Consul General Okada’s Web Message for May 2014
It is already May and the cherry trees have mostly finished their blooming period. I keep expecting the arrival of summer whereas chilly rainy days are continuing lately. Some time ago, I planted potato, onion, garlic and burdock seeds at a rented vegetable garden in a suburb of Vancouver. I think that it may take more time before they start to germinate because of the recent cool weather.
Last month, a Noh troupe of the Komparu School from Japan arrived in Vancouver under gloomy skies. The troupe put on 2 shows; one was held on April 12th at a local theater and the other was on April 13th in the backyard of my official residence. Although admission was charged for the first show, the tickets were quickly sold out and the theater was packed to capacity. The second show was for our invited guests and it was also a big success. As the stage for this show was set outdoors, we were concerned about the weather. However, it turned out to be a sunny day and the performance, under the full bloom of the cherry trees in the backyard, was spectacular.
Our Consulate has been actively conducting public relations and cultural activities as well as Consular Services and assistance to the economic activities of Japanese corporations. These kinds of activities are called public diplomacy.
Traditionally, diplomacy was focused on negotiations that were held government-to-government or government-to-international organization. In recent years, along with the remarkable advancement of communication technologies, public opinion has been increasingly influential on diplomatic policies.
Therefore, besides dealing with foreign governments, in order to effectively implement diplomatic policies, what is vital is to increase foreign people’s interest and sense of affinity towards Japan and to establish accurate and favorable images of Japan among them through the direct provision of information and the promotion of exchanges at the grass roots level.
For that reason, it is extremely important that our Consulate introduces to the people in Canada different aspects of Japanese culture, including traditional and pop culture. Just like the recent Noh performances, sharing the marvelous forms of Japanese art is highly effective to promote greater understanding of Japan.
Also, in the local communities here, there are a number of talented artists in a variety of genres. Therefore, in order to introduce Japanese culture, our office is able to cooperate with these local artists. The Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver would like to continue proactive engagement in our public relations and cultural activities.