Vietnam-Japan relations: Starting from an old love story

The love story of princess Ngoc Hoa and Sotaro Araki, a leading Japanese merchant who came to do business in Hoi An, a popular international commercial port over 400 years ago, has made Quang Nam a place that marked the thriving relationship between Vietnam and Japan.

While doing business in Hoi An in 1619, Sotaro Araki, a Japanese navigator and merchant fell in love and got married to princess Ngoc Hoa, the adopted daughter of King Nguyen Phuc Nguyen. Their love story helped build a flourishing relationship between Vietnam and Japan, and particularly Quang Nam, one of the localities with early friendship ties with Japan.

Quang Nam now has 20 Japanese invested projects worth 720 million US dollars. The province has 1,400 workers studying and working in Japan.

In 2017, the Quang Nam People’s Council and Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of friendship.

The opening ceremony of the “Japan cultural days in Quang Nam” and “The 16th Hoi An – Japan Cultural Exchange”
in Hoi An. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Thousands of visitors go to Hoi An to attend “The 16th Hoi An – Japan Cultural Exchange 2018”.
Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

The re-enactment of the wedding of princess Ngoc Hoa and Japanese businessman Araki Soaro.
Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Hoi An’s traditional lanterns decorated with Japan’s famous cherry blossom pattern. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Ebisu, Japan’s god of fishing and good fortune, brings smiles and luck to the people of Hoi An.
Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Two happy elderly Japanese friends attend the “The 16th Hoi An – Japan Cultural Exchange 2018”.
Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

In November 2017, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, launched the Vietnam-Japan cultural space in Hoi An. and witnessed the inauguration of “Chau An thuyen” (Shuinsen), a gift from Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture presented to Hoi An to demonstrate the strong friendship between the two localities and nations over the past 400 years.

As part of the activities marking the 45th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Vietnam and Japan, “Japan cultural days in Quang Nam” and “Hoi An – Japan Cultural Exchange 2018” opened in Hoi An from August 17-19.

Japanese judo champion Nishiyama Masashi exchanges Judo techniques with young Vietnamese
on the streets of Hoi An. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

“A O Show” performed on a street in Hoi An. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Visitors are excited about street activities in Hoi An. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

A foreign kid asks for letters. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Foreign tourists enjoy coffee while watching activities on the street. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Volunteers prepare for cultural events on the streets. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

The people and culture of Hoi An leave good memories. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

The event featured cultural and arts exchanges by artists and singers from the two countries including yosakoi dancing, obon dancing, a judo performance and the re-enactment of the wedding of princess Ngoc Hoa and Sotaro Araki.

Booths displaying Vietnamese handicraft products, and Vietnamese and Japanese food were also organized during the event.

Other activities included a seminar on building and developing smart cities in combination with environmental protection, a workshop on Japan’s educational experience, a Quang Nam-Japan friendship exchange and a meeting with Japanese investors.

This is a chance for Quang Nam province to expand its relations and exchanges with Japanese partners in the fields of culture, art, trade, tourism and human resources development, and promote the image of a dynamic and active Quang Nam to international tourists and friends.

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio expressed his belief that Quang Nam and its Japanese counterparts will have the opportunity to enhance mutual understanding, tighten the friendship, and deepen the cooperation between Japan and Vietnam./.

By Thanh Hoa