“The Japanese Garden was created as a mark of friendship between Romania and Japan, and through this friendship to bring more peace to the world. And after we rebuild it, the theme shall remain, because friendship can only bring peace”, stated Takuhiro Yamada, owner of a Company for Restoration of Japanese Gardens, with a history of about 150 years. The Japanese Garden in Herastrau was brought back to life, in a joint effort by the Embassy of Japan, Bucharest City Hall, the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture, and JTI. Thus, the Garden reminds to Romanian public that people can diminish distances between countries.
“When I arrived in Bucharest, I found out that `Grădina Japoneză` was quite deserted. It was sad to see it like this”, said His Excellency Mr. Kisaburo Ishii, the Ambassador of Japan in Bucharest. And he made efforts for the Garden to be given back to the Romanian public in its initial shape, with the direct support of the Japanese Ministry of the Territory, Infrastructure, Transports and Tourism.
The Garden was set 20 years ago in Herastrau Park, but since then there were not enough resources and knowledge for its maintenance. “I asked the Japanese Ministry of Infrastructure to establish a new fund for technical assistance. The new fund in Japan was set this year for this garden in Bucharest and for another in the United States: these are two pilot projects”, disclosed the Ambassador some details from the story of the Garden.
At the kind request of the Japan Embassy in Romania, Mr. Yamada visited Bucharest this spring to make detailed plans for the garden’s rejuvenation. He returned during the autumn and gave a lecture on the features of Japanese Gardens, to a very enthusiastic audience at the Architecture University.
“A Japanese garden actually signifies the restoration of nature’s beauty, and this is what we have tried to achieve here in Bucharest. I would like to visit it again next year in April, when I believe the garden shall be officially opened, when the cherry trees are in blossom”, said Mr. Takuhiro Yamada who coordinated his team of gardeners, but also volunteers from JTI, City Hall and the Japanese Embassy.
“It’s important that we give something back to the community. I’ve always believed in good causes, and in giving something back into the world. We are very fortunate at JTI – we work for a great company which is willing to invest not just money, but also time into these projects. This Japanese Garden is a project that I thoroughly enjoy being involved with, and I hope we do many more like this”, said Mark Rock, General Manager JTI Romania.
The Japanese Gardens must be maintained day by day. This work will be done in the future by a team of experts from City Hall, Architecture University, as well as enthusiastic JTI and Urasenke volunteers.
From the way of gardening, to the Japanese spirit and culture
A Japanese Garden represents a piece of a very complex view about world and life. As a Japanese Company and the most important Japanese investment in Romania, JTI has been made efforts to promote the Japanese cultural heritage locally. Thus, the Romanian-Japanese Studies Center (RJSC), which functions also with the Japanese Embassy support, within Romanian American University, celebrated 12 years in 2017. The center hosts various events, such as the Japanese Cultural Days Festival, conferences, Japanese language courses. JTI supports also the Tea House at the National Museum of Arts, which will be inaugurated next year, and the “Japanese evenings” at Humanitas bookstores.
Since 2007, JTI has the honour to be partner of the International Festival Theater in Sibiu (FITS), the most important annual theatre festival in Romania and the third in the world, where Japan has been a constant presence much appreciated by the Romanian public.
Last but not least, a special mention to the “JTI Encounters”, a Romanian national cultural trademark, this year to the 18th edition, that has its roots in JT philosophy, the parent JTI Company: “Doing business is nothing but a series of Encounters with people, nature and art”.
Launched in 2000, by the famous ballet company Bejart Ballet Lausanne, the “JTI Encounters” have hosted renowned dancers, choreographers and ballet companies: Nacho Duato and Compania Nacional De Danza, Joaquin Cortes, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Tango Pasion, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant, Gigi Căciuleanu and the National Chilean Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Vortice Dance Company, Maria Pagés and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan Company, and in 2016 Mats Ek, Ana Laguna, Susanne Linke and Dominique Mercy.
This year, for the first time in Romania, at the initiative of Japan Foundation, with the support of the Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with the Sibiu International Theatre Festival and the Art Production Foundation, the “JTI Encounters” hosted in Bucharest and Sibiu the most important Japanese company of contemporary dance, “Noism”.
Despite globalization, there are not so many ways to meet the spirit of a country, in an easy way and without travelling. Arts is reuniting spirits and besides dance and theatre, the Japanese Garden will be such a place of marvelous encounters. Because, after all, a beautiful life is nothing but “a series of Encounters”.