Warm welcome for Taiji visitors
Published on 28 August 2023
The Shire of Broome last week hosted a civic reception for students and officials from our Japanese sister-city Taiji; the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eleven students and four officials, Fumitoshi Ryono and Hayato Sakurai from the Taiji Town Board of Education and Megumi Nakayama and Ryuga Minami from Taiji Town Office, took part in the resumption of the Taiji Immersion Program with St Mary’s College.
Previous visits included a handful of students, but those who missed out on travelling to Broome during the pandemic were given the option to come this year.
The visit began with a welcome assembly at the school, followed by a ceremony at the Japanese Cemetery.
On Tuesday evening, St Mary’s College students, parents and staff, members of Broome’s Japanese community, and Shire councillors and officers including Shire President Desiree Male, Deputy Shire President Chris Mitchell, Councillors Philip Matsumoto and Elsta Foy, and CEO Sam Mastrolembo, formally welcomed the guests at the Broome Civic Centre.
The evening included performances from the St Mary’s Choir and Year 1 pupils and a demonstration by the Taiji students who displayed their calligraphy skills.
After welcoming the guests, Shire President Desiree Male participated in a gift exchange with Mr Ryono.
Cr Male said that while the Broome/Taiji sister-city relationship goes back 42 years, the ties between the two coastal towns go back much further.
“A significant reason for the success of Broome’s pearling industry back in the day was the men of Taiji who arrived here as pearl divers," she said.
“Through their skill, bravery and, sadly, their sacrifices, they became the mainstay of the industry and part of the fabric of the town’s diverse society.
“Broome owes a great deal to them and the people of Taiji who they left behind, and for this reason, we value our close relationship with the town and extend a warm welcome to our guests."
Cr Male said the Shire was proud to continue supporting the annual Student Exchange between St Mary’s College and Taiji.
“The exchange program provides a wonderful opportunity for our two towns to strengthen our bonds and ensure our ties are passed down from generation to generation.”