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Japan Consulate Officials Make Springtime Visit to I-House

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, International House welcomed special guests from the Consulate General of Japan in New York. The visitors met with I-House residents and trustees and viewed the cherry blossoms in Sakura Park. Deputy Consul General Kenju Murakami and Cultural Attaché Masanari Taniai were greeted by three I-House residents: Anna Kudo, studying at Teacher’s College, Hiroyuki Shibuya, pursuing his Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia, and Eri Tayama, who received her Master’s at SIPA in February and currently works for UNICEF.
Crown Prince and Princess of Japan entering International House through Sakura Park, 1960 / I-House Archives
The group entered I-House by the same entrance used in 1960 and 1987 by former Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, then Crown Prince and Princess, when they dedicated and later re-dedicated the Japanese Tori in Sakura Park. The traditional stone lantern was a gift from the people of Tokyo to the people of New York in celebration of the Tokyo-New York sister-city affiliation inaugurated in 1960.
Emperor and Empress of Japan meeting with I-House president Gordon Evans and NYC Mayor Ed Koch, 1987 / I-House Archives

The consulate representatives were welcomed by Interim President Brian Polovoy, incoming President Sebastian Fries, and current and former Executive Committee Chairs Peter M. O’Neill ’92 and William D. Rueckert. The group had tea in the Soros Room, where the Crown Prince and Princess had been received on their prior visits. They then ascended to the 9th Floor East Terrace to take in the city views on a beautiful day, and were shown highlights in the Hall of History by I-House Senior Advisor John Wells before visiting the stone lantern and strolling through Sakura Park to view the cherry blossoms.

The event was initiated by Brian Polovoy to coincide with the annual blooming of the cherry trees in New York. Deputy Consul General Murakami thanked the hosts for the hospitality extended, and expressed interest in exploring future opportunities for engagement with International House.