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Cultural Diplomacy, News

Rijeka and ECoC representatives as guests in Japan at the invitation of the EU – Japan Fest Foundation

The mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, the director of RIJEKA 2020, Emina Višnić, and the Development and Strategic Partnership Division Manager in RIJEKA 2020, Irena Kregar Šegota, are staying as guests in Tokyo, Japan, on 20-24 February, where they will present the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture (ECoC) project.

The representatives from Rijeka have travelled to Tokyo at the invitation of the EU – Japan Fest Foundation, which financed their stay. This is a foundation that has been supporting the ECoC cities over the past 20 years by financing the participation of Japanese artists and organisations in the programmes of ECoC cities.

Therefore, the Rijeka delegation represents Rijeka and Croatia as well as the Rijeka 2020 – ECoC programme in Japan, in order to attract funds from the Foundation and realise those parts of the Rijeka 2020 – ECoC programme that are related to Japan through their themes or through the invited artists. There are a dozen similar proposals in the programme planned for 2020 and the emphasis will be placed on them during the presentation of the Rijeka ECoC in Japan. This year, Rijeka is particularly interesting as it is finalising its preparations for 2020, which will be the year it will become a recognisable cultural destination at the European level. The Rijeka Capital of Culture project includes over 1000 individual programmes, more than 3000 performers and a cultural exchange with approximately 50 countries from Europe and around the world. The members of the Japanese foundation in the capital of culture projects recognise the opportunity to present their artists in Europe.

The members of the EU – Japan Fest are 20 of the most important Japanese companies (such as Toyota, Nakamura, etc.), and the presentation of the cultural ECoC programme will be held in Japan before the representatives of these companies. A special meeting will also be held with the said companies. Alongside Rijeka, representatives from 11 European cities have also arrived to Japan this year, from the former ECoC Wroclaw, the current capitals of culture, Matera and Plovdiv, to the future capital Novi Sad.

Apart from the meeting with the members of the EU – Japan Fest Foundation, there will also be a meeting with Japanese artists and cultural organizations. For example, last year this meeting gathered around 500 artists; the aim of the meeting with the Japanese artists and cultural organisations is to meet and potentially recognize those artists and their work that could fit and be included in the Rijeka 2020 – Japan Fest programme.

Moreover, the visit to Japan will include a meeting of the ECoC cities with the diplomatic representatives in Tokyo and the Croatian ambassador in Japan. The hosts of the meeting with the diplomatic representatives will be the representatives of Italy, and next year the hosts will be the representatives of Croatia.

It should also be mentioned that the Rijeka 2020 – ECoC project will be presented to tourist organizations and at the Pecha Kucha events, which are attended by around 800 people. Rijeka 2020 – ECoC was presented at the Pecha Kucha event last year and you can see the presentation on the following link.

Today, as part of their stay in Japan, the mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, and the Croatian ambassador in Tokyo, Dražen Hrastić, will receive a visit from Norihiko Fukuda, the mayor of Kawasaki, the oldest sister city of Rijeka. The topic of the conversation will be the participation of Kawasaki in the 37th International Rijeka Carnival and Carnival parade 2020, as well as participation in the official opening of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture programme. The speakers will also discuss the Olympic Games, which will be held in Tokyo in 2020, as the City of Kawasaki is participating actively in the organization.