Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Reign of His Majesty the King of Thailand The Educational Art Exhibition

Asian Arts for the Children ASEAN+2

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Tour’s departure: Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

A group of about 50 members departed on a fine evening from the New Tokyo International Airport in Narita. The group consisted of leading Japanese artists who had entered their works in the “Educational Art Exhibition: Asian Arts for the Children ASEAN+2”, which was to be held to celebrate the 70th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the 9th monarch of the Chakri Dynasty of Thailand.

At Narita, a speech was given by Senior Advisor Nobutoshi Akao of the World Art and Culture Exchange, which operated the exhibition, which had surely boosted the team spirit of the group.

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Tour of Bangkok Thursday, June 9th, 2016

The group first visited Bangkok’s greatest tourist spots, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Pho by chartering a boat to go north on Chao Phraya River from the hotel. In Bangkok boiling with the 70th anniversary of the king’s reign, the river route was taken as there were strict traffic controls enforced up to the 11th of the month, which was the day of the coronation.

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The Grand Royal Palace, or commonly called Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Pho are the most popular tourist spots in Thailand and many people must have visited there a few times, but the members of the group must have understood that such places seem to change the way they look at every visit, just as Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples do in Japan.

The next place on the agenda was Silpakorn University (National University of Thailand) to see the sculptures of the kings of Thailand, followed by a group photo in front of the bronze statue of the university’s founder Sin Phirasi, and the morning part of sightseeing concluded.

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In the afternoon on the same day, the group was invited to the solo exhibition at National Art Gallery by Prof. Vichoke Mukdamanee, Former Vice President of Silpakorn University, who had supervised the “The Educational Art Exhibition: Asian Arts for the Children ASEAN+2”, to view the best works of contemporary Thai art. Prof. Vichoke presented the Japanese artists, who had come to Thailand for the Exhibition, with a signed catalogue of the solo exhibition, paid his respect and offered a heartfelt welcome.

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Opening Ceremony Friday, June 10th, 2016

The long-awaited opening ceremony was to be held at 16:30 at Phaya Thai Palace, but HSH Prince Mongkol Yukol and his consort arrived early. Prince Mongkol Yukol is the head of the Yukol family and is the great grandson of Rama V, His Majesty King Chulalongkorn, and is related to HRH Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara. Executive director Anuwat Boonithee in charge of contact with the royal household for the event affirmed that the Prince’s attendance was proof of his sympathy with the attitudes of the Japanese artists toward the education of art for children.

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It goes without saying that the power of culture, namely art, had clearly been exhibited, and gratitude must be expressed to all the Japanese artists, whether or not they visited Thailand.

At the opening ceremony, Senior Advisor Nobutoshi Akao greeted HSH Prince Mongkol Yukol and gave his opening address. Senior Advisor Nobutoshi Akao had served as the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand, and there is no doubt that he served as a significant contact for Japan in Thailand. The 60 key figures of Thailand who were in attendance were also aware of this fact, and everyone, including HSH Prince Mongkol Yukol and his consort, listened to the Senior Advisor’s address with respect.

The Senior Advisor’s speech was followed by the opening address of Executive Director Anuwat Boonithee, who was in charge of contact with the royal household. From among the guests, Counsellor Shigenori Kobayashi of the Embassy of Japan in Thailand gave a congratulatory address. When Counsellor Kobayashi spoke in fluent Thai, the key figures of Thailand murmured in surprise.

The opening ceremony concluded with a speech by Kazuo Yamakawa, representing the artists who were visiting Thailand. A farewell dinner was held in the evening, attended by the key figures of Thailand, who had also attended the opening ceremony, which concluded successfully.

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Final day of the tour: Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Again, the tour group headed for Phaya Thai Palace, where the exhibition was held, to review the works on exhibit and to participate in the “Children’s Art Session”. The approximately an hour-long Art Session was very enjoyable but past so quickly. The bond that had been established between the two nations was surely strengthened further.

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The art exhibition made us re-acknowledge the richness of the Japanese artists’ spirit of social contribution, and it was keenly felt that we, as host, had learned from their spirit and energy. It seemed that art itself had told us that the role of art is to set forth guidelines for peace.