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Japan Ireland Association

Japan Ireland Association

The relationship between Ireland and Japan at both diplomatic and cultural level have been in formal existence for many decades, however, the Irish and Japanese axis has been informal for hundreds of years and this relationship is particularly captured by the adoption of Lafcadio Hearn by the Japanese. This rich link between two Island nations who are many thousands of geographical miles apart, demonstrates how culture is a universal language that can transcend distance and language. Japan is one of the great industrial nations of the world and its leading industrial techniques have been adopted by many successful countries including Ireland, equally, Ireland has exported many of its educated and innovative people to work side by side with Japan’s leading experts in industry, culture and learning. In 2007 Ireland celebrated 50 years of formal diplomatic relationship with that great nation that is Japan; this formal alliance was celebrated with a host of events many of which are set out here.

President Barack Obama is leaning towards picking Caroline Kennedy to be the next US ambassador to Japan. The 55-year-old daughter of former President John F Kennedy would be the first female US ambassador to Japan. JF Kennedy and his family are Irish by ancestry.

Opening of "Japan Room" in the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
On December 17, 2007, a "Japan Room" was opened in the building of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Wicklow, which is devoted to peace-building and reconciliation within and between conflicting communities, and Ambassador Hayashi attended the opening ceremony. Following the installation of new equipment and furnishings, which was supported by the Embassy, Sony Ireland and Glen Dimplex, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the Centre's Common Room was named the "Japan Room", and a commemorative name plate was put on the room.

07/12/07 - A Celebration of the Musical Links between Japan and Ireland
On 7 December, the Ireland Japan Association (IJA) and the Embassy of Japan held a concert entitled “A Celebration of the Musical Links between Japan and Ireland” at the Coach House of Dublin Castle (sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.). Commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, Mr William Dowdall (flute), Mr John Feeley (guitar), Mr Philip Horan (shakuhachi, or bamboo flute), and Mr Junshi Murakami (Irish harp) played both Irish and Japanese music to showcase the cultural links between the two countries. The near capacity audience of over 100 people enjoyed such classical contemporaries as Toru Takemitsu’s ”Towards the Sea” as well as more familiar tunes such as the Last Rose of Summer (well-known as Niwa no Chigusa in Japan), and the interaction between flute and shakuhachi. The audience seemed to enjoy the concert so much as would be suitable for one of the closing events of the successful 50th anniversary.

05/12/07 - Lecture on Ukiyo-e by Mr. Kenji Hinohara
On 5 December, as part of the series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, a lecture on Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) by Mr. Kenji Hinohara, Chief Curator at the Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Tokyo, was held at the National Museum of Ireland (Collins Barracks). This lecture was followed by the examination of the Ukiyo-e collection of the National Museum of Ireland by Mr. Hinohara in August 2007, and on that day, about 70 people was eagerly listening to Mr. Hinohara's lecture on the history and manufacturing process of Ukiyo-e and how to appreciate it.

03/12/07 - Launch of Japanese Textbook "Nihongo Kantan"
On 3 December, Ambassador Hayashi launched a general Japanese textbook (author: Ursula Zimmermann, design & layout: Patricia Leavey) at a ceremony at the Clock Tower of the Department of Education and Science in Dublin. The publication of the textbook, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, is expected to contribute to increasing further the number of learners of Japanese in Ireland which has been steadily growing in recent years (for further information on the textbook, please click here).

20/11/07 - Ambassador Hayashi Delivered A Lecture at University College Dublin (UCD)

On 20 November, as part of the series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, Ambassador Hayashi gave a lecture entitled “Japan-Ireland 50 years and Asia” at the Quinn School of Business at University College Dublin (UCD). The lecture was attended by about 90 students who are taking the Asia Business Course in the School. The students’ higher interest in Japan and Asia was seen through a number of questions raised by them during the Q&A session after the speech.

15/11/07 - Opening of the Ukiyoe Exhibition "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon"
On 15 November, as part of the 50th anniversary commemorative programme, Ambassador Hayashi opened the Japanese Ukiyoe/woodblock prints exhibition entitled "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon" by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, who is often referred to the "last Ukiyoe master", at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. This late masterpiece by Yoshitoshi is a collection of 100 prints on the theme of the moon, and this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to appreciate the entire collection at the same time. The exhibition will continue until 17 February 2008, and we hope that many people will visit the Chester Beatty Library. In addition, on the occasion of the opening, on behalf of the Shodo Geijutsu-In, Ambassador Hayashi donated more than 70 shodo (Japanese calligraphy) works, which were exhibited at the Dublin Shodo Exhibition in March and April, to the Chester Beatty Library.

08/11/07  - The Departure Ceremony for the Irish World-Skills 2007 Team
On 8 November, Ambassador Hayashi was invited as a guest of honour, together with the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D., to the departure ceremony at Croke Park in Dublin for the Irish National Team who will take part in the 39th WorldSkills Competition in Shizuoka Prefecture from 14 to 21 November, and wished the team members and staff every success in the competition. This year's WorldSkills Competition in Shizuoka will challenge 480 people from around the world to come together and test their technical skills in 48 skills categories.

07/11/07 - Opening of the Exhibitions "A Pale Yellow Sky" and "Reflections on a Visit to Japan"
On 7 November, as part of the 50th anniversary commemorative programme, Ambassador Hayashi opened the two exhibitions "A Pale Yellow Sky" by Ms. Jean Duncan and Dr. Deirdre McKay, and "Reflections on a Visit to Japan" by Ms. Duncan at the Farmleigh Gallery in Dublin. "A Pale Yellow Sky" is an exhibition of art and music works inspired by Haiku written by Japanese masters such as Basho Matsuo, and "Reflections on a Visit to Japan" is comprised of art works based on Ms. Duncan's experience of a visit to Japan. Both exhibitions will continue on to 30 December, and we hope that many people will visit the Farmleigh Gallery.

03-04/11/07  - Irish Open Judo Championship and Presentation of the Japanese Ambassador’s Cup
On 3 and 4 November, the Irish Judo Association held the annual Irish Open Judo Championship at the City West Conference Centre. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Japan, and expressing his wish for the continued success and growth of judo in Ireland, Ambassador Hayashi presented a Japanese Ambassador’s cup to each of the winners of both the Men’s and Women’s open category.

01/11/07 - “A TASTE OF JAPAN IN DUBLIN ”
On 1 November, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland , the Embassy of Japan and JETRO London co-organised an event “A Taste of Japan in Dublin ” at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS), attended by 150 guests. Mr. Shingo Suzuki, Executive Chef of Kobe Jones, London, with narration by Mr. John McKenna, Editor of the Bridgestone Guides, performed a cooking demonstration of Sushi and Miso Shiru (Miso Soup). The event also showcased programmes on the presentation of Japanese food and sake (Rice wine). Those who attended the event were impressed by Chef Suzuki’s demo and deepened their understanding of Japanese food. The food displayed in the venue was sent directly from Japan as part of “Try Japan’s Good Food”, a scheme led by the Government of Japan to promote Japanese food abroad.

11/10/07 - Book Launch of "Our Shared Japan"
The Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland and Poetry Ireland jointly launched a poetry book “Our Shared Japan” with all the poems with Japanese themes (with an afterword by Seamus Heaney, an Irish Nobel laureate in literature). At the launch ceremony attended by Ambassador Hayashi, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Mr Tom Kitt gave a congratulatory speech, and a few poets read their poems which were contained in the book.

01/03/10/07 - Lecture Series on Japanese Animation by Mr. Nobuyuki Tsugata
As part of the on-going commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, a series of lectures on Japanese animation by Mr. Nobuyuki Tsugata, a Japanese animation historian of Kyoto Seika University, was held at the Irish Film Institute on 1 October, at Dublin City University on 2 October, and at Trinity College Dublin on 3 October. Each lecture was very successful and welcomed by the audience of more than 200 people in total, including Irish anime fans and animators, who listened with great interest to Mr. Tsugata's lectures based on his research in the relatively new field of the history of Japanese animation. Even after the lectures, Mr. Tsugata was greeted with questions after questions by enthusiastic anime fans.

13/09/07 - Yurie Miura Piano Recital

On September 13, as part of the on-going programme of commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, a piano recital by Ms. Yurie Miura, a Japanese pianist currently living in London, was held at the concert hall of Griffith College in Dublin (presented by Danfay Ltd. and Yamaha Pianos in association with the Embassy of Japan). Ms. Miura's romantic performance of technical perfection of such works by Chopin and Scriabin enchanted the full-house audience of more than 200 people.

06/09/07 - Opening of the Exhibition "Art from the Rucksack 3"
On 6 September, Ambassador Hayashi opened the exhibition "Art from the Rucksack 3" at the Limerick City Gallery of Art. This "exchange exhibition", most fitting for this year's 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, is an innovative project involving six artists from Japan and Ireland respectively travelling to each other's country with their works in a rucksack, and then finishing and exhibiting them by sourcing necessary materials locally within a week. Following on from the exhibition by Irish artists held in Kobe in July, this exhibition by Japanese artists at the Limerick City Gallery of Art will continue from 7 September to 21 October, and we hope that many people will visit the Gallery.

14,16,18/06/07 - Masahiro Nitta Tsugaru Shamisen Concerts
As one of the highlights among the ongoing commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, Tsugaru Shamisen concerts by Mr. Masahiro Nitta were held in Dublin (National Concert Hall) on 14 June, in Cork (Cork City Hall) on 16 June, and in Donegal (Tullyarvan Mill, Buncrana) on 18 June. At the concerts, entitled "Dynamic Japanese Tsugaru Shamisen Meets Ireland", Mr. Nitta, with Mr. Dean Magraw (guitar) and Mr. John Williams (button accordion), played a wide range of music from both Japanese and Irish traditional songs to his latest original tunes, which received a standing ovation from a large audience. We hope that the audience of both Irish and Japanese people at the concerts thoroughly enjoyed listening to this Japanese traditional music/instrument, Tsugaru Shamisen, as well as a new artistic experience generated by the fascinating fusion between Japanese and Irish music through the concerts.

13/06/07  - Opening of "Scenes of Childhood: Sixty Years of Postwar Japan" Photo Exhibition and "Japan-Ireland Children's Art Exhibition"
On 13 June, as part of the on-going commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the "Scenes of Childhood: Sixty Years of Postwar Japan" photo exhibition (co-organised by the Embassy of Japan and the Japan Foundation) and "Japan-Ireland Children's Art Exhibition" (organised by the Embassy of Japan) opened at the Atrium, Office of Public Works in Dublin. The exhibitions include not only 83 photographs of children taken over the pastt sixty years by famous Japanese photographers such as Ken Domon and Kishin Shinoyama, but also 87 pictures painted by both Japanese and Irish children of kindergarten age.

30/04/07 - Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda, Former Curator of Chester Beatty Library of Dublin.
It was announced on April 29 that Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda, former curator of the Chester Beatty Library of Dublin, is to be presented with the Order of Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, on the occasion of the conferment of decorations in the Spring 2007, in recognition of her meritorious contribution to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and Ireland. In particular, the order recognises her outstanding role in introducing Japanese culture to the Irish people through such activities as her recording, categorising and restoration of the historically valuable collection of Japanese paintings owned by the Chester Beatty Library. In addition to her contribution as a curator, Mrs. Ushioda, who is a pioneer Japanese resident in Ireland, has also long rendered great services to the furtherance of bilateral exchanges in a wide variety of fields, including her efforts to establish the Ireland Japan Association (IJA) and the Japanese Language Saturday School in Dublin. Mrs. Ushioda is to have an audience with His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at the Imperial Palace and also to attend the decoration ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo on May 11.

30/04/07
On April 30, as part of the ongoing commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the "100 Years of Tokyo" photo exhibition, co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan and the Japan Camera Industry Institute (JCII), opened at the Atrium, Office of Public Works, in Dublin. Ms. Mayumi Moriyama, President of the JCII and also an incumbent member of the House of Representatives, came from Japan to attend the opening reception held on the same day and enjoyed discussing photography with Japanese residents in Ireland and Irish photographers. The exhibition shows the transformation of Japan through about 200 photographs of Tokyo taken from 1890 to 2000. The exhibition continues until 18 May, and we hope that many people will visit the Atrium and enjoy the exhibition.

21-22/04/07 - Working Holiday Programme (The Great Escape Expo at RDS)
The Embassy of Japan participated in the Great Escape Expo at the RDS Industries Hall from 21 - 22 April, as a part of the ongoing commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, and promoted the Working Holiday Programme between Japan and Ireland which was launched in January 2007 to young Irish people. At the venue, the Embassy gave presentations on the programme including its application procedure, and also introduced Japan's attraction as a tourist destination by answering inquiries and handing out a variety of pamphlets on tourism in Japan. We very much hope that young Irish people will make use of the programme to visit Japan and contribute to the further development of friendship between Japan and Ireland.

29/03/07 - The Opening of the Shodo Geijutsu-In Japanese Calligraphy Exhibition

On 29th March, as part of the on-going commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the 60th Jubilee Exhibition of the Shodo Geijutsu-In Foundation (the Association of Japanese Calligraphy), co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan, opened at the Atrium, Office of Public Works in Dublin. At the opening reception held on the same day, all the guests greatly appreciated the 75 works of Japanese calligraphy and demonstration by renowned masters. On 31st March, the first workshop was held also at the Atrium and attended by 42 participants, mostly Irish people. The participants enjoyed their first experience of Shodo by drawing their favourite Chinese and Japanese characters under the guidance of masters. The exhibition will continue until 19th April, and there will be the second workshop on the last day (please register in advance). We hope that many more people will visit the Atrium to appreciate a touch of the Japanese traditional culture of Shodo.

28/03/07 - 01/04/07 - The Visit of U-19 Japanese National Rugby Team to Dublin
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland , the U-19 (under 19) Japanese National Rugby Team visited Dublin from 28th March to 1st April, prior to taking part in the U-19 World Cup held in Belfast from 5th April 2007. On 31st March, the Japanese Team played a friendly match against the Irish Schoolboys U-18 at St. Mary’s College R.F.C. In the exciting match, the Irish pulled away in the last 15 minutes to win Ireland 32 – Japan 14. Hundreds of people from various circles watched the match, including members of the Japanese community in Ireland, representatives of TOYOTA Ireland , which generously sponsored the visit of the Japanese team, as well as members of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), and friends and family of the Irish players. It is our hope that this event will be a significant step towards further deepening Japan-Ireland exchange through sports.

11/03/07 - 18th Irish Go Open: Japanese Ambassador's Cup
As part of the commemorative events of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the Irish Go Congress 2007 organised by the Irish Go Association (IGA) was held from 9 - 11 March in Dublin. The 11th Irish Rapid Play was held on the first day and the 18th Irish Open was held on the second and the third days. There were 47 participants from 15 countries, and after a series of hard and close games, Mr. D.K. Kim from Korea won the first prize in this year's Irish Open. The Japanese Ambassador's Commemorative Cup was awarded for the first time this year to the winner in commemoration of the 50th anniversary. This Commemorative Cup will be presented every year alternately to the winners of the Irish Open in the future. There are go clubs in the major cities around Ireland, and you are encouraged to contact the Irish Go Association for further information.

10/03/07 - The Japanese Speech Contest

On 10th March, as a part of on-going commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the 5th Japanese Speech Contest was organised by the Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland (JLTI) at the Clock Tower of the Department of Education and Science in Dublin, with assistance from the Japan Foundation as well as support from the Embassy of Japan, the Japan Business Society in Ireland, and the Department of Education and Science. Twenty-four contestants showed the fruits of their hard learning of Japanese in three categories "Beginner/Intermediate Level", "Secondary School Category", and "Intermediate/Advanced Level". The level of Japanese of every contestant was so high that the judges including Ambassador Hayashi as a chair had a hard time to place them. After much consultation by the judges, Ms. Maria Oleinik in "Beginner/Intermediate Level" and Mr. Eddy Ospina in "Intermediate/Advanced Level" were respectively awarded the first prizes, a return ticket to Japan (sponsored by All Nippon Airways and the Japan Business Society in Ireland), and the winner of "Secondary School Category", Ms. Samantha Marie Garcia, received a digital video camera (sponsored by Sony Ireland). The annual Japanese Speech Contest will provide an ideal opportunity for learners in Ireland to present the results of their hard work studying Japanese.

06/03/07 - Lecture & Demonstration at UCD
The Embassy of Japan organised 2 lectures and demonstrations of Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) by Ms. Keiko Yoshino master teacher of Sogetsu School of Ikebana in London at the University College Dublin (UCD) Quinn School of Business on Tue. 6 March 2007, and at the Japanese Ambassador's residence on Wed. 7 March 2007, as part of the programme of its commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland. The lecture and demonstration held at UCD was co-organised with UCD and the Ireland Japan Association (IJA), and a large number of the general public as well as members of both organisation came to this event. Ms. Yoshino, after briefly touching upon the history of Ikebana and the formation of several ikebana schools, demonstrated how to arrange flowers in the Japanese style in front of the audience using plants and flowers available in Ireland. As horticulture and gardening are very popular in Ireland, we believe this event helped to enhance the participants' interest in and better understanding of the Japanese traditional art of Ikebana.

05-06/03/07 - Lectures by Mr. Hiroshi Tsukamoto
On 5th and 6th March, Mr. Hiroshi Tsukamoto, President of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) gave lectures entitled “ Japan ’s Challenge: Creating Future through Innovation” at the Tyndall National Institute ( Cork , 5th) and UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business ( Dublin , 6th). In his lectures, which were held as part of commemorative event of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, Mr. Tsukamoto made presentations on the economic policies of the Abe Cabinet, with an emphasis on innovation, stating that with Japan and Ireland placing great importance on R&D, there should be much room for the two countries to cooperate in fields such as science and technology. The lectures were well-attended by people including government officials as well as businessmen and the academic, who listened attentively to Mr. Tsukamoto.

05/03/07 - A Commemorative Event to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Ireland
On 5th March 2007, the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland which were officially established on 5th March 1957, a commemorative event was held at the Mansion House in Dublin (official residence of the Lord Mayor) and was attended by various guests who have strong ties with Japan and Ireland, including former Taoisigh Mr. Liam Cosgrave and Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, Nobel Prize-winning poet Dr. Seamus Heaney, and other TDs and government officials, and members of Ireland and Japan friendship organisations. At the event, Ambassador Hayashi and Mr. Tim O'Malley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, made speeches in which they respectively read the messages exchanged between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and An Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern. In the messages, the two leaders pledged that they will further consolidate friendship and cooperation between the two countries on this historic occasion of the golden anniversary.

15/02/07 - Ambassador Hayashi and Ms. Midori Goto
World-renowned violinist from Japan Ms. Midori Goto performed at the National Concert Hall on February 15th (sponsored by Kikkoman), which wonderfully celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland. Accompanied by Mr. Robert McDonald on the piano, Ms. Goto’s delicate but overwhelming skill in performing challenging works by Schumann, Beethoven and Ravel enchanted the large Dublin audience. Despite just having finished her performance, Ms. Goto attended the post-concert reception hosted by Ambassador Hayashi and mingled with the guests queuing for her autographs.

12/02/07 - Ambassador Hayashi Delivered A Lecture at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

On 12th February, Ambassador Hayashi delivered a lecture entitled “Japan’s Economic Resurrection and New Foreign Policy Emphasis – Japan under Prime Minister Abe” at the Department of International Business, Faculty of Business at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). The lecture was attended by over 80 students (mainly postgraduate and partly undergraduate) and lecturers from related research areas. After the lecture, participants expressed their interest in a number of challenges facing the Japanese economy, along with remedies and measures to cope with those challenges. Moreover, some participants also commented that there were limited opportunities to listen to a lecture dealing with both economic and foreign policy aspects of Japan , expressing it was informative.

09/02/07 - The HUMI Project (Keio University) Photography Team's Visit to the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin
Since its launch in 1996, the HUMI (Humanities Media Interface) Project, Keio University of Japan, has conducted research on digital archiving of rare books and manuscripts. The HUMI Project photography team is currently in Dublin to shoot digital photographs of Nara e-hon (old Japanese picture books) housed at the Chester Beatty Library (CBL). On 9th February, Ambassador Hayashi was invited to visit the CBL where the photography team was involved in taking a picture of each page of a Nara e-hon manuscript with a 22,000,000 pixel high definition digital camera. This is the fourth time the photography team has visited the CBL to digitalise the CBL's rare Nara e-hon and emaki (Japanese picture scrolls). The digital pictures of Nara e-hon and emaki taken by the team will be put on a database and will be accessible for various research projects in the future.

28/01/07 - Visit Japan Campaign (The Holiday World Show at RDS)
The Embassy of Japan participated in the Holiday World Show at RDS Simmons Court from 25 - 28 January for the first time this year as a part of its on-going commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland. At the Japan booth, we distributed a variety of pamphlets on tourism in Japan, gave advice on visiting Japan, played "Visit Japan Campaign" DVD, performed origami demonstration, and conducted a survey on tourism in Japan. The visitors also were given an opportunity to appreciate Japanese tea, Japanese rice wine sake and snacks at the booth. We are very much pleased that a lot of people dropped by the Japan booth during the Show and expressed their keen interest in Japan. We do hope these people would visit Japan in the future.

22/01/07 - Lecture by Mr. Hiroshi Sakurai
As part of the commemorative events of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, the Embassy of Japan held a cultural event "Japanese Food Night" to introduce Japanese culinary culture including premium Sake to Irish people at the official residence of Ambassador Hayashi in Dublin. Mr. Hiroshi Sakurai, the president and prominent Japanese Sake (rice wine) brewer of Asahi Shuzo Brewery (Yamaguchi Prefecture), gave a lecture on the history and production process of Japanese Sake, and how to appreciate it with different kinds of food. In addition, a Japanese chef demonstrated his excellent skill in making sushi on the spot. We invited food and wine critics, executives of alcohol importing and distributing companies, and chefs and sommeliers of acclaimed restaurants as this event's guests. Even though some of the guests tasted Japanese food and Sake for the first time, we received very favourable reviews from them, and believe that this event contributed to introducing the history and profoundness of Japanese culinary culture to Irish people. Our Embassy would like to continue its efforts to help Japanese food and Sake become more popular here in Ireland by holding similar Japanese culinary events in future.

20/01/07 - The 7th Irish National Kendo Championships and International Goodwill Tournament

The 7th Irish National Kendo Championships and International Goodwill Tournament hosted by Kendo Na h-Eireann (the Irish Kendo Federation) were held at University College Cork on January 20th. In order to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, Ambassador Hayashi attended the event and the prize giving ceremony as a guest of the IKF. Although Ireland's kendo population is still small and developing, the matches at the Championships and Tournament were fought at a considerably high level. At the prize giving ceremony, Ambassador Hayashi donated "the Japanese Ambassador's Cup", which was specially made to commemorate the 50th anniversary and will be awarded to every year's Irish Individual Champion from now on. Ambassador Hayashi also announced that kendo equipment will be presented by All Japan Kendo Federation through our Embassy to Kendo Na h-Eireann next month. Our Embassy would like to continue its effort towards the development of Japanese traditional sports here in Ireland.

18/01/07 - IJA Annual Dinner to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Japan-Ireland Ties
The Ireland Japan Association (IJA) Annual Dinner was held in Dublin on 18th January as a major part of the programme of commemorative events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland and Mr. Dermot Ahern, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs attended as guest of honour. Mr. Ahern mentioned the fascination of Japan in his address and emphasised the importance of Japan as a strategic partner. He also called for further expansion of the business relations and cultural exchanges between Ireland and Japan. During the dinner, the winner of the Logo Competition for the 50th Anniversary was announced. This logo will be used at various occasions to celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2007.

16/01/07 - A Business Seminar "Doing Business in Japan"
On 16th January, a seminar entitled “Doing Business in Japan” (hosted by Chambers Ireland as National Coordinator of the EU Gateway to Japan Programme) was held in Dublin. This seminar was the first of a series of events being held to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland. In his opening address to the seminar, Ambassador Hayashi emphasised that “quality” (including “safety”) and “differentiation” are the two key words for foreign exporters seeking to penetrate the Japanese market. At the same time, he expressed his earnest wish for more and more Irish companies to establish export and/or investment relationships with Japan, in the light of the fact that the Japanese economy is now fully back on track. Following presentations from a variety of perspectives, including the current status of the Japanese market, constructive and active discussions took place among the participants.