Philippine Embassy - Tokyo, Japan > Amb. Lopez Calls For Perpetual Preservation of Kudan; Ms. Yoko Ono Lennon Cites Importance of Kudan in Promoting Lasting Friendship and Peace Between The Philippines and Japan

Amb. Lopez Calls For Perpetual Preservation of Kudan; Ms. Yoko Ono Lennon Cites Importance of Kudan in Promoting Lasting Friendship and Peace Between The Philippines and Japan

10 November 2015, Tokyo – Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez called for the preservation of Kudan, the official residence of Philippine Ambassadors to Japan, as he emphasized the historic and cultural value of Kudan which is now “an integral part of the history of Philippine diplomacy in Japan.”

Ambassador and Madame Maritess Lopez welcomed over 120 dignitaries at the launching of the book “History and Heritage of The Kudan, The Official Residence of the Philippine Ambassador to Japan.” (Cover photo of the book, at left) This book is one of the Philippine projects to commemorate next year the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

The guests were headed by Hon. Katsunobo Kato, Minister-in-charge of Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens; State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Yoji Muto, and Ms. Yoko Ono Lennon, artist, musician, peace activist and wife of the late Beatles legend John Lennon. The guests included the members of the Diplomatic Corps, ranking members of the Japanese Diet, top business executives, and Philippine National Artist for Visual Art BenCab. (Photo below)

Ambassador Lopez said the launching of the book aims to raise the awareness and deepen the appreciation of Filipinos and Japanese on the importance of Kudan as the official residence of all Philippine Ambassadors and as a landmark edifice of Philippine-Japan relations. The Ambassador said Kudan “continuously provided an indispensable backdrop for the implementation of Philippine foreign policy in relation to Japan” and expressed the hope that the book “would add to the efforts made by all who came here before us to preserve this precious property.”

For her part, Ms. Yoko Ono Lennon thanked Ambassador and Madame Lopez for the invitation to visit Kudan and to grace the launching of the book on the official residence of the Philippine Ambassadors to Japan. Ms. Ono Lennon recalled her days in Kudan and the wonderful memories she had as a little girl living in the house of her uncle, Iwajiro Yasuda, whose grandfather Baron Zenjiro Yasuda who was a prominent Japanese businessman and industrialist. She remembered the various rooms in Kudan especially the music room upstairs and the passion of her uncle in painting.

Ms. Ono Lennon describes Kudan as the venue for establishing and promoting lasting peace and friendship between the Philippines and Japan. Ms. Ono conveyed her best wishes for the Philippines and, in echoing her advocacy for universal peace and an end to all wars, expressed the hope that “our countries can now always be friends…instead of boxing.”
For his part, Minister Kato said that as a former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, he accompanied Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to several summit meetings with President Benigno S. Aquino III. In July 2013, he accompanied Prime Minister Abe during the visit to the Philippine and met President Aquino in the Malacanang Palace.

Minister Kato (photo right) stressed that Philippine-Japan bilateral relation is at its height supported by the strong relation of mutual trust between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Benigno S. Aquino III. Noting that a new president will be elected in May 2016, which is also the year of the 60th anniversary of the Philippines-Japan Diplomatic Relations, Minister Kato conveyed the wish that “Japan would enjoy this good and excellent bilateral relation with a new administration as well.”

In thanking Ambassador and Madame Lopez for the invitation to the book launching, Minister Kato expressed the hope that “this historically valuable Ambassador’s Residence would be continuously maintained in good condition in the future.”

The Ambassador later gave Ms. Ono Lennon and Ministers Kato and Muto with copies of the book. (Photo at left) Madame Lopez later escorted her to view some of the rooms that gave Ms. Ono the opportunity to recall her childhood in Kudan. Madame Lopez then invited Ms. Ono Lennon and the guests to the dining room to sample the Filipino Christmas cuisine. Kudan was decorated with the traditional Filipino Christmas “parols”, Nativity manger, Santa Claus figurines, and other home decors that gave the quests a feeling of the Filipino Yuletide Season.

The Kudan residence is an Iberian-style building that was built in the 1930s for Iwajiro Yasuda. Kudan was purchased by the Philippine government in 1944. Kudan is one of the few architecturally important houses in its original form left in Japan from the prewar era. It has been the subject of studies by Japanese architecture scholars and is considered a historically important building by the Chiyoda local government. On 11 March 2013, the residence was declared a national historical landmark property by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

The book on the official residence of Philippine Ambassadors to Japan aims to create a deeper awareness of this historical and cultural asset of the Philippines in the heart of Tokyo. Such awareness would deepen the appreciation of the official residence as a strong symbol of a shared history and of the enduring relations between the Philippines and Japan. It also aims to provide an accurate historical, architectural and cultural documentation that will hopefully serve as a solid reference for future conservation and preservation of Kudan. END

Tagged as: ,