JAPAN Foundation Manila (JFM) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of nurturing closer cultural ties between Japan and the Philippines.
During the celebration in Makati City attended by the diplomatic community and leading Filipino figures in the culture and the arts, JFM Director Hiroaki Uesugi said this year’s celebration became more meaningful as the two countries are also celebrating their 60th year of diplomatic relations.
“We are creating activities in various fields for fostering cultural understanding between our two countries. I feel that our relationship is at our closest and friendliest ever, of which we are modestly proud that Japan Foundation Manila has been taking an active role in cultivating,” Uesugi said.
For his part, Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa said they are looking forward to the next 20 years of Japan Foundation in the country.
“The next 20 years will undoubtedly present new challenges and opportunities to the foundation. However, Japan Foundation Manila will continue to be a leading instrument in furthering the bond between Japan and the Philippines,” Ishikawa said.
Since its inception in 1996, JFM has always been bonded on its three pillars—Japanese language education, arts and culture, and Japanese studies and intellectual exchange.
On language education, JFM offers courses from beginner to intermediate, while, at the same, time training high-school teachers in partnership with the Department of Education.
It also conducts Japanese Language Proficiency Tests twice a year in Manila, Cebu and Davao, and holds regular events for Japanese language learners.
On arts and culture, JFM gives Filipinos the chance to relate to Japanese culture and provide the Japanese with an understanding of Filipino culture.
Among its regular events are the annual Eigasai film festival and a series of J-pop performances. It also regularly participates in the annual International Silent Film Festival.
On Japanese studies and intellectual exchange, JFM provides grant programs to Japanese studies organizations, fellowship for scholars and researchers conducting studies on Japan, and support programs for international collaborative projects and dialogues.
Uesugi urged everyone during the anniversary celebration to work together to create a brighter future for Japan and the Philippines.
Among those present were Cultural Center of the Philippines Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado, Philippine-Japan Friendship Foundation Executive Trustee Ambassador Benjamin Sanvictores, former Ambassador to the Asean Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta, and Philippine Educational Theater Association President Cecilia Garrucho.
Japan Foundation, established in 1972 by special legislation in the Japanese Diet, has presence in 23 countries worldwide.
Image credits: Stephanie Tumampos