The Commencement of the Opening Ceremony for "Japan Year 2010 in Turkey"
The opening ceremony for "Japan Year 2010 in Turkey" was held starting at 5 p.m. local time on January 4 (Mon.) at the Turkish Japanese Foundation Cultural Center in Ankara, Turkey, with Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr. Ertugrul Günay, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey and minister primarily in charge of "Japan Year" on the Turkey side, in attendance.
The ceremony was also attended by Ms. Atsuko Toyama, Vice-Chairperson of the "Japan Year" Executive Committee (Director-General, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo and former Japanese Ambassador to Turkey), and others representing the committee as the host organization, as well as approximately 350 representatives from various quarters in Turkey. Also in attendance as a special guest was popular singer Hadise, who is acting as a goodwill ambassador for "Japan Year" on the Turkey side.
Prior to the ceremony, Foreign Minister Okada and Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, attended a joint press conference following the conclusion of the Japan-Turkey Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and issued the "Japan Year" Opening Declaration.
- The opening ceremony was inaugurated by Ayumi Takano (a Japanese actress active in Turkey, acting as a goodwill ambassador for "Japan Year"), and the curtain was opened with a Japanese taiko drum performance (by Ichitaro and two others; a program sponsored by the Japan Foundation).
Following a greeting by Dr. Cafer Tayyar Sadıklar, President of the Turkish Japanese Foundation Cultural Center, Vice-Chairperson Toyama rose to deliver a greeting as representative of the "Japan Year" Executive Committee, and stated her expectation that the success of "Japan Year" would lead to further strengthening of the friendship between Japan and Turkey.
Next, Foreign Minister Okada rose to deliver a greeting, celebrating the opening of "Japan Year" and stating, "I expect the holding of 'Japan Year' to solidify the bonds of both our countries' citizens and extend the partnership between our two countries in a wide array of areas."
Culture and Tourism Minister Günay also celebrated the opening of "Japan Year" and delivered greetings to the effect that he hoped for further development of Japan-Turkey relations.
- In the second half of the ceremony, a Noh performance by Noh lead actor Naohiko Umewaka and a festival band brought forth the essence of Japanese Noh. Then Tokuhiro Horiguchi, grandson of Tomokichi Takano (deceased) who provided aid during the Ertugrul Frigate Disaster in 1890, explained the incident and the subsequent very friendly interactions between the Japanese town of Kushimoto and Turkey.
Then, following a fluent speech by Burcu Selçuk —winner of the 2007 Ankara Japanese Speech Contest— Asian Wind 21 performed "The Kimono Dramatic Fashion Show," the final performance, with creative costumes using Japanese kimono.
After the conclusion of the ceremony, a reception was held in the foyer of the Turkish Japanese Foundation Cultural Center, with cordial informal discussion among attendees.
- On the evening of the ceremony, violinist Sayaka Shoji gave a performance at the Presidential Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall in Ankara. In the afternoon of the same day, a Japanese cherry tree planting ceremony ("Sakura Project") was held at the Turkish Japanese Foundation Cultural Center, hosted by the Association of International Cooperation and Training (AICAT).
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