In Africa, when we talk about immigration, the first choice of destinations are the countries of the West (United States, Canada, Germany, France, England etc.). Few people venture into countries like Japan. A country closed to foreigners. Even for professional reasons. But not for the Malian Oussouby Sacko.
Professor Sacko is an atypical character. Born in Bamako, Mali, this 51-year-old university is head of a large Japanese private higher education institution. Kyoto Seika University. A reputed institution according to the observers.
How to explain such an ascension in a very conservative Japan where few foreign nationals reach a high position? A black moreover? It is necessary to go back to 1985. After obtaining his baccalaureate, the very good pupil Oussouby obtains a purse of the Malian State. Destinatio: Beijing, the capital of China.
“Apart from the Chinese that I met on construction sites or in hospitals, and perhaps some martial arts films, I did not know anything about China and Asia,” he told a pan-African newspaper. .
In the land of Mao, the native of Bamako will spend six years studying architecture. In 1992, he enrolled at the University of Kyoto to finalize his master’s degree and prepare a doctorate. The great adventure of Mali in the land of sun-rising began as well.
“Japan offered then the ideal conditions to study the subjects which interest me: the habitat, the uses and the organization of a space of life. I was captivated by the interactions in the same community and the attachment that the Japanese have to their place of residence, “says the 50th anniversary.
The following ? The academic will no longer leave the city of Kyoto. Past Professor in the establishment in 2001, he progressively evolves in the academic hierarchy of Kyoto Seika University. Elected Dean of the Faculty of Humanities in 2013, he is re-elected in 2017. Meanwhile in 2002, he is naturalized Japanese.
More surprising than his rise, his adaptation and his rapid integration in a “complicated” environment. In this sense, his integration into Japanese society does not seem to have been laborious. “Japan is a country where we start from scratch. One is as illiterate when one arrives, because one does not enter any code. But I never felt like the African in Japan but rather as the colleague who masters the local language and codes because I made the effort to try to understand the society, to read on the faces and in the spirit of others. He says. This quality of observation and immersion will allow him to master the local language in just six months.
Now the president, the man does not forget his origins.Entrepreneur, he has a study office in his native Mali and participates in the program Tokten, which promotes the temporary return to Mali of the scientific diaspora to overcome the lack of higher level teacher and to change curricula.
At his university, he wants to develop partnerships with African schools and dreams of developing a department on the contemporary space of the black continent to open Japan to Africa. In him, the continent remains anchored: “I am my way, but Africa will always be my point of fall”.