News story

PM celebrates UK-Japan Season of Culture

Prime Minister Theresa May announces a that UK season of Culture will take place in Japan between 2019 and 2020.

Prime Minister Theresa May meets the Emperor of Japan.
Prime Minister Theresa May meets the Emperor of Japan.

The Prime Minister has announced today in Tokyo that a UK Season of Culture will take place in Japan between 2019 and 2020, bringing together British and Japanese artists, technology experts, researchers and business, to spur on modernisation and inspire a new generation of innovators.

The season, run by the British Council, will provide UK artists and their Japanese partners with opportunities to share state-of-the-art digital technology, including virtual reality and robotics, and will showcase the best of UK and Japanese creativity in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

In parallel with the UK Season of Culture, Japan will hold a series of cultural events in the UK.

The Prime Minister has also warmly welcomed the proposal by the Japan-Britain Society to plant cherry blossom trees in the UK as a symbol of the friendship between Japan and the UK. In 1912, the Japanese government gifted 3000 cherry blossoms to Washington DC, and the rash of pink blossoms along the Tidal Basin is now a significant feature of Washington’s springtime, and a permanent reminder of US ties with Japan. The aim is for the UK-Japan relationship to be similarly celebrated, and the UK and Japan will now work closely together to develop the proposal.

Tomorrow in Tokyo, as the Prime Minister concludes her visit to Japan, she will attend a reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence to celebrate the close connections between the UK and Japan in the fields of culture and the arts, sport and innovation.

The Prime Minister said:

Next year, we will celebrate 160 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Japan. This important anniversary is a chance to forge new creative partnerships for the future.

And so I am delighted that 2018 will see the opening of a new Japan House in London, to promote Japanese culture in the UK even more widely, and that in 2019 as the Rugby World Cup begins, the British Council will begin a season promoting British culture here in Japan – bringing together artists, technologists, researchers and businesses.

Our two great countries have a natural cultural and artistic affinity, and I look forward to our partnership in these creative areas continuing to blossom.

Published 1 September 2017