Councillor Jane Maitland, Councillor Pauline Drysdale, Mr Iain Mitchell, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the Stewartry; Ms Lesley Garbutt, Chair of the Kirkcudbright Development Trust; Mr. Richard Polley, General Manager of Dumfries & Galloway Region of the National Trust, Mr Mike Duguid, Chair of the Friends of Broughton House; Ms Amanda Herries, Chair of the National Trust for Scotland Galloway Members’ Group; distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Nozomu Takaoka, the Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh. This is my first summer since arriving in Edinburgh last autumn and I am very honored and happy in this typical Scottish weather of Kirkcudbright to officially open this new exhibition in the renowned Broughton House.
Carol and Mike were very kind to show me and my wife around this historic house and beautiful garden. They have convinced us that this house is indeed a truly ideal and perfect setting for great Japanese art crafts to be exhibited. I commend the professional work commissioned by the seasoned curator and collaborators.
This is a thought-provoking moment for us to appreciate what inspired Edward Atkinson Hornel who was born on this very day in 1864. His encounter with Japan eventually led to his great works deeply influenced by Japanese art as we observed upstairs. I hope that he is now looking down upon us with great pride possibly with his fellow Glasgow Boys.
I would like to take this opportunity to stress that the relations between Japan and the South of Scotland are wide and strong. One Japanese joint-venture, Du Pont- Teijin’s European manufacturing sites is based here in Dumfries, where 225 employees produce film products for healthcare and media to be used across the world.
Another towering figure of South Scotland in its relations with Japan is undoubtedly Robert Burns, but in his case most probably without his knowledge.
When the Japanese government terminated its centuries-long seclusion policy following the friendly advice of Americans and British and opened its border in the latter half of the 19th century, making it possible for Hornel to collect these art crafts by the way, the Japanese Ministry of Education then compiled a volume of songs to be sung in schools, which were newly established under the nationwide educational system.
Somehow, Auld Lang Syne was included in that volume but with its lyrics lost in translation, the song ended up portraying poor but diligent Japanese students studying hard by reading books with the dim light of fireflies in summer and the glare of snow in winter.
Thanks to Robert Burns, these hard-working Japanese students would take part in the industrial revolution of Japan in the late 19th century, again with the help of Scottish engineers and financiers.
Maybe this cooperative spirit between us was already dictated by Burns again when he said, “Nae man can tether time or tide. The hour approaches Tam maun ride.”
Remembering those important artistic, economic, historic and poetic ties between Japan and Scotland let me now declare the exhibition open and later with a toast with Japanese Sake.
Congratulations. Thank you.
Address from Consul General Takaoka: Opening Ceremony at Broughton House
July 24, 2019