Documentary and discussion about Kaunas-Japan relations

Those who have not yet been able to see the picturesque documentary about the relationship between Kaunas and Japan are welcome to the screening of the documentary “Kaunas, the City of Sugihara and Japan”. The event will be taking place on February 7th, 5:30 PM at Vytautas Magnus University, room 103, V. Putvinskio st. 23, Kaunas.

After the screening together with the Deputy Kaunas City Mayor Mr. Simonas Kairys we will remember Kaunas work with Japan during the years. Since 2006 Mr. S. Kairys is the Head of Sugihara Group for Kaunas-Japan Relations Development. Due to this group creative projects have been initiated in Kaunas. One of them is Sugihara Week, more active cooperation with Gifu Municipality, etc.

The story of Kaunas – Japan bilateral relations are revealed through four personalities who prior the World War II became bridges between the two countries. It is Yukichi Fukuzawa – the first Japanese who mentioned and wrote about Kaunas in his diary. In 1862 together with the mission of 36 Japanese he traveled through Lithuania by train and went for a short stroll in Kaunas. The author of first Lithuanian books about Japan – Steponas Kairys. In 1905 he was amazed by a small distant country which managed to defeat ten times bigger Russia and inspired Lithuanians to seek independence. Even after visiting Japan for a few times, journalist and traveler Matas Šalčius decided to reach this country from Kaunas once again… on a bike. And finally, diplomat Chiune Sugihara united both countries in 1940 with his heroic act.

In April 2018 this documentary was presented to the Lithuanian public for the first time. Screenings of it has been organized in Lithuania and Japan and they received positive evaluation.

Creator’s team consists of Dr. Aurelijus Zykas, Dr. Linas Didvalis and Mr. Kristijonas Jakubsonas. Documentary features 20 Japanese and Lithuanian public figures presenting story from the different perspectives. Due to the fact that Lithuanian and Japanese language are featured in the movie, the documentary has subtitles making it bilingual.

Partners and sponsors of the movie: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.