Yaizu, Japan (1977)
Hobart’s sister city relationship with Yaizu is our city’s longest and most enduring international relationship. The Hobart–Yaizu sister city relationship was formalised in 1977, making it Australia’s sixth oldest Japan–Australia sister city.
The origins of this relationship began with the tuna fishing fleets from Yaizu harbouring in Hobart during the 1960s and 1970s. Regular and long visits from the fishermen created both business and personal connections to form between Hobart and Yaizu. Yaizu’s Mayor Hattori hoped to capitalize on the positive relationships established and sent a letter to the then Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Doug Plaister. During a visit to Yaizu in the mid 1970s, Lord Mayor Plaister met his future wife, Fumiko. Fumiko Plaister has been a driving force, making significant contribution and commitment to establishing and sustaining the relationship, and continues to do so.
In more recent years the relationship has flourished with engagement focused predominately around cultural and educational goals facilitated by regular exchange programs.
2017 Hobart Yaizu 40th anniversary celebrations
February 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship. A number of celebratory events were organised and included a martial arts demonstration, Origami, Kimono and Yukata displays, Taiko drum demonstrations, an official celebratory dinner and a tree planting ceremony (Japanese Flowering Cherry - Prunus serrulata ‘Ukon’) in the Japanese garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
A delegation of Aldermen, Council officers and community members also visited Yaizu in August 2017 to take part in reciprocal celebrations that included the naming ceremony of 'Hobart Street' and formal dinner highlighting local creative talent - Aru Matsuri Festival.
Student exchange program
The student exchange program initiated in 1989 is a much-anticipated event for both participating Hobart and Yaizu students, families and schools.
Yaizu student’s home-stay with students and families from Hobart’s host schools providing visiting students with insights into both Tasmanian school and family life. During the visits, students and families develop meaningful and often enduring relationships. The City of Hobart provide organisational support to this program, working with the schools in both Yaizu and Hobart and fostering the necessary link to the Yaizu government.
Most years, students from Hobart travel to Yaizu to enjoy a similar experience of being hosted by families and attending school.
Hobart and Yaizu students, schools and families regard the student exchange program as a highly valuable experience stimulating a deeper commitment and engagement in language studies, further education, cultural curiosity, understanding, tolerance and fostering future opportunities in employment, travel and friendships.
The City of Hobart and Yaizu City have worked together on a range of activities including:
- Annual combined school visits to Town Hall, Government House, Richmond and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary with visiting Yaizu students and students from St Mary's, Mount Carmel and St Virgil's Colleges.
- On-going visits and public performances over a number of years by the acclaimed Yurikamome Children’s Choir including engagements with local Hobart school choirs. In 2018, Hobart again welcomed the choir, with a previous Yurikamone choir child performer returning with the choir as an adult instructor.
- The 2013 Myer Hobart Christmas Pageant parade included the Mayor of Yaizu and delegates parading with an Omikoshi (Japanese Portable Shrine) built in Hobart as part of a cultural exchange collaboration with Tarremah Steiner School.
- In 2012, the Taste of Tasmania’s seven-day summer food festival facilitated a food-stall run by members of the Yaizu–Hobart Friendship Association, a Yaizu City visiting staff member and the Hobart Sister City Committee.
- In 2011, a traditional Japanese Hachoro boat was the international feature vessel of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. The boat, originating from Yaizu Village, was the first of its kind to visit Australia.