The Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne
Since its open in September 1969, the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne has been engaging in and supporting various cultural exchange projects not only in Cologne but also throughout Germany. 2009 was its 40th anniversary of being the bridge between Japan and Germany. From September 1 to 9, the Institute celebrated the anniversary with the ceremony and a variety of events as follows: the Ensemble Yusei's Gagaku (traditional Japanese music) concert at the Cologne Philharmonic Hall; memorial concert of the 100th anniversary of Koichi Kishi, a Japanese composer who was a conductor at the Berlin Philharmonic in the 1930s; an exhibition of contemporary Japanese art "Winter Garden"; a symposium co-organized with the Ministry for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology of North Rhine-Westphalia, "Quality of Life in an Aging Society: What Can Germany and Japan Learn from Each Other"; a lecture by Japanese-Language learners and a workshop of Origami; and film screenings of "The 21st Century Boy" and other Japanese pop films. This week of celebration attracted many visitors not only from Cologne but also from distant cities. Among the exhibitors of "Winter Garden," Mr. Taro Izumi visited Cologne in time for the opening of the exhibition. The audience of all ages enjoyed his performance, and this performance in Cologne produced his new work.
A wide variety of Japanese culture, from traditional Gagaku to contemporary pop culture, was introduced to German audience, and many of them praised the profundity of Japanese culture.
At the anniversary ceremony, a video message from Kazuo Ogoura, the president of the Japan Foundation, was presented in German and congratulatory speeches were delivered by following guests: Dr. Shinyo, the Ambassador of Japan in Germany; Dr. Lehmann, the President of the Goethe-Institut; and Mrs. Spizig, the Deputy Mayer of Cologne. These were followed by a symposium entitled "The Prospects of Japan-German Relationship" chaired by Koji Ueda, the Director of the Institute, and panelists include Mr. Hielscher, a journalist who spent years in Japan. Participants were those who had been involving in cultural projects in Japan and Germany, and they all renewed their friendship with each other while discussing actively about their activities in the future. The collection of articles donated from people in various fields entitled "The Memorial Collection for the 40th Anniversary" was distributed among the participants and well received.
The year of 2011 will be the 150th anniversary of friendship between Japan and Germany. As this bilateral relation will increase its importance more than ever, the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne will contribute further to the friendship. As always, we appreciate your continuing support and cooperation for our activities.