PARIS - Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Thursday that he wants as many people as possible to come into contact with and enjoy Japanese culture at Japonismes 2018, an event program to promote Japanese culture, which kicked off in Paris earlier in the day.
Referring to how the paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet were influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, Kono said during the opening ceremony that there is a long history of close ties between Japan and France.
French Cultural Minister Francoise Nyssen said she thinks people of her country have long been attracted to Japanese culture and had a desire to experience it. She then said she feels proud that France is hosting Japonismes 2018.
The event commemorates the 160th anniversary this year of the conclusion of the Japan-France Treaty of Amity and Commerce.
At the ceremony, to which arts professionals from Japan and France were invited, Drum Tao, a group based in Taketa, Oita Prefecture, gave performances of wadaiko (Japanese drums) and koto, which drew big rounds of applause from the audience.
Japonismes 2018, set to run until February next year, consists of a wide variety of events including exhibitions of modern art works and traditional crafts as well as kabuki and other theatrical shows, to be held at some 100 venues mainly in Paris.