All hail the Emperor...


All hail the Emperor...

Sunday Social

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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Since their arrival to Jamaica in 2017, Ambassador of Japan Hiromasa Yamazaki and his wife Hikaru have hosted a celebration for the Emperor's Birthday — a national holiday that holds great importance among Japanese citizens. This year however was a little different as the usual December celebrations were observed in February, the birth month of Crown Prince Naruhito, who ascended the throne recently. “This is the third annual reception since I came to Jamaica with my wife Hikaru in October 2017...the people of Japan are grateful for the dedication and service of Their Majesties the Emperor Naruhito and the Empress Masako...His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito became Japan's 126th emperor when he acceded the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019,” shared Yamazaki.

There was representation from across the world as members of the diplomatic corps, titans of industry and key government officials gathered at the ambassador's residence for the soirée. The evening began with entertainment from artistes Maki Kawamoto and Andre France, whose melodies could be heard as guests viewed the historical exhibits about Japan and its culture. History lesson aside, guests milled around the tented pool area and sipped on sake and Japanese rosé as they traded talk about foreign and family affairs and viewed the latest models on display from Toyota Jamaica, ATL Automotive, Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG), Fidelity Motors and Suzuki Jamaica.

An instrumental version of the National Anthem of Jamaica, courtesy of the National Youth Orchestra, signalled the official start of the proceedings. The Japanese national anthem “Kimigayo” came next welcoming Ambassador Yamazaki to the podium. Yamazaki expressed his appreciation for Jamaica's relationship with Japan. “In 2019, Jamaica and Japan observed 55 years of diplomatic relations and our bilateral cooperation has progressed drastically,” he said, detailing the embassy's latest activities and achievements. He insisted that the friendship between the two nations continues to strengthen as a result of programmes like the Jamaica Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme.

Yamazaki also urged guests to visit Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games as he shared a bit of history with the group. “As you all know well, the Olympic Games are back in Tokyo this summer after 56 years, since 1964, the same year that Japan and Jamaica established diplomatic relations. In Japan, Tottori Prefecture, which is the sister city of the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica, will have the pleasure of hosting the training camp for Jamaica's Olympic and Paralympic teams... We expect that Jamaica will win many medals,” he stated.

Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke in his address described the long-standing relationship between the two countries as “vibrant”. “As one of Jamaica's earliest bilateral partners, Japan has continued to be a true and reliable friend of Jamaica. Indeed, together we created what we now commonly refer to as a most dynamic J&J partnership — The Double J,” said Clarke.

After the formal addresses, guests were invited to enjoy a taste of Japan. “We have prepared Japanese cuisine and Japanese sake for your enjoyment...I now invite you to join me in a toast for Their Majesties' good health and prosperity, for your personal continued success, as well as for the further pursuit and development of friendly relations between Japan and Jamaica,” said Yamazaki.

Cheers, and Kanpai!

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