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Harvest Festival Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Japan-Africa IP Cooperation

October 2, 2018

From September 24 to October 2, 2018, the 58th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was held in Geneva. On this occasion, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) organized an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of a WIPO Funds-in-Trust which was established by Japan’s contribution as funds dedicated to the support for Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the field the of intellectual property.

In the event, fusion-style kimonos were showcased as a fashion show, which were made of colorful African fabrics with pop patterns matched with Japanese Obi belts, followed by a modern, dynamic and upbeat musical performance with Japanese traditional musical instruments Shamisen and Wadaiko. These lively events greatly entertained the audience of representatives of the member states. The participants could not even start their meals due to the engaging nature of the performance.

A booth was installed in the venue for an exhibition of panels showcasing the achievements of cooperation with Africa through the funds’ activities.

1. Design concept of the 10th anniversary celebration event

Otsukimi is a Japanese cultural event of a long tradition in the mid-fall. In the event, people appreciate the harvest while enjoying the view of a full moon. The concept of the event was to enjoy the full-moon night of September 25, 2018 with the participants in the Assemblies, celebrating the harvest of fruits of a 10-year cooperation between Japan and Africa, while wishing that intellectual property may bring happiness to all people around the world just as the moon illuminate the entire world.

Ms. Naoko Munakata, JPO Commissioner, explained the outcomes of one of the funds’ projects, the “Taita Basket Branding Project” in Kenya, presenting a basket designed to evoke the image of a full moon floating in the evening sky, which was prepared as a gift to the participants. Then, she invited the participants to attend a fashion show and musical performance elaborating on the fusion of Japanese and African cultures.

2. WAFRICA fashion show

In the fashion show, WAFRICA kimonos of a variety of rich colors were unveiled before the eyes of the representatives of the member states, which were designed by Mr. Serge Mouangue, a designer of Cameroonian origin.

This was a collection of newly created kimonos by fusing Japanese and African cultures. Through a beautiful harmony of these two different clothing cultures, the kimonos expressed the cooperation and a future-oriented relation between Japan and Africa

3. Musical performance by Isaka Style Kiraku-Za

A group of young and dynamic performers of outstanding skill played the traditional Japanese musical instruments the Shamisen and Wadaiko before the audience.

Their performance brought together the audience of representatives from various countries, leading to a feeling of togetherness among the participants that transcended cultural differences.

4. Kagami-biraki (Sake Barrel Opening Ceremony)

Representatives from the WIPO, Japan and Africa conducted a Kagami-biraki ceremony. Each representative held a wooden hammer in hand. Joining forces, they opened a sake barrel together, wishing that the cooperation between the three parties will further yield fruitful results.

Division in Charge

International Policy Division &International Cooperation Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO