Meet Mr Shuji Kogi – EU-Japan Fest


EU-Japan Fest is a cultural exchange between the EU and Japan and aims to create lasting connections and exchanges between Japan and European Capitals of Culture.

Since 1993, the EU-Japan Fest works closely with regions that have been awarded the European Capital of Culture title. Matti Allam, Galway 2020 International Relations Manager chats to EU-Japan Fest Secretary General Mr Shuji Kogi on his recent visit to Galway.


Can you tell us a bit about how EU-Japan Fest has been supporting European Capitals of Cultures?

Our main purpose is to connect people to people. We only support the European Capital of Culture programme and our support goes directly to them. This support then goes to the Japanese participants; we’ve sent more than 30,000 artists to Europe since 1993. We’re a non-government organisation and our goal is to connect in order to encourage a more creative global society. Identity is very important for the organisation – without our own identity, globalisation is just fake. This is a really good opportunity to embrace globalisation while embracing local identity.


Can you tell us about what kinds of connections EU-Japan Fest has had made with Europe and how that has benefited artists?

The 21st century is the first century that the whole world has shared a lot of culture and tradition. Therefore, the European Capital of Culture is a great opportunity for not only the citizens of our cities, but also for artists from all over the world. It offers local artists the opportunity to meet Japanese artists, and to create contacts for the future.


What are your hopes for Galway 2020’s connection with EU-Japan Fest?

Together with Galway 2020, we want to connect people to people. I really hope that this European Capital of Culture will encourage citizens and artists from all over the world to open their gates and open their eyes. I hope that the experience will influence their daily lives. Nowadays, being global, we’re so similar yet so different, and so we’re celebrating this through our connections with the European Capitals of Culture.


Photo credit: Brian Scott Peterson

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