Barbados will be looking more to Japan for best practices in order to develop the creative economy here, says Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King.
“As this country seeks to firmly establish a creative economy, Japan will be one of the countries to which we certainly will turn to examine best practices as it relates to development of culture, sports and the creative industry,” King told the opening of the Weekend of Japanese Culture – Bonsai and Origami display on Friday night at the Queen’s Park Gallery.
Highlighting Japan’s education system and “large number of patent and Nobel Prize winners,” King said that Asian country was considered a leader in the world of art and design.
“Our goal is to establish relationships with the key governmental agencies responsible for culture and sports that can result in the sharing of best practices, experiences, research and innovation and which, wherever possible, lead to economic benefits for both countries,” he said.
“I dare say that Barbados has much to offer Japan in terms of cultural experiences, such as research, such as knowledge of our African heritage and culture including festivals, food, dance, architecture, visual arts and cultural practices,” he said.
He pointed out that the creative economy accounted for about YEN$35.3 trillion in revenue in Japan, with the leading industries being architecture, software development and computer applications, engineering services, music and the performing arts, which could benefit Barbados.
“Of particular interest to us in the ministry are mechanisms in place for protection of cultural properties, to research on the content industries which include movies, music, games, software and animation,” he said.
King said Bridgetown and Tokyo have already started to forge stronger linkages in the area of sport with organizations in Japan, pointing to a memorandum of cooperation between the two nations for opportunities for Barbadian athletes, coaches and exchanges.
“We sought to explore opportunities for Barbadian athletes to train and acclimatize in Japan prior to the Olympic 2020 Games,” he said.
Ambassador of Japan to Barbados Teruhiko Shinada said he was hoping the weekend of Japanese culture would “serve as yet another occasion for Barbadians to get to know Japan and its culture better, and ultimately bring our two countries even closer.
Explaining the Bonsai and Origami art forms, Shinada said he was impressed by the work that the two-decade old Bonsai Barbados has been doing over the years.
“I am extremely pleased to have found scores of lovers of this Japanese cultural art form in Barbados, and I am further delighted at this opportunity to showcase their work to the public,” said Shinada.
The Bonsai and Origami showcase, which was jointly organized by the Japanese Embassy and Bonsai Barbados and featured a range of plants including a Bajan Cherry Tree and Sea Grape, is opened to members of the public on Saturday and Sunday.
Bonsai is basically the art of creating miniature replicas of full-grown trees in flowerpots. The technique requires the use of very delicate cultivation through pruning, root reduction and potting.
Secretary of Bonsai Barbados Heather Hill said she was pleased with the interest and dedication of some residents in the art form.
Hill said she was also happy to share the work of the club with the public, adding that some of the trees were very old.