2017-08-09 Back to list

September’s Top Pick: Sugihara Week

The event is dedicated to the legacy of the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara.

More than 70 years have passed since Chiune Sugihara finished a short yet extremely important episode of his diplomatic career in Kaunas, where he served as a vice consul for Japanese Empire. In 1940, together with Dutch consul Jan Zwartendijk, the Japanese diplomat saved thousands of lives by issuing visas for Jewish people that were then able to escape Lithuania and the Holocaust. The legacy of the legendary Japanese diplomat will be celebrated in the inaugural Sugihara Week that’ll be held on September 2-9th in Kaunas.


Chiune Sugihara poses outside beneath a tree in Kaunas / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Hiroki Sugihara

Sugihara Week will become a meeting place, a playground and a discussion panel for artists, diplomats, politicians, businessmen, tourists and residents of Kaunas; it will for the first time in history unite the Lithuanian, Japanese and Jewish nations (everyone else is of course also invited!) in such a scale.

Joint art projects, film screenings, concerts, exhibition openings, historic revelations and discussions about humanity and tolerance will take place in various locations around Kaunas, including the Sugihara House, Vytautas Magnus University, the Kaunas Railway Station and other public spaces, V. Kudirka public library, Romuva cinema, M. K. Čiurlionis national museum of art, Hof Hotel, Cozy Home salon etc.

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Many participants of Sugihara Week have already been involved in projects that lead up to the event for quite some time. For example, here are Kyrie Oda and Love Hellgren (AURA dance theatre) perform in front of Sugihara House at the sakura blossom ceremony in 2016 / Photo by Rūta Karčiauskaitė

Please find the programme of Sugihara Week below. Hope to see you in Kaunas! Please grab a free copy of the #kaunastic Sugihara Map compiled and published by Kaunas IN while you're here.

September 1, Friday

18.00 Before the Sugihara Week starts…
Participants: Keiko Borjesson, Bella Shirin, Antanas Stanevičius.
Location: Salon Jaukūs namai (Cosy homes), A. Juozapavičiaus av. 21

September 2, Saturday

15.00 Street Performances Expressing Japanese Culture
Participants: AURA Dance Theatre, Kyumeikan Kendo, Baltic Improvisation Ensamble “Skaidrumos”, Skaidra Jančaitė, martial arts organizations, etc.
Location: Daukanto str.

15.45 Photo Collage by International Centre of Litvak Photography
Participant: Richard Schofield
Location: Daukanto str., in front of Metropolis Hotel

16.45 Opening of the Exhibition of Japanese Fairy-tales
Participants: Kotryna Šešelgytė
Location: V. Kudirka Library, Laisvės av. 57

18.00 Opening Concert
Participants: Keiko Borjesson, Choir “Varpelis“, Bella Shirin, AURA Dance Theatre.
Location: VMU Grand Hall (Daukanto str. 28, Kaunas)
Presenting the collected funds to the Sugihara House

September 3, Sunday

10.00 Chiune Sugihara Kendō Tournament
Participants from Lithuania, Europe and Japan
Location: Lithuanian Sports University, Sporto str. 6

17.00 Movie “Persona non Grata” Screening
Location: Temporary Hall of Romuva Cinema, Kęstučio str. 62

September 4, Monday

10.30 Starting Ceremony of Sugihara House Painting by Tokon International, Press Conference
Location: Sugihara House (Vaižganto str. 30)
Presenting of collected funds to the Sugihara House

16.00 Public lectures “Diplomatic Kaunas”, “Traces of Japan in Kaunas”.
Participants: Ramūnas Janulaitis, Sugihara Foundation
Aurelijus Zykas, Centre for Asian Studies, Vytautas Magnus University
Location: Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library-Museum, Daukanto str. 25

September 5, Tuesday

15.00 Opening of the Photo exhibition “If I Forget You, Jerusalem”
Participants: Antanas Stanevičius
Location: M. K. Čiurlionis museum, Putvinskio str. 55

16:00-16.40 Performance about Chiune Sugihara
Conducted by: Kyrie Oda and Love Hellgren, dancers
Location: Kaunas Train Station, M. K. Čiurlionio str. 16

17:00-17.40 Japanese tea ceremony
Conducted by: Raimonda Strazdienė, Kyumeikan Kendo School
Location: Inner garden of HOF Hotel, Maironio str. 21A
Opening of Bonsai Exhibition

18.00-19.30 Concert of Classical Music
Participants: Machiko Takahashi (flute), Yurina Arai (violin), Reina Shibutani (violin),
Aki Maeda (piano), Kotryna Kaklauskaitė (piano)
Location: Vytautas Magnus University Music Academy, V. Čepinskio str. 5

September 6, Wednesday

12.30-15.30 Sugihara Symposium
Keynote speech: Hajime Furuta, Governor of Gifu Prefectue
Panelists: Yukio Murase, Masanori Kaneko, Simonas Kairys, Asta Junevičienė, Akira Kitade, Bella Shirin, Simonas Strelcovas
Location: M.K. Čiurlionis Museum (Putvinskio str. 55)
Presenting of collected funds to the Sugihara House

16.00 Screening of the Documentary about Chiune Sugihara.
Participant: Director Junichi Kajioka, delegations from Japan
Location: M.K. Čiurlionis Museum (Putvinskio str. 55)

September 7, Thursday

12.00-13:00 Japanese Kites Festival
Participants: Wadaiko Daigen-gumi, etc.
Location: J. Dobkevičius Progymnasium, V. Čepinskio str. 7
Opening of Haiku Exhibition of Lithuanian Children

14.30-15.30 Workshop of Japanese Drums
Participants: Wadaiko Daigen-gumi
Location: Vytautas Magnus University Music Academy, V. Čepinskio str. 15

15.00-18.00 Arts and Crafts Fair
Participants: Prefectures and municipalities from Japan, Lithuanian companies exporting to Japan, etc.
Location: Lobby of the VMU Grand Hall (Daukanto str. 28)

15.00-19.00 Workshops of Japanese and Jewish Culture (Calligraphy and stone painting, Bonsai, Japanese songs, Sencha, Bagels, Jewish music)
Performers: Masanori Kaneko, Kęstutis Ptakauskas, Tetsuya Hayakawa, Ruriko Kikuchi, Etsu Oda, Makiko Hayashi, Bagel Shop, Rakija Klezmer Orkestar, etc.
Location: Lobby of the VMU Grand Hall (Daukanto str. 28)

September 8, Friday

11.00 Opening the Calligraphy Exhibition
Participants: Keiko&Friends
Location: Salon Jaukūs namai (Cosy homes), A. Juozapavičiaus av. 21

14.00-17.00 Workshops of Japanese Culture (Japanese sweets, Origami, Harmonica, Kamishibai, Ikebana, Taketombo, Sencha, Japanese Drums)
Performers: Mr. and Mrs. Okada, Atsushi Niwa, Kazuyo Yamada, Keiko Borjesson, Sumiko
Tamura, Kanji Uchiyama, Kotryna Šešelgytė, Miyoko Toyoda, Kumiko Ando, Keiko Seki, Etsu
Noda, Makiko Hayashi, Daigengumi
Location: : Lobby of the VMU Grand Hall (Daukanto str. 28)

17.30 Wadaiko drums Closing Concert
Participants: Wadaiko Daigen-gumi
Location: VMU Grand Hall, Daukanto str. 28
Official Appreciation Ceremony


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The official souvenir of Sugihara Week is soft, cozy and smells like lavender. Produced at the Cozy Homes salon!

More information: Sugihara Week on Facebook and VMU Centre for Asian Studies


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