Cultural Exchange Between Japan and Ukraine

By Staff Writer
October 27, 2023
Humanitarian Assistance continues to make a significant contribution to the further development of comprehensive relations between Japan and Ukraine.

The Japan-Ukraine cultural exchange association provides humanitarian aid. According to the association, Ukraine is currently experiencing a boom in Japanese language and culture. Particularly, there is a strong yearning for Japanese Kimonos. However, Kimono prices are high, and students and workers in Ukraine cannot afford to buy them. To address this problem, the association launched the "Kimono Bank". Kimonos are given as gifts to students and workers in Japan and Ukraine, and Ukrainian students and workers who receive them make donations. All the money is sent to hospitals, organizations, etc. as a donation for people suffering from the Chernobyl accident.
A woman in Kimono

Cultural Exchanges from 2017 to 2019

Cultural exchanges between Japan and Ukraine are conducted through cultural and public relations activities of the embassies of both countries, as well as sister city exchanges (Kyoto and Kyiv, Yokohama and Odesa). The year 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ukraine and was designated as "the Year of Japan in Ukraine" during which various Japanese cultural events were held throughout Ukraine.
In 2018, “Ukraine Week in Tokyo" and in 2019, "Month of Ukrainian Culture in Japan" were held, which included classical music concerts, exhibitions of traditional costumes, fashion shows, hands-on Petrykivka painting classes, and an exhibition of works by modern Ukrainian artists.
Ethnic Ukrainian clothes on hangers at an open air festival

The Beginning of the History of Bilateral Relations

Before Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, a Japanese consulate was located in what is now the city of Odesa in Ukraine. In the early 20th century, Ukrainians who immigrated to the Russian Far East and Japanese who immigrated to Manchuria at the same time are said to have interacted with each other.
After World War II, Odesa and Yokohama became sister cities in 1965, and Kyiv and Kyoto became sister cities in 1971.
Flags of Ukraine and Japan

Establishment of Official Diplomatic Relations

Japan and Ukraine officially established bilateral diplomatic relations in 1991, when Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union. The Embassy of Japan in Ukraine was registered on January 20, 1993, the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan in April 1994, and the opening ceremony of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan was held on March 23, 1995, when it began operations.
After the opening ceremony, cooperation, and exchanges between two countries were further deepened, starting with President Kuchma's official visit to Japan on March 22, 1995.
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