Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW: 750,000 visitors experience meeting of Japanese and Rhineland culture

For the 15th time the Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW offered authentic insights into modern and traditional Japanese culture, attracting some 750,000 visitors to the Rhine. 70 information and demonstration tents lining the Rhine embankment promenade invited visitors to experience the Far East in all its diversity. With performances by numerous groups from Düsseldorf’s Japanese community during the day, and the evening concert by the band Orand with folk singer Takemi Kakizaki, the programme on the main stage on Burgplatz offered many highlights. The spectacular finale of this festival of culture and dialogue was the traditional Japanese fireworks display which this year depicted the theme of “Trees, Flowers, Animals – The World of Nature”.

Mayor Thomas Geisel: “Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW once again demonstrates how diverse and vibrant the friendship between NRW, Düsseldorf and Japan is. Apart from insights into Japan’s traditional and present-day culture, Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW most notably also offers an opportunity for dialogue. Our express thanks go to our Japanese fellow citizens for this wonderful festival of friends.”

The 15th edition of this popular festival of culture and dialogue once again attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to Düsseldorf’s Rhine embankment promenade and succeeded in astonishing them. The cultures of the Rhineland and Japan came together at around 90 tents lining the promenade from the Schlossufer to the north as far as the meadow in front of the Landtag (state parliament) to the south. Many providers and visitors also travelled here from other European countries to immerse themselves in and celebrate Japanese culture.

Audiences were offered music, sport and cultural highlights on three stages. More than 400 members of the Japanese community from kindergarten age to adults provided an all-day programme on the main stage on Burgplatz. At around 21:45 visitors were able to listen to the band, Orand, which is devoted to the Tsugaru shamisen, a Japanese stringed instrument. Together with folk singer Takemi Kakizaki the band performed both traditional and foot-tapping modern pieces.

The Pop Culture Zone – the meeting place for manga, cosplay and anime fans – was also directly in evidence on the Rhine, in three areas of the extensive event space. As every year, the fashion show and karaoke competitions were a big draw for thousands of visitors and colourfully costumed manga fans. Sports such as iaido, kyudo or sumo wrestling were on display on the sports stage on Johannes-Rau-Platz. At the southern end of the festival area, in front of the Landtag, the military camp of the “Takeda” samurai group provided insights into the history of these Japanese warriors.

The grand finale of the 15th Japan Day was the traditional Japanese fireworks display which beautifully illustrated this year’s theme of “Trees, Flowers, Animals – The World of Nature” in the shape of fishes, palm trees and blossoms. The fireworks, specially delivered from Japan and lit by a Japanese pyrotechnician, brought the festival of culture and dialogue to a splendid close with the perennially popular shower of golden rain. The “Magical Fire over Düsseldorf” was broadcast live by the TV station, WDR and will soon be available to watch again in the WDR Mediathek as well. There are also other photo galleries of this year’s festival on the Visit Düsseldorf Facebook page.

Düsseldorf has the third largest Japanese community in Europe after London and Paris. A total of some 380 Japanese companies are based in the state capital, while Japanese businesses employ around 32,000 people across North Rhine-Westphalia.