Da Nang Commemorates Love Story of Vietnamese Princess and Japanese Merchant

The exchange of traditions and cultures between Vietnam and Japan has been highlighted by the captivating 17th-century love story between a Vietnamese princess and a Japanese merchant. With this fascinating story, the two nations seek to strengthen their friendship and mutual understanding.

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The cultural exchange event titled “Vietnam – Japan Love Story” took place in Da Nang city to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan (1973-2023).

The cultural exchange event “Vietnam – Japan Love Story” was inspired by a real story of the love between Japanese merchant Araki Sotaro and Princess Ngoc Hoa (known as Princess Anio in Japan) in Vietnam’s Hoi An during the trading era of the Shuinsen in the early 17th century. The love story holds sentimental value for both countries.

Da Nang's People Get to Know Old Love Story between Viet Princess - Japanese Merchant
Overview of the event. Source: Nguyet Anh/danang.gov.vn

Princess Ngoc Hoa was the daughter of Lord Nguyen Phuc Nguyen, who reigned from 1613 to 1635. In the early 17th century, Araki went to Hoi An to trade and met the princess. They fell in love and got married. In 1620, he took her to Nagasaki, where locals loved her for her beauty and gentle character.

Today, locals still hold a palanquin procession ceremony to welcome Princess Anio at Nagasaki Kunchi Festival.

According to Huynh Duc Truong, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Da Nang, the cultural exchange event is a highlight of the Vietnam – Japan cultural exchange, promoting friendship and mutual understanding between the two peoples. The event offers diverse activities that promise to provide wonderful cultural experiences and strengthen the friendly and cooperative relationship between Vietnam and Japan.

During the opening ceremony, Former Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Nguyen Phu Binh recognized the importance of understanding and sympathy between the people of both countries as the foundation of their bilateral relations. This demonstrates the political trust, economic cooperation, and cultural similarities between Vietnam and Japan.

Da Nang's People Get to Know Old Love Story between Viet Princess - Japanese Merchant
Exchange session titled “Sweet Memories” with Former Ambassador of Vietnam to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong (third from the left) and Consul General of Japan in Da Nang Yakabe Yoshinori (second from the left). Photo: Nguyet Anh/danang.gov.vn

The event featured special music performances, ao dai catwalk, Vietnam – Japan wedding miniatures, T’rung instrument recital, Yosakoi dance, and an exchange session with Former Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong and Consul General of Japan in Da Nang Yakabe Yoshinori.

Meanwhile, the “Princess Anio” opera, which retells the 17th-century love story, premiered in the northern mountainous province of Hung Yen on September 27. Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko watched the opera in Hanoi as part of their official visit to Vietnam.

Hannah Nguyen