Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at the East Asia Institute of Texas University
at San Antonio hosted Kumamoto Day,
a celebration of Kumamoto Prefecture and Kumamon
on October 23, 2015

October 23, 2015

Good afternoon students! My name is Nozomu Takaoka, Consul General of Japan in Houston. Thank you, Dr. Frederick. Thank you everybody for joining me to celebrate Kumamoto Day, and thank you to University of Texas San Antonio.  I am especially appreciative of Dr. Yao, Director of the East Asia Institute and Ms. Erina Romanowich for organizing today’s events. And I am happy to learn that Rowdy will be generous enough to invite Kumamon to join us today.

It has been nearly 30 years since the formation of the dynamic San Antonio-Kumamoto sister-city relationship.  Today, I am happy to welcome here a much more recent, and exciting symbol of Japan: Kumamon!  Kumamon is what is known as a yuruchara, a mascot whose mission is to cheer up the local community.  Actually, Kumamon was created to celebrate the completion of the Shinkansen in Kyushu, where Kumamoto is located.  Kumamon was voted the most popular mascot in 2011 and is still widely recognized and much beloved across Japan.  His cute face and happy dancing, I am sure will make him easy to love!

It is especially fitting that Kumamon is here today, not only in San Antonio, but here at UTSA, meeting young people like you who are so passionate about Japan.  Tonight, Kumamon will join the Coyote at the AT&T Center to celebrate their friendship and to cheer on the Spurs against the Houston Rockets. I hope you will also be inspired by his dancing and his enthusiasm so as to continue learning and studying and enjoying our culture and to continue being passionate about Japan. Thank you.