Japan on July 17 pledged US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion) over the next two years to back the United Nations' development agenda, raising its profile as one of the world's largest foreign aid donors. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a meeting at the UN that the funding will go to help children and youth worldwide, in particular to promote education, health, disaster response and gender equality.
Last week, Korean pop group Twice made its “official” debut in Japan, featuring the release of a Japanese-language best-of compilation and a showcase at Tokyo Gymnasium on July 2. [...] Japanese media has primarily focused on the fact three of Twice’s members are Japanese. [...] The Japanese members are shown as soft power superhumans, helping Japan’s image in Korea.
The Japanese “Va-Liqa” music band has performed in Baku. Addressing the event, Japanese Ambassador to Baku Teruyuki Katori and Head of Khatai Executive Authority Razim Mammadov highlighted the importance of the concert. [...] The speakers noted that both countries are interested in expanding relations, adding such cultural events contribute to further fostering cultural ties.
A delegation of Japanese officials and businessmen arrived at Russia’s Kunashir Island on Wednesday to inspect facilities that may be used for joint Russian-Japanese business projects at the Kuril Islands, which Japan calls its Northern Territories.
Amid the ashes of his hometown destroyed by an atomic bomb, teenager Kazuzo Tagashira started to grow roses and watched them start blooming across the bombed-out ruins here. Tagashira decided to devote his entire life to raising and breeding the roses in the hopes that world peace would similarly bloom in the future.
Manga and anime are a good source of soft power for Japan. If creators and animators can find a way to not just appeal to the elite readership in foreign countries but also to the masses – which would entail translating the manga into local languages and incorporating local stories – then manga and anime can be a veritable bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.
After partnering with Tokyo International Music Market (TIMM) in Japan last year, BAMID collaborates with Big Mountain Music Festival in Thailand this year, under New Southbound Policy, to exchange performances and campaign resources. These efforts aim to establish Taiwan as a regional pop music performing and trading center. [...] Big Mountain Music Festival, a new GMA partner, is the largest outdoor music festival in Southeast Asia, attracting 100,000 visitors a year. The event highlights local country and folk music in Thailand.
Saudi Arabia's religious leaders have labelled some areas of Western culture as harmful and corrupting. They've banned movie theaters and rarely permit public concerts. But this is slowly changing -- and one Japanese orchestra is taking center stage. Over 80 musicians and a conductor arrived in Riyadh in April to give the first classical concert Saudi Arabia has allowed in decades.