Shadow theater group from Yokohama performed at the Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt – Ukrainian refugees were invited as well

The Nippon Connection (NC), the largest Japanese film festival outside Japan, is held annually in Frankfurt and this year marks its 22nd year. After 3 years finally live again, from Tuesday, May 24, to Sunday, May 29, more than 100 films were screened and a diverse cultural program was offered, including workshops and performances on Japanese culture.

The shadow theater group Kakashiza, who gave an online performance from Yokohama at last year's event, was invited by the NC to come to Germany to give a live performance and workshop.

The Yokohama City Office in Frankfurt supported the visit to Germany by acting as a bridge between the two sides and was able to introduce Kakashiza and Yokohama to the audience in a short speech before the performance.


(May 26, 2022)

20 people participated, learned and practiced the techniques of creating their own hand shadow images of animals such as foxes, crabs, birds, penguins and elephants.

There was also an opportunity to wish for shadow pictures and so many wishes were made to the group members, such as "giraffe", "shark", "tiger", "cobra", "unicorn" and "brachiosaurus". For this, the shadow theater group members impromptu performed the requested hand shadow pictures with a humorous presentation, which delighted the participants and filled them with laughter and admiration.

Performance "Hand Shadows ANIMARE"

(May 28, 2022)

The audience of about 200 people was drawn into the unique world of fantasy and humor created by the magnificent performance in which the hands played the main role and brought the shadows to life.

After the performance, the audience gave a standing ovation and the participants, fascinated by the performance, asked for autographs and souvenir photos.

In addition, a certain number of displaced Ukrainian citizens in Frankfurt were invited free of charge by NC.

-ANIMARE - is the Latin word for "to bring to life, to animate." The world of hand shadows is full of new surprises, where different forms are created only with hands and body. One by one, the performers' hands breathed life into the shadows, bringing the stories to life. A silhouette show with colorful and beautiful shadow figures and humorous stories.

A short speech about Yokohama


The Chief Representative explained that the Kakashiza Theater Group had come all the way from "Yokohama" this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of its founding, thanks to the close city partnership between Yokohama and Frankfurt, and briefly introduced Yokohama. He called the city with its concentration of German companies and the location of the German school the city closest to Germany.

After the performance, the visitors personally thanked the artists in German for the wonderful gift from Yokohama that the performance was for them.


Find an overview of last year's performance and workshop here.

Attendance at the conference „University and the City“, organized by the City of Frankfurt

On 1 July, the Chief Representative of our office attended the conference "Universities and the City" organized by the City of Frankfurt and the Goethe University, where he participated in a discussion and a joint declaration was formulated during the political panel.

"Under the theme of "Democratic Innovation and Citizen Participation", the Chief Representative of our Yokohama City Office gave a speech and held a discussion on Yokohama's regional urban planning. Resulting from the discussion, the "Frankfurt Declaration on the Future of Democracy" was compiled.

Overview of the Political Panel

Representatives from five sister cities attended the political panel discussion in the Emperors’ Hall of Frankfurt’s city hall. Moderated by Brigitte Geißel from Goethe University, the panelists City Councilor Ina Hartwig for Frankfurt, Lyon City Councilor Sonia Zdorovtzoff, City Councilor Chen Arieli from Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Krakow City President's Representative for Equality, Nina Gabryś and Takehiro Kuribayashi representing the City of Yokohama discussed their cities’ measures regarding democratic innovations and citizen participation.

The panelists gave an overview on how local democracy works in the sister cities, described successful models for involving citizens in the political decision-making process in the face of serious challenges to representative democracy, such as declining party loyalty and increasing demands for direct participation, and how this topic shall be fostered in the future.


Photos © City of Frankfurt, Maik Reuss

Frankfurt Declaration on the Future of Democracy

Gathered in the heart of Europe in Frankfurt am Main – the cradle of German democracy which began in 1848/1849 with the convening of the Frankfurt National Assembly in the Paulskirche, and a city firmly committed to the values of the European Union –

united in the spirit of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,”
resolute in our desire to develop the democratic idea in innovative ways,
and mindful of the deep scars left by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

we, the representatives of global cities and metropolises as present in Frankfurt am Main on this day 1 July 2021, issue the following declaration on the future of democracy and the importance of citizen participation:

As elected representatives of our cities, we stand for

  1. ongoing dialogue with our citizens about the shared future in our cities and in a democratic world;
  2. a society in which the democratic participation of citizens is accorded paramount importance;
  3. intensification of the international exchange of experience at the political, social, cultural, and academic levels;
  4. the core democratic values of our citizens;
  5. the safeguarding of universal and inalienable human rights in every country of the world;
  6. finding new, active ways to open up politics and the political decision-making processes to all citizens;
  7. innovative and modern forms of citizen participation aimed at realizing the democratic ideals of governance.

Yokohama-Frankfurt friendship-train service starts in Frankfurt, Germany!

The City of Frankfurt, Germany, which partnered with Yokohama in 2011, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the partnership this year. To commemorate this occasion, the city of Frankfurt launched on Thursday 10 June a train wrapped with a picture of the landscape of the cities of Frankfurt and Yokohama.

Prior to the start of the service, an opening ceremony was held in Frankfurt on the same day.

At the ceremony, the Mayor of Frankfurt, Mr. Feldmann stated: "Yokohama is the most cosmopolitan city in Japan and in this respect, it has an affinity with Frankfurt. Our important partnership is moving in a very positive direction."

Outline of the Opening Ceremony

On Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 2pm to 2:30 pm, about 20 officially invited guests gathered at the VGF depot east in Frankfurt to celebrate the launch of the friendship-train. The Mayor of Frankfurt, the CEO of the VGF and the Chief Representative of our office held speeches, had a short photo session and then headed off with all participants onto a test ride to the city hall.

Due to the corona situation, there was not the opportunity of having a larger reception, however every participant was happy to be able to finally meet again and to finally see the friendship-train being launched.

Outline of the friendship-train

Operated by: the city transport company Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main (VGF), a subsidiary company of the City of Frankfurt

Period of operation: From June 10, 2021 (Thursday)  - Scheduled to run for three to five years

Service section: on Frankfurt’s 9 underground lines

Nippon Connection 2021:Shadow Theatre Live Performance from Yokohama

Nippon Connection, the largest Japanese film festival outside Japan, was held for the 21st time. After last year's event, the festival was now held online for the second time. From June 1 (Tuesday) to June 6 (Sunday), the citizens of Frankfurt and the whole world were offered about 80 film titles as well as about 40 cultural programs, including workshops and performances on Japanese culture.

At this year's festival, which falls on the 10th anniversary of the Sister Cities Agreement between the City of Yokohama and the City of Frankfurt, our office was able to bring together the organizers of "Nippon Connection" with the Yokohama-based shadow theatre company "Kakashi-za" to plan and coordinate a live shadow play performance and other events.

Photo ©Nippon Connection


On Tuesday 1 June at 19:00, there was an introduction to the highlights of the festival.  When asked what her personal highlight of the festival will be, festival director Marion Klomfass replied: "Without a doubt Kakashi-za's live performance."

Program overview: Shadow Theatre Kakashi-za

Sat 05.06.2021 14:00-15:15: Live performance "Hand Shadows ANIMARE" with Q&A

Sat 05.06.2021 16:00-17:00: Shadow theatre workshop with Q&A

01.06.-06.06.2021* "Documentary Film Festival of Shadows", On-demand with German subtitles

*Extended and still available until 30.06.2021

Hand Shadows ANIMARE

"There are no limits to these hands."

The ultimate performance starring hands that bring shadows to life.

ANIMARE - Latin for "breathe life into, animate" - shows the world of shadow images full of fresh surprises. Using only hands and bodies, a wide variety of shapes are created and the story unfolds full of vibrancy and humor with colorful, beautiful shadow images.

This dynamic and graceful stage show has already been celebrated in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Afterwards, there was the possibility to ask the members of the Kakashi-za group questions. The audience was very interested in what inspires the group to do their shadow theatre, what the history of the group is, whether some shadow figures are not very difficult or even dangerous, and, connected to that, what the most difficult shadow figure was. But one question was of more burning interest to the audience than all the others: Will the group come to Frankfurt in person soon?


Hand shadow play has been popular in Japan since ancient times. In the Edo period (1603-1868), a drummer used to perform this hand shadow play to entertain guests at banquets. There is also a booklet, the Kagee Toranomaki, which details how to make kage-e (hand shadow images), which shows how popular this art was.

In this workshop, the audience was able to experience the charm of shadow theatre and learn how to do some shadow images themselves. First, a small excerpt from the performance was shown so that afterwards the audience could learn how to recreate the individual animals. It was also demonstrated how shadow images were made in the Edo period and at the end the audience could wish for shadow images from the artists. What was interesting for the participants here was the question of how and with which media one can learn to make shadow pictures.

Festival der Schatten

With the slogan "There are no limits to these hands", the performers are constantly refining their skills. In this film, we see the "mysterious moment" when the "hands" come to life and fly across the screen as if they were independent creatures. At the same time, the film also takes the camera backstage, where it has never been shown before, and follows the members of the company on their 60th anniversary tour of three major cities in Japan and up to their departure for Brazil.

This is director Oshima Taku’s first documentary film, who has sharply visualised the "shadow" side of the human heart in his dramatic films such as Our House on Mars and The Frozen Mirror.


IAPMC Conference 2019 in Sarajevo

This year once more, the City of Yokohama took part in the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities’ (IAPMC) Conference. From September 25 to 29, the Chief Representative visited the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo. Approximately 50 officials of about 23 cities of 15 countries joined the assembly.

On the first day, apart from a board meeting, a city tour was arranged to visit the Sarajevo Tunnel, also called Tunnel of Hope, which functioned as escape passage from and humanitarian, as well as military supply path into Sarajevo, that was entirely cut off during the Siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian War. The Sarajevo Tunnel Museum exhibited letters, family photos of happier times and destroyed toys and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina had a special peace-related exhibition that was visited by the participants as well.

On the 27th, the conference was officially opened by the mayor of Sarajevo. During the afternoon’s session regarding the member cities’ plans to reach the SDGs, the Chief Representative presented Yokohama’s international cooperation on infrastructure technology and knowhow, talked about the YPORT Center, a knowledge hub for smart city management and introduced the process of the Asian-African cooperation on technology.

The last day focused on conflict resolution, immigration policy and issues arising from multiculturality. Further plans of where cities can strengthen and broaden their peace and SDG-related engagement were proclaimed in the Declaration of Sarajevo and the new IAPMC member states Prilep (North Macedonia) and Sremski Karlovci (Serbia) were confirmed.

Here you can find an article on the last IAPMC Conference in Volgograd.


High school students from Yokohama are guests at the Ried School

Four months ago, 15 students from the Frankfurt Ried School visited their partner school, Sakuragaoka High School, now 15 high school students visited the Ried School in return. Most of the students who had met as host families during the first exchange trip met again, but also new students were part of the group. In the families of their host brothers and sisters, the Japanese students got to know family life in Germany, just as the Frankfurt students were able to experience insights into the lives of Japanese families. The connection on both sides was very warm, not only from family side, but also from side of schools and cities, which also contributed a lot to the successful exchange program.

On the 15th of February the Ried School hosted a big reception for the guest students from Yokohama, which was also attended by representatives of the Japanese Consulate General in Frankfurt to address some words of welcome to the young people. Afterwards, the Frankfurt Yokohama Citizens Network organized a German-Japanese lunch with sushi and Frankfurt specialties. Other representatives of the German-Japanese cultural exchange, such as DJG Frankfurt, and our office also took part in the festivities. The orchestra of the Ried School gave some audio samples and the Japanese students presented a traditional dance as well as an overview of Japan and the Japanese school system.

On February 18, the Lord Mayor Feldmann did not miss the opportunity to welcome the exchange students personally in the Römer town hall and to address a few words to them. In particular, the pupils on both sides will probably not only remember the visit to the famous Kaisersaal, but above all that the Lord Mayor took the time to have both group photos and photos taken with individual pupils despite the time pressure.

In the morning of the same day, the pupils had already experienced an extensive city tour, during which they could also visit the Goethe House and the Main Tower. In total, seven days always feel too short, but both schools have organized their programs in such a way that the students could make the most of this short time, experience much of the other culture and get to know a lot of new things, such as a Judo taster lesson. Since many students may have to decide soon which university they want to enter, the Japanese students also had the chance to visit the Goethe University that has a partner agreement between the economic faculties with the Yokohama City University.

Now that the student exchange between the two schools has started so successfully, it will be continued every 2 years.


The International Association of Peace Messenger Cities’ Conference in Volgograd

From October 10-November 1, the Chief Representative went to Volgograd, Russia, in order to join the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities’ Conference (IAPMCC). Together with the mayors and vice mayors of the member cities, a peace declaration was approved, and Yokohama had the chance to present its peace creation process.

On the first day the participants visited the Square of the fallen fighters where they attended a wreath-laying ceremony and afterwards visited the eternal flame in the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex and the statue of the Motherland on the top of the hill, as well as the Volgograd State Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Yokohama is one of the Peace Messenger Cities

On the next day, an international intercity diplomacy forum was held with the title “Volga Dialogue: The mutual understanding of peace”. Here Mr. Tamai took part as a panelist and commented on the role of the Yokohama city government in the peace creation process.

In the evening the IAPMCC was opened with the first plenary session. For Yokohama, it was the first time in 8 years to join this conference again and to have the opportunity of a speech in front of the member cities.

On November 1st, the day was divided into the international intercity diplomacy forum in the afternoon and the closing session of the IAPMC conference in the evening. This time the forum was held under the topic “Living Quality enhancement – the cities’ peace creation process”. Mr. Tamai had the opportunity here to introduce Yokohama’s measures and progress in the fields of city-to-city cooperation, international cooperation and multiculturality. Apart from that presentation, he took part in several subcommittees.  The results of the talks were afterwards presented by each group in the evening conference.

As well as enhancing the international relations in the fields of environment and sustainable technologies, Yokohama is very interested in further engagement in the international peace creation process, especially because an Ordinance on Promotion of International Peace has just been enacted in Yokohama in June 2018.


Visit to the partner city Lyon – Pollutec & Emperor’s birthday

From November 27th till 30th, the Chief Representative visited Yokohama’s partner city Lyon to visit the Pollutec 2018 trade show for environmental and energy stakeholders and attend the annual Emperor’s birthday reception of the Japanese Consulate General in Lyon.

The focus of attending the Pollutec was not to take a look at the fair itself, but mainly to take part in several related seminars, like the International Summit for Cities and Regions driving the Circular Economy. Additionally, he visited some booths of Yokohama-based companies with subsidiaries in Europe, like the booth of a Minato-ku based company called Amcon, which is an expert in developing sewage filtration devices.

In the evening of the 29th, the annual Emperor’s birthday reception was held in the Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache hotel. Like last year our office exhibited a booth, promoting Yokohama’s business and travel environment. The networking with local companies and interested people was very successful.

On the last day of the business trip, Mr. Tamai had the opportunity to visit the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Lyon that kind of takes over the role of an economic department. Yokohama’s IT- and Bio Life Science-network LIP and ITOP seemed to be of particular interest and both sides decided to focus more on bringing companies from Yokohama to Lyon, and vice-versa companies from Lyon to Yokohama.

Find out here why Yokohama is an interesting location for your enterprise, too, or call us directly.


The student exchange in the best hands

Not all details of the new student exchange which will take place this year between the Ried School Frankfurt and the Sakuragaoka High School Yokohama have yet been clarified, but the Ried School has already been busy looking after exchange students from Yokohama for a long time.
Of course, the school has been doing this not only since yesterday but for several years now. So this March, two exchange students from Yokohama in Frankfurt were welcomed by the city of Frankfurt in the Römer and had a host family with students from the Ried School.

The interest in Yokohama grows

But even after that another two guest students who came to Frankfurt at the end of March from the Japanese-German Society as winners of a competition also found a friendly home with pupils from the Ried School. The study coordinator, Dr. Lembeck, saw this second exchange as an opportunity to introduce more students to the exchange between Japan and Germany or to give more students the opportunity to participate in it.
Unfortunately, only 15 of the 500 students can go to Yokohama in autumn, even though the number of applicants is high. The Japan fans of the school also participate in the school's Japan Club every week and the exchange students from Yokohama were able to visit them as well.

In April we also visited the Japan Club and gave the students an impression of the city in advance, which they will get to know better in the near future. This first presentation was about Yokohama's special features and sights. The students could see how the big harbor city is presented in the anime, a topic that especially fascinates the young generation, and at the end take home a recipe of the typical ramen dish Sanmamen.

Since the students are not only interested in culture but also in history and politics, we will visit them again shortly before the big trip and provide further information about Yokohama.

For the partner cities Yokohama and Frankfurt, Ried School is a strong partner that makes a decisive contribution to bringing forth cosmopolitan, tolerant and educated young personalities by promoting this exchange program.

You would like to know more about the school exchange or other exchange possibilities? Call us anytime.


Issei Ôtake and his team on their way to the finals

Since we were able to conduct an interview with Mr. Issei Ôtake at the end of January, he and his Team United Volleys have already reached the semi-finals and will now fight for a place in the final of the German Championship on April 18, 2018.

We would like to support him and his team in this way and are happy to announce this date:

"Japanese national volleyball player Issei Otake with the United Volleys in the semi-finals for the German Championship

Exclusive 5 Euro tickets for the game on April 18 at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt

The Japanese international Issei Otake and his volleyball club United Volleys from Frankfurt will meet the reigning titleholder Berlin Recycling Volleys in the semi-finals of the German championship. Last year it was the end of the road against the Capitals. This year, the Hessians want to achieve something historic and enter the final for the first time in their still young history. The opening match will take place on 14 April in Berlin. On Wednesday, April 18, the second game of the "Best of three" series will take place at 7 p.m. in the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt. Help Issei Otake and his fellow players to turn the Fraport Arena into a witch's cauldron and create the sensation. Under this link, you can get discounted tickets for 5 Euro. The code is "UnitedVolleys2018".

We wish you a lot of fun!

United Volleys Frankfurt"