150 years of German-Japanese friendship
“There shall be eternal peace and constant friendship between Their Majesties the King of Prussia and the Tycoon of Japan, as well as between their heirs and successors,” reads the first paragraph of a treaty concluded in 1861. This statement has held true – today Germany and Japan still enjoy close and friendly bilateral relations.
150 years ago, in the autumn of 1860, the Prussian expedition to East Asia led by Count Eulenburg docked in the Bay of Edo, known today as Tokyo. Three months later, on 24 January 1861, the two countries signed a treaty of amity and commerce.
To celebrate this anniversary in proper style, Germany and Japan are planning a series of events in the respective partner country themed “150 Years of Friendship between Germany and Japan”. That the Federal President of Germany and Crown Prince Naruhito are to be joint patrons of the series highlights the great importance both countries attach to their bilateral relations.
As partners which recognize their global responsibilities, Germany and Japan cooperate closely notably on climate protection and disarmament as well as in Afghanistan and on the reform of the UN Security Council. Federal Minister Westerwelle visited Japan most recently in January 2010. After China, Japan is Germany’s most important economic partner in Asia. Germany and Japan have established a rich cultural and educational network that encompasses 56 Japanese-German associations, 127 university partnerships and 66 city twinning arrangements. The Goethe-Institut has three branches in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
Winning young Japanese hearts and minds for Germany
The aim is to maintain long-standing ties and create new ones, make the bond between the two nations even stronger and, most importantly, win over young Japanese hearts and minds for Germany.
The event series offers the young generation the opportunity to make new contacts, exchange views and become familiar with a different culture. New media are being used to target precisely this group, for instance with a mobile phone-friendly website. A music festival and the German-Japanese Youth Summit planned for the summer of 2011 are intended to inspire curiosity about and interest in both countries.
The event series will begin on 16 October 2010 with a big celebration at the German School in Tokyo-Yokohama. This will be followed by a host of large and small events staged in both countries.
Highlights in Japan will include the celebrations on 24 January 2011 marking the anniversary of the signing of the Prussian-Japanese Treaty, a “summit meeting” of the Japanese-German and the German-Japanese associations on 24 April 2011 in Nara, the music festival “Germany rocks Japan” and the official opening of the German-Japanese artists residence in Kyoto.
The series will reach its grand climax with the Germany festival on Asanbashi Pier in Yokohama on 2 and 3 October 2011. Besides presentations of German companies operating in Japan, a spectacular programme of stage performances featuring German artists and a German film festival will showcase Germany as a country of innovative ideas, progressive technology and vibrant culture.
Hokusai’s “View of Mount Fuji”
© picture alliance / dpa
For its part, Japan will present traditional Nô theatre performances in several German cities (January 2011) and display works by the artist Hokusai in Berlin (September/October 2011). Along with many other events featuring music and dance for example, a Japan Week in Düsseldorf is planned for May 2011.
Last updated 06.10.2010