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'Serbian samurai' grabs attention at local Saitama Pref. festival

Serbian Ambassador to Japan Nenad Glisic watches a performance by locals posing as samurai warriors during the Nanbatajo Koen festival in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, on June 3, 2018. (Mainichi)

FUJIMI, Saitama -- The Serbian ambassador to Japan attended a local festival here on June 3 dressed in samurai regalia in honor of the sister city relationship between this city and Sabac, in the western part of the eastern European country.

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to Japan Nenad Glisic appeared in the main event of the Nanbata Castle Park festival as an "ometsuke," or a senior official in charge of monitoring high-ranking samurai under the Tokugawa Shogunate or some fiefdoms under its reign during the Edo period (1603-1868).

During the event, 10 people posing as samurai warriors fired matchlock guns to roaring sounds and muzzle fire, attracting the attention of the ambassador and Mayor Mitsuhiro Hoshino, who played the role of a general. Ambassador Glisic said he was extremely pleased to be wearing the traditional "yoroi" samurai armor for the first time, adding that he intends to further promote the friendship between Serbia and the city of Fujimi.

Fujimi and Sabac became sister cities in 1982, and have had civil delegations make mutual visits ever since. In 2014, Fujimi sent donations to the Serbian city in the aftermath of heavy rains that wreaked havoc there.

Mayor Hoshino also expressed hope for the relationship to be a bridge between Japan and Serbia, as Fujimi aspires to host Serbian athletes during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

(Japanese original by Masaaki Hashimoto, Asaka Resident Bureau)

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