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Nashville, Kamakura Join as Partners at Sister Cities Signing Ceremony


City Leaders Signed Treaty in Japan on Saturday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Kamakura Mayor Takashi Matsuo signed a Sister Cities treaty on Saturday, Sept. 20 that officially joined Nashville and Kamakura as partners and formally solidified the two cities’ long-standing relationship. Kamakura is Nashville’s eighth international partner city. 

Nashville has strong ties to the country through the Japanese Consulate’s Office in Nashville and through business relationships. This year, Nashville celebrated its sixth annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival.

“While signing the treaty makes it official, we have enjoyed a partnership with Kamakura, and the country of Japan, for many years,” Mayor Dean said. “We look forward to more educational and cultural exchanges and fostering understanding of our cities among our citizens.”

The signing of the treaty, in which both cities agree to encourage friendship with one another and extend cultural and educational exchanges, took place at Kamakura City Hall. It was facilitated by Sister Cities of Nashville. During the gift exchange, Mayor Dean presented Mayor Matsuo with a framed Hatch Show Print. Mayor Matsuo presented Mayor Dean with a wooden tray made in the style of Kamakura-bori, the traditional wood carving art of the Kamakura region.

Mayor Matsuo and a civic delegation will visit Nashville Oct. 15 to Oct. 18. Kamakura is located approximately 30 miles southwest of Tokyo in the Kanagawa prefecture and is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Tokyo, its beaches and its many historic shrines and temples.

Sister Cities of Nashville established a Japan committee in 2009 with the support of the Consul General of Japan’s office in Nashville. Consul General Motohiko Kato was in attendance for the Kamakura treaty signing.

“Sister Cities of Nashville is a vibrant organization dedicated to enriching the lives of our community members with abundant opportunities, for adults and students to engage locally and internationally with our Sister Cities,” said Gail Vaughn Ashworth, president of the Sister Cities of Nashville Board of Directors. “With eight partnership cities on four continents, we are continually opening doors for Nashvillians to learn more about people of other cultures.”

The Nashville area is home to more than 8,000 Japanese citizens and 300 businesses, including Bridgestone Americas Inc. and Nissan. The Sister Cities of Nashville group has been in extensive conversations with Kamakura about establishing a partnership relationship for several years.

A Nashville civic delegation made its first visit to Kamakura in the fall of 2009. In 2010, Sister Cities of Nashville established the annual Cherry Blossom Walk to highlight the special partnership among Sister Cities of Nashville, the Consul General of Japan’s office and the Japan-America Society of Tennessee. The Cherry Blossom Walk precedes the Cherry Blossom Festival held every year in April.

Mayor Dean has presided over the treaty signings for three of Nashville’s eight sister cities, also including Tamworth, Australia in 2013 and Mendoza, Argentina in 2009.  Mayor Dean recently returned from Edmonton, Canada, Nashville’s first Sister City, at the invitation of its new Mayor Don Iveson.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Kamakura Mayor Takashi Matsuo 

About Sister Cities of Nashville

The mission of Sister Cities of Nashville is to connect the people of Nashville with people of the world, promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation – one person, one community at a time. Mayor Karl Dean serves as the Honorary Chairman of Sister Cities of Nashville.  Nashville’s sister cities include Belfast, Northern Ireland; Caen, France; Edmonton, Canada; Kamakura, Japan; Magdeburg, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Taiyuan, China and Tamworth, Australia.