The message reads, in part:
“This year’s festival coincides with the 20th anniversary of the new, democratic Russia, and the 150th anniversary of the start of the missionary work of Saint Nicholas, Equal to the Apostles, of Japan. It is symbolic that this event is taking place in the city of Hakodate, which holds a special place in the history of our bilateral relations.
This year’s festival has an important philanthropic dimension too in that part of the money it raises will be donated to assist the regions hit by the natural disaster in March.
I am sure that the festival will be a big event in the cultural life of both countries and draw the attention of everyone who holds Russia close and takes an interest in its art, traditions, and modern life.”
The Russian Culture Festival has taken place every year in Japan since 2006.
Archbishop Nicholas of Japan (1836–1912) was a missionary and the founder of the Orthodox Church in Japan.
The festival’s opening is taking place this year in the city of Hakodate on Hokkaido, where the first Russian consulate in Japan opened in the mid-nineteenth century.