"If I die, a bouquet of roses will mark my grave."

Mihriay Erkin

Mihriay Erkin Mother Tongue Award

In memory of Mihriay Erkin, who died in a concentration camp, engaged in mother tongue education while studying in Japan, in commemoration of her love for children and support of their parents, and in memory of the contributions of thousands of mother tongue teachers imprisoned in Chinese concentration camps, the Japan Uyghur Association has established the “Mihriay Erkin Mother Tongue Award” to raise awareness of language and to make mother tongue education in migration more dedicated, broad and consistent.

Who will be awarded the Mother Tongue Award?

It is given to native language teachers who have made a special effort to learn the mother tongue of Uyghur children in exile, as well as to learn Uyghur culture.

The life of Mihriay Erkin

Mihriay Erkin was born on February 23, 1990 in Tokkuzak Bazaar, Konisheher County, Kashgar, East Turkistan (also known as Xinjiang) in an intellectual family. From September 2007 to July 2009, she studied at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Minority Preparatory Program, China. From September 2009 to July 2013, she studied botanical biotechnology at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and won the Guanghua Academic Award during her studies. From 2014 to 2017, she studied for a Master’s degree in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Tokyo in Japan and received a Master’s degree. From 2018 to 2019, worked at Nara Institute of Science and Technology. She was forced to return to China on June 18, 2019, and was detained at the end of February 2020, and her body was handed over to his family on December 20 of that year.