Arts and Culture

Konnichiwa, our kid: Manchester chosen to host Japan Week 2025

Manchester has been chosen as the host city for Japan Week 2025, amid efforts by local leaders to strengthen ties with the country.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the annual event, which celebrates Japanese culture through a week-long festival of art, music, fashion and sport. 

The event, organised by the International Friendship Foundation, is held in a different city worldwide each year. The event was first held in Florence in 1975, with previous hosts around the globe :

Manchester was selected as the next host following a delegation trip led by Andy Burnham to Tokyo and Osaka in December 2023.

The trip was intended to develop the relationship between Manchester and Osaka, with the signing of a new trade deal between the two city-regions aimed at promoting investment, sustainability and education links with universities. 

Commenting on the upcoming event, Burnham said: “Greater Manchester led a UK-first mission to Japan last year to strengthen those connections and open up new opportunities for our people and places. We’re excited to see what the 50th Japan Week will bring and look forward to welcoming the performers and artists to Manchester in 2025.” 

Jo Ahmed, Honorary Consul of Japan in Greater Manchester, was part of the delegation. Commenting on the selection of Manchester, she said:  “Greater Manchester has put an emphasis on deepening the relationship with Japan in the last few years, and this event is a culmination of what we have been working together to achieve.”

Ahmed predicts multiple benefits for our city in both the short and long term. She said: “Whilst tourism attracted by the event will bring economic benefits to Manchester in the shorter term, we are confident that the benefits through trade in the longer term will follow.”

She added: “The event will also strengthen important people-to-people connections, bringing our cultures together, and will also help build the case for a direct air route between Manchester and Japan.”

Osaka – dubbed the ‘Manchester of the East’ for its status as the textile centre of Japan – has a largely unknown link with our city dating back 200 years. 

In the early 19th century, Japanese merchants travelled to Manchester – then famous for its thriving cotton industry – to learn industrial techniques which it adopted back in the Far East, leading to Japan’s own industrial revolution and positioning the city of Osaka as a leader in the textiles trade. 

Final dates, venues and the full programme for Japan Week 2025 will be confirmed in the coming months.

How much do you know about Japan ?


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