Works of fine art, musical and theatrical performances, soccer and beer will feature in a yearlong campaign to introduce Belgian culture to Japan as a “microcosm of European culture.”

Launched last month and cosponsored by the Royal Embassy of Belgium and the Belgian Tourist Office, the Festival Belgium 99 campaign also commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Japan-Belgium Cultural Agreement and the 30th anniversary of the Japan-Belgium Society.

The festival events, scheduled in cities around Japan, include an exhibition of works from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, and Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, between March and May; concerts by the Cesar Franck Ensemble in Osaka and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, in April; a match between the Japanese and Belgian national teams in Kirin Cup Soccer 99 at Tokyo’s National Stadium in June; performances by Theater Taptoe, an internationally acclaimed theater troupe from Flemish Belgium in Tokyo, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, and other cities in June; an exhibition of contemporary paintings by Roger Somville in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, for one month from mid-September; and concerts by the Brussels String Quartet in Tokyo and Yokohama in December.

A Belgian beer festival will take place at Hotel Okura in Tokyo from May 10 to June 9, featuring a variety of Belgian beers. A Belgian food fair will complement the beer festival at the same hotel.

Belgian Ambassador Gustaaf Dierckx stressed the cultural diversity of Belgium, a country with three official languages: Flemish, French and German. “Belgian culture is a perfect reflection, a microcosm of European culture,” Dierckx told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.

As part of the festival, a monthlong intensive campaign called Belgium Watching will introduce the country’s culture, tourism and industry between May and June in the greater Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas.

For more information on the festival, contact the Royal Embassy of Belgium at (03) 3262-0191.

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