Last night Belmont University hosted a Japan Week program that included a panel and film screening and the World Affairs Council appreciates the opportunity to participate. The program on US-Japan relations was just one piece of a very diverse selection of events marking Nashville’s first Japan Week. A highlight will be Saturday’s Cherry Blossom Festival at Public Square. The weather will be perfect — sunny and 70 degrees — so make sure you don’t miss it.
Today we are pleased to share an excerpt of remarks published in “The Tennessean” April 5th from Consul-General Japan Masami Kinefuchi, chief diplomat at the Nashville based Consulate of Japan on the importance of Japan Week. [Complete remarks]
Nashville Japan Week highlights close relationship
Japan Week began March 31 in Nashville.
It is a “first” for this area, and I hope all Middle Tennesseans will participate in events for families and people of all ages.
The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival on April 8 at Public Square in downtown will be Japan Week’s big finale. I’m pleased to launch this festival in the morning with Mayor Megan Barry again this year. I hope everyone will join the festival to celebrate spring, Japanese culture and friendship between Japan and Tennessee.
The Cherry Blossom Festival has grown over the past nine years, thanks to dedicated organizing committee members, sponsors, friends of Japan and volunteers. In fact, an estimated 30,000 people attended in 2016. It has become the largest Japanese cultural festival in the South.
Other pieces of the Tennessee-Japan community have also blossomed, making the time ripe to recognize our partnerships with a Japan Week.
For example, nearly 4,200 Japanese people live in Tennessee, including me. Like me, they have come to love the Volunteer State for its warm climate, natural beauty, and hospitable people.
What’s more, 190 Japanese-owned companies do business in Tennessee, employing 50,000 Tennesseans, according to our latest survey and the state’s economic development agency. Several of these companies are located right here in Middle Tennessee.
Meanwhile, Tennessee is home to civilians and military servicemen and women who have served in the U.S. Forces in Japan (USFJ). These people have seen and experienced Japan firsthand; they have valuable perspectives to share about the future of our nations’ alliance. The Consulate General of Japan in Nashville honored these men and women at a special celebration leading up to Japan Week.
Additionally, more and more young people are choosing to spend their early professional years in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). They return to the U.S. as young ambassadors, poised to be a bridge between our two nations. The Consulate General of Japan in Nashville also recognized JET participants leading up to Japan Week at a welcome-home reception for returning participants.
I encourage everyone to visit nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org/japan-week.html to learn more about Japan Week.
And I hope to see everyone on April 8 as we showcase Japanese traditional and contemporary performances, martial arts demonstrations, a cosplay contest, cultural lectures, and more.
The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at: www.TNWAC.org — Join / Donate / Volunteer