Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
Monday, June 19, 2017
Mr. Juel, Mayor of Odense,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to those who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Greenland on 17th June. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Mayor Juel for hosting this luncheon and for extending his heartfelt welcoming remarks.
This is my second visit to Denmark having been here in 2004, but this is my first visit to the city of Odense. It is my great pleasure to come to this city that Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress visited in 1998. This year is important as we commemorate the 150th anniversary for the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Denmark. The other day when I mentioned my visit to Denmark to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, they told me of their fond memories of their visit to the city of Odense.
Earlier today, I visited the Hans Christian Andersen Museum which Their Majesties also visited at that time. Recalling my own childhood, I enjoyed many works related to Andersen, such as his fairy tales, novels and papercut arts. Looking at Andersen’s picture books that were translated into many different languages of the world including Japanese, I felt how much his works have been cherished by countless children worldwide.
The relationship between Japan and the city of Odense dates back 33 years to 1984. Following the visit of the then mayor of Odense, Mayor Dalskov to the city of Funabashi in Chiba, both cities established a sister city affiliation in 1989. The active exchanges between the cities have continued ever since, and in 1996, with the cooperation by the city of Odense, the Funabashi-Andersen Park was opened. I hear that this park has become very popular. In addition, the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen was kindly donated by the city of Odense when the city of Funabashi was awarded with the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2000. This statue is still warmly watching over children playing in the park. I hope the Funabashi-Andersen Park will continue to foster our children’s bright future as a symbol of friendship between the cities of Odense and Funabashi.
I am fond of music and play the viola. In February last year, I had an opportunity to enjoy Symphony No. 5 by Carl August Nielsen, at one of the regular concerts by a well-known Japanese symphony orchestra. When this visit to the city of Odense was decided on, I learnt online that the Carl Nielsen Museum is located in the city of Odense. Unfortunately, I could not make a visit to the museum because it has been temporarily closed; however I would like to keep this as something for me to look forward to for my next opportunity.
Last but not least, let me conclude my remarks by expressing my hope for a further friendly relationship between Japan and Denmark as well as the city of Odense. I sincerely wish Mayor Juel and everyone in attendance much happiness and prolonged prosperity.