The Consulate General of Japan in New York is joining with the Empire State Building to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Japan-New York City ties. On the evening of Wednesday, June 16, from sunset until 2am, the Empire State Building will light up red and white to mark a century-and-a-half since the arrival of the first diplomatic envoys from Japan to New York on June 16, 1860.

A watershed meeting of cultures, the visit by a group of over 70 samurai was one of the greatest spectacles the city had ever seen: an estimated half-a-million New Yorkers jammed the streets to watch the Japanese parade up Broadway and two weeks of grand balls, celebrations, and non-stop press reports welcomed the visitors from across the sea.

In addition to the Empire State Building lighting, this year's special 150th anniversary commemorations include a recreation of the historic "samurai parade" at Japan Day @ Central Park on June 6 and a major exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, Samurai in New York, the First Japanese Delegation, 1860, that will run from June 25 to October 11, 2010.

Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya, Consul General of Japan in New York, said, "We are proud to partner with the iconic Empire State Building to mark this landmark anniversary. 150 years after the first face-to-face encounter between Japanese and New Yorkers, the lighting of the Empire State Building in red and white is a perfect way to bring attention to the early history of exchange between our peoples and the strong bonds of friendship, culture and trade that enrich us both to this day."

For more information about the Empire State Building lighting and the 150th Anniversary of Japan-NYC ties,
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 Press contacts (Japan Information Center, Consulate General of Japan):

Ms. Naoko Kawaguchi
Ph: (212) 418-4459
Cell: (917) 816-4789
Mr. Eric Campbell
Ph: (212) 418-4458