Japan-Mexico Binational Week Creates Connections


Consul General Akira Chiba (left) with Ambassador Carlos Garcia de Alba (right)

Between 13 and 18 March 2019, the Consulates General of Mexico and Japan in Los Angeles, along with Japan Foundation Los Angeles, presented the Japan-Mexico Binational Week, a series of events that created and fostered connections between Japanese and Mexican artists and businesspeople. The timely partnerships marked both the Los Angeles-Mexico City sister-city relationship’s 50th anniversary and the Los Angeles-Nagoya sister-city relationship’s 60th anniversary in 2019.

On Wednesday, March 13th, the Binational Week opened at the Japan Foundation’s theater and library with remarks from Japan Foundation Director Hideki Hara, and Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Akira Chiba. The remarks were immediately followed by “The Art of Shinzaburo Takeda,” a documentary screening and art lecture featuring the artist, himself, hailing originally from the city of Seto, Japan and settling later in 1978 in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Maestro Takeda—a painter, printmaker, and professor of art at the University of Oaxaca—provided prints from his personal collection as well as some local delicacies from the state of Oaxaca for the guests to enjoy.

The Week continued on Thursday, March 14th, with the capacity-crowd North American premiere film screening of “Homie Kei” at the Mexican Cultural Center and Cinematic Arts (CCCM) in the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles. The film was a documentary about a Japanese man named Kei who was taken in by the local Chicano population after being incarcerated in Los Angeles, California. The documentary followed Kei’s journey from his days on the wrong side of the law decades ago in Japan to connecting with and learning from the Chicano community on Terminal Island, to becoming a present-day local philanthropist in the Shonan region of Kanagawa Prefecture. The film screening was preceded by a special video message from Kei, himself, and was also attended by many of his local friends and supporters.

On Friday, March 15th, the Japanese hip hop duo, Hilty & Bosch, collaborated with local Mexican-American DJ Tianguis to put on “Hip Hop Dance Night” at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles. The audience was treated to an electrifying performance by Hilty & Bosch and other hip hop dancers from Japan while DJ Tianguis provided the music. The highly technical choreography mesmerized all of the guests and had them audibly yearning for more at the end of the event.

Monday, March 18th, marked the closing night of Japan-Mexico Binational Week when Japanese and Mexican businesspeople from all over Southern California came together for the “Japan-Mexico Business Seminar” at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. The evening featured tours of the JAPAN HOUSE Monozukuri shop and art gallery; remarks from Consul General Akira Chiba and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles President Yuko Kaifu; and informative presentations by Dr. Javier Martinez (President of the Mexican Entrepreneur Association), Amb. Carlos García de Alba (Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles), Mr. Keichi Nishimoto (Chief Executive Officer of the Japan External Trade Organization Los Angeles, JETRO), and Mr. Ryo Mizuno (Executive Researcher at Teruko Weinberg, Inc.). Guacamole, chips, and tequila were provided by the Consulate General of Mexico, while sushi, ramen, and Japanese spirits such as shochu and awamori were provided by the Consulate General of Japan.

Read more about the Japan-Mexico Business Seminar: https://www.la.us.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/JMexBizSeminar.html.
Maestro Shinzaburo Takeda with Consul General Chiba
Audience Q&A with Maestro Takeda at Japan Foundation Los Angeles

Full theater at the "Homie Kei" North American premiere film screening

Hilty & Bosch (left and right) with DJ Tianguis (center)
Attentive audience at the Japan-Mexico Business Seminar
Creating connections at the Japan-Mexico Business Seminar