‘400’ – a magic number this year?

‘400’ is the magic number it seems this year. Let’s take a look at some of the other anniversaries and significant events carrying this number in 2013.

• As well as celebrating the 400th anniversary of the first encounter between Britain and Japan, this year we Spain logocelebrate 400 years of another relationship between Japan, and our European partner Spain. (the Netherlands celebrated their 400th anniversary with Japan in 2009). http://www.spainjapanyear.jp/ and http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/10/07/voices/spanish-envoy-celebrates-400-year-relationship/#.UmufhI1lQpA. Did you know that there is still a town in Spain where descendants of that first encounter, carry the name ‘Japón’? No we didn’t either.  There is now a photography exhibition of 400 people with the surname ‘Japón’. Events are taking place in Spain and Japan this year to celebrate this anniversary.
• Japan is known for its longevity not only of its people but also of its business! This year, a building company Takenaka celebrates 400 years. Originally shrine carpenters, today, having continuously adapted to the changing needs of society are now launching ambitious plans for the future.
• 400 is the magic number for Toshiba as in billions of yen profit by 2015 according to Business Week
• Talking of business, the Japanese healthcare company Terumo BCT perhaps epitomising what brings our two countries concerns together, health and care for our citizens are creating over 400 new jobs in Antrim, Northern Ireland. PM Abe announced Northern Ireland to be a ‘’ “treasure trove of challenge, openness and innovation” during a visit to Belfast following the G8 summit. More info. from the Irish Times here.  Belfast celebrates 400 years of history with ‘Belfast 400’.  The royal charter was signed by James I on April 27, 1613 marked the beginning of civic governance in Belfast according to the Belfast Telegraph (James 1 was having a very busy and productive year in 1613!)
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 Japan’s Nikkei and Japan Exchange Group have merged to form a new stock index unveiled this month of 400 companies. ‘’ The new index will be composed of companies with high appeal for investors, which meet requirements of global investment standards, such as efficient use of capital and investor-focused management perspectives. The new index will promote the appeal of Japanese corporations domestically and abroad, while encouraging continued improvement of corporate value, thereby aiming to revitalize the Japanese stock market. http://www.tse.or.jp/english/news/17/b7gje6000001nr5o-att/b7gje6000001nr8v.pdf
• Maybe not a coincidence – connected with that early enthusiasm for relations with Japan from Spain, Netherlands and Britain, is the 400th anniversary of the gold mines in Sado island. Gold was produced in Japan for many years. Sado kinzan, the most productive mine, produced 400kg during its operations from earliest edo period when the income was used by the Tokugawa Shogunate which directly controlled Sado Island and its mines.
Daiya Seto wins the 400-meter individual medley swim in the World Championships
• 400 years since the first ‘crying baby contest’ was launched in japan and is still going today. A good example of turning a challenge into an advantage!
• And an early form of recycling is reputed to have a 400 year old history – ‘Bird Poop Facial, 400 Year Old Japanese Art Harnesses Powerful Enzymes’ reported in Science World
• Elsewhere a Japanese culture week opens in the central province of Nghe An, Vietnam to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Japan, as well as the 2013 Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year, and a 400 year old document is discovered, proving ties between Vietnam and japan from that period
• 400 years ago is the inspiration for the Monogatari 2nd Season’s Onimonogatari anime, telling the story of ‘’Shinobu Oshino, a mysterious little girl who came to Japan 400 years ago….originally a vampire named Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade. Shinobu tells Araragi that the darkness that has appeared is one that she had seen 400 years ago, and at worst, it could destroy Araragi’s entire town….’’


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