Japan-Armenia Friendship Event: Presentation on the Japan Delegation

The Government of Japan sponsored a delegation of leaders from the Armenian community led by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, on a visit to Japan in March 2023.
On February 8, 2024, the Western Diocese and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles co-hosted an evening of sharing by delegation members with special remarks by Archbishop Derderian, Consul General of Armenia Karen Israyelyan, and Consul General of Japan Kenko Sone. Special guests at the event included Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian and Burbank City Councilmember Zizette Mullins. The evening also featured performances of the string quartet Voce’dell Orchestra led by Concertmaster Ashot Dumanyan, and Japanese classical dance by Bando Hidesomi.
In his remarks, Archbishop Derderian noted the previous friendship events held in collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan in 2019 and 2022. His Eminence also mentioned the highlights of the Japan visit, including the meeting with a descendant of Japanese philanthropist Eiichi Shibusawa, who was instrumental in urging Japanese to aid Armenian refugees during the 1920s, and a visit to the gravesite of the world’s first female diplomat, Diana Apcar from Armenia, at the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery. His Eminence also noted meeting with Saga University Professor Dr. Mie Ishii, who had led workshops on historic textiles restoration at Armenia’s Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral, organized by the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. His Eminence also mentioned enriching spiritual experiences in Kyoto and commended the “unparalleled discipline, deep respect for elders, and welcoming spirit and commitment of excellence” of Japan.  
Delegation members Maria Mehranian, President of Armenia Fund USA and Managing Partner of Cordoba Corporation, and Roubik Golanian, City Manager of the City of Glendale, also shared their reflections on the delegation. Ms. Mehranian was particularly impressed by the infrastructure, culture, art, and food and noted the street safety and importance of “sharing the space” as an aesthetic and daily living principle in Japan. Mr. Golanian mentioned visiting Iwatani’s hydrogen distribution facility and fueling station, expressing hopes to bring the technology to the City of Glendale.
The reception that followed the program featured Armenian and Japanese food and beverages. For dessert, melon pan provided by Okayama Kobo was especially chosen to signify the Japan-Armenia friendship. Melon pan is said to have been created by Armenian baker Ivan Sagoyan in 1910 while employed at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and is a much-loved item throughout Japan. Additional food served at the event included Armenian food by Ritz Celebration, sushi by Katsuya, fried chicken by Tenkatori, Armenian wine by Mission Liquors, Japanese beer by Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo, and Japanese sake by Maruto.

Photos: Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America