Cambodia and Japan maintained close ties for 65 years – bridging differences in languages, traditions, religions and beliefs. To celebrate this decades-long friendship, the Embassy of Japan, Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC) and Japan Foundation Asia Center (JFAC) started the Tanabata Festival 2018 yesterday at the CJCC. The festival continues today.
In a press conference earlier this week, Tanabe Kaori, first secretary of the Embassy of Japan, said that the festival is based on a Japanese Tanabata story of a couple – a weaver princess and a cowboy – who meet just once in a year, on July 7, on the separate sides of the Amanogawa River.
“There will be a creative Khmer dance by Japanese artist, Yamanaka Hitomi, who choreographed new contemporary dances. She will be giving her performance during the opening ceremony. There will also be a performance by Pro Musica Nipponia and blessing dance by CJCC volunteers,” shared Ms Tanabe.
Mr Yuki Hamada, director of JFAC, emphasised that attendees can enjoy performances and concerts, and can also learn from the workshops hosted by Pro Musica Nipponia.
“I hope to see many Cambodians coming and learning many different things from Japanese musicians and guitarists. They also can enjoy and play those instruments,” said Mr Yuki.
Aside from the workshop of Japanese traditional instruments, movie showing, cooking class and Yukata wearing will also be held.
Seang Nimol, deputy director of CJCC, said that the centre will do its best to present Khmer traditional wear of the Long Vek Era. CJCC will also be giving out handmade floating lanterns.
“Cambodian and Japanese relations become closer and closer. As we can see, Cambodians also prefer to work and study in Japan. Japanese investments also increased in Cambodia,” said Mr Nimol.
The Tanabata Festival isn’t just a celebration of the 65th anniversary of Cambodia-Japan friendship, but also a showcase of both Japanese and Khmer cultures, traditions and practices.