Mayor Henry joining local delegation for Sister Cities Trip to Japan, China

Mayor Henry with the sculpture, Okurimono.  Photo courtesy of the City of Fort Wayne.

Press release from the City:

Mayor Henry joining local delegation for Sister Cities Trip to Japan, China
Local artist’s wooden sculpture depicting Fort Wayne, Takaoka to be given as part of Japanese city’s 400th anniversary celebration

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry will head to Asia next month with a Sister Cities trip to Japan and China as part of Fort Wayne’s ongoing relationship with Takaoka, Japan, and to explore a potential Sister City in China.

This morning Mayor Henry joined local artist Michael Schmid to unveil the painted wooden sculpture the City will present to Fort Wayne’s Japanese sister city, Takaoka, during its 400th anniversary celebration in September.

Titled “Okurimono,” Japanese for gift, the sculpture depicts Fort Wayne and Takaoka juxtaposed under a single sun. For Fort Wayne, it shows the city’s skyline, the Old Fort and a great blue heron in wetlands. Two cranes, a cherry tree and bonsai tree, a Buddha and the Zuiryu-ji temple represent Takaoka.

“Fort Wayne has had a strong tradition of Sister City relationships with support from the City and community volunteers. This is my inaugural trip to Asia, and being able to join in Takaoka’s 400th anniversary celebration will be remarkable,” Mayor Henry said. “The visit to China is going to be a wonderful opportunity for Fort Wayne to explore trade and business opportunities for local companies and build relationships that could create jobs for northeast Indiana.”

Part of the China visit may include an opportunity to evaluate a Chinese sister city relationship.

Mayor Henry, his wife Cindy and the 10 other members of the local delegation will leave Fort Wayne Sept. 9 and return Sept. 19. The City of Takaoka is paying for the Mayor’s trip to Japan, and the Henrys are paying for Mrs. Henry’s portion. The Henrys are also paying for their trip to China. Local delegates are paying their own way.

Takaoka is Fort Wayne’s first sister city, starting in 1976. Fort Wayne is also a sister city to Gera, Germany, and Plock, Poland. A member in Sister Cities International, Fort Wayne’s sister cities relationships have offered cultural exchanges with people-to-people diplomacy.

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