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San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society

Last updated date:2018/9/28

San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society

"O-hisashiburi desu" is the Japanese greeting for when you meet someone after a long time. It has been 3 months since my last entry, so I though it suited the situation well.

Today, I will keep with the idea of introducing Yokohama’s sister cities. It is important to know that what drive forward the twinning of cities are their citizens. In the case of San Diego, there exists the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society(外部サイト) (SDYSCS). San Diego and Yokohama are each other’s first sister city, and what the Society has done over this 55-year friendship – in collaboration with its counterpart in Yokohama, the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee – is significant.

Guardian of the Waters

October 1957 was the beginning of a rich history of sister-city exchange between the cities of San Diego and Yokohama. There have been many visits of citizens groups and exchange of gifts such as the “Guardian of the Waters” stone statue presented by San Diego. It has been installed in Yamashita Park, watching over Tokyo Bay in the direction of San Diego on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. It is the copy of a statue erected in the port of San Diego, protecting the latter under its watchful eyes.

Okapi presented by San Diego to Yokohama

The last 55 years have also witnessed exchange of animals. Both San Diego and Yokohama have made several donations of exotic animals to each other. Notably, San Diego has presented an okapi to Yokohama. Furthermore, between November 2011 and April 2012, four students participated in a bilateral exchange between San Diego’s High Tech High School and Yokohama’s Kanazawa High School organized and sponsored by the SDYSCS.

Sister cities can also be of great help in the face of disasters. Indeed, after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the SDYSCS collected Disaster Relief Funds, while the students of Morning Creek Elementary School wholeheartedly sent their best wishes for East Japan’s safe recovery. The students also folded 1000 origami cranes in wish of safe and prompt recovery. Yokohama served as in-between, bringing the messages to Ishinomaki City in the devastated area.

More recently, the SDYSCS has received the 61st Yokohama Cultural Award in recognition of 55 years of activities bringing the 2 cities closer together. Accepting the award was SDYSCS President Kaneko Bishop who headed a delegation from San Diego. The SDYSCS also donated a bronze statue by artist Allan Houser which was unveiled at a ceremony in Yokohama City Hall on the 21st, last month. The statue named “Patience” is a testament to the 55 years of socio-economic activities far beyond borders and oceans as well as a pledge for the fostering of ever deeper friendship and a wish for a bright future. It is a symbol of the solid friendship between the 2 cities.

I close this entry sincerely wishing for the further success of the sisterhood between San Diego and Yokohama!

61st Yokohama Cultural Award ceremony (left) and unveiling of “Patience”, a statue by artist Allan Houser (right)

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