東京大学大学院 情報学環・学際情報学府 The University of Tokyo III / GSII


February 13, 2024

【情報学環教育部】「キーウの台所」を舞台にしたメディア実践の報告A media practice called “Kyiv Kitchen” by volunteers from the Undergraduate Research Student Program







The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues with no end in sight. In an effort to share information regarding the ongoing situation and to cast light on the lives of the Ukrainian people, volunteers among the research students from the Undergraduate Research Student Program organized an initiative at the Komaba Festival in late November by serving “borscht,” a traditional Ukrainian dish.

One of the proposers of this project, which we named “Kyiv Kitchen,” was Kanshiro Sonoda, a student and journalist who has been covering Ukraine and Russia for about 30 years. Recalling how a local acquaintance expressed interest in tasting the food he usually eats, Sonoda called for this project in the hope that it would be possible to transmit information about Ukraine through food. Nearly 30 research students took part, making use of the knowledge they gained in the Undergraduate Research Student Program, from promotional activities to the management of the stall during the Komaba Festival, which took place from November 24 to 26.

During the preparation stage, for example, students put the promotional activities into practice by utilizing tips obtained in classes where front-line media practitioners such as newspaper journalists, publishers and advertisers generously share their expertise. We directly contacted about 20 reporters from the major media in Tokyo and prominent individuals, resulting in many comments supporting our project on social media. Those who shared information about this project on X included Professor Hidenori Watanave of GSII, Univ. of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Chizuko Ueno and Professor Atsuko Higashino of Tsukuba University. An editor at the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform also reposted, drawing comments of gratitude and support from a number of users who appeared to be Ukrainians in their home country. We believe these messages spread and led to a large number of visitors to our “Kyiv Kitchen” at the Komaba Festival. Information on the progress of the preparation as well as the use of funds raised for the project was shared among the participating students on a regular basis.  

Meanwhile, some students worked on designing flyers to post and distribute at the Komaba Festival site. The flyer, which included the stall’s philosophy “Connecting through Borscht,” utilized the colors of the Ukrainian flag in the layout and also incorporated charts to convey the purpose of the project down to the smallest detail. In addition, some other research students majoring in international relations compiled a collection of questions and answers about the invasion of Ukraine to respond to various questions from visitors to the stall.

As a result of our efforts and various innovations, we were able to serve borscht to a large number of visitors – a total of 1369 bowls – during the three days. The research students who participated reflected that it was a good experience for them, as it also became a unique opportunity to put theory to practice. The students were able to utilize the knowledge obtained through the classes and engage in professional discussions, creating a rich learning environment that is typical of the Undergraduate Research Student Program.

Text: Rintaro Yamashita (Research Student)
English Proofreading: David Buist (Project Senior Specialist)