The Japanese cultural festival Contempo opened to an enthusiastic audience last night, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a J-pop concert at the Londoner Theatre. The event’s organisers said Macao could expect the two-month-long festival to become an annual fixture.
The concert featured 10-member girl group Takane No Nadeshiko, who are scheduled to return to the city on 23 and 24 March. The group’s performance had fans on their feet and shouting their approval.
In her speech prior to the concert, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said she believed the event would promote highly beneficial exchanges between the two countries’ respective tourism industries.
Nishiumi Shigehiro, Japan’s chief consul in Hong Kong, said Contempo would likely draw visitors from neighbouring cities to Macao. He said he was “very happy to learn that a two-month-long event, which introduces Japanese culture in Macao, had been planned and implemented.”
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Executive vice chairman of Sands China, Dr Wilfred Wong, said he was pleased Sands’ venues were hosting the festival’s programme of events, which complemented Macao’s strong reputations in gastronomy, performing arts and multiculturalism.
“This marks a very important milestone of cultural exchanges,” he said. “Cultural exchanges are always two-way. It’s not just about bringing people to Macao. If we know Japan better, we will go to Japan.”
The Contempo festival includes a collaboration with Japan’s Gallery UG, a major contemporary art dealer in Japan. Six of the gallery’s rising artists, including sculptor Kunihiko Nohara, will be exhibited at Sands Gallery for the duration of the festival. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Gallery UG owner Eiichiro Sasaki announced that Macao would become home to the first branch of his dealership located outside of Japan.
Other festival highlights are set to include a Michelin three-star dining experience curated by the chef of a centuries old Kyoto restaurant, Hyotei, and an exhibition of traditional Watabun kimonos.