The New Year Japan Cultural Festival



The Japan Culture Festival was successfully held on Sunday, January 21st from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at Maris Stella School’s auditorium with more than 180 attendees. This is one of many events that will be held this year to celebrate the 30th year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Palau.

Following Ambassador ORIKASA Hiroyuki’s opening remarks, the Principal of Maris Stella School Mr. Jose Ise spoke to welcome attendees and thanked Japan for its Grassroots Grants Assistance with which the  auditorium was recently reconstructed. Representing the Ministry of State, Ms. Eunice Akiwo, Director for Domestic Affairs offered the congratulatory message on the 30th Anniversary of Japan-Palau diplomatic relations. Ms. Bisayang Ush Luii from the Ministry of State and Ambassador Orikasa presented the award for the 30th anniversary logo design contest winner Ms. Lynnette Franz.

There was a good mix of stage performances by students of the Palau Japanese Language School and JICA volunteers who showcased the Japanese culture through songs, a traditional festival dance “Bon Odori”, and a New Year game “Fukuwarai”. It was an enjoyable and interactive experience for the audience to learn how to dance in a big wall-to-wall circle and to participate in the fukuwarai game where blindfolded players created a funny face with random placement of facial parts on a board.
Ms. SAKUMA Hiroko, a guest performer from Japan played the keyboard and sang enka songs that are well-known in Palau; Ms. MAKIMURA Mieko’s “Michizure” and Ms.MISORA Hibari’s songs “Omatsuri Mambo” and “Makka na Taiyo.” She also performed songs that she composed herself including “Tsukarenaos,” a song that she wrote just before coming to  Palau. She also sang “Ue o Muite Aruko” with students from Mindszenty High School and Palau Japanese Language School.

The Embassy of Japan expresses its sincere appreciation for all the performers and attendees from the local community, who made this event such a memorable festivity.  With more cultural programming slated for this year, the long-standing Japan-Palau friendship will surely be deepened through cordial people-to-people interactions.