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Taiwan Plus culture festival opens in Kyoto

05/11/2024 10:31 PM
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Taiwanese and Japanese officials and dignitaries launch the annual Taiwan Plus event which is held in Kyoto for the first time since the event's inception. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture
Taiwanese and Japanese officials and dignitaries launch the annual Taiwan Plus event which is held in Kyoto for the first time since the event's inception. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture

Kyoto, May 11 (CNA) Taiwan Plus, an annual cultural festival to raise global awareness about Taiwanese culture, opened in Kyoto on Saturday with Taiwan's top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) saying he is moved by the friendship between Taipei and Tokyo.

The 2024 Taiwan Plus festival, organized by Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC) and book chain operator Eslite Spectrum Corp., Kyoto Prefecture and Nippon Salvage Service (NSS), is the largest Taiwanese cultural event held in Japan, featuring Taiwan's bubble tea and Hung Rui Chen sandwiches among other Taiwanese specialties.

Taiwan's top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh (left) introduces Taiwanese comics to Japan's House of Councillors member Hirofumi Takinami at Kyoto's first Taiwan Plus event on Saturday. CNA photo May 11, 2024
Taiwan's top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh (left) introduces Taiwanese comics to Japan's House of Councillors member Hirofumi Takinami at Kyoto's first Taiwan Plus event on Saturday. CNA photo May 11, 2024

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hsieh said the friendship between Taiwan and Japan continues to strengthen as they face challenges together, and ties became even closer after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Taiwan's Hualien on April 3, prompting the Japanese government and private sector to provide assistance.

Hsieh added he was touched when he saw Japanese raising funds at airports and train stations for the victims of the earthquake, the strongest to strike Taiwan in nearly 25 years.

Through the festival, Hsieh said he hopes the friendship between Taiwan and Japan will become well known around the world.

In addition to Hsieh, other senior figures in attendance included Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), head of Taiwan's National Development Council; deputy governor of Kyoto Prefecture Kazuya Suzuki; and Japanese House of Councilors member Hirofumi Takinami.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese folk singer Chen Ming-chang (陳明章) performed during the opening.

Suzuki offered his sympathy to the victims of the Hualien earthquake, expressing hope that their lives will return to normal as soon as possible.

Suzuki observed that as Taiwan and Japan are two close friends, the Taiwan Plus festival will allow Japanese to learn more about Taiwanese culture and enhance understanding of industrial development on both sides.

For his part, Takinami said his wife is Taiwanese so he feels that Taiwan and Japan are family.

Kung said for the cultural festival, he visited Japan for the second time this year after an earlier trip to Kumamoto, where Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has opened an advanced wafer fab and has planned to build a second fab.

Kung added Taiwan is not only represented by TSMC but also by its culture with Taiwan Plus serving as a vehicle for the younger generation in Taiwan to showcase cultural innovation.

During the two-day event, Taiwanese artists, including Chen and Puyuma Family Band, will collaborate with their Japanese counterparts, such as the Style Kyoto Orchestra and conductor Kimbo Ishii.

Other well-known participants include Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School marching band, the GACC said.

Members of Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School marching band, who gained popularity in Taiwan after having performed on a national stage, perform at the Taiwan Plus event in Kyoto. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture
Members of Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School marching band, who gained popularity in Taiwan after having performed on a national stage, perform at the Taiwan Plus event in Kyoto. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture
A Taiwan award-winning marmalade maker gifts her product to the conductor and members of Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School marching band, who gained popularity in Taiwan after having performed on a national stage. CNA photo May 11, 2024
A Taiwan award-winning marmalade maker gifts her product to the conductor and members of Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School marching band, who gained popularity in Taiwan after having performed on a national stage. CNA photo May 11, 2024

In addition, Hsin Kang Feng Tian Temple from Chiayi County in Taiwan will feature the Taiwan religious icon sea goddess Mazu.

There is also a market at the festival selling many limited edition Taiwanese products including Gold Medal Taiwan Beer, while wanna manna, a Taiwanese breakfast vendor located in Osaka, is providing limited cuisine at the festival.

Festival attendees enjoy shopping and browsing the Taiwan Plus event in Kyoto. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture
Festival attendees enjoy shopping and browsing the Taiwan Plus event in Kyoto. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's General Association of Chinese Culture
Festival attendees enjoy collecting tape with artistic designs surrounding Taiwan at the Taiwan Plus event in Kyoto. CNA photo May 11, 2024
Festival attendees enjoy collecting tape with artistic designs surrounding Taiwan at the Taiwan Plus event in Kyoto. CNA photo May 11, 2024

Launched in 2018, the festival has attracted a total of 220,000 visitors over the years.

The event, previously held in Tokyo, will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days.

(By Yeh Kuan-yin, Yang Ming-chu, Lee Hsin-Yin and Frances Huang)

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