Cultural Diplomacy as ‘Communication Bridge-Building’ Between Ukraine and Japan

Violetta Udovik
PhD in History, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan

DOI 10.37837/2707-7683-2020-43

Abstract. The article examines the history of Ukrainian-Japanese cultural relations, the development of cultural diplomacy in Ukraine and Japan, the major points in the positioning of the Ukrainian state in the Land of the Rising Sun and vice versa as well as further prospects for cooperation in this area. In spite of the geographical remoteness of our country from Japan and the thorny history of nation-building in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Japanese contacts trace their origins as early as the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which laid an essential foundation for their development during Ukraine’s independence. The author states that at the current stage both countries have managed to forge a ‘communication bridge’ thanks to fruitful cooperation in implementing cultural, humanitarian, educational, and sports projects. It is noted that the rapid development of cultural and public diplomacy in Ukraine, the institutionalisation of this area of activity at the national level as well as the introduction of budgetary programmes for putting into practice cultural projects open up additional opportunities for ensuring a more comprehensive presentation of Ukraine in Japan. In this regard, the establishment of the Ukrainian Institute and the adoption of its development strategy for 2020–24 providing for its functioning in Japan is viewed as a momentous occasion. The author draws attention to the fact that holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 and the presentation of Ukraine within the Cultural Olympiad are a unique pretext for realising these plans. Given the spread of coronavirus, it is proposed to ensure the organisation of not only traditional but also online events with a view to presenting Ukraine’s tourist potential and promoting its positive image in Japan.
Keywords: cultural diplomacy, Ukraine, Japan, Ukrainian-Japanese cultural relations, public diplomacy, Ukrainian Institute, Tokyo, Olympic Games.

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