Leaders June 2013

A Great Year for Anniversaries

BCCJ, UK–Japan links, Choshu Five celebrate a special year

UK–Japan Relations: 400 Years
We will host 400 Night at the Conrad Tokyo on 18 July. The special event will celebrate the 400th anniversary of diplomatic, trading and cultural relations between the UK and Japan.

At this landmark gathering—supported by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Japan–British Society—BCCJ members and friends are invited to enjoy the spirit of discovery and mutual regard that has inspired many successful collaborations and a remarkable friendship between two societies on opposite sides of the world.

“Though separated by ten thousand leagues of clouds and waves, our territories are as it were close to each other”—Tokugawa Ieyasu, letter to King James I, October 1613.

Throughout the year, the UK-based Japan400 festival is celebrating historical links between the UK and Japan. They began in 1613, with a remarkable sea voyage and an exchange of royal gifts.

A programme of events is being delivered in London and other parts of the UK, focusing on art, theatre, science, enterprise, history and culture.

Japan400 showcases existing links and aims to further enrich the dialogue and the dynamic relationship between the two countries.

The BCCJ is delighted to play a part in supporting this project.


Choshu Five: 150 Years
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival, in 1863, of the Choshu Five in the UK.

Hailing from western Japan, five members of the Choshu clan studied at University College London before returning to their motherland to play a decisive role in the development of Japan as a modern nation.

The delegation included Ito Hirobumi, Japan’s first prime minister and the father of the Japanese constitution, as well as other key figures of the Meiji Restoration (1868).

Supported by the British Embassy Tokyo, in September the British Council will hold a symposium titled Following in the Footsteps of the Choshu Five. The conference will assess the delegation’s legacy and promote discussion on global leadership in the modern age.

British Chamber of Commerce in Japan: 65 years
As mentioned on page 15, we will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the BCCJ at this year’s British Business Awards (BBA).

To be held on the evening of 1 November at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, the sixth BBA promises fine wines, a great British menu, and the dazzling excitement of the awards ceremony.

We are delighted to be welcoming virtuoso violinist Diana Yukawa, who in 2000 debuted in Japan. She has since released three successful albums with Sony Music and BMG Japan. In addition, she has collaborated with Robin Stapleton and Grant Llewellyn, conductors of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

At this year’s headliner event, guests can expect an unforgettable musical experience from this talented artist.

If you have any memories, photos or other memorabilia that could help us celebrate Japan400, the Choshu Five or the BCCJ’s 65th anniversary, please email: info@bccjapan.com