ahead of the 82nd anniversary of the incident that falls on Sunday, Yang said because of the war, his university in central China's Hubei Province was relocated to southwestern province of Sichuan to avoid the enemy forces. "Even in Sichuan, there were a lot of Japanese bombings, but none of the students missed any of the classes as long as there was no air-raid siren," he recalled.
It was at that time he and many of his peers cemented the belief that the country needed advanced science and technology for reconstruction and revival.
"I have always kept in mind late chairman Mao Zedong's words that it was Japanese militarists' crime that was to blame for the war, not Japanese civilians, " Yang said, noting that he still gets in touch with many Japanese scholars.
He established the first optical communication laboratory in Tianjin in 1985, when he was invited to teach at Tianjin University. In Yang's career, he has made friends with several leading experts from Japan at international conferences and even kept friendship with some of them.
Also in Tianjin, Morita Naomi, a Japanese language teacher in Nankai University, works as a consultant to the school's research institute of Zhou Enlai-Daisaku Ikeda.
"By involving in the research of the friendship between the late Chinese premier and the Japanese philosopher, I want to search for the core factors that help consolidate the friendship between the two peoples," said Naomi.
She came to Nankai to pursue a master-degree study in Modern Chinese and Chinese Literature in 2010 and has stayed ever since.
When she first arrived, she had troubles even in learning Chinese phonics. Now she can read and speak Chinese fluently, write beautiful Chinese characters, and study ancient Chinese literature independently.
As a teacher, she feels frustrated that most of her Chinese students are more likely to be attracted by Japanese animation and games rather than Japanese literature.
According to the school's statistics, nearly half of the undergraduates in the 2019 class of Japanese major chose to work in Japanese-funded enterprises or Japanese-related enterprises after graduation.
Naomi said Japanese visitors to China are more likely to choose destinations like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Peking University in Beijing impresses young Japanese most.
According to a report released by the China Tourism Academy, China received 2.69 million Japanese visitors in 2018, making Japan China's fourth largest source of foreign tourists. In the same year, Chinese made 9.06 million outbound visits to Japan as a direct destination.
The academy released the report at the 2019 China-Japan Tourism Forum Dalian held on May 26, which focused on promoting win-win cooperation on cultural exchanges and tourism between the two countries.
China and Japan agreed to push forward bilateral relations along the right track of peace, friendship and cooperation, at the summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies held in Osaka, Japan, in June.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and Japan has also entered the Era of Reiwa. It is also the China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year, for promoting friendship and cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two peoples.
"We keep the wartime memory not because we bear the hatred, but because we want the younger generations to cherish what they own today and move towards a better future," said 70-year-old Zhen Dong, who on Friday visited an exhibition on Beijing's past, held in Beijing Municipal Archives.
Zhao Hongwei, a professor with Tokyo-based Hosei University, said when it comes to the bilateral relations between China and Japan, it is very important to promote the free trade agreement and expand the markets of both sides.