The Japanese government has donated 400 pieces of tatami mats to the Rwanda Karate Federation as part of the cultural exchange and promotion.
The donation was announced during the celebrations to mark the 84th birth day of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
“It’s always a pleasure to watch Rwandans play very powerful karate games. This donation will help improve the Karate game and cultural exchange,” Takayuki Mayishita, the Japan ambassador to Rwanda said.
Karate is Japanese martial arts that have seen over 3,000 Rwandans registered in the local federation and the Japan embassy organizes annual karate competition for the Ambassador’s Cup.
Individual Karate players will on December 23rd participate in the 2017 Karate Open tourney scheduled at Amahoro stadium.
Celebrations to mark the emperor’s birthday were also highlighted by a Japanese opera singer, Mayumi Sakamoto who thrilled diplomats by articulately singing the Rwanda National anthem ‘Rwanda Nziza’ in Kinyarwanda and the Japanese National anthems.
Sakamoto, wife to Tomio Sakamoto, a former Deputy Chief of Mission lived in Rwanda from 2013 to 2016, practiced and memorized 200 hundred Kinyarwanda words every day for two to three hours per day for three years.
“It was because of the love of Rwandan anthem that I invested in learning Kinyarwanda with the help of my husband. I have been invited to represent Japan on several occasions,” Sakamoto told KT Press.
Sakamoto, an expert in Boka and Mozart singer first performed Rwanda Nziza at the Japan-Rwanda coffee concert in Tokyo in February 2016 and will be the main performer at the same event in 2018.
Japan and Rwanda relationship is over 55 years working together in Agricluture, Transport, education, capacity building water energy and sanitation.
The relationship has seen at least 12 masters scholarships offered to Rwandans in education and science subjects and at least 39 Rwandans have benefited from the Africa-Japan business Initiative since 2014.
In his targets as Japan envoy to Rwanda for the last 17 months, Miyashita has prioritized political dialogue, bringing more Japanese business investments, and promoting culture between the two countries.
In business, the number of Japanese companies in Rwanda has doubled to 15 entities, compared to last year 2016.
Some of the companies showcased their products which include horticulture, macadamia export, vehicle and parts importation, digital solutions and marketing, traditional Japanese agricultural and hygiene products.
Germaine Kamayirese, the Minister of State in Charge of Energy, Water and Sanitation in the Ministry of Infrastructure said that Rwanda is committed to the relationship with a focus on improving economic and social welfare especially in promoting made in Rwanda products.