Event Gallery - 2014 Archive


April 2014

February 2014

January 2014


December 2014

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Matsuri in Sydney

On 13 December at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, thousands of people gathered for the “Matsuri in Sydney”, organised by the Festival Executive Committee. The Matsuri in Sydney is an annual event aimed at introducing traditional and modern Japanese culture to Australia, and promoting mutual friendship and understanding between the two nations. The festival included Taiko drum and Soran dance performances, calligraphy and sushi demonstrations, J-pop and J-rock shows, as well Japanese travel and tourism exhibitions, complete with people dressed in colourful cosplay costumes, Yukata and Kimono.

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After delivering his opening remarks, Consul-General Masato Takaoka joined with Councilor Robert Kok – representing the Mayor of Sydney, Mr Yushiro Mizukoshi – the President of the Japan Club, Mr Masaki Hayashi – Director of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Mr Takanobu Nakamasu – President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the traditional breaking open of the sake barrels known as “Kagamibiraki”.

Central Synagogue 2014

Ceremony to honour Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara at the Sydney Central Synagogue

On 6 December at the Sydney Central Synagogue, a ceremony was held to honour Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara for his efforts in issuing special transit visas to Jewish refugees during the Second World War, which saved thousands of lives. The ceremony was attended by Mr Sugihara’s great-grandson, Keisuke Sugihara. The ceremony was presided over by Rabbi Levi Wolff, whose maternal grandfather was saved by one of the visas issued by Mr Sugihara. He expressed his undying gratitude for Mr Sugihara’s courage and humanitarian actions, without which, his own family would not be alive today.
Consul-General Masato Takaoka was also invited to speak and he praised Mr Sugihara for being a “courageous diplomat of humanity” and for building a bridge between Japan and the Jewish community around the world. (Click here for the speech). The descendants of those saved by Mr Sugihara’s “Visas of Life” expressed their tearful and heartfelt gratitude and a Japanese flag was displayed in the Synagogue to mark this important occasion.

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Emperor’s Birthday Celebration Reception

On 2 December at the Consul-General’s residence, Consul-General Masato Takaoka hosted a reception to celebrate the Emperor’s 81st birthday. With more than 200 guests from various fields participating, Consul-General Masato Takaoka and the Hon. Bradley Hazzard, Attorney-General of NSW delivered their speeches, followed by Kagamibiraki (a Japanese custom, opening the wooden top of a sake barrel with wooden mallets for good fortune and wishing for harmony) performed by Mr Takaoka and nine guests, and then, the Hon. Tom Buthurst, Chief-Justice of NSW and Mr Takaoka made a toast for the other’s Head of State.

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In his speech, Consul-General Takaoka, looking back on the past ten months since he assumed his position, explained that the bilateral relations between the two countries have deepened through reciprocal visits by the Prime Ministers of both countries, the conclusion of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and interaction of the citizens of both countries at various levels. (Click here for the speech). The Hon. Bradley Hazzard, touching on his visit to Japan, expressed his hope that the relationship between the two countries as well as between Japan and the state of NSW will develop further.

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The reception warmed up with the Kagamibiraki and the guests enjoyed Japanese food culture represented by sushi and sake counters which were set up in the venue.

November 2014

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Japanese Film Festival Reception

On 17 November at the Consul-General’s residence, a reception was held to celebrate the opening film of the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Film Festival (Sydney) – Lady Maiko – and welcome the director Mr Masayuki Suo and lead actress Ms Mone Kamishiraishi.

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Consul-General Masato Takaoka honoured the achievements of the Japan Foundation for organising the world’s largest Japanese Film Festival outside of Japan. He commended Director Suo for increasing the understanding of Japanese culture and society internationally through his previous masterpieces such as “Shall We Dance?” and his latest work “Lady Maiko”, which was chosen as the opening night film for the 18th Japanese Film Festival here in Sydney. He also congratulated Ms Kamishiraishi for making her stunning debut in the same film.

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Director Suo and lead actress Ms Kamishiraishi also said a few words. Director Suo stated that while his work has tended to focus on Japanese culture and society, the themes of “family” and “humanity” are universal, and he hopes that he can continue to share such sentiments with Australia and the rest of the world.

A formal toast was delivered by Mr Andrew Stoner MP, Member for Oxley and former Deputy Premier of NSW. Additionally, representatives from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and other members of the film, theatre and arts community were also in attendance.


UNIQLO Sydney Flagship Store - Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On 13 November, Consul-General Masato Takaoka joined the Australian CEO of Uniqlo, Shoichi Miyasaka, for the official ribbon cutting to mark the opening of UNIQLO’s flagship Sydney store at the Mid-City Centre in Pitt St Mall.

October 2014

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8th Annual Inoue Yasushi Award Ceremony

On Friday 31 October at the University of Sydney, the Inoue Yasushi Award ceremony was held to celebrate outstanding achievement in Japanese Literature Studies by researchers based in Australia and New Zealand.

The 8th annual award was bestowed upon University of Sydney Assistant Professor Rebecca Suter for her work entitled: “Grand Demons and Little Devils: Akutagawa's Kirishitan mono as a Mirror of Modernity”. It was presented by Inoue Yasushi's eldest daughter, Ms Ikuyo Uraki and Inoue Yasushi Memorial Foundation Executive Director, Mr Pucheng. In his speech, Consul-General Masato Takaoka, as well as praising the winner, highlighted the importance of such awards to continue to promote interest and research into Japanese literature.

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In addition to the awards ceremony, Japanese choir "Sakura, Sakura" performed some Japanese songs and a screening of Inoue Yasushi’s original film "Chronicle of My Mother" was held.

UNSW Conference 2014

University of New South Wales, Japanese Studies Student Conference

On Friday 31 October, the University of New South Wales held their Japanese Studies Student Conference.

A total of seven groups researched and presented on a range of different topics, including Japanese “kawaii” culture, the difference in popularity between American comics and Japanese manga, and Japanese candid camera television programs.

Consul-General Masato Takaoka praised the university students and their professors for their ongoing efforts to shed light on Japanese values and culture, and hoped that they would endeavour to act as a bridge of understanding between Australia and Japan.

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Foreign Minister’s Commendation awarded to Ms Junko Morimoto

Consul-General Masato Takaoka presented the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation to Ms Junko Morimoto on the 21st October, at his official residence.

Since immigrating to Australia over 30 years ago, in 1982, Ms Morimoto has published 14 children’s books, including The White Crane (1983), The Inch Boy (1985) and Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award Winners Kojuro and the Bears (1987) and The Two Bullies (1998).

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Additionally, she courageously recounted her own experiences of the devastation of atomic bombs through her book My Hiroshima (1997), and worked tirelessly to impart the value of peace and the folly of war to primary and secondary students throughout regional New South Wales.

In light of these achievements, she was deemed a worthy recipient of the 2014 Foreign Minister's Commendation from the Japanese Government.

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Consul-General Masato Takaoka thanked Ms Morimoto for sharing her wonderful stories and folktales, which have enriched and deepened Australians’ understanding of Japan. Additionally, he commended her for recounting her personal experiences through her book My Hiroshima, which has helped to promote a positive image of Japan as a country that aspires for peace, despite being the only nation in the world to suffer the devastation of nuclear war.

As well as expressing gratitude in her own speech, Ms Morimoto conveyed her humble hopes that her picture books will continue to promote peaceful relations and mutual understanding between Australian and Japanese youth, as well as children throughout the world.

September 2014


Cowra Sakura Matsuri & Service of Respect

The Cowra Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) was held on Saturday 27 September. There was a variety of events and demonstrations introducing Japanese culture, such as gagaku music, the shakuhachi flute, wadaiko drumming, karate and aikido.

On 28 September, a Service of Respect was held at the Japanese and Australian War Cemeteries. The service was attended by Cowra Shire Mayor, Cr Bill West, and the Deputy Consul-General of Japan in Sydney, Mr Katsutoshi Miyakawa, who together laid a wreath in memory of the fallen.


Port of call of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force Training Squadron in Sydney

On the morning of September 11, the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces Training Squadron made port in Sydney, consisting of the training ships Kashima and Setoyuki and the destroyer Asagiri. The stop formed part of the Training Squadron’s ‘Overseas Training Cruise 2014’, a 158-day journey stopping at 15 international ports.



That evening a reception was held aboard the Kashima which was jointly hosted by the Consul-General of Japan in Sydney, Mr Masato Takaoka, and the Commander of the Training Squadron, Rear Admiral Hideki Yuasa. The reception was well attended by senior figures from government, military, academia and business as well as notables such as Olympic champion Ms Dawn Fraser AO MBE and Assistant Commissioner Robert MacNeil of Fire and Rescue NSW, who led Australia’s contribution to rescue operations following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. About 200 guests participated in total. At the reception, Japanese food and sake were served to the reception participants, who were able to appreciate the pleasant atmosphere on board.



In his welcoming speech at the reception, Consul-General Masato Takaoka thanked all who gave cooperation to Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces Training Squadron’s visit Sydney, and also spoke of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s historic and successful visit to Australia in July, which elevated relations between the two countries to new levels - increasing already strong Japan-Australia relations in terms of signing the Japan-Australia EPA and strengthening ties in economic and security fields (Click here for the speech).



During its stay in Australia, the Training Squadron participated in a range of events, including: a wreath laying commemoration to mark the 1942 attack on Sydney Harbour; a lecture by Rear Admiral Yuasa at a local university; and sports exchanges (including friendly matches with the Royal Australian Navy and exchange with the Kendo Association of NSW). Additionally special tours were held for children from the local Japanese community. On September 14, the Training Squadron departed for Honiara, the next stop on its international tour.



MOU Signing Ceremony between Japan’s National Institute for Material Science and NSW State Government

On 10 September, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the NSW Government and Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science(NIMS) at the NSW Parliament. The Hon Catherine Cusack MLC, Parliamentary Secretary Tertiary Education & Skills and Professor Sukekatsu Ushida, NIMS President were the signers. The ceremony was witnessed by Professor Mark Hoffman, Pro Vice-Chancellor, the University of NSW, and Consul-General Masato Takaoka who made a congratulatory address to the conclusion of the MOU.

This MOU will promote the research collaboration including the exchange of people and scientific/technical information between universities in NSW and Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science.

August 2014


Japan Centre 10th Anniversary Ceremony at the Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW.

On 30 August at the Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Councillor Jenny Dowell, Mayor of Lismore, and the Honourable John Dowd, Chancellor of Southern Cross University, received Consul-General Masato Takaoka to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Father Tony Glynn Japan Centre.

At the same ceremony, Consul-General Masato Takaoka paid tribute to the people of Lismore and Yamato-Takada for their efforts in grass-roots exchange that helped to establish the first sister city relationship between Australia and Japan in 1963. Since then, the friendly relations between our nations have continued to grow, and thanks to the co-operation and support of university and city officials, the establishment of the Japan Centre serves as worthy testament to this fact.

July 2014


JET Programme Farewell Reception

On 16 July, 28 new participants for the 2014 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme were farewelled by the Consul-General, members of the JET Alumni Association and other special guests. The participants will be departing in July and August and the total number of participants from NSW will be 32 this year.

June 2014

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Unveiling Ceremony for Plaques in Woollahra

On 6 June, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in a ceremony on Small Street in Woollahra by Mayor Zeltzer. The plaque commemorates the site which was bombarded by the Japanese armed forces in 1942.

Deputy Consul-General Toshiaki Kobayashi attended the ceremony on behalf of the Japanese consulate in Sydney.

In her address, Mayor Zeltzer remarked that the plaque will serve as a historical record of the war. She was also pleased to note the friendly and cooperative relationship Japan and Australia share today.

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The plaque reads "Bombardment 1942
Shell from Japanese submarine attack exploded here
8 June 1942".

May 2014

Memorial Service for HMAS Kuttabul and Japanese Midget Submarines

On 30 May, a memorial service organised by the Royal Australian Navy was held at the Garden Island naval base, HMAS Kuttabul commemorating the 72nd anniversary of those who lost their lives in an attack on Sydney harbour by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Senior members of the Commonwealth Government, Navy and Consular Corps, including Mr Masato Takaoka, the Consul-General of Japan in Sydney, were invited to participate and laid wreathes in tribute to those who died.

Before the ceremony, Consul-General Masato Takaoka also laid a wreath at a memorial to the crew of the midget submarines.


In a speech given by the Commanding Officer of the HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson, the continuing significance of reconciliation between Japan and Australia was emphasised, as was strengthening Japan-Australia relations into the future.


Snow & Adventure Seminar 2014

On 26 May, JNTO hosted the Snow & Adventure Seminar 2014 in Sydney. Representatives from Japan’s main ski regions including Hokkaido, Tohoku, Nagano and Niigata made presentations about the holiday experiences their regions offer. At the Seminar, Consul-General Masato Takaoka told participants how Japan is an ideal ski spot for Australians and it is famous for having some of the best powder snow in the world. The Consul-General also expressed his hope that Australians will visit Japan not only for skiing but also for other enjoyable experiences including Japanese cuisine, Japanese culture and onsen.

March 2014

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Port of call of the Japanese Antarctic research icebreaker ‘Shirase’ in Sydney

The Japanese icebreaker ‘Shirase’, carrying the 55th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE), arrived in Sydney on March 15 en route back to Japan. The Shirase had successfully completed its mission to deliver supplies and personnel to Showa Station (Japan’s Antarctic research station).

During the Shirase’s stay in Sydney, several special events were held. Captain Koji Hidaka visited representatives of the Australian navy and local government and took the opportunity to lay wreaths at HMAS Kuttabul. Furthermore, special tours of Shirase were conducted for school children and business people. Shirase departed Sydney on March 21.

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On the evening of the ship’s arrival in Sydney, a reception was held on board. More than 200 people participated, including Australian and Japanese representatives from government, academia and business. At the reception, Japanese food and drink were served to the participants, who enjoyed the friendly atmosphere on deck.

Consul-General Masato Takaoka emphasised in his speech at the reception the hardships faced by Captain Hidaka during the journey and by the JARE team during their year on Showa Station. Consul-General Masato Takaoka also remarked on his desire to broaden and strengthen the relationship between the two countries.


Great East Japan Earthquake Third Anniversary event

On 11 March, the NSW branch of the Australia-Japan Society, NSW Branch (AJS NSW), organised a memorial event for the three year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The event was opened by Mr Peter Gibson, who has travelled to the affected areas in Japan on foot. Consul-General Masato Takaoka spoke about the reconstruction effort that are ongoing in the affected area, and again expressed his gratitude for the friendship and support from Australia.


Also, Mr Philip Mitchell, President of the AJS NSW, presented a donation raised by AJS NSW to fund the ongoing reconstruction efforts in the affected area to Consul-General Masato Takaoka. The donation will be sent from the Consulate-General of Japan to the Japanese Red Cross Society.


Plaque unveiled at Cowra War Cemetery

On 9 March, the Mayor of Cowra, Cr Bill West, led a ceremony to unveil a plaque at the entrance of the path to the Japanese War Cemetery. The plaque tells the story of how Japanese civilians were interned in camps in Australia during the Second World War and how the cemetery in Cowra came to be the resting place for those who died while in the internment camps.


After the unveiling ceremony, services of respect were held at both the Australian and Japanese War Cemeteries in memory of those who died during the war, including the civilian internees. Deputy Consul-General Toshiaki Kobayashi attended on behalf of the Consulate; he laid a wreath and paid his respects to the memory of the fallen.


Clean Up Australia Day & BBQ

On 2 March, Consul-General Masato Takaoka and Deputy Consul-General Toshiaki Kobayashi joined 120 volunteers from the Japanese Society of Sydney Inc. (JSSI) and the Japan Club of Sydney in a Clean Up Australia event in Lane Cove National Park. It was the largest ever Clean Up Australia event held by the groups and it showed the strong ties in the Sydney Japanese community and the strong bonds of friendship.


The volunteers collected these “mountains of rubbish”. Across Australia, 570,000 people attended events and helped to clear away rubbish from over 7,000 locations. In all, over 15,700 tonnes of waste was collected around the country.

(Photo Credit: Japan Club of Sydney)



Ikebana Sogetsu Exhibition

On 1 March, Consul-General Masato Takaoka attended the Sogetsu Ikebana exhibition held at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. In his opening remarks, Consul-General Masato Takaoka said that seeing the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging, using unique native Australian native flowers and plants, he felt a new sense of beauty had been created and that this cultural fusion is part of what makes Sydney so attractive. The exhibition featured beautiful ikebana arranged by both Japanese and Australians, using vases especially created by ceramists, including Shoji Mitsuo.