Event Reports


Event Reports 2021

Iwasaki Sangyo Award Ceremony

Acting Consul-General Ms MASUDA Chieko was delighted to attend an award ceremony for the recipients of the 2021 Iwasaki Sangyo Prize held on Friday, 3 December by the Department of Education International. The prize has provided QLD students with the invaluable opportunity to study in-country for almost 25 years, and we are delighted to see it continue to inspire students to learn Japanese. The Hon Grace Grace MP provided encouraging words to the winners while highlighting the importance of learning a second language and the doors that it can open. Congratulations to the five winners on their outstanding achievement. We wish you all the best for your time in Japan!

2021 Japanese Film Festival


The opening night of the 2021 Japanese Film Festival was held at Palace Barracks on Thursday 11 November. Over the 11 day festival, patrons enjoyed an extensive range of the latest Japanese cinema releases, including the opening film Hokusai (2020), an epic biopic depicting the life of the legendary Japanese ukiyo-e artist. Thank you to all those who attended the festival, the volunteers who worked hard to ensure the success of the event, and the Japan Foundation for organising such a fantastic festival year after year.

Photos courtesy of The Japan Foundation, Sydney, with photography by Joanna Yifan Zheng.

Ikebana Demonstration in Townsville



We were honoured to have Ms NATSUME Misae of the Ohara school of Ikebana as part of our 125th anniversary celebrations. The Ohara school of Ikebana was established in 1895 when Japan opened up its economy to the West and began to import European flowers, and uses shallow ceramic vases in what is known as moribana style. Ms NATSUME was assisted by Ms Kazuyo Raasch to create six distinct displays using a gorgeous mix of flowers. We loved seeing Ikebana with an Australian touch!

Farewell to our 2021 JET Programme Participants


On Saturday 16 October, our 2021 JET Programme participants departed for Japan on the start of their adventures in Japan. This year we have several JETs travelling to areas with sister and friendship relationships with Queensland, including Kobe in Hyogo, Takasu in Hokkaido, Saitama prefecture, and Ehime prefecture. We would like to wish all our participants all the best on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and work in Japan, to experience everyday life and become a part of a local community, and to share in a cultural exchange between Japan and Australia. Thanks also to JETAA Queensland for providing invaluable information and support as always. Itterasshai, minasan! Bon voyage!

Reception for the 125th Anniversary of the first Japanese Consular Office in Australia




On October 11 we celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the first Japanese Consular Office in Australia with a reception held by the Embassy of Japan in Canberra, the Consulate-General of Japan in Brisbane, and the Japan Club of Cairns. This event was held in Townsville, where the office was first established to support the growing number of Japanese nationals working in the pearl diving and sugar cane industries in Northern Queensland.

In attendance were Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill, Phillip Thompson OAM MP, councillors, representatives from James Cook University, and members of the Far North Queensland Japan community. Guests were treated to an Ikebana demonstration by Ohara instructor NATSUME Misae and a gorgeous tea ceremony conducted by Ms YAMADA Akiko and the Japanese Tea Ceremony Urasenke school, and enjoyed Taiko drumming and traditional Japanese music. Townsville sister cities Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture and Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture also provided messages of support.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us for this milestone occasion, and look forward to many more years of close ties to come.

Visit to Kardinia, Townsville


This year marks the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Japan’s first Consular Office in Australia, which is located in Townsville and was used from 1896 to 1908. Paul and June Tonnoir have owned ‘Kardinia’ since 1984, and since then have restored the house to a most beautiful home with great respect to its history. It was an honour to be given a most informative and insightful tour of ‘Kardinia’ by Mr Tonnoir. We thank Mr and Mrs Tonnoir for their generosity in inviting Director of the Consular Office in Carins Mr MATSUDA Tsuneki and Acting Consul-General Ms MASUDA Chieko into their home, and extend our gratitude for maintaining the history and beauty of ‘Kardinia’.

Japan and Friends Day 2021

On 25 September Japan and Friends Day was held at Robina State High School on The Gold Coast. This event, which was co-hosted by the Japan Club of the Gold Coast, was a great opportunity to celebrate Japanese culture and the vibrant Japan community here in Queensland and on the Gold Coast. The day included traditional Japanese festival dancing Bon Odori, taiko drumming, a cosplay competition, authentic Japanese festival food, lots of attendees in yukata, and a huge range of fun activities and performances. After two cancellations, it was wonderful for the Japanese community and friends to finally get together and enjoy Japanese culture. Thank you to everyone who helped make the day a roaring success!

Consul-General Mr TANAKA Kazunari's Farewell Reception


On Friday, 3 September a farewell reception was held for Consul-General TANAKA Kazunari and Mrs TANAKA Hiromi, who are returning to Japan this month after almost three years of service in Brisbane. The event was attended by dignitaries, friends, and representatives of organisations who have helped support the Queensland-Japan relationship during the Consul-General’s time in Australia.

Between 2018 and 2021, Mr TANAKA travelled extensively throughout Queensland, working to strengthen ties across a range of sectors state-wide. We also celebrated some important milestones during this period, including the 35th anniversary of Queensland-Saitama and Brisbane-Kobe sister-state/sister-city relations in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and the announcement of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games from Tokyo. This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the opening of Australia’s first Japanese Consular Office in Townsville. Queensland-Japan relations are growing ever stronger through our cultural ties, trade relations, and the development of new industries such as green hydrogen, and through his tireless efforts the long-standing relationship continues to flourish.

We would like to thank all those who attended, and wish Mr and Mrs TANAKA all the best for the future.

You can read Consul-General TANAKA’s remarks from the reception here: https://www.brisbane.au.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/message_farewell.html  

Deputy Consul-General Ms MASUDA Chieko's visit to Thursday Island

On Tuesday 13 July, Deputy Consul-General Ms MASUDA Chieko, visited Thursday Island where many Japanese worked in the pearling industry and made up a large community during late 19th century to early 20th century. She met with Mayor Vonda Malone and officials of the Torres Shire Council to discuss future steps to further develop the Thursday Island-Japan relationship, including the active Friendship City Agreement between Thursday Island and Kushimoto Town, Wakayama Prefecture.

Consul-General’s Commendations for Professor Caitlin Byrne and Reverend James Wilson


On 25 June the Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane Mr TANAKA Kazunari presented Consul-General’s commendations to Professor Caitlin Byrne and Reverend James Wilson for their profound contributions to both the Japan-Australia and the Japan-Queensland relationship.

Professor Caitlin Byrne has been instrumental in coordinating several pivotal events in her capacity as Director of the Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) of Griffith University, and has worked hard to increase awareness and stimulating discussion on Australia’s relationship with the Asia-Pacific, particularly Japan.

Reverend James Henry “Tetsuyuu” Wilson’s work in Queensland has been wide-ranging. Rev Wilson is a Buddhist leader of his temple Amida-ji, and has notably been a driving force for Obon ceremonies on Thursday Island. The island is home to around 800 graves of Japanese pearl divers who arrived in Australia more than 100 years ago. He is also part of an annual memorial service in Cowra for the prison breakout by Japanese prisoners of war in 1944.

Thank you Caitlin and Tetsuyuu-san for all your incredibly hard work in strengthening the Queensland-Japan and Australia-Japan relationships. Congratulations to you both for these well-deserved awards!

Courtesy call by Brisbane Roar FC players KUDO Masato and DANZAKI Riku

On 26 May, Consul-General Tanaka received a courtesy call from Japanese soccer players of Brisbane Roar FC. We are delighted to see KUDO Masato and DANZAKI Riku competing in Queensland. As of 31 May, Roar is in 5th place on the ladder and has every chance to clinch one of six spots to proceed to the Final Series, and we hope locals will take the opportunity to cheer them on while they are here. Sport is a fast-growing sector in the bilateral relationship between Japan and Australia, and provides great opportunities for cross-cultural exchange. We wish Mr KUDO and Mr DANZAKI all the best this season, and hope they enjoy their time in Australia.

Ikebana Workshop on the Sunshine Coast


On 15 May, Mrs TANAKA Hiromi, wife of Consul-General TANAKA, conducted an ikebana (flower arrangement) demonstration and workshop on the Sunshine Coast, hosted by local artist Ms Tory Richards at her studio (www.toryrichardsart.com).

Mrs TANAKA is a Katoku (senior instructor) from the Ikenobo school of Ikebana, the oldest and largest ikebana school in Japan. In her demonstration she created three distinct pieces based on three styles of flower arrangement from the Ikenobo School: Shoka, Rikka, and Free Style (pictured). 

16 participants, mainly artists and art connoisseurs in the region, then had the opportunity to create their own free style flower arrangement, while learning more about this traditional Japanese art form. We were pleased to provide this opportunity for cultural exchange between art lovers from Japan and Queensland.

Commemoration service for the 79th anniversary of the Battle of Coral Sea

On 8 May, Consul-General TANAKA attended a Commemoration for the Battle of Coral Sea at the Australian American War Memorial, Newstead Park. The service, organised by the Australian American Association, Brisbane, marked 79 years since the historic battle between Japan and the Allied forces in 1942. The Consul-General laid a wreath on behalf of Japan, and stood in remembrance with representatives from Australia and the United States. The Battle of Coral Sea was very fierce and left many casualties on both sides. Now Australia and the U.S. have become close friends of Japan.

We thank the Australian American Association, Brisbane, for kindly allowing us to share these photos from the event, taken by the Association’s Treasurer Teresa Pokoj.

MLTAQ (Modern Language Teachers Association of Queensland) 2021 Japanese Network Conference

On the 1st and 2nd of May, MLTAQ (Modern Language Teachers Association of Queensland) held a face-to-face 2021 Japanese Network Conference in Brisbane for the first time in two years. The Consulate-General of Japan in Brisbane is delighted to notice that Queensland has a strong tradition of Japanese language education with passionate educators, many of whom attended this conference.

On the 1st of May, Consul-General TANAKA attended and officially opened the conference. Sydney Office Director of Japan Foundation (JF) Mr. SHONO Keiji also attended, and two Japanese instructors made a keynote presentation titled “What’s New in Japan?”

On the 2nd of May, Mrs TANAKA Hiromi, Katoku instructor from the Ikenobo school and Consul-General’s wife, conducted an Ikebana workshop as part of the conference. Participants created and took home their very own mini ikebana! We hope participants enjoyed the chance to experience this traditional aspect of Japanese culture, and took away some fun ideas for their own Japanese classes. The two day conference attracted around 150 Japanese language teachers from around the state, who received beneficial training on Japanese teaching methodology and culture while having the opportunity to network with their peers.

Port of Townsville/Origin Energy - Export Hydrogen Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing

On Wednesday, 14 April, Port of Townsville and Origin Energy signed a memorandum of understanding on hydrogen exports. The Port of Townsville will work with Origin Energy and Kawasaki Heavy Industries on the development of a hydrogen export facility, with the expectation of exporting more than 36,000 tonnes of liquid hydrogen every year from 2025. Consul-General TANAKA was in attendance at this historic signing, which represents an important step forward towards exporting renewable hydrogen from Queensland to Japan.

Ballet Workshop


On Saturday 10 April, the Consulate-General of Japan, together with the Japanese Club of Brisbane, hosted a ballet workshop at the official residence of Consul-General Mr TANAKA Kazunari. Two prominent Japanese dancers from the Queensland Ballet (QB), IWAMOTO Kohei and YOSHIDA Neneka, kindly offered to present a workshop for local Japanese children, who had the chance to speak with these professional dancers living and performing in Australia, and learned a simple ballet routine.

IWAMOTO Kohei studied at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne with a scholarship, then worked with the New Zealand Ballet before joining QB in 2018. He was promoted to Senior Soloist the following year. YOSHIDA Neneka was recently promoted to Principal Artist of QB. She was a finalist at the world renowned Prix de Lausanne in 2013. It was Mr Li Cunxin, Artistic Director of QB, who was on the jury panel and recruited her to join QB the following year.

We hope that this event helped inspire the next generation to pursue their passions, and show them the opportunities that exist in Australia and around the world for Japanese people.

Conferment of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette on Mr Ross McConachie


On Friday, 26 March Mr Ross James McConachie was presented with The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, in recognition of his contributions to promoting inter-regional exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and Australia, at a special ceremony held at the official residence of the Consul-General of Japan Mr TANAKA Kazunari, who hosted the evening. During his time as Vice-Present (2002-2007), and President (2007-2012) of the Australia-Japan Society in Queensland (AJS-Q), Mr McConachie initiated several projects, including AJS-Q’s annual careers seminar, and contributed greatly to the reinvigoration of the Kobe-Brisbane Sister City relationship, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year. His conferment, announced as a 2020 Spring Imperial Decoration, was delayed due to COVID-19 and we were delighted to hold the ceremony safely this year. Congratulations!

Ikebana Workshop and School Visit


On 24 March we welcomed students from four primary schools (Pullenvale State School, Fig Tree Pocket State School, Moggill State School, and Springfield Lakes State School) to participate in a special Ikebana Workshop run by the Consul-General’s wife, Mrs TANAKA Hiromi, who is a Katoku instructor of the Ikenobo school of Ikebana. Students learned all about the traditional art of flower arrangement, as well as finding out more about the role of a Consulate, before getting the chance to try Ikebana themselves!

Meeting with the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, MP, Premier and Minister for Trade of Queensland


On Friday 19 March, Consul-General TANAKA had the pleasure of meeting with the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, MP, Premier and Minister for Trade of Queensland, at his residence. Premier was welcomed by a display of Ikebana, which included a variety of Chrysanthemum named ‘Annastacia’ (centre in the photos), prepared by Mrs TANAKA of the Ikenobo School. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss ways to further strengthen the Queensland-Japan relationship. As we pass the milestone of 125 years of official ties between Japan and Queensland since the first ever Consulate office of Japan in Australia was established in Townsville in 1896, we look forward to further cooperation in supporting the post-COVID economic recovery across various sectors, especially in renewable energy including hydrogen, trade and tourism industries. Thank you Premier for the opportunity to discuss exciting opportunities for Queensland and Japan.

2021 Emperor's Birthday Reception


On 26 February, our valued friends and colleagues gathered at the Consul-General’s Official Residence in Hamilton to celebrate the 61st birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. We were greeted warmly with addresses from His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland and the guest of honour, Consul-General TANAKA, the host of the evening, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland and Minister for Trade, Mr John-Paul Langbroek MP, representing the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Seniors, Communities and Disability Services, and The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Cr Adrian Schrinner.

Many state ministers, Cr Hill, Mayor of Townsville, Councillors of Brisbane City and other regional councils, Commonwealth parliamentarians, Justice Holms, Chief Justice of Queensland, Ms Caroll, Commissioner of Queensland Police, representatives of the Australian Defence Forces, the Japanese community and cultural associations were among the more than two hundred people who attended.

Recent pictures and video footage of Their Majesties Emperor and Empress and other Imperial members were displayed. Guests also enjoyed a range of displays showcasing the best of Japanese innovation and produce, from Daikin air conditioning and Japan Rail’s high speed rail technology, to Kirin Beer and Ito-en Green Tea. To share the culinary delights of Japan, a variety of sake and Japanese wine, as well as Japan-brand beers were offered, and accompanied by delectable finger foods such as tempura, sushi and takoyaki. Stalls showcasing the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), along with sister-cities Kobe and Shunan and sister-state Saitama also provided a chance for all to enjoy Japan here in Queensland.

125th anniversary of the establishment of Japan’s first Australian diplomatic mission in Townsville

This month marks 125 years since the first Japanese Consulate in Australia was established in Townsville on March 7, 1896.

The diplomatic mission was first headed by Consul NAKAGAWA Tsunejiro, and was created to support the significant number of Japanese citizens working in the sugar cane and pearling industries in Far North Queensland, particularly on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. While the Consulate in Townsville no longer exists, the ties between Queensland and Japan have continued to grow and we are thankful to have two missions in Queensland today in Brisbane and Cairns.

This is a landmark year for Queensland-Japan relations, as we also mark 150 years since the arrival of Australia's first recorded Japanese settler Sakuragawa Rikinosuke in 1871 (who settled here in Queensland), and 55 years since the establishment our own Consulate here in Brisbane in 1966. It is believed that the then-immigration officer took Sakuragawa’s first name Rikinosuke to be his family name and spelt it “Dicinoski”, which helped their family escape incarceration during WWII due to it sounding like a Slavic name rather than a Japanese one.

We would like to thank the Queensland Japanese community and all Queenslanders for your long-standing support, and look forward to many years of strong relations to come.

Photo: The Japanese Consul, with his family and staff, outside the former Japanese Consulate at 11 Victoria Street, Stanton Hill, Townsville c.1970
Photo taken from the CityLibraries Townsville Local History Collection.

Contemporary Netsuke Opening Exhibition

On Thursday, 11 February Consul-General and Mrs TANAKA Kazunari and Cultural Affairs Consul HAYAKAWA Naohiro attended the opening reception for the Contemporary Wood Carved Netsuke Travelling Exhibition, held at the Caloundra Regional Gallery.

These delicately crafted Netsuke have been exhibited around the world as part of a travelling exhibition by the Japan Foundation, and we were delighted to be able to help share them with Queenslanders as co-presenters of this exhibition. Thank you to Director Jo Duke and the Caloundra Regional Gallery for hosting these works in your beautiful gallery space.

Visit to Nerang Men's Shed

On Wednesday, 3 February Consul-General TANAKA visited the Men’s Shed in Nerang to meet with Mr Len Thompson, Mr Paul Lannen, and other members to learn more about their activities here in Queensland. The Men’s Shed movement originated in Australia based on the idea of providing a supportive environment for retired men to get together in an atmosphere of old-fashioned Australian mateship, and is now gaining momentum around the world.

The Consul-General expressed his gratitude for the hospitality of members, who welcomed him with a gorgeous display of the centre’s Bonsai trees and woodwork. Thanks to their support he was able to take away a great deal of knowledge about the Men’s Shed concept. With Japan’s aging society, the concept could be hugely beneficial to older communities in Japan. The Nerang Men’s Shed has shown us yet another way our two nations can learn from one another. 

New Year's Reception 2021

On January 29th the Consulate-General of Japan hosted a New Year Reception at the official residence. The reception included representatives from Japan-related associations in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Club, Japanese Society and various cultural and educational associates. We were happy to be able to host this event with the Queensland Japanese community in a COVID safe way. We would like to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2021.