Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Couple promote Taiwan in Japan

By Tsai Ching-hua and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Yasumasa Endo and Mao Ikeda and their children stand under a sign advertising the Miyazaki Taiwan Cultural Festival in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture on Saturday.

Photo: Tsai Ching-hua, Taipei Times

A Taipei-based Japanese couple on Saturday hosted a Taiwanese cultural festival in Miyazaki Prefecture to thank Taiwan for its hospitality and introduce Taiwanese food and culture to their compatriots.

Graphic designer Yasumasa Endo and editor Mao Ikeda are originally from Tokyo.

After the March 11, 2011, earthquake that rocked northeastern Japan, they and their two children and four cats moved to Miyazaki Prefecture, where they lived for five years.

Endo and Ikeda in 2015 became involved with Taiwan Juku (台灣塾), a program hosted by the Miyazaki Prefectural Government, which helped them travel to Taiwan and share their ambitions as graphic designers.

That same year, young farmers from Kaohsiung were invited by the organization to share their farming experiences with people in Miyazaki, and Kaohsiung’s agriculture mascot, Kao Tung Tung (高通通), was also invited to appear alongside a local mascot, the Miyazaki Dog.

As Endo and Ikeda began participating in more exchanges and becoming familiar with more Taiwanese, they said they gradually fell in love with everything about Taiwan — especially Taiwanese fruit and food — and decided to move to Taipei.

Taiwanese friends helped them settle in by helping them arrange for local telephone numbers and bank accounts, find schools for their two children and jobs, buy organic groceries and purchase furniture, the couple said.

They were incredibly touched by the genuine welcome and kind treatment they received and decided to use their professional skills to give back to Taiwanese, they said.

They submitted a proposal to the Miyazaki Prefectural Government to host a Taiwanese cultural festival, which was accepted.

Through the prefectural government, they extended a formal invitation to the Kaohsiung City Government for Kao Tung Tung to join the festival.

They said they hoped that through the event, which attracted nearly 5,000 people, that their families, friends and other people in Miyazaki would gain a deeper understanding of Taiwan.

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