Celebration of the Japanese Emperor

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By Sina Sevaaetasi, 27 November 2016

Happy 83rd birthday, Emperor Akihito!

The Japanese Embassy hosted a celebration to recognise the birthday of the Emperor of Japan, Emperor Akihitio’s at the Tanoa Tuistala Hotel.  

Japanese Ambassador, Tuimaugaoali’i Kazumasa Shibuta, said the tradition began in 1948 after World War II.  The occasion was celebrated in traditional Japanese fashion with great food and lots of sake, a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice.   

The night was a fusion of Samoan and Japanese culture that created quite a unique ambiance.  Everything from the decorations that were fuchsia teuila and hand-made origami swans, to the exquisite cuisine which consisted of fresh sashimi and hand rolled sushi, strongly reflected the combination of both cultures.  

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This of course was no coincident. 

Tuimaugaoali’i commented on the parallels between the Japanese and Samoan cultures.  

“We have a very similar tradition and culture because we have the same ancestors from Asia; the Samoan and Polynesian people.  Therefore, the social system is very similar as well as some of the customs.  Of course, the surface is always changing but spiritually it’s always the same.”

His Excellency was quite the highlight of the event with his bubbly, outgoing personality.  He greeted every guest personally at the door alongside his stunning wife who was dressed in a beautiful silk kimono.   

In attendance were fellow Ambassadors, Ministers, leaders of the community, business owners, people of Samoan-Japanese descent and of course, Japanese International Cooperation Agency volunteers who came together to celebrate the Japanese National Holiday.  

Tuimaugaoali’i shared some of the traditional practices that are common in the Japanese culture. For instance, present in the middle of the stage was a large barrel known as a sake barrel which contained 72 liters of sake! 

Deputy Prime Minster Fiame Naomi Mata’afa was called on stage alongside his Excellency to crack open the barrel.  After the opening and everyone was served, the entire room raised their glass for a special toast in honor of the Emperor.

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By Sina Sevaaetasi, 27 November 2016

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