Ambassador Sato told her guests that the accession marked the end of the Heisei Era and the beginning of the Reiwa Era. She said the name “Reiwa” was taken from the “Manyoshu”’, the oldest anthology of Japanese poems, compiled more than 1200 years ago. “Reiwa” translates as “beautiful harmony”. Also In 2019, Hungary and Japan had marked the 150th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

Ambassador Sato told her guests the celebration of this landmark had begun with the Ikebana demonstration of flower arranging, which was attended by the First Lady of Hungary, Anita Herczegh.

A series of cultural events had followed throughout 2019, concluding with the Wadaiko (Japanese drums) concert. János Áder, President of the Republic of Hungary, and the First Lady had attended the dynamic drums concert.

"Kiyo Kito Taiko, whose performance you just heard before my speech, is the first Wadaiko group founded in Hungary, in 2000," Ambassador Sato said. "They performed at the anniversary concert together with the Wadaiko masters from Japan.

"Besides the cultural events, the anniversary year saw a number of important visits. Let me highlight a few. Her Imperial Highness Princess Kako made her first official overseas visit, to Austria and Hungary. She, in her national costume, kimono, was greeted warmly by President Áder and the First Lady. She visited the beautiful Hungarian Parliament to meet Dr Lászlo Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly, and members of the Hungary-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association.

"The Pannonhalma Archabbey, the Babolna Stud Farm, the Herend Porcelain Manufactory and the Tihany Abbey provided ample opportunity for her, and for many Japanese, through her, to understand the history, tradition and culture of Hungary."

Ambassador Sato said the commemorative lighting up of the Elisabeth Bridge was a highlight. Princess Kako had enjoyed this with István Tarlos, then Mayor of Budapest.

"In autumn, President Áder and the First Lady kindly attended the Ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor. Princess Kako was very pleased to find them at the Imperial Palace.

"Before the year closed, Prime Minister Orbán visited Japan and met Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. The two leaders reconfirmed the importance of cordial, long-standing relations between the two countries, and agreed to further strengthen cooperation, looking ahead to the future.

"They specifically discussed such areas of cooperation as economic, political and security, science and technology, as well as cultural and educational.

"I cannot close my remarks without mentioning the Tochigi Prefecture and the Japanese companies who are cooperating with us today," the ambassador said. "Tochigi Prefecture is situated northeast of Tokyo, and will host Hungarian athletes for the Olympic [Friday, July 24, 2020- Sunday, August 9, 2020] and Paralympic Games [Tuesday, August 25, 2020-Sunday, September 6, 2020].

"It is one of the nine groups of municipalities which have declared themselves as host town for Hungarian athletes.

"Today you will be enjoying products of Tochigi such as strawberry juice, strawberry vinegar and sake sent directly from Tochigi to its booth. The Japanese companies offering booths today are Suzuki, Yusen Logistics, Nissin, Bridgestone, Asahi beer and Toyota.

"Let me also mention 'Hungarian Roll'. Californian Roll was invented in California, using avocado in place of tuna. The Hungarian Roll was invented by my chef using minced mangalica pork and Japanese rice, to commemorate the 150th anniversary. It is a marriage between Mangalica pork and Japanese rice. 'Hungarian Roll' would be tasty with Japanese sake and tea."

The guest of honour at the reception was Gergely Gulyás from the Prime Minister's Office. He made an official trip to Japan last August at the invitation of the International Judo Federation, whose headquarters moved to Budapest from Lausanne, Switzerland, last year.


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