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Takamatsu, Japan

Celebrating over 50 years

Takamatsu is the capital city of Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in Japan. It is located on the northern border of Shikoku and faces the Seto Inland Sea.

The city has an estimated population of 426,514 with a population density of 1137 persons per square kilometer.

Takamatsu is blessed with a mild climate and scenic beauty. To the north, the city faces the island-studded Seto Inland Sea designated as a National Park, and to the south, the Sanuki Mountain Range.

The History of the Sister City Affiliation between Takamatsu and St. Petersburg

The history of the sister city relationship between Takamatsu and St. Petersburg begins on January 30, 1959, during a momentous session of the Takamatsu City Assembly.  On that day, City Assemblyman Mr. Matsuda brought up the possibility of a sister city affiliation with a foreign country, one that would help to provide opportunities to study abroad and make dreams come true for the young people of Takamatsu.  Inspired by Mr. Matsuda's suggestion, city officials began their search for a sister city, hoping to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan through citizen-to-citizen contact. 

Going back a bit further, the U.S. sister city program was initiated in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who proposed a system of people-to-people citizen diplomacy. On December 7, 1955, the first sister city relationship between cities in the U.S. and Japan was established.  Those pioneer cities are the City of St. Paul, Minnesota and the City of Nagasaki.  After that, cities across Japan began to search for sister cities of their own in the U.S. and the rest of the world.  In 1959, the City of Takamatsu eagerly joined the search.

On January 20, 1961, the City of Takamatsu made a request to the North America Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for recommendations of potential sister cities in the U.S.  They responded on February 24, recommending of the City of St. Petersburg, Florida.
On June 1, the City of Takamatsu made a formal proposal to Mayor Herman W. Goldner of the City of St. Petersburg.  By August 18, the City of Takamatsu had received a reply from Mayor Goldner stating that a decision would be made by the City Council in a meeting to be held on September 7.
The day after the St. Petersburg City Council meeting, the City of Takamatsu received a message from Mayor Goldner regarding a visit to Takamatsu by goodwill ambassadors Mr. and Mrs. Manyan, who happened to be the Mayor's parents-in-law come November of that year.
On October 2, 1961, the City of Takamatsu received an official notification from Mayor Goldner that the proposal to establish a sister-city affiliation with Takamatsu had been passed with a unanimous vote.  In response, Takamatsu officials proposed the sister city affiliation with St. Petersburg at the 7th Plenary Session of the Takamatsu City Assembly that was held just a few days later on October 5.  The suggestion was met with unanimous approval, and on October 9, the formal announcement was sent to Mayor Goldner.
Goodwill ambassadors Mr. and Mrs. Manyan, who happened to be the Mayor's parents-in-law, arrived in Takamatsu by boat on November 17.  They were met by enthusiastic crowds of Takamatsu citizens and city officials waving the U.S. and Japanese flags at the Port of Takamatsu.  They stayed at Mayor Kunito's residence, and visited City Hall, Ritsurin Park, Mount Yashima, and the art studio of Joshin Ishoi, who was designated a national treasure of Japan.  At that time Joshin was working on the Pine Tree Ceremonial Water Jug, which was a delicately lacquered work of art.  Later, it was completed and shipped to Mayor Golder as a gift.
Mr. Manyan said that they would never forget the big, warm welcome they had received upon arrival.  Mrs. Manyan noticed that beautiful flowers were blooming everywhere in Takamatsu, and said that such a wonderful city must be filled with good people.  The visit that had taken them halfway around the world may have been regrettably short, but the people of Takamatsu made sure that the memory of it would last forever.
On March 5 and 6, 1967, the City of Takamatsu welcomed 24 members of the St. Petersburg Delegation headed by Mayor and Mrs. Goldner.  Mayor Goldner and Mayor Kunito signed a document titled "A Contract Concerning the Promotion of Sister City Activities between St. Petersburg and Takamatsu" during a ceremony on March 6.
In 1984, St. Petersburg began a program of sending Student Ambassadors to Takamatsu for several weeks every summer.  The students stay with selected host families, attend high school classes and explore the beautiful city of Takamatsu.
In 2008, the City of Takamatsu began to send Student Ambassadors abroad, visiting the city of St. Petersburg during the summer. St. Petersburg residents are host families opening their homes to the students and offer them many opportunities to explore the city.
The student exchange program supports the initial goal of Takamatsu's quest for a sister city: providing opportunities to study abroad and making dreams come true for the young people of Takamatsu and St. Petersburg.

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