- Title: JAPAN: Japan meets Africa in central Tokyo festival
- Date: 24th May 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YURI MIYAKAWA, 25, PARTICIPANT, SAYING: "African music has got an amazing groove. I can feel that they live as one with their music." AFRICAN FAMILIES WITH LITTLE DAUGHTERS DANCING (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TAKEKATSU ITO, 30, PARTICIPANT, SAYING: "Some in Japan seem to think that Africa is just one single country. But their cultures, foods and languages are diverse, differing from country to country. We should learn how diverse Africa is through events like this."
- Embargoed: 8th June 2007 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVA6FO4IZBESLDE7LKTUKXS7HOBE
- Story Text: Tens of thousands of Japanese gathered in a central Tokyo park on Sunday (May 20) for an African festival, which enabled participants to experience food, dance and art from the continent.
The annual African Festa which was started seven years ago by the Japanese Foreign Ministry is to promote mutual understanding between Japan and African nations, as well as develop Japanese people's understanding of African - one of the farthest continents from Japan.
Some Japanese attending the festival, got into the spirit of the event in wearing traditional African clothes, while others learned dance moves to the African rhythms.
As many as 30,000 people originally from sub-Saharan Africa are now believed to live in Japan, with many of them coming from Nigeria and Ghana. Africans in Japan are taking on various jobs ranging from musicians to construction workers.
"African music has got an amazing groove," Yuri Miyakawa, a 25-year-old singer, said after hearing a concert by an African music group. "I can feel that they live as one with their music."
Taketsune Ito, a 30-year-old afforestation engineer, used to volunteer in the western African nation of Burkina Faso until two years ago, teaching locals how to plant trees to help fight Africa's deforestation.
"Some in Japan seem to think that Africa is just one single country. But their cultures, foods and languages are diverse, differing from country to country," said Ito, clad in a green traditional African dress. "We should learn how diverse Africa is through events like this."
The two-day weekend event at Hibiya Park in the heart of Japan's business district drew some 70,000 people.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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