Hikonyan to Visit USA to Promote Hikone, Shiga PrefectureParticipating in Black Ships Festival7 July 2015 - Local topics
A departure ceremony for "Hikonyan," the mascot for Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, was held on July 6 at the city hall. Hikonyan will participate in the Newport Black Ships Festival held in Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A. from July 17 to 19. He will visit the United States for six days from July 15 to 20.
As this year marks the bicentennial of the birth of Naosuke Ii, who led Japan into opening the country, Hikonyan will visit Newport, the birthplace of Commodore Perry, who commanded the Black Ships which triggered the opening of Japan. This is Hikonyan's fourth overseas expedition, and the first since his trip to Paris, France in July 2013.
There will be six participants in the Black Ships Festival from Hikone City, including Mayor Takashi Okubo, Shozo Kitamura, president of Hikonyan's fan club, and others. Newport City will hold a welcome party on July 16, and at the festival's opening ceremony on July 17, Mayor Okubo will lay a wreath at the bronze statue of Commodore Perry and Hikonyan will be introduced. On July 18, Hikonyan will use his red samurai armor to introduce Japanese culture at a workshop for trying on samurai armor he will bring.
Kitamura, the fan club's president, said, "We would like to invigorate Hikone by promoting it to attract foreign visitors."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)