Center for Japanese Culture has been opened in Ulyanovsk

On 27 May, the Center for Japanese Culture opened at the Palace of Books in the Ulyanovsk region. Opening ceremony took place within the Second International Forum "Japanese Spring on the Volga".


The event was attended by members of the delegation of the Embassy of Japan in Russia and Fukuoka Prefecture, representatives of the parliaments of Japan and Russia, members of the Russia-Japan friendship society, Sergey Morozov (Governor of the Ulyanovsk region), Masaji Matsuyama (Minister of State), Tokuro Furuya (Minister of Embassy of Japan in Russia), Sergey Ryabukhin (Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Budget and Financial Markets), Konstantin Kosachev (Chairman of the International Affairs of the Federation Council Committee), Ekaterina Smoroda (Assistant to the head of the Ulyanovsk region), Olga Mezina (Minister of Art and Cultural Policy of the Ulyanovsk region), and Anatoly Bakayev (Vhairman of the regional Legislative Assembly).

“The center will become a magnet for people who are interested in language, history and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun, – Sergey Morozov noted. – The new book collection includes editions in Japanese and Russian languages, various magazines and newspapers, as well as textbooks for people learning Japanese. In addition, thanks to special programs, any visitor will be able to go on virtual tours from the south part of the Japanese archipelago to the north one and to visit main museums of the country. In the Center it is planned to hold various cultural and business meetings, exhibitions and lectures about interaction between Russia and Japan at many levels”.

During the opening ceremony guests of honor had a look at the exhibition of books of the 19-21st centuries in Russian, Japanese and English languages (part of the regional scientific library's collection). They have also examined an exposition of Japanese porcelain of the 19th century presented by the Ulyanovsk Regional Art Museum and an exhibition of works of a young Ulyanovsk artist Pavel Klementyev called "Japanese Fairy Tales in Silhouettes".

“Many works of Japanese literature amaze us with their meaning and depth. For example, here is a book of Japanese poetry that includes one hokku about Europeans. I think that I did not chose this book by chance: it represents the reason why we opened the Center – to connect European, Russian and Japanese cultures, to enrich our traditions”, – noted Konstantin Kosachev, the Chairman of the International Affairs of the Federation Council Committee.

Taiko beats and the first records in the Center's Honor Book became the culmination of the opening ceremony.

“Congratulations on the opening of the Center! Japanese soul is here, in Ulyanovsk”, - this record was left by Tokuro Furuya, the Minister of Embassy of Japan in Russia and one of the important participant of the meeting.

An excursion to the rare book and manuscripts section of the Palace of Books dedicated to the history of Karamzin Public Library was organized for guests from Japan. Visitors were told about books from Goncharov's private library that are stored in the collection of the Palace of Books. In turn, the Minister of State Masaji Matsuyama has quoted a fragment from the novel "Frigate "Pallada" in Japanese.

The Minister of Japan was really interested in some copies of rare editions. For example, the huge "Description of the most sacred coronation of Their Imperial Majesties of the Emperor Alexander II" published in the middle of the 19th century (only 200 copies).

Various master classes on how to create ikebana, kanzashi, anesama paper dolls and amiguruma (Japanese toys) became the highlight of the opening ceremony. The group “Playska Sedmogo Neba”, which performed a drum show, supported the festive atmosphere.

In addition, a creative meeting with Dmitry Kovalenin, a translator who introduced books of Haruki Murakami to Russian readers, took place at the new Center today. On 31 May, Ulyanovsk admirers of Japanese culture and literature will be able to meet Ekaterina Ryabova, the leading translator of EKSMO and Azbooka-Atticus publishing houses.