Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Consul General's News Letter From Houston

MFAH the Arts of Japan Gallery Opening Celebration on February 17, 2012
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Remarks
by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto

February 17, 2012

I thank you Mr. Tinterow.  I would like to congratulate you, Sir, to assume the Directorate of this great Museum.  I am sure that, under your leadership, this Museum will further enjoy its prosperity.

Dear Members,
Many people in many cities are surely so envious of you, the people in Houston.  You have this marvellous Museum as one of the centres of your enriched cultural life.  I noticed how nice this Museum was, as early as three weeks after moving to Houston, thus applied for the membership in my fourth week, and received it soon after.  It was a well rewarded investment.  Sixty-five dollars for dual membership, that is.

Since I have this membership card, I would prefer to be seated at your side, not standing on the stage: but I would be stupid if I was to set aside such a privileged chance to talk to you on such a memorable day.

Mr. Gary Tinterow, Madam Gwen Goffe, Ms. Valerie Greiner & Ms. Christine Starkman and other distinguished staff of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Madam Cornelia Long, Chairperson, and other distinguished members of the Board of Trustees,

Many museums in many cities are surely so envious of your Museum.  Not so many can enjoy such an overwhelming, enthusiastic support from the people.  And this very spirit of support made possible the long awaited Arts of Japan Gallery.  I sincerely pay tribute to you all, for your management and work for the Museum, for always supporting the Museum and for making particularly generous donations for the Arts of Japan Gallery.

Distinguished Members,
The community of the Japanese nationals here in Houston is not so big in size, but we always try to be something important in further promoting cultural diversities here in Houston.  Next month will mark the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.  With appreciating the enormous support to my country extended by the people in Houston, now is the time for us to demonstrate and substantiate our thanks. 

We the Japanese community will hold the Japan Festival in the Hermann Park on March 31st and April 1st.  Through the whole year, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sister-city partnership between Houston and Chiba City as well as the centennial of Japan’s first gift of cherry blossoms to the States.

To kick off a series of such events, I am very honoured to see the opening of the Arts of Japan Gallery and celebrate it together with you all.   I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the team of the MFA Houston for their hard work and dedication. In opening this gallery, the Museum will bring Houstonians and the tens of thousands of visitors much closer to the art of Japan and a bit closer to a further understanding of the Japanese basic values.

For my part, as the Consul-General of Japan, I will work together with you to ensure the always convincing and attractive exhibits in the Gallery, by calling for further attention from elsewhere in the States and from Japan.

In this connection, we are very lucky, for such a renowned museum in my country has joined forces to bless the opening of the Arts of Japan Gallery.  I am very proud to welcome Mr. Masami Zeniya, Executive Director, Mr. Hiroyuki Shimatani, Vice Executive Director and the team from the Tokyo National Museum.  I am sincerely grateful for your work to make the opening of the Arts of Japan Gallery so significant. 

As is the case in many cultures, I believe many of the ideals we hold dear can be found in our art.  I hope all visitors to the Gallery will have a chance to get a glimpse of these ideals, especially when observing the National Treasures and Cultural Properties that have been graciously loaned from the Tokyo National Museum. 

Dear Members,
I share your conviction.  It was art that led to the first forms of cultural exchange, and still today in many ways art helps us to understand each other.  Art sparks in us a curiosity to ask questions.  The answers to, or any attempt to answer these questions will lead us to a precious chance to learn from one another.  I would like you all to try and enjoy it and have a very good, stimulating evening.