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|Sunday, March 25, 2001, updated at 11:01(GMT+8)|
HK-Japan Cultural Exchanges in Steady GrowthCultural exchanges between Japan and Hong Kong are becoming increasingly important with the seeming recovery of the Japanese economy and more Japanese flooding into the region for investment, business and travel, according to Antonio Ma, secretary general of the Japan Society of Hong Kong.
In an interview with Xinhua this week, Ma described Hong Kong as an "international melting pot" of multi-ethnic group, multi- language and multi-culture. Almost half of Hong Kong's 6.8-million population are foreigners and more than ten million foreign tourists visit Hong Kong each year, he noted.
Hong Kong's growth into one of the few metropolis in the world, more or less, owes to the contributions made by these people of different colors in Hong Kong, he added.
Though only about 23,000 Japanese are living and working in Hong Kong on a long-term basis, which is a small community compared with people from other countries, Ma said, yet the Japanese culture has a certain influence on the Hong Kong society.
This is not only because Japanese and Hong Kong people are somewhat alike in appearance, but also because many Japanese and Hong Kong people share similar life styles and values, he said.
Wandering in the streets in Hong Kong, you may see a lot of signboards reading "Japanese street", "Japanese shops", "Japanese Sushi", "Japanese paintings" and "Japanese games", Ma said.
However, these are not the Japanese culture is all about, Ma said, there are many things that are more important in it, such as Japan's politics, economy, society and the Japanese language, as well as its traditional Judo and the tea ceremony.
All these have helped enrich and develop the diversity of Hong Kong's culture, Ma said.
The Japan Society of Hong Kong, since its founding in 1962, has made unremitting efforts to enhance Hong Kong's understanding of the Japanese society and its culture and the friendship between the people of the two places, Ma said.
The Society is responsible for promoting education of the Japanese language in Hong Kong, through hosting a variety of seminars, organizing Japanese language contests and granting scholarships to Hong Kong students pursuing study in Japan.
Last year, the Society sponsored a series of seminars on Japan and Japan-Hong Kong relations. Itaru Umezu, consul-general of Japan in Hong Kong, gave a speech on "the future partnership between Japan and Hong Kong", attracting some 120 local officials and experts of Japan-related issues, Ma said.
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