A ceremony to celebrate the publication of the Japanese version of the works of Turkmen poet Magtymguly Pyragy was held on Nov. 20 in Tokyo.

Magtymguly (1724-ca. 1807) was a Turkmen philosophical poet who made significant efforts to secure independence and autonomy for his people in the 18th century. Marking the 290th anniversary of the poet’s birth, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov declared this year “The Year of Magtymguly” and has promoted events related to the poet such as the publication of his works, which have been translated into nearly 30 languages, including English, French and Korean.

Organized by the Embassy of Turkmenistan, the ceremony was attended by scholars and artists from Turkmenistan, as well as government officials, parliamentarians, businesspeople and scholars from Japan.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Ambassador of Turkmenistan, Gurbanmammet Elyasov, welcomed participants from both countries and expressed his appreciation for the publication of Magtymguly’s anthology in Japanese.

During the event, Yoshiaki Sasaki, a senior fellow at the Tokyo Foundation made congratulatory remarks, saying “For 23 years since the independence of Turkmenistan, I have observed major changes in the country,” referring to people’s improved livelihood and remarkable urban development.

There were a lecture by Annagurban Asyrow, the head of the Turkmen National Institute of Manuscripts at the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan; a presentation by Turkmen poet Amangozel Sagulyyewa; and speeches by others.

The event also provided participants with opportunities to enjoy musical performances by Turkmen artists and to mingle with one another.

The ambassador emphasized the importance of people-to-people cultural exchanges, rather than only focusing on economic relations between the countries.

“Now that the Turkmen national poet’s works have been translated into Japanese, I would appreciate it if some Japanese literature could be translated into Turkmen as a next step,” the ambassador said.

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