On 3 March 2019, Christchurch commemorated Japan Day, one of the best attended activities on the Christchurch event calendar.
The history of this event stretches back to the inaugural Japan Day celebrations which were hosted by the Japanese Society of Canterbury in Christchurch on 8 March 2012. This followed the Canterbury earthquakes on 22 February 2011 in which 28 Japanese citizens lost their lives, and the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan on 11 March 2011 in which an estimated 29,000 people lost their lives. Japan Day celebrations have been hosted by Christchurch City every year since.
The ceremony for officials, Members of Parliament and other dignitaries included speeches, music and a tea ceremony. The Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel was the keynote speaker for the public event which followed. Several thousand people attended to enjoy a showcase of Japanese culture including food stalls, sumo wrestling and origami.
The Office of Ethnic Communities supported the event through our Ethnic Communities Development Fund, as celebrations such as these relate to our focus area of valuing diverse cultures and ethnicities.