Joys of Joyo, Japan

 In News

The friendship between Clark College and the city of Joyo, Japan, was reinvigorated post-pandemic during a visit to the land of the rising sun by Clark College officials and Vancouver dignities.

Clark College's president visits Vancouver’s sister city in Joyo, Japan.

President Karin Edwards, right, points to the Penguin Nation tie that Toshiharu Okuda, mayor of Joyo City, is wearing during a March visit to Joyo, Japan.

Clark College Foundation, Clark College, the Vancouver mayor, the Vancouver Rotary president and area business leaders visited the land of the rising sun during the week of March 13. In years past, a delegation of members from Joyo has traveled to Vancouver, Wash.

This year, Calen Ouellette, CEO of Clark College Foundation, joined Dr. Karin Edwards, president of Clark College, and other local leaders, in our sister city of Joyo, where they celebrated the connection between the two regions.

It was inspiring to witness the friendship between the residents of Joyo and Vancouver, according to Ouellette. “The longstanding relationship is instrumental for both cities,” he said. “I was moved to see the deep respect the people of Joyo city have for Clark College.”

Joyo is close to Kyoto, a large city on the island of Honshu. Kyoto is famous for its Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and gardens.

Vancouver connection

Edwards and Ouellette joined Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle to visit a city park in Joyo that features a replica of Fort Vancouver for children to play on. A plaque in the park explains the connection between the two cities. Ouellette said he met several people in Joyo who had been to Clark College.

During a visit with the local Lingo Club, members practiced their English with the Vancouver delegation. Japanese children presented Edwards and Ouellette with drawings that will be displayed during Clark’s Sakura Festival in April.

It was in 1990, when John Kageyama, then-president of America Kotobuki Electronics Inc., presented a gift of 100 Shirofugen cherry trees to the city of Vancouver to commemorate 100 years of Washington’s statehood. The trees were planted on Clark’s campus, which hosts a free Sakura Festival each year. It’s a celebration of the friendship between the two cities, timed to occur as the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

This year’s Sakura Festival is Thursday, April 20. Opening remarks take place at 1 p.m. in the Royce Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden. A celebration in the Gaiser Student Center begins at 2:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Story by Lily Raff McCaulou

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