A delegation of the Philippine Embassy headed by Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V visited Kyoto, Japan upon invitation of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) officers, Mr. Takushi Ohno, President, Mr. Kiyoshi Takeuchi, Vice-President and Professor Michiko Yamashita, Secretary. Consul General Voltaire Mauricio of the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka also joined the activities of the delegation in Kyoto.
On 16 June 2022, Ambassador Laurel met with Mayor Daisaku KADOKAWA of Kyoto City. Mayor Kadokawa shared about the declaration of Kyoto as a “City Open to the Free Exchange of World Cultures.” The Ambassador assured the Mayor that the Philippine Embassy, together with the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka, will continue to work with the Mayor’s office to promote the welfare and well-being of the Filipino citizens in Japan.
The delegation then visited the statue of the Goddess of Mercy in the Flying Clouds at the “Tenryuji,” Temple of the Heavenly Dragon. The temple’s Sogenchi Garden was designated as the first Special Historical Scenic Site by the Japanese government and registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. A ceremony was conducted by the Chief Priest of the temple with a flower offering made by Ambassador Laurel and Consul General Voltaire Mauricio. The visit to Tenryuji is still part of the commemoration of the sacrifices made by Filipinos who fought for Philippine Independence. The Chief priest explained that the statue, also known as the “Hiun Kannon” statue, serves as a memorial for people to pray for the victims of World War II.
Ambassador Laurel met with the members of the academe and the Filipino students at Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) on 17 June 2022. The Director of CSEAS, Professor Fumiharu MIENO welcomed the delegation. Director Mieno provided a brief history of the Center and an introduction their faculty members from the Philippines. Among the faculty members from the Philippines is Associate Professor Julius Bautista who helped UPAA organize the meeting at CSEAS.
This meeting at CSEAS provided an opportunity for the Philippine Embassy to donate books on Philippine culture to CSEAS and Kyoto Association of Pinoy Scholars (KAPS). The books come from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. In commemoration of the 161st Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, copies of the manga on the life of the Philippine national hero were also given out to the officers of KAPS.
Following the meeting at CSEAS, Ambassador Laurel met with Kyoto University President Nagahiro MINATO. They talked about the meeting at CSEAS and the various academic and research collaborations of Kyoto University with the educational institutions in the Philippines. Ambassador Laurel gave a copy of the book about his father who also experienced being a student in Japan during his younger years.
As of June 2021, there are 1,223 Filipinos registered in Kyoto City and 2,407 Filipinos for the whole Kyoto Prefecture. A portion of this number is the Filipino student population at the various Universities in the area.