TOKYO -- The Vietnam Festival 2023, an event to introduce Vietnamese culture and cuisine, was held in the Japanese capital on June 3 and 4 in the biggest edition of the event to date, as Japan and Vietnam mark 50 years of diplomatic ties this year.
The festival at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, featuring popular Vietnamese artists, was sponsored by the foreign ministries of Japan and Vietnam, among others, and was held without admission restrictions for the first time in four years.
The opening ceremony was attended by Japan's Princess Kako, the second daughter of Crown Prince Akishino (Fumihito) and Crown Princess Kiko, for the first time. Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, chief adviser to the executive committee that organized the event, said, "I hope that (through the festival) we can cultivate our understanding of Vietnam in terms of culture and further deepen our friendly relations." Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Le Thi Thu Hang also stated in a speech, "Let's work hand in hand and go forward together to a new stage of development as we look to the future."
About 140 Vietnamese restaurants and general merchandise stores joined the festival, the largest number ever, attracting many Vietnamese people and fans of the country. On stage, young artists who are popular in Vietnam, such as Amee and Grey D, sang hit songs.
A 19-year-old Shinjuku Ward resident who is from An Giang province in southern Vietnam and is studying at a Japanese language school while working part-time, tasted pho, a rice noodle dish, and said with a smile, "It's a nostalgic taste -- but even better than the noodles back home."
(Japanese original by Hironobu Fujita, Planning/Cultural Project Department)