Author Archives: Kansai Consular Corps Admin

(Event Summary) 25th Kansai Tour of the Kansai Consular Forum

On 5 July 2017 the Kansai Consular Forum hosted the 25th Kansai Tour. More than 30 Consuls and trade officials, including members of the Kansai Consular Corps, participated in the tour.

The overarching purpose of the Kansai Tour is to showcase tourism destinations, businesses and economic development partnerships in selected areas of the Kansai region. The tours are coordinated several times per year by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and other organizations that constitute the Consular Forum. This time, the theme was “Excellent technologies of Kansai-based companies that can support society in lesser-known fields.” KCC members were provided with an opportunity to gain insight into noteworthy Kansai industries they might not be otherwise acquainted with. The following facilities were highlighted:

  1. The Energy Tecnology Center, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (5-11-61 Torishima, Konohana-ku, Osaka City)
  2. The Lightning Technology Center, Otowa Electric Co., Ltd. (5-6-20 Shioe, Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture)

Guests commented on the impressive state-of-the-art technology, social contribution, and waste management efficiency of both companies.

The 25th Kansai Tour included representatives of the following countries: Netherlands, Panama, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Korea, China, Australia, Thailand, America, India, Canada, Israel and others.

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(Guest Post 日本語) “Osaka City Central Public Hall: Past and Present” by Author and Local Historian, Mr. Jun-ya Nakano

The image is iconic – a gorgeous, red brick building constructed in the Neo-Renaissance architectural style, picturesquely sitting along the river near Osaka City Hall. In English, it is called “Osaka City Central Public Hall.” Yet, few know the history of this 100+ year old building, or about the many world-famous personalities that have performed and lectured here (including Einstein and Helen Keller). An excerpt from the facility’s website tells us:

“The public hall was made with a large grant from an Osaka citizen, Mr. Einosuke Iwamoto who was a broker in Kitahama, Osaka. His donation was 1 million yen equivalent to billions yen in current monetary value. Einosuke had an opportunity to visit the United States as a member of businessman group and there he was impressed by the fact that American businessmen pay their own money to contribute to make great public halls like Carnegie Hall. Then he decided to construct one in Osaka which should be as beautiful as any hall in the world. The hall construction started in 1913 and was completed in 1918. Although it was rare at that time, they had a competition between nominated architects. Through its long history, the hall has been always deeply involved in cultural and art activity of Osaka people. Many international stars had various concerts like opera and also many famous people had lectures there. The role of the hall was changing with the times, however it always contributed to Osaka citizens’ cultural activity.” http://osaka-chuokokaido.jp/english/

Below is an original article about the history of this culturally significant building, written specifically for the members of the Kansai Consular Corps and our readers, by author and local historian Mr. Jun-ya Nakano. The article features an interview with the current Director of the facility, Mr. Nakai.

*Website contributions and guest postings by Kansai Consular Corps members and related organizations are welcome. Articles may be written in English, Japanese, or in bilingual format. Subject matter must be relevant to the KCC and its mission and will be subject to approval by the Executive Committee. Please contact the Executive Secretariat at ryojidan0818@yahoo.co.jp for further information.

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中央公会堂――1911年に株式仲買人の岩本栄之助が大阪市に100万円の寄付を申し出て建設が開始された建物です。かつてクライスラーのコンサートが開催された会場でもありますが、開館100周年を前に先人の思いと建物の意味といった「過去」と、現在をどのように結びつけるのか…そういった思いについて、現館長の中井雅博氏(サントリーパブリシティーサービス株式会社)にインタビューをしました。

■ 公会堂としてはどのように岩本栄之助のことを伝えようとされておられるのでしょうか?

中井:岩本栄之助はアメリカ視察の際にカーネギーホールを見て、その寄付文化に心打たれ、日本にもこういうホールが必要だという思いを抱いたといわれています。その結果私財をなげうって建設をした…という独特の「経緯」をもった建造物であることは事実です。一方で大阪は「旦那のまち」でもありますから、私財をなげうって公共のために役立つことをするという精神は、古くから根付いている場所でもありました。ですから岩本栄之助の偉大さでもありつつ、彼を育んだ大阪の精神の在り方、その両方が生み出したのがこの建物なのだと感じています。

大阪の昔からの商人がもつ公共というのは、簡単に言えば「社員」と「社会」の両方のためにという発想で、多くは創業の段階からそれを謳っているようですね。近江商人の「三方よし」とも通じているのだと思いますが。人間は一人で生きていけませんし、事業をするにもどこかで人の世話になっている…大成された方はこのことを誰よりも強く感じておられるのではないでしょうか。そしてその恩に報いたいという思いが、寄贈へと繋がっていったのではないかと思います。

■ この建物の中で岩本栄之助の精神をもっとも強く感じる場所はどこになるのでしょうか。

中井:個人的な見解ではありますが1Fの大集会室ではないかと。ここは市民が集う・憩うということを目的とした場所であり、文化を発信したり、受け止めたり…交流の中でお互いを高める「場」そのものなので。名前もそのコンセプトを顕著に語っていると思っています。公会堂は「公に会する」。ホールはすべて大集会室、中集会室、小集会室と、「集い、会う」ですからね。

集うことがお互いを高めることになるという考えが、現代的であるかどうかはそれこそ管理をしてゆく我々の課題でもあるのですが、そうあってこその建物だと考えておりますので、是非とも開館当初の思いを継承してゆきたいですね。またそういった集いを提供し、サポートしてゆくことがシビックプライドの醸成につながる…これは私の信念でもあります。

この建物の設置者である大阪市としては、ここの活動を通してにぎわいを創出し、他府県、あるいは世界に広く大阪の都市魅力を発信してほしいという意図を持っておられるようですが、都市魅力もにぎわいも、結局は都市のブランド力を上げることなんだと思います。「大阪に住みたい」「大阪に憧れる」「大阪に誇りを感じる」…そんなシビックプライドが醸成されれば、大阪ワースト記録の数も減るでしょうし。ある時、この建物を訪れた人が「大阪に来るのは初めてでしたが、こんな建物があったのですね。私、大阪が好きになりました」と言って下さったことがあるんです。この建物には人をそんな思いにさせる何かがあるのだと思います。シビックプライドを築くうえでも、大変重要な「要素」の一つだといえるのではないでしょうか。

■ その理想へと向かう上で、越えなければいけない「壁」というのはあるのでしょうか。

中井:大阪人にはどういう訳か戯謔的(ぎぎゃくてき)なところがあるように思います。心の奥底では高いプライドを持ちながらも、照れ隠しのようにちょっとおどけた感じで大阪のことを説明しますよね。それで大阪のイメージというのは全国的にもステレオタイプのものになってしまいがちですが…それが大阪人の中に徐々に「真実」として浸透しつつあるところが怖いなと思います。

そこでこの建物が出来ることは何か…見学に来る学童や若者は、皆一歩建物の中に入るだけで「わぁ!」と声をあげます。美しさに感動してくれている…この経験が一番効果的で、「これも大阪なのだ」ということを持って帰ってくれる。こういったことの積み重ねが徐々に変革を与えてゆくのでしょう。「壁」というなら、徐々に乗り越えることの作業と忍耐というところでしょうか。

ジェネレーションによって大阪のとらえ方は全て違うと思います。戦争経験者、団塊の世代、そのジュニア、更にその後…それぞれの背景となるライフスタイルも考え方も、モノ、人、街との接し方も全部異なると思うんです。ただ、古くから残る建物の使命というのは、そういった背景がどれほど変化しても、全てのジェネレーションの心の中にその建物が存在しているということなんだと思います。多様性の中の「個」であり、「個」ゆえの多様性…そういったものがこのような建築物の存在意義なんだといえるでしょう。

■ 市民に広くという思いと、建物の品位を守るという思い。時には相反することもあると思うのですが、そういった点についてはどのようにお考えでしょうか。

中井:それは建物の「風格」の問題だと思います。そしてその「風格」を形成するのはここで働くすべての人間の心と立ち居振る舞いだと思っています。平成30年に開館100年を迎えるわけですが「100年ブランド」に相応しい対応――これが生命線だと思っています。

そのサービス品質向上については常に意識的に「考動」しています。サントリーパブリシティーサービスには18か条の憲章があって、その原則をもとに、それにまつわる経験やエピソードと感想などを述べ合うという機会を定期的に設けています。表面的なマニュアルというものであればすぐに消えてしまうものだと思うのですが、理念を実際のケースに照らし合わせ、そこで感じたことを共有していくことで一つの「主体」に育てていく。そういう努力がこの建物に対して我々の出来る敬意の払い方なのではないかと考えています。

とはいえどこまでそれが出来るのかは…。それだけこの建物に込められた意義や思いというのは大きいのだと思います。一言で言えば大大阪時代のブライドですね。偉大な大阪の一時代を背景として、ここでヘレンケラー、ガガーリン、アインシュタインなどが講演をしたわけでしょう。多くのオペラも公演されてもいます。そんな輝き――消えやすいものですが、それを遺産としてではなく、今も息づくものとしていかに継承してゆくのか…日々精進ですね。

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(Invitation – Public) Japan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kishida, to deliver keynote lecture (23 July 2017 Symposium at Kobe University)

<<Notice from the Executive Secretariat>>

I received a visit yesterday from the Director of the Minister’s Secretariat (@Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo) regarding a Symposium that will take place on 23 July (Sunday) 2017 at Kobe University from 13:30. Mr. Kishida, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be the keynote speaker for this event.

The Symposium is free and open to the general public. KCC members, friends, family and other colleagues are warmly invited to attend. Details and an application form can be found at the MOFA link below. Please note that the lecture and discussion will take place in Japanese without English translation (*however, there will be no need to speak publicly, so those who can listen and understand a reasonable amount of Japanese should feel comfortable attending).

Link: http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/p_pd/dpr/page25_000895.html

Hope to see you there.

 

News and Updates, May-June 2017

It has certainly been a busy past few weeks for the Kansai Consular Corps and our colleagues in local government throughout the region. Indeed, the various prefectures of Kansai were a flurry of activity for the entire months of May and June as KCC Consulates and Honorary Consulates hosted several large-scale festivals and celebrations of national holidays, all of which contribute greatly to the vitality and richness of the cultural offerings for the people of Kansai.

How much , you may wonder? One noteworthy example is the annual Thai Culture Festival in Osaka, organized by the Royal Thai Consulate. It is reported that over 180,000 local Japanese residents participated in this recent two-day event. Featuring sports, dance, music performances, as well as booths showcasing Thai regional cuisine, this event has achieved much to promote exchange between Thailand and Kansai. Another example of meaningful person-to-person cultural exchange is the recent International Yoga Day event held in Kyoto with the support of the Consulate General of India Osaka-Kobe, in which a crowd of more than 1,300 people assembled to practice yoga underneath the sunshine and a beautiful torii gate before Heian Shrine.

It isn’t possible to present all of the recent activities, but here are some highlights below. Daily updates from the Kansai Consular Corps appear on the KCC Twitter Account. Our handle is: @kansaiconsuls

Indonesian Jewelry Exhibition (Consulate General of Indonesia)

(Details at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:https://goo.gl/A9fH7o ) 18556684_10155282625186407_514308236962631171_o

Thai Festival 2017 at Osaka Castle (Royal Thai Consulate General)

(Link to the Consulate with more details: http://www.thaiconsulate.jp/en/topics_detail2/id=370)

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International Yoga Day (Consulate General of India)

(For more details, please see https://www.yogadaykansai.com/ and future activities at https://indconosaka.org/event.php?id=77)

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National Holiday Reception (Consulate General of Russia)

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Philippines National Holiday Reception (Consulate General of Philippines)

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150th Anniversary Celebration of Canada (Honorary Consulate General of Canada)

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Independence Day Celebration of USA (Consulate General of the US in Osaka-Kobe)

(Official photos at the Consulate’s facebook page:https://goo.gl/7h7Ugd)

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Kansai Consular Corps Members Deepen Understanding of Traditional Japanese Products During the Nihonshu Economic Seminar and Tasting

Members of the Kansai Consular Corps and their guests assembled at Nihonzakari, a “shinisei” Sake Brewery in Nihshinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture.

The event was sponsored by the Sake and Shochu Brewers Association and Osaka Regional Tax Bureau. The program was as follows:

Nihonshu Seminar: Economics and Fundamental Knowledge of Nihonshu with 3 Highlights:

  1. Taxation in Japan in general and for liquor in particular
  2. Marketing and promotion of “Nihonshu” globally
  3. Tour of production facility of Nihonsakari Co. Ltd.

During his remarks, KCC Vice-Dean thanked the participating organizations for their efforts and contribution to make this event possible and Morimoto-san, President of Nihonzakari, for hosting the event, stating: “Through this seminar and factory tour, members of the Kansai Consular Corps could learn about the rich history and the significance of Nihonshu not only as a beverage but as an important part of the Japanese culture and history.”

 

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The 24th Tour of the Kansai Consular Forum (25 May 2016)

The 24th Tour of the Kansai Consular Forum was held on 25 May 2017. Members of the Kansai Consular Corps and other leaders from industry and local Chambers of Commerce gathered at Hyogo Works, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. for a tour of the facilities and to see first-hand an example of Japan’s cutting-edge train technology.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Kansai states that the “Kansai Consular Forum holds tours to introduce world-class research institutes, corporations, cultural facilities, urban infrastructure, etc. in the Kansai area to the consulate generals and overseas economic organizations based in the Kansai area.”

 

Hyogo Works Kawasaki Heavy Industries Group Photo

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Commemorative Ceremony to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Port of Kobe (19 May 2017)

On 19 May 2017 Members of the Kansai Consular Corps and other distinguished guests gathered at the Kobe Portopia Hotel for the Commemorative Ceremony of the 150th Anniversary of the Port of Kobe.

This ceremony was one part celebration of the past and one part vision for the future. Individuals who in the past made significant contributions to the development of the Port were recognized, and a presentation of the future vision for the Port.

(Photos from the event are kindly provided by the International Department of the Office of the Mayor of Kobe City)

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Translated Comments From the 2017 Kansai Consular Corps Youth Symposium

Symposium Photo

Photo 9 Photo 8 Photo 5 Photo 4 Photo 2Photo 11

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The 2017 Kansai Consular Corps Youth Symposium was held on 26 March in cooperation with Osaka Prefectural Government. Over 135 guests, including 17 members of the Kansai Consular Corps, representatives of Osaka Prefectural and Kobe Municipal government, and members of the Kansai business community gathered to hear the ideas of local high school, university, and graduate students.

The theme was 「機嫌よう働く: Kansai-Style Business and Working from the Heart」. Over a period of several months, the students met assembled in both Osaka and Kobe to receive special lectures and workshops (in both Japanese and English) from experienced professionals. They were then asked to prepare original presentations, addressing questions such as:

  • How can local government and business support the needs of the future generation in Kansai?
  • What can Kansai culture contribute to business innovation?

and others.

Presentations were followed by a lively free discussion in which members of the Kansai Consular Corps chatted candidly with youth participants, offering feedback, advice and other valuable bits of wisdom.

A more comprehensive summary, including photos, will be posted in the coming days.

For now, a brief translation into Japanese of comments made during the free discussion can be found here: 3月26日シンポジウム 質疑と評

(Announcement) Kansai Consular Corps Members Directory Updated

During recent months, the Kansai Consular Corps was joined by the following members:

  • Mr. Davaadorj Delgertsogt, Consul-General of Mongolia
  • Mr. Muhammad Khalid Jamil, Consul of Pakistan
  • Mr. Shiro Murai, Honorary Consul-General of the Slovak Republic
  • Mr. Tamio Ishibash, Honorary Consul of Latvia
  • Mr. Jean-Matthieu Bonne, Consul-General of France
  • Dr. Werner Koehler, Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Mr. Yoshiaki Kobayash,  Honorary Consul of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Osaka

Kansai Consular Corps members also bid farewell to Mr. Charles Henri Brosseau, former Consul-General of France in Kyoto. Consul-General Brosseau will move to a new post in Jakarta. The Kansai Consular Corps wishes him much success in his new posting.

Also, please note that the Consulate-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Osaka-Kobe has relocated to a new office effective 19 September 2016.

All changes can be found in the updated version of the Kansai Consular Corps Members Directory: members-list-15-september-2016

Invitation to an International Conference on Battery, Hydrogen and Fuel Cells organized by the Osaka Prefectural Government

Regarding: International Conference on Battery and Hydrogen / Fuel Cell 2016

Greetings everyone! It is another hot and sticky day in Kansai.
Hope you are all doing well and taking good care of yourself in this humid weather.
Please be sure to take appropriate 夏バテ measures!

Our colleagues in the Osaka Prefectural Government office have kindly shared this invitation with us. This is a very good opportunity explore the latest technology and meet key players in the hydrogen fuel cell emerging markets. There are still a few spaces left so please see the information below for more details.
Below, you will also find a link with additional information.

We strongly encourage our Consular Corps members, as well as interested persons in the community, to attend this event. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Dates: September 6 (Tue) – 8 (Thu), 2016
Organizer: Osaka Prefectural Government
http://www.osakaconf.info/index_e.html

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(Original invitation follows:)

The Conference will provide audience with a unique opportunity to learn state-of-art technologies and market information from key persons and leading experts in the fields.

The Conference also includes one-day excursion tour, taking you to Osaka’s pioneering activities in the fields, and networking opportunity with speakers and experts.

The conference is open for all people who are seeing new business opportunities in battery and hydrogen / fuel cell technologies as well as interested in these emerging markets.

http://www.osakaconf.info/OsakaConfProgramV1E.pdf