Barbados Joins With Japan In Celebrating “Tenno Tanjobi”

A display of Japanese wines and sake at the celebration of “Tenno Tanjobi”, the Emperor’s birthday. (Credit: S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and the private sector joined on Friday, February 23, with the Japanese Embassy to celebrate “Tenno Tanjobi”, the Emperor’s birthday.

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands, extended greetings and congratulations, and the very best wishes to Emperor Naruhito on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados. 

This was done during a reception at the Hilton Barbados Resort, where the President of Barbados, Her Excellency, The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, was also in attendance.

Minister Husbands noted that since Barbados and Japan established diplomatic relations on August 29, 1967, the relationship has been marked by mutual respect and cooperation and by collaboration in regional and multilateral fora.

“I am certain that we will continue to work at both the bilateral and multilateral levels to deepen our cooperation, … and to raise worldwide awareness of the unique vulnerabilities that small island developing states face,” Ms. Husbands stated.

The acting Foreign Affairs Minister disclosed that this year the friendship between CARICOM and Japan will be celebrated. “Indeed, Japan is one of the strongest bilateral partners of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States. Japan has played an instrumental role in the Caribbean region. And this year (2024) has been designated as the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year.”

Minister Husbands noted that during the 56 years of relations with Japan, the country has assisted Barbados in several areas, including disaster preparedness; disaster risk management; capacity building training offered through the Japan International Cooperation Agency; and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.

In her remarks, Ambassador of Japan to Barbados, Kayoko Fukushima, reiterated her Emperor’s call in his New Year’s address, which underscored the importance of mutual understanding and collaboration to build peace in the world.

Ambassador Fukushima stated that after spending almost two years in this “beautiful country”, she is “elated” to have witnessed the broadening and deepening of relations between the two nations.

Japan’s Ambassador to Barbados, Kayoko Fukushima. (Credit: S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

“Japan and Barbados share a friendly history grounded in the mutually shared values of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. I look forward to continued collaboration in the areas of climate change, renewable energy, disaster risk management, culture and education, as well as further engagement with the people of Barbados,” she said.

The Ambassador highlighted some of the activities that will mark the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year, which included the recently-held Japanese Calendar Exhibition. 

There will also be a guest seminar on Japanese Animation and the Content Industry, on Friday, March 1, and in April, a Japanese traditional folk dance and music exhibit. Later this year, there are plans to stage a Japanese film festival.

Ambassador Fukushima played two instrumentals on the keyboard – a Japanese folk song entitled “Sakura Sakura” and “Beautiful Barbados”.  There was also a booth displaying origami as well as sampling of Japanese sweet treats and liquor, including wine from Nanyo City, in Northeastern Japan. 

To conclude the event, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, made a Toast to the Emperor. Emperor Naruhito acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne, on May 1, 2019. He is the 126th monarch, according to Japan’s traditional order of succession. 

Author: Sheena Forde-Craigg


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