Japanese winners of Shanghai Magnolia Awards gather in Tokyo
Twenty-two Japanese winners of Shanghai’s Magnolia Award and a delegation from Shanghai, led by Jing Ying, vice president of the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, held a gathering in Tokyo recently to mark the 40th anniversary of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
It was the fifth time that the group of Japanese winners of Shanghai’s Magnolia Awards, established in 2014, organized activities to enhance connection and communication between the winners and to promote friendly exchanges between China and Japan.
They had a meeting with Guo Yan, Minister of the Embassy of China in Japan, on April 10. Guo pointed out that people-to-people exchanges, as a good tradition in the relation between China and Japan, never stopped, even during the hardest times of the bilateral relationship.
She expressed her hope that the organization's members will keep promoting friendly exchange between the two countries, making greater contributions to the economic and social development of China and Shanghai.
The Shanghai Magnolia Awards was inaugurated by the city government in 1989 to honor foreigners who have made great contributions to the city. These consist of the Magnolia Silver and Gold Awards, as well as the Honorary Citizenship.
By the end of last year, 298 Japanese had received the award, including six honorary citizens, 69 winners of the Magnolia Gold Award and 223 winners of the silver award.
All the Magnolia laureates who attended the meeting have worked in Shanghai or have been promoting culture and youth exchanges between China and Japan for 10 to 40 years.
Hideyuki Hoshiya, a founding member of the group who won the Magnolia Silver Award in 1999 and the gold in 2003, said Shanghai was his second home. He believed the Belt and Road Initiative and the China International Import Expo scheduled to be held in Shanghai in November would bring more cooperation opportunities between China and Japan.
The group members and the delegation also visited the Matsumotoro restaurant in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo, which has a close connection with China.
It was set up in 1903 in the former residence of Umeya Shokichi, a Japanese friend of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen. The restaurant still displays a piano that was played by Sun’s wife Soong Ching-ling on the first floor.
The restaurant has been a popular place for Chinese and Japanese friends to meet.
In May 2008, then-Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also hosted a banquet there for then-Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The restaurant's boss Ayano Kosaka, great-granddaughter of Shokichi, won the Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award in 2012 and is also a founding member of the group.
The members also visited the China Culture Center in central Tokyo, which serves as a window for Japanese to learn Chinese culture and a platform for people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. Since it was launched nine years ago, the center has organized exhibitions, lectures and performances.
Jing also delivered a speech to the members, introducing Shanghai’s development in recent years, its plans for building itself into a global center for economy, finance, trade, shipping and scientific innovation, and its resolution to promote Shanghai services, manufacturing, shopping and culture.