World Cup a forum for cultural exchange

08 July 2002, Japan

The Japanese Art Scene Monitor has reported that throughout the duration of the World Cup soccer, many regional governments made the most of opportunities to promote foreign culture amongst local communities. During World Cup festivities, the world’s best soccer team called Japan and Korea home, with many players electing to stay in small regional towns rather than the larger cities. The local governments of these towns have been reported 'as not only doing their best to make the teams feel welcome, but also endeavouring to involve the local community'. Various events were held to introduce the country and culture of the visiting teams to local people. Notably the small town of Fujieda in Sizuoka hosted the Sengalese camp, and held exhibitions and concerts along with setting up a Sengalese restaurant, in an attempt to get the locals into the spirit of things. Many of the 29 host towns throughout Japan held similar events, in some cases it was not only the local government, but also the chamber of commerce that got involved. An example was Hiratsuka (Kanagawa), which put on an exhibition of traditional art from Nigeria. In most cases the embassies of the visiting team’s country were also heavily involved, not only in selecting the town, but also visiting and making sure things ran smoothly. On the English side, the British Council was involved in organising and funding an exhibition of football related photographs. In addition, various exhibitions were held throughout Japan and Korea aimed at introducing each other's culture to the local communities. National cultural treasures to popular culture were exchanged, in an attempt to increase understanding about the cultural differences that exist between the two nations. The contents of this article have been transcribed with the permission of the Japanese Art Scene Monitor. A direct copy may be downloaded from;