Message from ISOMATA Akio, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Arab Emirates


For  deeper understanding of Japanese culture Learning its spiritual aspects
(April 2023)





Commendation Ceremony for Urasenke Abu Dhabi Study Group (March)


Conferment of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays on Mr. Naser Al Tamimi of UAE Judo Federation (April)



     I had a chance to attend Japan Day events organized by Japan club students, one at UAE University in February and another at Zayed University in March. The events included: a talk on Japanese food; sharing of experiences by teachers who studied in Japan; performance of and participation in tea ceremony, Japanese calligraphy and origami art; exhibition of manga books and unique Japanese snacks; information desk on studying in Japan and learning Japanese, etc. I was really pleased, encouraged as well, by the enthusiastic activities by these clubs' students and those who supported them.


     Nowadays, Japan is first and foremost associated, among the youth of the UAE or anywhere around the world, with food like sushi and ramen, contents like manga, anime, computer games, cars, or state-of-the-art machines and equipments. But, I want them to learn Japanese culture deeper and in a more holistic manner, and for that purpose, attention should also be directed at spiritual aspects behind all these and beyond what is tangible or can be readily experienced.


     When I say the spiritual aspects here, they mean, for example, deep respect for nature, harmony with others, courtesy and discipline, aesthetic sense of beauty based on simplicity and serenity, masterful absorption of foreign culture and its assimilation to Japanese culture. All of these, more or less, are intrinsic values deeply rooted in the long history of Japanese culture and tradition. These are embodied in "Bushido," often mentioned by UAE dignitaries, and are also seen in Judo, Kendo, Karatedo, Aikido as well as Chado (The way of Tea) and Kado (The way of Flowers). The short poem of Haiku and Zen Buddhism also embrace these values.


   I would like to draw your attention to the word "-do" (as in "Bushi-do," "Ju-do," "Ken-do"). "Do" literally means the "Way" in Japanese, and it encompasses the whole, including its spiritual aspects or values, beyond mere technique of dealing with things or matters. "Do" touches upon the true essence of cultural value deeply rooted in Judo, Chado,....etc. Coming back to "harmony with others" mentioned above, harmony is closely associated with "tolerance" and "coexistence" frequently emphasized by the government and people of the UAE, thus I believe, can also be comfortably accepted by the people of Muslim countries.


     The Embassy of Japan organized a commendation ceremony for Urasenke Abu Dhabi Study Group in March and conferment of decoration ceremony for Mr. Naser Al Tamimi, Secretary General of the UAE Judo Federation, in April for their longstanding contribution to the promotion of Japanese culture in the UAE and cultural exchange between the two countries through Chado and Judo respectively. I hope the people of the UAE will further enhance their understanding of Japanese culture by digging deeper into what is behind it and learning more about what it is built upon. For that end, our journey with the people of the UAE in together exploring Japanese culture continues.