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   14 december 2016

   Cristina Ghinea

Honorary citizen of Sibiu Municipality receives a high distinction

For supporting “Radu Stanca” National Theatre and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, for facilitating theatrical exchanges between Sibiu and Japan and the presence of Japanese volunteers in Sibiu, but also for the contribution brought to the twinning of the cities of Sibiu and Takayama, Mr. Shuji Kogi, Secretary General in the Japan Committee of EU-Japan Fest, was declared Honorary Citizen of Sibiu Municipality in 2013. As recognition for his remarkable contribution brought to the enhancement of the prestige of the performing arts, for promoting Romanian theatre abroad and for his personal involvement in the development of Romanian-Japanese cultural relationships, Mr. Shuji Kogi was decorated with the Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of Commander, category F “Promoting of Culture”.

The distinction was awarded at the proposal of Mr. Constantin Chiriac, as a result of the exceptional partnerships developed together during the last 10 years. On May 23rd 2016, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, signed the decree of decoration of Mr. Shuji Kogi, and the ceremony was held on December 9th at the Romanian Embassy in Tokyo. Alongside Her Excellency Madam Ambassador Tatiana Iosiper and Mr. Shuji Kogi, the ceremony was also attended by Tomohiko Kogi, the son of Mr. Kogi and former actor of “Radu Stanca” National Theatre during 2008-2013. Among the guests attending the event were also the Head of the EU Delegation in Japan, Mr. Ambassador Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, and five Japanese volunteers who were involved in the past editions of SITF. Tomohiko held a speech in Romanian, expressing his gratitude and appreciation.

Good evening,

First, I would like to thank Her Excellency, Madam Ambassador Tatiana Iosiper! It is a great honour to be invited and that my father is awarded such a prestigious distinction. We are happy and proud of him! I am glad to be able to speak in Romanian! In 2006, when I was a student at Waseda University and an actor in a student theatre company, one day I was talking to my father who told me about the volunteer programme for Sibiu - European Capital of Culture 2007. He asked me if I wanted to go to Romania. At that time, I didn’t know anything about Romania, but I was extremely curious and I decided that I wanted to go. Thus, I visited Sibiu for the first time in November 2006. Then, in April 2007, after graduating from Tokyo University, I moved to Sibiu and started working as a volunteer. It wasn’t easy living in another country, adapting to an unknown culture and learning a foreign language that was totally new to me. However, I discovered the profound nature of Romanian culture and Romanian art one day at a time. And after 6 months, I was lucky to be able to create a small theatre project. This is how I became an actor at “Radu Stanca” National Theatre in Sibiu and I had the opportunity of performing in many beautiful productions. I can say that the period spent in Romania, between 2007 and 2013, was very special and an extremely important experience in my life and the biggest gift I have ever received from my father.

Thank you!

The General Manager of “Radu Stanca” National Theatre and the President of the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Mr. Constantin Chiriac, sent a message to Mr. Shuji Kogi upon the receipt of this distinction.

In the name of the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre of Sibiu, the Theatre and Cultural Management Department of the Lucian Blaga University, the Sibiu Performing Arts Market and the Volunteering Programme developed in partnership between the Sibiu Festival and EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee, I am honoured to acclaim the Romanian President awarding Mr. Shuji Kogi with the highest distinction in culture, the Order of Cultural Merit, in the rank of Commander.
It is a right and deserved award for the impressive work and dedication of one of the most devoted and important modern Japan cultural message carriers in the world. A man who has dedicated his life to the dialogue between the Japanese culture and the great cultures of the world. Thanks to him, the excellence of the Japanese culture has been opened since 1992 until now to all European Cultural Capitals, creating unimaginable bridges between cultures and people, developing educational and economic relations, making possible meetings between persons who generated projects that brought emotion and vision, and above all, brought that great joy of fundamental meetings. I am grateful for everything he has done for the former, present and future cooperation between the structures we lead, as well as our cultures. I am convinced that this Honourable Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of Commander is not just a moment of recognition, it is also a sign of encouragement for the overtime engagement. For all of us, this is a time of great celebration.

Esteemed Mr. Shuji Kogi, please accept our heartily thank you!

After the event, Mr. Shuji Kogi sent his message of gratitude to “Radu Stanca” National Theatre:

Dear Mr. Constantin Chiriac,

I hope this letter finds you in good health.
It happens that on December 9 I was conferred the Ordinul Meritul Cultural, with the rank of Commander in Category F for promoting culture, at the Romanian Embassy in Tokyo by order of President Klaus Iohannis.
My gratitude is deep for the noticer of this honor shines on the friendship forged in the arts that has developed between Japan and Romania, and between Japan and Europe, and to our work together in that field over the many years since European Capital of Culture Sibiu in 2007.
Under your outstanding leadership the Sibiu International Theatre Festival has developed since 2007 in terms of quality and size into one of the world's leading drama festivals. It has been an honor for us to have been involved, even in a small way, in such a marvelous activity. Among the 40 European Capitals of Culture that EU-Japan Fest has taken part in over these 24 years, Sibiu has been special for us, an involvement that fills us with pride.
It is my heartfelt wish that many more Japanese theatre people and volunteers will continue to enjoy the opportunity to take part in the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, to learn there and to stir its audiences.
In closing, allow me once again to express my gratitude for the friendship that you and everyone at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival offered us and for the work we did together.

With kind regards,
Shuji Kogi

At its 2016 edition, Sibiu International Theatre Festival celebrated 10 years since the Japan Volunteer Programme was launched in 2007, held with the sustained support of the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee. During the 2007-2016 editions of FITS, the programme has included over 130 Japanese volunteers who have been an essential part of the festival’s organizing crew.