25th Anniversary of the Restoration of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Lithuania

Japan-Lithuania Friendship Exchange Art Exhibition TOKOSHIE

Art Exhibition General Evaluation 

The Japan-Lithuania Friendship Exchange Art Exhibition TOKOSHIE was held over a month and a half from December 9, 2016 (Friday) to January 22, 2017 (Sunday) at M.ŽILINSKO DAILĖS GALERIJA, located in the old temporary capital, Kaunas.

As you will know from films and news, Kaunas is where Chiune Sugihara saved as many as 6,000 Jewish people of Lithuania and Poland by issuing them with transit visas to Japan. It is a beautiful city with a wonderful natural environment which does not lend itself to the tragedy at that time. It is also due to the influence of Chiune Sugihara that the city has a never-ending supply of Japanese visitors.

We cannot deny that humanitarian actions that have gone down in history have helped but the religious spirit in the country seems to have a concept similar to Japan’s Shinto religion and we are left with the impression that this is a country with extremely strong affinity towards Japan. There is no need to mention that the holding of the art exhibition that promotes the development of Japanese art and peace in this kind of good environment has strengthened the friendly bonds between the two countries.

The culture of art is, just as it sounds, the art of expressing beauty and is very effective as a vehicle to pray for peace. We presented the exhibits into which the Japanese artists have put their heart and soul as symbols of peace and we are receiving reports from gallery staff that many gallery visitors have left with the impression of strong affinity mentioned above.

In this way, it is not an exaggeration to evaluate the art exhibition as not only being deeply significant but also being a success due to the efforts of the Japanese artists.

WAC

 

Programs of Visit to Lithuania 

December 9, 2016 (Thurs.)

 We organized a tour to the city in conjunction with the Japan-Lithuania Friendship Exchange Art Exhibition TOKOSHIE. The tour was for 5 days from December 8 (Thurs.) to 13 (Tue.). This report contains the contents of the tour programs, including the opening ceremony, an art session and sightseeing  in Lithuania, which is friendly towards Japan.

 

Opening Ceremony 

December 9, 2016 (Fri.)

The opening ceremony commenced at 5pm in the M.ŽILINSKO DAILĖS GALERIJA and the opening address was given by Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor to WAC and former Japanese Ambassador to Thailand. As this is the first time such an exhibition was held in Lithuania, he started by talking about the past art exhibitions held both in Japan and overseas by the World Art and Culture Exchange, adding that the meaning of these exhibitions was social education through art and then talked about the background of organizing this art exhibition that he hoped would promote world peace.

Lithuania was under Soviet rule for a long period and the people have an extremely high awareness and desire for peace; they have a deep understanding of the importance of the word peace. For this reason, we received many comments from visitors who were significantly impressed by this exhibition.

Congratulatory speeches were offered by Ambassador Toyoei Shigeeda, representing the Japanese Embassy in Lithuania, one of our sponsors, and Mr. Osvaldas Daugelis, Director of the M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum. Ambassador Shigeeda awarded the artists, who had travelled to the exhibition, (WAC) Certificate of ‘Ambassador Contributing to Japan – Lithuania Peace & Art’.

A reception with wine was held at the venue with attendance of many people including Lithuanian artists and the director of Sugihara House, enjoying good conversation and viewing the works.





   
 

 

 

Art Session  

December 10, 2016 (Sat.) 

An art session with kids was held from noon on the second day of the tour at Children’s Art Centre in Vilnius. This Centre is a private facility but the building is operated by the city. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Centre exists due to cooperation between the authorities and private entity. With its close ties to the government, the Centre can be said to have an extremely good environment in which children can learn about art. In addition, the head of the Centre, Julette Staviskaite, is also an artist and, as she is a Japanophile to the extent that she uses Japanese ink in her works, she gave a warm reception to the visiting Japanese artists.

Around 40 children participated in the art session and they produced joint works within the allotted time.




Dinner at Ambassador’s Residence  

December 10, 2016 (Sat.) 

The Japanese artists were invited to the ambassador’s residence by Ambassador and Mrs. Toyoei Shigeeda and were warmly welcomed with a dinner. 

Even though we had only been away from Japan for a short time, we all enjoyed the Japanese food, which made us feel almost nostalgic. We were deeply moved by the strong interest by the Ambassador and his wife in promoting cultural exchange with Lithuania. Lively discussion took place on how to promote such exchanges with Lithuania in future, the country which has very friendly feeling towards Japan.


 

 

Sightseeing (December 9-11) 

Kaunas - Vilnius

Kaunas Castle

M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum(Kaunas)

Chiune Sugihara House(Kaunas)

Chiune Sugihara Moument(Kaunas)

Gate of Dawn(Vilnius)

Gediminas Tower(Vilnius)