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Seizing on the opportunity offered by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Cultural Affairs Agency and the Japan Arts Council launched the Japan Cultural Expo in 2019. Through over 1,000 projects, exhibitions and festivals, the initiative introduced the world to the beauty of Japanese culture in all its multifaceted splendor.

Coinciding with the G7 Summit in Hiroshima (May 19 to 21) and continuing through the 2025 World Expo in Osaka and most likely beyond, Japan Cultural Expo 2.0 picks up where its predecessor left off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its stated goals have now become even loftier and include fostering diversity, tackling social challenges and building a connection with the people of the world.

It all starts with the expo’s concept of “The Beauty and The Spirit of Japan,” which was reportedly developed based on the Japanese idea of kokoro. Variously translated into English as spirit, heart or mind, the true meaning of the word is much more complex and difficult to explain, yet understanding it holds the key to understanding Japanese art and culture. Japan Cultural Expo 2.0 doesn’t provide an outright definition of the word, but through all its projects focusing on community and partnerships, the undertaking aims to construct a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world and allow travelers to discover the true meaning of kokoro on their own.

It’s a big reason why the expo is a nationwide project not limited to big city centers but instead taking place all over the country in both metropolitan and provincial areas. After all, the essence of Japanese culture can be found everywhere, from national museums to the everyday lives of the country’s citizens, including their clothes, food and housing.

It also, crucially, connects to the world of nature, which has been inspiring Japanese art since prehistoric times. And that past reverence for nature never went away. It can be found in products of Japanese culture from millennia ago to modern ones like anime and manga. Discover them all at Japan Cultural Expo 2.0.

Visit https://japanculturalexpo.bunka.go.jp/en/ for more information.

Download the PDFs of this Hiroshima G7 Summit Special