NANJING – A Japan-China manga exhibition opened in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on Sunday after heightened bilateral tensions over a group of disputed islands delayed the event for some six months.
At the opening ceremony, Hideaki Omura, governor of Aichi Prefecture — an organizer of the event — said: “We’d like to demonstrate that we can build on 33 years of friendship and get on together, particularly in such times.”
Aichi has a friendship agreement with Jiangsu.
A senior official at Jiangsu Province’s Culture Department welcomed the exhibition’s kickoff, saying that art has no national boundaries and that deep friendship is reflected in manga.
The exhibition was originally scheduled to open last September to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Asian titans. But the event was postponed as bilateral relations crumbled in the wake of the Japanese government’s nationalization of some of the Senkaku Islands that month. Beijing also claims the uninhabited islands, which are known as Diaoyu in China.
After being informed by the Jiangsu government late last year that the exhibition could be held after the wrapup of the National People’s Congress, the Aichi Prefectural Government rescheduled the event, prefectural officials said.
On Sunday, Omura held talks with Jiangsu Gov. Li Xueyong and the two reaffirmed plans to boost bilateral exchanges.
The exhibition, held in Nanjing, could mark the restart of exchanges between local governments of the two countries. Nanjing, where anti-Japan sentiment runs deep, was the site of Japanese atrocities before and during World War II.
A group of Japanese manga artists who lived through the war are supporting the five-day exhibition, the theme of which is “the future of the Earth.”
A total of 75 comics from Japan and 15 from China are being displayed. About 200 people, including local university students, attend the exhibition’s opening.