September 15, 2017 Vol. 13, No. 6

Japan in the News

Traveling to Japan? While you're at it, travel back in time, too! City officials in Matsumoto, a city in Nagano prefecture, have commissioned a Virtual Reality app for Matsumoto Castle, the hub of the city's tourism industry. The imposing castle once had two palaces on its grounds, but they were lost to fires in 1727 and 1876. With the help of a free app for smartphones and tablets, visitors can now see the palaces recreated through the lense of their device's camera. The VR recreations were based on extensive historical documents and are accompanied by audio explanations of the views. An expansion of the app with English, Chinese and Korean language options is already on the way, so be sure to try it on your next visit!

Congratulations to Miss Shanel James of Maryland

Ahead of her first trip to Tokyo later this year for the Miss International pageant, Miss U.S. International 2017 Shanel James of Maryland visited the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC) of the Embassy of Japan for a tour and cultural briefing. The Embassy's Keiko Morito and the JICC's Education Coordinator Julia Ford briefed Miss James on travel tips and etiquette. She also had a chance to meet the PARO therapeutic robot and try kendama! Miss James is particularly interested in Japan's fashion scene, and hopes to get a chance to explore that during the Miss International Beauty Pageant's busy schedule.

Photo from Governor Eric Holcomb's public Facebook

Annual Meeting Strengthens Japan-U.S. Economic Bond

This year's Japan-Midwest US Association Conference was held in Tokyo. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the growing economic ties that have brought Japanese investments to states across the US. Five Midwest governors joined this year's event: Indiana's Governor Eric Holcomb, Illinois' Governor Bruce Rauner, Nebraska's Governor Pete Ricketts, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder and Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker. Members of their delegations visited with Prime Minister Abe, Governors from Japanese prefectures, and Japanese companies partnering with Midwestern states.

2017 Praemium Imperiale Award Winners Announced

Ambassador Sasae spoke at a luncheon in New York City on September 12 for the announcement of the 2017 Praemium Imperiale award winners. The Praemium Imperiale awards recognize artists in five fields: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film. In his remarks, Ambassador Sasae acknowledged the power of the arts to open doors between peoples and cultures, as well as his great respect for the awardees. Learn more about this year's five laureates and their achievements at the Praemium Imperiale website.