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Event Report (2017)

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* For information about current and upcoming events, please click here.

2017 Emperor's Birthday Reception

The Emperor’s Birthday Reception was held on 7 December at the official residence of Consul-General Mr Matsunaga. The reception was attended by more than 300 people, including representatives of the State Government and the Opposition, members of Parliament, local governments, the Consular Corps in Melbourne, cultural and educational organisations and the business communities of Japan and Australia. Miss International Australia and Visit Japan Ambassador, Ms Amber Dew, was present to receive the guests along with Mr and Mrs Matsunaga. Also on display were gorgeous flower arrangements that the guests had seen a preview of in a time-lapse video sent to them a day earlier.

Consul-General Mr Matsunaga made a speech, followed by congratulatory remarks from Mr Frank McGuire MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Innovation, on behalf of the Premier of Victoria, and Mr Brad Battin MP on behalf of the Opposition.

Due to bad weather, the wadaiko (Japanese drumming) performance and Japanese tea ceremonies were called off but the guests enjoyed a live performance by a harpist and a soprano singer, both Japanese. Various sake, Japanese beer, umeshu (plum wine), Japanese probiotic dairy drink, and matcha slushies were offered as refreshments. Onigiri (rice balls) made from newly-harvested Japanese rice and okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes) made from Japanese rice flour were offered as well. The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne displayed their members' goods, including high-tech face recognition technology and virtual reality headsets showing 3D images, and distributed a range of free product samples to guests in the evening.
Consul-General Matsunaga, Mrs Matsunaga, and Visit Japan Ambassador Ms Amber Dew greeting guests Soprano Ms Natsuko Mineghishi and harpist Ms Yuko Tomonaga performing the national anthem
Toasts by Mr Frank McGuire MP and Consul-General Matsunaga Guest speakers Mr Frank McGuire MP and Mr Brad Battin MP
The Consul-General's speech The very popular sake tasting corner
Sake samples The ikebana display

2017 JET Welcome Reception

On 30 November, Consul-General Matsunaga hosted a reception to welcome recently returned JET Programme participants at his official residence. The reception was attended by 16 recently returned JET participants, The Hon Colin Brooks MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and Mr Kazuhiro Murakami, President of the Japanese Society of Melbourne. Other guests included representatives from the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations in Sydney, Japanese lecturers/teachers, former JET Programme participants, and business representatives from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne who have connections to the returned JET participants' placements in Japan.

A special delegation from Okayama called "Quality Okayama" was present at the reception. They displayed bizen ware pottery and provided sake from five Okayama breweries to the guests.

Japanese Film Festival in Melbourne

On 23 November, Japanese Film Festival, organised by the Japan Foundation Sydney, was opened in Melbourne. Consul-General Matsunaga delivered a speech at the reception before screening of an opening film of the night, "Mumon: The Land of Stealth", in a ninja costume.

Ceremony to present the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation to Emeritus Professor Yoshio Sugimoto, La Trobe University

On 18 October 2017, a ceremony was held to celebrate the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation to Emeritus Professor Yoshio Sugimoto, La Trobe University, at the official residence of the Consul-General of Japan. Consul-General Kazuyoshi Matsunaga presented Dr Sugimoto with a letter of commendation and an accompanied gift from the Foreign Minister. Guests at the ceremony included Mrs Sugimoto and Dr Sugimoto’s colleagues and academic peers praised for his long-term contribution to the development of Japanese studies in Australia.

While working at La Trobe University in the 1980s, Dr Sugimoto contributed to the establishment of the Japanese Studies Centre placed at Monash University and served as one of its Foundation Directors. He wrote many books and articles on Japanese society, including his masterwork “An Introduction to Japanese Society”, and played a significant role in promoting a paradigm shift in Japanese studies in the world.

In the year 2000, Dr Sugimoto established his own publishing house, Trans Pacific Press, specializing in English versions of Japanese social scientists’ books. This has contributed to the transmission of high-quality studies made in Japan to the world. Trans Pacific Press continues to produce professional studies today. The Foreign Minister’s Commendation recognises Dr Sugimoto’s such achievements.

The Victorian Final of the Japanese Language Speech Contest 2017

On Sunday 10 September, Consul-General Matsunaga attended the Victorian Final of the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest held at the University of Melbourne. An audience of over 200 people watched the 67 contestants speak about unique aspects of Japanese society and culture.

The National Final will be held on Saturday 7 October 2017 at the Japan Foundation in Sydney, where the winners of the state and territory contests will compete.
The Consul-General
Photos: Katsuyoshi Yabe

Click the preview image above to read the full list of prize winners.

Chado Seminars - The Way of Tea

On 31 August and 1 September, the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne in partnership with the University of Melbourne presented public Chado Seminars organised by Urasenke. The seminars were held at the Japanese Room in the University of Melbourne. Over 80 people including The Hon Heidi Victoria, Shadow Minister for Tourism and Major Events and Shadow Minister for Arts and Culture, attended the seminars which featured demonstrations and tastings of traditional Japanese matcha provided for free by Ito En. The seminars were a great success and provided memorable experience to many of the attendees.

Experience Japan in Melbourne

On 9 August, Consul-General Matsunaga hosted an event for guests to experience Japan’s local products and its unique regional cultures at his residence. The event was attended by around 80 people, including members of Okinawa, Ehime and Tokushima prefectural delegations, a Japanese Wagashi artist, a local Japanese calligrapher, members of Chado Urasenke Melbourne, and members of Victorian government and business communities from Australia and Japan. Ehime's mascot character 'Mikyan' and Mr and Mrs Matsunaga welcomed the guests.

The guests, many of whom were chefs and owners of restaurants and bars in Melbourne, enjoyed the various local food and drinks along with wagashi making performances, a Japanese calligraphy performance, tea ceremony, live chat with Okinawa farmers and Tokushima's awa odori dance.

Photos: Shuhei Kosugi

2017 JET Farewell Reception

On 19 July, Consul-General Matsunaga hosted a reception to farewell 32 departing JET Programme participants from Victoria at his official residence. The reception was attended by Ms Inga Peulich MLC, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Shadow Minister for Scrutiny of Government and Member of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Japan; Mr Kazutomo Tamesada, President of the Japanese Society of Melbourne; and Mr Katsunori Kamibo, Director of the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations in Sydney. Other guests included Japanese lecturers/teachers, former JET Programme participants, and business representatives from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne who have connections to the new JET participants' destinations.

The 2017 JET Programme participants departed on 23 July to commence their one-year contracts as Assistant Language Teachers or Coordinators for International Relations in Japan. This year a total of 44 new JET participants have joined so far in the Programme from Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

For information on the JET Programme, please visit the JET Programme website.

JNTO's Japan Adventure Travel Mart 2017

On 25 May, Japan Adventure Travel Mart 2017 was held in Melbourne by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). Consul-General Kazuyoshi Matsunaga attended this annual event and delivered the opening speech. Many local tour companies and tourism organisations attended the seminar. The event also featured information booths provided by Japanese local government organisations and tourist organisations to promote the attractions of adventure tourism in Japan.

Japan Festival 2017

On 21 May, Consul-General Matsunaga attended the 2017 Japan Festival organised by the Japan Club of Victoria, which was held at the Box Hill Town Hall and Box Hill TAFE.

More than 4,000 visitors enjoyed various food from Japanese food stalls, a kimono competition, a cosplay contest, shamisen and taiko drum performances on stage. Our consular information booth was set up at the festival venue to provide services including applications for residence and electoral registration for Japanese overseas residents.

Whitehorse-Matsudo Sister City 46th Anniversary Celebration

On 12 May, Consul-General Kazuyoshi Matsunaga attended a ceremony celebrating for the 46th year of the sister city relationship between the City of Whitehorse and the City of Matsudo. Consul-General Matsunaga offered congratulations and gratitude for the success of 46 years of the excellent sister city relations at the ceremony. The ceremony was attended by Councillor Ben Stennett, the President of the Legislative Council, the Hon Bruce Atkinson, and many others who have contributed to the Whitehorse-Matsudo relationship and the Australia-Japan relationship more broadly. After a tree planting ceremony, Consul-General Matsunaga and Councillor Stennett held a skype conversation with Mayor of Matsudo, Kenji Hongoya.

Public lecture by Adam Liaw

On 31 March, the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne in partnership with the University of Melbourne presented a free public lecture by Adam Liaw, Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine, as part of the university's Centenary of Japanese Language Teaching celebrations. The lecture entitled "Japan and I: Past, Present and Future" attracted more than 450 guests at Sidney Myer Asia Centre in the University of Melbourne.

Seminar by Retired Vice Admiral Yoji Koda

On 10 March, the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne held a maritime security seminar presented by retired Vice Admiral Yoji Koda with the co-sponsorship of RMIT University and Curtin University. Entitled "Japan's Perspectives - South China Sea and North Korea", the seminar attracted 65 guests at RMIT University.

Dr Seiichiro Takagi: “China and the Indo-Pacific – The View from Japan”

On 28 February, the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne hosted a seminar by Dr Seiichiro Takagi titled "China and the Indo-Pacific: The View from Japan" at the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) in Melbourne. The seminar attracted more than 60 guests, including Mr Patrick Moore, President of the AIIA in Melbourne, students and researchers.

Piano recital performed by Yu Kosuge

On 27 February, the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne hosted a free piano concert performed by Ms Yu Kosuge at Collins Street Baptist Church. Ms Kosuge, who regularly performs in Asia and Europe, played a range of works by Bach, Beethoven, Takemitsu, Liszt and Wagner throughout the evening. A 180 plus audience was totally captivated by her passionate virtuoso performance.

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