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Richmond marks 50-year bond with Wakayama, Japan

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:46 PST, Fri November 17, 2023

Three Japanese black pine trees now adorn Richmond City Hall to commemorate a 50-year bond between the City of Richmond and its Japanese Sister City, Wakayama.

City of Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie and the Consul General of Japan in Vancouver, Kohei Maruyama, formally dedicated the trees in a ceremony and ribbon cutting at City Hall. They were joined by members of Council as well as Hiroyoshi Akedo of Wakayama’s Sister City Committee, representatives of Richmond’s Sister City Advisory Committee, and a delegation of athletes and coaches from the Wakayama Judo Club.

“Richmond and Wakayama have enjoyed a special relationship as Sister Cities for the past 50 years,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “It is a relationship that goes beyond just the two cities, but reflects a strong and lasting bond between Canada and Japan. These trees will be a visual reminder of how, like them, the relationship between Richmond and Wakayama continues to grow.”

The three Japanese black pines, known as Kuromatsu in Japan, are famous for their elegant beauty and interesting shape. Native to coastal Japan, it is a popular horticultural tree due to its resistance to the elements and often used for bonsai-like shaping.

Richmond and Wakayama began their Sister City relationship in 1973 and have undertaken numerous business, school and sporting exchanges and collaborations ever since. Located in the Kansai region of western Japan, Wakayama is a thriving agricultural and fishing community with a rich natural landscape popular with residents and visitors.

The dedication and ribbon cutting was followed by a welcoming reception in Council Chambers for athletes and coaches of the Wakayama Judo Club who are in Richmond for this weekend’s annual Steveston Judo Club Tournament at the Steveston Martial Arts Centre.

Wakayama is one of three Sister Cities of Richmond. The others are Pierrefonds, Quebec and Xiamen, China. Richmond also has a Friendship Agreement with Qingdao, China. The Sister City Program fosters meaningful connections between Richmond and other cities and cultures through projects and exchanges that promote cultural integration and joint learning; fosters business and other relationships, and engages the communities in meaningful, participatory ways.

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