New Orleans Welcomes Matsue City, Japan

NEW ORLEANS - Press Release – A two-part delegation of Matsue City Hall representatives and residents will visit New Orleans between August 2 and August 11 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship between New Orleans and Matsue, Japan.

The City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation will host three representatives of Matsue City Hall in the exchange: Satomi Miyazako, head of Matsue City International Tourism Division and leader of the delegation; Yukio Yoshikawa, Council of Local Authorities for International Relations of New York; and Brittany Partin, Matsue coordinator for international relations.

The Japan Society of New Orleans and the Tomodachi Foundation will also host a group from Matsue for an exchange program, funded by a grant from the National Association of Japan America Societies. Yuka Ikejiri will serve as the leader of these exchange participants, and the additional travelers will include high school teacher Naoko Nagase, businessmen Hiroyuki Katayama and Toranosuke Mizumoto, saxophone player Mika Miyamoto, chef Hitoshi Kashiwai, part-time worker Ayaka Notsu, and college student Sachi Yamane.

During their time in New Orleans, the delegates will have the opportunity to meet New Orleans City Hall officials, visit the Historic New Orleans Collection, discuss trade and tourism opportunities between Matsue and New Orleans, experience jazz music, eat creole cuisine, and much more.

The Sister City Relationship

In addition to the importance placed on waterways and a variety of seasonal festivals, New Orleans and Matsue share a connection in the life and history of famed author and journalist Lafcadio Hearn, known also by his Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo. Hearn lived in New Orleans from 1877 to 1887, before moving to Matsue in 1890, where he met his wife and became a naturalized Japanese citizen.  The delegation from Matsue will also have the special opportunity to visit both the Hearn House and the Lafcadio Hearn Collection housed at Tulane University.

The official sister city agreement between New Orleans and Matsue was signed in 1994 and has opened the door to cultural and educational exchanges, as well as bilateral trade between Louisiana and Japan.

“As the sister relationship with Matsue grows-- the friendships also grow,” said Honorary Consul General of Japan in New Orleans Donna Fraiche. “Our common cultural and economic treasures and potentials, like our love for jazz and history, bind us as vibrant communities from whom we mutually learn and experience. Having the delegation back in New Orleans is a testament to the viability of the sister city relationship forged 20 years ago.  Lafcadio Hearn left his literary marks on the cement that holds us as sister cities. We hope that as this relationship continues in the next twenty years, generations of New Orleans and Matsue friends will exchange great times together.”

New Orleans Delegates Visited Matsue last October

In October of 2013, a group of business and political leaders from New Orleans visited the City of Matsue. Mark Romig, President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, and Donna Fraiche, the Honorary Consul General of Japan in New Orleans, were the official leaders of the delegation, which included Kristi App of the World Trade Center of New Orleans, John and Priscilla Lawrence of the Historic New Orleans Collection, Kim Priez of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Ann Marshall Thomas of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Also traveling with the delegation, was the Sasha Masakowski Quartet, which consisted of Sasha Masakowski’s vocals, Cliff Hines on guitar, Jasen Weaver on bass, and Maxwell Zemanovic on drums. Three of the four musicians attended NOCCA and the Jazz Studies program at the University of New Orleans. The Sasha Masakowski Quartet performed at the official 20th anniversary ceremony, and during ‘Little Mardi Gras’ festivities, they collaborated with local band Khachaturian to perform traditional New Orleans music.

During the August trip, professional saxophone player Mika Miyamoto will have the chance to perform with New Orleans musicians at Yuki Izakaya on the evening of Thursday, August 7.

The delegation, the exchange participants, and the groups’ hosts feel optimistic that New Orleans and Matsue will continue to grow in their special relationship as sister cities. 

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