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Department of Cultural Affairs

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Taipei, Wakayama renew MOU to promote cultural exchange

By Yali Chen
 
Taipei City and Japan’s Wakayama City renewed a memorandum of understanding on comprehensive cultural exchange and cooperation on March 15 to forge closer friendship.
 
In 2013, Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) set out to renovate a long banquet hall of Kishu An, a historic site in Taipei City that used to function as a Japanese-style restaurant during the period of Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945.

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Photo from DOCA
From right to left, Tsai Tsung-hsiung, Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs; Hsueh Chuen-ming, Deputy Secretary-General of Taipei City Government; Wakayama City Mayor Masahiro Obana; and Wakayama City Council Speaker Matsui Kibo after signing an MOU in Japan on March 15. 

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Photo from DOCA
Hsueh Chuen-ming, Deputy Secretary-General of Taipei City Government, and Tsai Tsung-hsiung, Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs visit Wakayama Castle, Kishu Toshogu Shrine, and Kishu Lacquerware Traditional Industrial Hall.

Some members of Wakayama City Council came to visit the new Kishu An hall after they learned via the Internet that there had been several actual connections between the two cities in the past. This visit led to the 7-year good friendship between Taipei City Government, Wakayama City Government, Wakayama City Council, and Japan-Taiwan Friendly Councilor Alliance of the Wakayama City Council.
 
On May 20, 2017 when the Kishu An celebrated its 100th anniversary, the two cities signed an MOU for the first time to promote cultural exchange. The Wakayama City Government, Wakayama City Council, and Japan-Taiwan Friendly Councilor Alliance of the Wakayama City Council gave Taipei City Government a picture of Mount Fuji, drawn by Wakayama-born artist Kiyomizu Dasan, and a cherry tree, permanently planted in the Kishu An.
 
From March 14 through March 16 this year, Hsueh Chuen-ming, Deputy Secretary-General of Taipei City Government, and the DOCA Commissioner Tsai Tsung-hsiung visited the Japanese city with more than 400 years of history.
 
Their tour included Wakayama Castle, designated as a national treasure in 1935; Kishu Toshogu Shrine, a famous historical attraction; Kishi Station, known for Tama the Stationmaster cat, who became the mascot for the station, attracted tourists and contributed to the local economy; and Kishu Lacquerware Traditional Industrial Hall.
 
On March 15, Hsueh, on behalf of Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je, renewed a 3-year MOU with Wakayama City Mayor Masahiro Obana to continue promoting exchange and cooperation in culture, art and tourism.
 
“Wakayama City has several similarities with Taipei. Both of us show great hospitality and chose Rhododendron as our city flower,” Tsai said.