On 21 October, 2023, the heart of Tokyo resonated with the vibrant colors and rhythms of Hungarian culture. How did the day go and what kind of events did they host?
A successful 4th Hungarian Festival
The Liszt Institute of Tokyo organised the highly successful 4th Hungarian Festival last month. This massive open-air event unfolded with a full-day stage program, creating a cultural bridge between Hungary and Japan. If you’re a foreigner living in Hungary and want to learn more about our culture through fun festivals like this, read our article about the best festivals to learn about Hungarian traditions.
Diverse performances and artistic showcases
The festival featured an array of performances, including folk dancers, folk musicians, singers, and storytellers from Hungary. Surprisingly, there were Japanese people performing dressed in traditional Hungarian clothes. Going beyond traditional boundaries, the Japanese audience was treated to the talents of Hungarian classical music artists, singers, and dance groups from Japan. The stage program, comprising 14 diverse programs and boasting over 100 performers, showcased the richness of Hungarian culture and talent. Noteworthy acts included Mihály Timár, leader of the Timár Ensemble, classical musicians such as Kaneko Mijuji and István Kohán, and the enchanting Fény children’s choir.
Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship’s 10th anniversary
As part of the festivities, the 10th anniversary of the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship was celebrated, recognising and applauding academic achievements. Additionally, the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture program was introduced, further highlighting Hungary’s cultural contributions.
Folk costume fashion show and engaging activities for all ages
Accompanying the festival, a fashion show unfolded in collaboration with the Liszt Institute’s temporary exhibition, “Folk Costume Reconsidered”. This captivating display demonstrated the integration of Hungarian folk art motifs into modern clothing, presented by the well-known Japanese celebrity Kōichi Sugiyama. Moreover, the festival catered to families with children through various activities led by Kitti Csőke, a Hungarian-Japanese storybook author. Children enjoyed playhouses, craft programs, and a Rubik’s Cube speed challenge hosted by the Speedcubing Hungary Association.
Cultural exhibitions and virtual spaces
Beyond the stage performances, cultural exhibitions adorned the festival grounds. Gábor Erdélyi’s photography exhibition showcased the beauty of Veszprém. Additionally, the Hungarian-designed TEREMTec virtual exhibition space allowed visitors to explore a virtual model of Hungary. People could admire downtown Veszprém and images of the Balaton region by Csaba Toroczkai.
Gastronomic delights and exhibitors
Ten stands and two mobile buffets offered a taste of Hungary, featuring renowned companies such as Iroiro, Mitsui Trading House, Suzuki Car Dealership, and Kürtös Bee. Attendees could savour Hungarian products and culinary delights, contributing to the immersive experience.
Media coverage and sponsorship
The event received extensive media coverage, with one national and one regional TV program, along with over 70 print and digital media outlets. The Hungarian Festival was possible because of the support of the Liszt Institute of Tokyo, the National Cultural Fund, the Stipendium Hungaricum Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hungarian Academy of Arts, and various Japanese sponsors.
The 4th Hungarian Festival in Tokyo proved to be a resounding success. It attracted thousands of visitors, including Hungarians visiting and living in Japan, and fostered cultural exchange between the two countries.
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