We founded Custom Media K.K. and launched BCCJ ACUMEN in a mood of optimism to help promote British values, business, people and lifestyle in Japan.
Despite economic and natural disasters, both the firm and magazine proudly thrive today thanks to our hardworking, diverse and creative team. We also greatly appreciate the strong support we enjoy from the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), British Embassy Tokyo and the tight community of Britons and Anglophiles here.
British Ambassador to Japan Paul Madden CMG has kindly agreed to continue our annual tradition of publishing a letter from the embassy for the UK community here.
A great year
After a year of exciting bilateral initiatives—such as the financial services agreement between the City of London and Tokyo—and high-profile visits between the two cities—including by British Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson—British influence, confidence and respect in Japan seems better than ever.
This is the 160th year of UK–Japan diplomatic relations, as well as the 70th anniversary of the BCCJ and the 10th of Custom Media. BCCJ ACUMEN, meanwhile, will mark its first decade in 2019, so more on that next year.
We have so much to anticipate, with Brexit and the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The run up to these massive sporting events will feature a UK Season of Culture in Japan. Run by the British Council, it will showcase artists, technologists, researchers and businesses from both nations “to spur on modernisation and inspire a new generation of innovators”.
Meanwhile, a new Japan House will open in London this year to further promote the nation’s culture, and a series of related events will tour the UK. And Prime Minister May has publicly supported a proposal to plant cherry blossom trees in the UK as a symbol of bilateral friendship.
Farewell to a friend
Last year ended on a very sad note: one of the most well-known, long-term and popular expatriate Britons in Tokyo passed away—Ian de Stains OBE, former BCCJ Executive Director and BCCJ ACUMEN writer. I invited a number of his friends and associates to send me anecdotes and memories of Ian, some of which are featured in his obituary. Many thanks to those who contributed, and my apologies to anyone whose piece was left out due to lack of space.
To finish on a positive note, our congratulations to the two winners of the Japan–British Society’s annual awards, this year presented by HIH Princess Akiko of Mikasa. See our full report.
And from everyone at Custom Media, we wish you a healthy and happy 2018!