Fujiyoshida, Japan

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Fujiyoshida Committee Chair

Colorado Springs and Fujiyoshida share more than simple geographic similarities. As two cities situated at the base of glorious iconic mountain peaks, Fujiyoshida and Colorado Springs have had numerous opportunities for cultural, economic, and educational exchanges in its more than fifty-year relationship. The relationship between our two cities furthered strengthened in a show of mutual support in the midst of individual natural disasters experienced by Fujioshida during the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and most recently the Waldo Canyon fire of Colorado Springs in 2010. Our two cities greatly look forward to continuing this beautiful friendship that has blossomed through shared tragedy and triumph.

Robin Lawrentz
Chair, Colorado Springs - Fujiyoshida Program Chair

FEATURED EVENT

VISIT JAPAN! Are you interested in a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to VISIT JAPAN? The 25th Japan-America Grassroots Summit (a.k.a. Manjiro Summit) takes place July 6-13, 2015, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu Island, Japan. It's an economical way to visit Japan and includes local homestays...real grassroots! Participants are treated as very special guests, see commentary on CIE website: John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE) www.manjiro.or.jp/eng/summit/oita/index.html (See Grassroots Summit brochure for details)

NOTE: Mochitsuki (rice cake pounding event), Saturday, January 17, 2015 at Colorado College (Colorado Springs), 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM: www.japanamerica.org/event-1763932 (Paul Maruyama plans to be there; summit flyers will be available)

NOTICE: Any former Amacheans planning to attend the Oita Summit should let the Amache Preservation Society (APS) know ahead of time. The APS will be presenting the Camp Amache Story several times during the summit. Your participation in the presentation is not required; however, you maybe introduced during the summit. One former Amachean has already indicated that she is planning to go.

CURRENT NEWS ABOUT FUJIYOSHIDA SISTER CITY

AN UPDATE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DESK IN FUJIYOSHIDA: THE CLIMBING SEASON
July 15, 2014

Dearest Readers,

The rainy season is upon us and dense clouds linger above our city and around the base of Mount Fuji. Though the lack of sun makes us dreary, the cool, calm air is a welcome reprieve from the record-breaking highs we experienced early on in the summer.

After seeing the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony off at the end of last month following their three night stay and fabulous outdoor concert on Lake Yamanakako, the International Affairs Desk is now hard at work preparing for our busiest and most anticipated summer season yet. The pre-departure training for our annual Middle School Sister City Delegation is underway with a mere 5 sessions left before departing for Colorado, the famous Fuji Mountain Race will take part on the 25th of this month with 47 foreign competitors from 12 countries registered to compete, and the Citizen’s Summer Festival will follow on the 26th. The International Affairs Desk and International Friendship Association plan to set up an informational booth for foreign tourists at the Yoshida Fire Festival on August 27, and we will begin the city’s English conversation class at the beginning of September.

This edition of the Reiho Fuji is dedicated to providing all you need to know about climbing Mount Fuji. During the summer season, the International Affairs Desk prints and ships nearly 2,000 hard copies of the Climbing Season Edition to individuals, information centers, airports, train stations, hotels, etc. across the nation and globe. According to Google Analytics, the Climb Fuji page of the city’s official English homepage and online version of this edition receive over 100,000 hits between July and August alone. If you or your organization are interested in receiving hard copies of this or any other edition please feel free to contact us!

2014 Climbing Season Edition

We thank you for your continued readership and look forward to continuing to bring you the best from our humble slice of heaven at the base of Mount Fuji! Enjoy!

Warm Regards,

Yumi Matson
Coordinator for International Relations
Fujiyoshida City Hall
6-1-1 Shimoyoshida, Fujiyoshida
Yamanashi, JAPAN 403-8601

BLOG EXCERPT FROM FUJIYOSHIDA: COLORADO SPRINGS YOUTH SYMPHONY IN FUJIYOSHIDA, JAPAN by David Sckolnik

June 17, 2014
All praise Mt. Fuji!

Our first full day in Fujiyoshida proved to be very predictable… that’s right- incredible natural beauty, kind and oh-so-accommodating people and gorgeous food. The Youth Symphony kids continued their uninterrupted stay with their home families; the adults got to tour some of the sites. At the exact spot we were dropped off in the downtown, a slow processional parade was headed right for us. Men clad in white ceremonial robes led the way and very young Japanese children dressed in stunning colors and textures followed behind with their parents. We had stumbled into a once-every-60-year festival. A new entry arch for the Shinto shrine Fuji Sengen Jinja” was to be celebrated today.

After hooking up with David Ruminski and Kieran Doyle, we toured the ancient “Pilgrim’s Inn- the Togawa Oshi House” where those who would dare to climb would rest upon reaching Fujiyoshida. David and Kieran still had thoughts about another style of worship - the performance of the Verdi “Requiem” back in Tokyo. Kieran was humbled. “I just switched from euphonium to tuba this past year. I was stunned at how incredible the tuba player was,” he said. “The other kids could appreciate how that orchestra played just one step removed from being able to do the same. I’m so new to my instrument that I’m much further away.” With apologies to Kieran, I respectfully disagree. He is a talented and fine sounding player. A light flipped on in David’s eyes as he began to recall the performance. “It was totally awesome,” he said. “that’s the place we all want to get to.” With the boys in tow, we headed off for a special lunch. We knew we were headed for a “roll your own Sushi session.” What we didn’t know was how remarkable the people who would host us, “the Jackson Club,” would be.

Greeting ua at yet another ancient structure was the quartet of Katie Hart, Emma Johnson, Elisabeth Buvarp and Abbi Chapman. They were full of enthusiasm. We would soon find out why. Their host family included a woman known as 'the mother of Fujiyoshida.” And yes, her deportment is very warm and maternal. At latest count, she has hosted 200 visitors from other counties in her home. She is also a member of the Jackson Club.

Once again, the warmth and generosity of the Japanese people amazed us all. But there is something even more special about this city. As citizens of Colorado Springs we are all family here. We walk down the streets as honored guests. We all are resolved to make sure that when children or adults visit our city we do the same for them. The entire experience coalesced when reached the grounds of Shinto shrine. Ancient towering cedars paved the way to the shrine. The clutter and confusion of the modern world evaporated as we made our way to the opulent temple. A calmness overcame us all. The Youth Symphony kids get back to work today, Sunday, for an outdoor concert with her, Mt. Fuji, looking on. I doubt we’ll ever have a more important audience.

Fujiyoshida Mayor Shigeru Horiuchi and wife Mayumi Horiuchi enjoy hospitality at 50th anniversary of Sister City relationship event in Colorado Springs.nd gave a joint concert with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony.

In 2012, at the 50th anniversary celebration, the students celebrated their arrival at the top of Pikes Peak.

Fujiyoshida Mayor Shigeru Horiuchi and wife Mayumi Horiuchi enjoy hospitality at 50th anniversary of Sister City relationship event in Colorado Springs.nd gave a joint concert with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony.

HISTORY OF THE COLORADO SPRINGS - FUJIYOSHIDA SISTER CITY RELATIONSHIP

ABOUT THE CHAIR

Robin Lawrentz, 2014 CSSCI Committee Chair for Fujiyoshida, Japan and a JASSC member, is now in training with the Colorado Springs Police Academy. Robin, with wife Leighann and two boys, just returned to the Springs after 4 years on the International Affairs desk at Fujiyoshida City Hall.

HOW IT STARTED

In 1961, when Mrs. Elizabeth H. Rose, the Denver-Takayama “Sister City” chair, was visiting in Japan, she met with Dr. Tameichi Yasaki (Ph.D.), Japan’s top nuclear scientist, who lives near Fujiyoshida in the city of Kofu, the capital of the prefecture in which Fujiyoshida is located. Also meeting with them was the then Mayor of Fujiyoshida, The Honorable Noboru Horiuchi. Mrs. Rose suggested Colorado Springs as a “Sister City” for Fujiyoshida for several reasons: first of which was the similarity of geographical location; Colorado Springs being a great resort and recreation town located at the foot of Pikes Peak, a world famous mountain; and Fujiyoshida being a famous resort and tourist town of Japan, and located at the foot of famous Mt. Fuji. And, both have some industry and some military establishments. So Mayor Horiuchi communicated with Colorado Springs city officials by an official letter in Nov. of 1961, and received a tentative commitment to affiliate with his city in Japan. Then a formal request for affiliation was sent from Fujiyoshida to the Mayor of Colorado Springs. Our program was initiated on Feb. 13, 1962 when the City Council adopted a resolution to affiliate with Fujiyoshida, Japan. In that year our then Colorado Governor, Governor Stephen McNichols, carried the official proclamation from our Mayor and City Council to Japan when he attended a Governor’s Conference in Tokyo. He handed it to the Governor (Governor Hisashi Amano) of Yamanashi Prefecture (in which our “Sister City” of Fujiyoshida is located) and it was then handed to the Mayor of Fujiyoshida.

Reference: A History of the Colorado Springs-Fujiyoshida, Japan “Sister City” Program, May 14, 1964
Note: Takayama, Japan became a sister city of Denver in 1960. http://denversistercities.org/takayama

Yumi Matson is now Coordinator for International Relations, replacing Robin at the International Affairs Desk, Fujiyoshida City Hall: www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html

Yumi is the adopted daughter of Professors Joan Ericson & Jim Matson, Colorado College, Asian Studies (both JASSC members): http://www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/asianstudies/people

Learn more about Fujiyoshida, Japan

SYMBOLS OF JAPANESE SISTER CITY REJUVENATED IN 2004, 2007

The torii gate, shrine and crisscrossed bridge, located in the North Nevada Avenue median between Platte Ave. and Bijou St. in downtown Colorado Springs, were repainted in 2004 & 2007. Rampart High School Japan Club students, who are studying the Japanese history and language, volunteered to scrape and repaint the structures. They were supervised by their teachers, Alex Echevarria and Liz Groothof-Croddy. The City's Operations Division donated ladders, paint and brushes for the event. For their dedicated effort, Carl's Jr Restaurant rewarded the student with free hamburgers.

The Japanese structures were a gift to Colorado Springs in 1966 from the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs in commemoration of the Sister City relationship between Colorado Springs and Fujiyoshida. A plaque near the torii says the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities.

 

Interesting Links

Fujiyoshida City Website, Japan America Society of Southern Colorado, 50 Years of Celebrating Sister Cities, Japan America Society of Southern Colorado Newsletter, discussing the 50-year celebration, Japan America Society of Southern Colorado Facebook

 

IF YOU SUPPORT THE WORK THAT THE FUJIYOSHIDA CITY PROGRAM IS DOING FOR THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION TODAY BY CLICKING THE SECURE PAYPAL LINK BELOW.  YOUR CHARITABLE GIFT IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT!