The Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce (IJCC), Irish Network Japan (INJ), and the Embassy of Ireland, Japan are co-operating to run Asia’s largest St. Patrick’s Day event in Tokyo during 18-19 March 2017. It will be the first-ever 2 day event, and over 100,000 people are expected to join the I Love Ireland Festival at Yoyogi Park. The 1,500+ strong St. Patrick’s Day Parade that runs along the zelkova tree-lined avenue “Omotesando” – sometimes referred to as “Tokyo’s Champs-Élysees” – is Japan’s biggest parade, one of 14 parades in Japan planned this year. The Tokyo parade, organized by the Irish Network Japan starts at 1pm on Sunday the 19 March, and it will also feature a number of attractions and musical performances.
Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D. and Ambassador Anne Barrington will both be present to lead the series of events in Tokyo. Leaders of the IJCC and INJ, Miss World Japan Priyanka Yoshikawa and Miss World Ireland Niamh Kennedy will be present. The Japan Women’s National Rugby Union Team, top Irish designer Paul Costelloe, the Irish Ambassador and many others will lead the parade and join associated celebrations and events, which includes The Emerald Ball, to be held at The Tokyo American Club on the evening of Sat 18 March.
This year, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme, IJCC, Toyoko-Inn, SMBC, Kirin, H.I.S, Turkish Airlines, The Ireland Funds, and many others have come together to sponsor and support the I Love Ireland Festival 2017, in a lead-up to the scheduled 2019 Rugby World Cup here in Tokyo, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. La Ditta Limited (Tokyo/Singapore) has been appointed event organiser and sole agent for the I Love Ireland Festival 2017 through 2020, in view of further collaborating with all parties to bring the additional themes of “sports-rugby” and “eco” to the most important series of events in the Irish calendar in Japan.
Ambassador Barrington said: “The Embassy of Ireland in Japan is delighted to support the I Love Ireland Festival, and we also look forward to celebrating the 25th year of the Tokyo St. Patrick’s Day parade. The festival is Japan’s largest celebration of Irish culture, and 2017 promises to be the best year yet. In 2017, we also celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Japan, and this event will further invigorate the strong links between our two island nations. I look forward to welcoming thousands of Japanese citizens to Omotesando and Yoyogi Park.”
One of the first time sponsors mentioned “The Ireland Funds is delighted to support this year’s I Love Ireland Festival,” said Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President & CEO of The Ireland Funds. “The deep and historic connections between Ireland and Japan are celebrated not just on St. Patrick’s Day but all year long through social, economic and cultural exchanges. In keeping with The Ireland Funds’ mission to support community development and cultural opportunities across Ireland and in Irish communities around the world, we are pleased that our support can play a small role in the Festival’s growth.”
For the first time, we will be recording the entire event with Virtual Reality & 360 video (arranged by The East Times, LLC, founded by Koichi Nakano and Ayumi Ando), the first time that an entire St. Patrick’s Day event will be recorded in this format.