Cities across the US enjoy hundreds of partnership with counterparts around the world, and in Asia in particular. While partnerships exist between American communities and those in almost every Asian nation, it is with Japanese communities that the US has the most partnerships. Japanese cities also enjoy the longest-running partnerships with their US counterparts than those of any other Asian nation. Communities in California, Florida, Oregon, Missouri, Tennessee, and Georgia are also marking special anniversaries with Japanese cities this year.
Four cities in California are celebrating milestone anniversaries in their relations with Japanese counterparts in 2016. The cities of Morgan Hill and Oceanside are marking 10 years and 25 years with their respective Japanese sister cities this year. Surpassing the half-century mark are the cities of Montebello and Visalia. Montebello is currently celebrating fifty-five years of sister-city ties with Ashiya, Japan and marked the occasionin late April with a visit by Ashiya officals to Montebello City Hall, Beverly Hospital (which participates in a nurse exchange program), and La Merced Intermediate School.
The vice-mayor of Visalia will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the city’s ties to Miki, Japan in early November by leading a delegation of citizens and city officials to Miki—the first such trip in ten years. The visit will coincide with the Miki Hardware Festival (held annually on the first weekend in November), which showcases the craftsmanship of local manufacturers and touts Miki’s place in Japanese history as one of the country’s oldest blacksmithing communities.
Educational exchange features prominently in several of the partnerships marking anniversaries in 2016. St. Petersburg, Florida and Takamatsu, Japan have been sister cities for 55 years, regularly exchanging student ambassadors to promote cultural awareness and understanding. An event in Salem, Oregon doubled as a celebration of a thirty year-old sister-city relationship with Kawagoe, Japan and a farewell ceremony for 22 visiting Japanese middle schoolers.
Other communities marking milestone anniversaries with Japanese counterparts include Newport, Oregon, which marked a half-century of community-level exchange with Mombetsu, Japan; the Wenatchee Valley of Washington State, which will send a delegation to Misawa, Japan to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight; and Springfield, Missouri, whose mayor hopes to visit Isesaki, Japan to mark their partnership’s 30th anniversary.
American communities are also recognizing ties to other Asian nations in 2016. Alameda, California held its fourth annual “Philippine Independence Day Commemoration” at City Hall in mid-June. Alameda is planning a special celebration to mark five years of sister-city ties to the city of Dumaguete in 2017. A delegation of business representatives recently traveled from Austin, Texas to China, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan in the hopes of opening new markets to Austin businesses, and also used the trip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Austin’s sister city relationship with Taichung, Taiwan. A group from Fort Worth, Texas visited three Chinese cities around the same time to mark the fifth anniversary of sister-city relations with Guiyang.