A friendship without borders
Campbelltown signed a Sister City agreement with Koshigaya City, Japan on 11 April 1984.
What began as an agreement has developed into a more meaningful relationship. With a range of exchange programs and activities taking place over the years, the Sister City bond has evolved, giving residents of both cities a global perspective on cultural connections through the values of friendship, respect and harmony.
To commemorate the beginning of the relationship, Koshigaya Park (Campbelltown) and Campbelltown Park (Koshigaya) were both constructed in 1984. In 1989, Koshigaya City donated a tea house which is now part of the beautiful Japanese Gardens in the Campbelltown Arts Centre. In return, Campbelltown City donated a number of native birds to Koshigaya when the Campbelltown Forest of Wildbirds was officially opened in 1995.
The Campbelltown-Koshigaya Sister City relationship celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014.
The first contact between Campbelltown and Koshigaya was between past Cr Greg Percival, OBE, and Mayor Shinichiro Shimamura at an Australia - Japan Community Exchange Sister City Emposium held in Tokyo in April 1982.
In November 1982, then Mayor Shimamura, accompanied by Mr Shinichi Yoshida, visited Campbelltown and participated in the Campbelltown City Festival of Fisher’s Ghost.
Informal discussions followed, which resulted in Council resolving to form a committee to investigate and report back on the establishment of a Sister City relationship.
In a Mayoral Minute dated 8 November 1983, the then Mayor, Cr Bryce Regan, recommended to Council the formation of a Sister Cities Committee made up of about 20 people drawn from the community and to act on behalf of the residents of Campbelltown in a bid to promote friendship, tourism, industrial, cultural and language exchanges between the two cities.
A party of Koshigaya residents led by then Mayor Shimamura visited Campbelltown in April 1984. At a formal ceremony, the proclamation establishing the Sister Cities relationship was signed by Mayor Shimamura on behalf of Koshigaya and Cr Bryce Regan on behalf of Campbelltown. The proclamation reads:
Be it known to all that the City of Campbelltown in Australia and the City of Koshigaya in Japan proclaim the establishment of a Sister City relationship.
The people of both communities declare that they wish to further develop and promote a wide range of economic, trading, cultural, tourism, educational, sporting, entertainment and other activities of mutual exchange and benefit.
They aim to contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding and goodwill between the two cities as well as to enhance the friendly relations between Japan and Australia.”
During the visit, Koshigaya Park on the corner of Hurley Street and Camden Road was officially opened by Mayor Shimamura.
During 1984 and 1985, several visits took place between residents of both cities.
The first official delegation from Campbelltown to Koshigaya took place in April 1986. At this time, Campbelltown Park in Koshigaya was officially opened and a joint communiqué signed by Mayor Shimamura and then Mayor, Cr Greg Percival, OBE.
The first adult delegation from Campbelltown visited Koshigaya in 1986, closely followed by the first youth delegation in the same year. Since then, hundreds of students from both countries have made the journey between Campbelltown and Koshigaya for a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience.
Koshigaya was established as a city on 3 November 1958. The major urban area in the southwest region of Saitama Prefecture with an area of 60.31 square kilometres, Koshigaya is 25 kilometres north of central Tokyo and home to more than 335,440 people (as of May 2015).
Similar to Campbelltown, Koshigaya is a city where urban life and nature coexist. The goal of the city is to create a cultural centre where residents and visitors alike can enjoy the sun, water and greenery the area is well known for.
Koshigaya City emblem
The city emblem is composed of outer linked circles and inner symbols. The 10 outer circles represent the two towns and eight villages that united to form the city. The inner symbol represents “koshi”.
It is symbolised by a ring formed by repeating the katakana character four times in different directions.
This emblem was chosen from submissions made by residents and was formally adopted on 19 January 1954.
The Chrysanthemum (or Kiku in Japanese) is a perennial flower of the family Asteraceae and is grown in a number of areas in Koshigaya City. It is loved by the Japanese people for its beauty and aroma.
The Zelkova (or Keyaki in Japanese) is a deciduous tree of the family Ulmaceae. Its straight trunk and spreading branches make it a fitting symbol of the continuous development of Koshigaya.
As part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the city, the Zelkova was designated as the official tree of Koshigaya on 3 November 1978. The city flower was also designated on this date.
The official city bird of Koshigaya is the Collared Turtledove (or Shirakobato in Japanese), a bird of the family Columbidae. Brown in colour with a black ring around its neck, this is a rare bird found only in Koshigaya City and its surrounding areas.
It was designated on 3 November 1988 in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the city, and was also chosen as a symbol for environmental protection.
Koshigaya Lake Town
This is the area surrounding Osagami Reservoir and Koshigaya Lake Town Station on the Japan Rail Musashino Line. There are commercial facilities here such as AEON Lake Town, and parks and residences have also been constructed. Following the completion of a boardwalk and pier, locals enjoy yachting and canoeing on the lake.
History of Koshigaya
During the Edo period (1603-1867), a part of the area that is now Koshigaya City flourished as a post town on the Nikko Road (Nikko-Kaido) – one of the five major roads built to connect Edo (old Tokyo) with a number of locations throughout Japan.
A new Koshigaya Town was formed in 1954 when the old Koshigaya Town, Osawa Town and eight villages merged. Then in 1958, Koshigaya Town was renamed Koshigaya City, and became the twenty second city in Saitama Prefecture.
Following on from the connections of the Hibiya Subway Line and the Tobu Railways - Isesaki Line in 1962, Koshigaya City became a favourable place to live for people working in Tokyo, and the city’s population grew steadily. The opening of Japan National Railways (now Japan Rail) and the Isesaki Line (now called the Tokyo Skytree Line) and Hanzomon Subway Line connection in 2003 has cemented Koshigaya City as a core city of Saitama Prefecture.
Most Japanese people wear western clothing nowadays. The kimono however, is still popular as formal wear. A kimono is often worn for special occasions such as New Year holiday, coming of age, college graduation parties, weddings and funerals.
Greetings and gestures
The traditional Japanese greeting is not shaking hands, but bowing from the waist. This is called Ojigi, and is a means of expressing respect and affection. It can be used when saying good morning, hello, thank you and goodbye.
The degree of inclination, from slight to very low, depends on the relationship between the people involved and the situation in which bows are exchanged. Touching or hugging someone in public is considered impolite.
When visiting another person’s home, it is customary for Japanese people to take the host a gift.
The Koshigaya Daruma doll originated from the image of Bodhidarma sitting in meditation, which was painted on a tumbler doll (Okiagari-koboshi) in the middle of the Edo period. Since then, it has been popular as a charm for good luck and to ward off bad luck.
In Koshigaya, the Japanese doll ‘Koshigaya Hina Ningyo’ has been produced since the Edo period. Koshigaya has been promoting the production of the doll for more than 230 years by keeping up the traditional skills to make them.
The tasty rice cracker (Koshigaya Teyaki Senbel) was sold at a tea house on the main road ‘Oshu-kaido’ in the Edo period, and it gradually became a popular snack in Koshigaya. Koshigaya was famous for producing the high-quality rice used in the cracker.
Minami - Koshigaya Awaodori Dance Festival
Awaodori is a 400 year old tradition which originated from Tokushima Prefecture. The dance festival is one of many which showcase not only the cultural aspect, but the willingness of its people to keep alive such a tradition.
Many groups do a variety of dances to a distinctive Awaodori rhythm played with traditional Japanese drums, bamboo flutes and gongs.
The Japanese Gardens
The Japanese Gardens, located at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, were presented to Campbelltown by the people of Koshigaya on 10 April 1988.
A Japanese garden is a journey, a place for contemplation, with layers of symbols and meanings that represent the seasons of life. The gardens symbolise the beliefs and religion of both Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, and Zen Buddhism.
Shinto beliefs are concerned with aspects of the universe and believe that natural objects are the home of spirits. Hence, there is a resulting reverence in Japanese culture for nature.
The Japanese Gardens feature a traditional waterfall, koi pond, timber bridge, contrived stonework, pathway and verdant planting and a tea house. The aim of the garden is to obtain quiet solitude. The design represents an antique look of elegant simplicity, leading to contemplation and heightened awareness.
The Japanese Tea House
As a symbol of friendship between the two cities, 150 Koshigaya residents visited Campbelltown as part of the Australian Bicentennial celebrations in April 1988, and presented a gift of a traditional 16th century style Japanese tea house to Campbelltown. A qualified Japanese builder lived in Campbelltown for three months as the tea house was constructed. It is located in the Japanese Garden of the Campbelltown Arts Centre.
When entering a Japanese tea house, you would traditionally remove your shoes, as the dirt from the outside was not allowed to penetrate the clean inside. As you entered the tea house, a bow would represent your humility and ability to leave your worldy troubles behind.
The development of the Japanese tea ceremony was primarily influenced by Zen Buddhism. The ceremony is the preparation and presentation of matcha (pronounced MA-cha), a powdered green tea. The principles central to a traditional tea ceremony are harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity.
Koshigaya Park, Campbelltown and Campbelltown Park, Koshigaya
Opposite the Campbelltown Arts Centre is Koshigaya Park, the most used and popular family park in the City of Campbelltown. Within the park are many trees planted by visiting dignitaries, as well as cherry blossom trees. The park is beautifully maintained by Council.
In Koshigaya, Campbelltown Park is also a very popular family location, where there are typical Australian style trees, planted by citizens of Campbelltown. The Campbelltown Forest of Wild Birds is the largest aviary in Japan, which houses Australian birds, wallabies and emus. The head keeper has undergone training in the care of these animals at Taronga Zoo and Australian flora has been established. Regular reports keep Taronga Zoo updated on the condition and successful breeding of the birds and animals.