Switzerland and Japan: 150th anniversary of bilateral relationships in 2014

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Did you know that next year Japan and Switzerland are celebrating their 150th anniversary of bilateral relationships? 2014 will be a very exciting year for these 2 countries as many events will be organized in Japan as well as in Switzerland. The 2 countries have been in good relationship since 1864. Diplomacy, economics, politics, social and commerce have been operating well since then. The 2 countries have many things in common and share many often the same spirit. And the number of common points are bigger than you think. check it out.

Swiss flag and Japanese flag: white and red.

Japan-Swiss-flags

First interesting fact, the 2 countries have the 2 same colours on their flags: white and red. They both have very recognizable flags worldwide thanks to the geometrical shape. The 2 shapes are also charged with signification, as for the Swiss cross, it is a christian cross and for the red circle, it is the rising sun.

Fuji-Yama and Matterhorn: worldwide reputation

Fujiyama-Matterhorn

The 2 countries have 2 of the most popular mountains in the world. Japan has the Fuji-Yama mountain and Switzerland has the Matterhorn. Japanese and Swiss people give a strong importance and meaning to mountains. That’s why there are many tourists from both countries traveling from one to another to visit their respective mountains. The mountain Fuji is the highest location in Japan with 3’776.24m. It is actually an active stratovolcano that last eruption was in 1707. It is located about 100km south-west of Tokyo and it is one of the symbols of Japan. Very often, artists painted the Fuji-Yama as symbol of peace, harmony and eternity.
The Matterhorn is a mountain at the border between Switzerland and Italy with 4’478m. It is one of the highest mountains in the Alps. The 4 steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points. The Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps and the Alps in general.

Yen and Swiss Francs: both strong and important currencies

Yen-Franc-Suisse

In a world ruled by dollars and euros, Japan and Switzerland have succeeded to keep their own specific currency that still have a role in the world. This have protected the 2 countries for several years from internal economic crisis due to external currency pressure. The Yen and the Franc Suisse will still be around for a while. Switzerland had some pressure to join the European Union and change the Swiss franc into euro. Up to now they resisted as they see how bad national situations the euro brought to the union members. Eg: Germany, Portugal, Spain…

 Japan and Switzerland: innovation is the secret

Swiss-Japan-Technology

Switzerland and Japan were in a very bad economic situation a while ago and only their capacity to innovate brought the 2 countries into the level they have today. Innovation was the success key point. Japan was devastated after the Second World War. From the 50’s until mid-80’s, they made a strong effort to come back into play thanks to their creativity, innovation and strong will to accomplish their goals. Since then, Japan is probably one of the most high-tech countries in the world, always with 5 years avant-garde than all the others. In many fields like high-tech but also in Design, Automobile and Telecommunications, Japan rules.
Switzerland was one of the poorest countries in Europe by the end of the 19th century. During that period many Swiss families emigrated to North and South America, France, Germany, Austria, basically everywhere that could give them a future. Some families though stayed and worked very hard to build up their businesses. It was the case for the Elsener Family who created the famous iconic Swiss Army Knife. As Switzerland is a small country populated by lakes and high mountains, not many activities from the Primary and the secondary sector could be developed. So Swiss people placed themselves in the race for innovation in several fields like Watchmaking, Biotechnologies, Pharmaceuticals and Science.   Today, Switzerland is a high innovative country, attracting hundreds of cutting edge people from all over the world each year.

Japanese and Swiss food: 2 of a kind.

japanese-and-swiss-flags

Another interesting common fact between the 2 countries is the fact they both have very specific food that became worldwide successes. Japan has Sushi and Switzerland has Raclette.
Sushi was originally first made in South Asia, probably along the Mekong River. An interesting fact is that Sushi cuisine first spread to Southern China before going to Japan. The traditional sushi, today in Japan known as narezushi has very little in common with the contemporary sushi. In deed narezushi is about fermented fish obtained by being wrapped into soured fermenting rice. Only the fish was eaten and the rice discarded. The contemporary version, internationally known as Sushi, was invented by Hanaya Yohei at the end of the Edo period in Edo (19th century). It was a certain form of fast-food as the fish did not need to be fermented and so people could eat it faster.
Raclette is a different story! It is both a specific cheese and a Swiss dish based on the fact you heat the cheese and you scrap it off (racler) the melted part. You eat the melted cheese generally with potatoes, charcuterie and pickles. Raclette was mentioned in middle-age writings as a particularly nutritious meal consumed by peasants in mountainous Switzerland and France (Savoy region). It was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese.” Traditionally, the Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. In the evenings around the campfire, they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it on top of bread.

150th anniversary: an official logo to celebrate the event

Japan-Switzerland-official-anniversary-logo

In order to officially mark the importance of this event, There was an open contest for designers to create the official logo for the event. 230 logos were evaluated during the competition. 136 logos were proposed by japanese people and 96 by Swiss people. Here above is the winning logo. It was made by 37 years old Swiss designer Francesca Porro. It represents the Swiss and the Japanese flags linked with a bow and completed by the figure 150. Simple, efficient, clear and warm-hearted. Well done. It is supposed to represent union and joy.

2014 will be rich in cultural events

So next year, several events will take place in Japan and in Switzerland to celebrate the amazing anniversary. In Japan the first events will start in February, just after Valentine’s day and it will follow by several events in Switzerland. The official program is not yet ready but many companies and cultural institutions are already working hard on it. Luxuryactivist will follow these events closely so more to come.

For now, if you wish to have more information and contact the officials, please note the following websites:

Official website in Switzerland:
http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/asia/vjpn/biljap.html

Japanese embassy in Switzerland:
http://www.ch.emb-japan.go.jp/anniversary2014

Swiss Embassy in Japan:
http://www.eda.admin.ch/anniversary2014

2014 will be a red and white year. So get ready to travel to these 2 amazing countries and discover great cultures, people and landscapes.

LA

 

Info sourced at the official websites quoted in the article, wikipedia, cocomale.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. 

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