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Kobe Mayoral Delegation Visit

By David Yamaguchi The North American Post

Kobe Mayor Kizō Hisamoto

The Kobe mayoral delegation was in Seattle during Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. The visit marks the 65th year of the Seattle- Kobe sister-city relationship, and the 55th year of a similar arrangement between their ports. Various events included an informal welcome at a local brewery, a Pike Place Market visit, trick or treating on Capitol Hill, and a reception hosted by the City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle.

Throughout the gatherings, city, port, and business representatives on both sides took advantage of the opportunities to exchange information on topics of mutual interest. At the city and port levels, topics under discussion include addressing climate change, such as reducing carbon emissions and combating sea level rise, and natural hazards (earthquakes).

Members of the Kobe delegation. (The travelers stretched beyond camera view to the left and right.) Photos: DY

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell shared his pride in his grandfather, who arrived in Seattle at 15 from Kumamoto, Kyushu, “speaking no English…. His story is the same as that of all immigrants…,” Harrell commented.

Discussion at the Nov. 1 reception. Toshihiko Yasui, Chairperson of the Kobe City Assembly, speaks at left center. Local Tomo Hoku Angie interprets at far left. Listening at right are Yoko Kawabata, Executive Director, Kobe City Assembly Secretariat, and Robin Wehl Martin of Hello Robin Cookies.
Jazz singer Tsuki Igashira

At the business level, attendees were seeking new trade opportunities.As Port of Seattle international liaison Karin Zaugg Black explained, “People do business with people they know.”

Kobe jazz-standards singer Tsuki Igashira was fabulous. The sister city association has been exchanging jazz vocalists with Kobe for over 20 years.

The corresponding Seattle mayoral delegation visit to Kobe will happen Nov. 16 – 19.

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David Yamaguchi is a third-generation Japanese American [Sansei]. He has written for the Post since 2006, at first as a volunteer, later as a paid freelancer. He joined the paper's staff in May 2020, when he began learning how articles flow from Word files through layout to social media.