An Ehime Products Page on Chinese EC Site
On April 21, Ehime opened a special page on an e-commerce site operated by the Rakuten Group (based in Tokyo) on the major Chinese cross-border EC site “T-Mall Global”. According to the prefecture, it is the first time in Japan that a local government has opened a page on the Rakuten section of the Chinese site.
It aims to help promote sales of Ehime products in China, which has the world’s largest e-commerce market. The page named “Ehime-Rakukatsu”, listing fashion-category items, begins with 130 products, such as pearls from Uwajima and Imabari towels.
It plans to expand the number of products up to 300, trying to gain recognition in China. The prefecture is looking for companies that will put their products up in the fashion category on the site.
(April 22, Ehime Shimbun)
Dogo Onsen Honkan to Reopen July 2024
Matsuyama city announced that it was expected that the Dogo Onsen Honkan, which is currently under preservation and repair construction, will reopen in July 2024, a half year earlier than originally planned. Reconsideration of the plan has made it possible. Mayor Noshi thanked the efforts of all those working on it for their wisdom, knowledge and skills to reopen it as early as possible, and expects a strong stimulation of the regional economy after COVID-19.
The preservation and repair of Dogo Onese Honkan is being implemented while keeping it partially open to make the negative impact on tourism minimal. It has been four years and three months since the construction started in January 2019, and about 68% of the work has been completed.
The research and recording of this Important Cultural Property, which was planned for the same time as the construction work, has been postponed to after the reopening. The completion the entire project remains the same: the end of 2024.
The roof covering, painted by Mr. Shinro Otake of Uwajima, which currently covers the west side of the building will be removed around November.
(April 11, Ehime Shimbun Online)
Uwajima Port Welcomes Cruise Ship for the First Time in Four Years
The cruise ship Le Soleal, operated by a French company, departed from Osaka on a 14-day cruise of the Seto Inland Sea, Korea, and the Sea of Japan, and ended in Otaru (Hokkaido).
On the morning of April 3rd, Le Soleal called at Uwajima Port in Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture, the first cruise ship to do so in about four years. About 60 people, including citizen volunteers, enthusiastically waved flags to welcome Le Soleal. About 220 people, including foreign tourists, came ashore and enjoyed a brief sightseeing tour.
The city’s tourism and products association said the passengers enjoyed a tour of famous places such as the terraced fields of the Yuzumizugaura district of the city and the gardens Nanrakuen and Tenshaen. Some passengers also visited Uchiko, Ozu City, and Yusuhara in Kochi Prefecture.
(April 5, Ehime Shimbun online digest)
Cashless Payments Increase
According to a consumer survey conducted in December 2022 by the Iyogin Regional Economy Research Center, Inc., there was an upward trend in cashless payments in comparison with before the pandemic. To the question about the frequency of use of cashless payment methods the responses were “Increase” and “Slightly Increase”. The most was “Mobile Payment”, which was 48.2%.
Ms. Miwako Tsuzuki, a researcher, indicated that both lifestyle changes and the high cost of living caused by the pandemic accelerated the growth of cashless payments to save money by such methods as cashback rewards46.2% responded an “Increase” or “Slight Increase” on “Credit Cards”, 39.2% on “Electronic Money”, and 6.4% on “Debit Cards”.
The survey also showed that more women had increased their use of cashless payments than men. It was suggested that women were more budget conscious since they usually manage household income and expenditures.
Research on digital wage payout plans,which has introduced by the Japanese government this April, was also conducted. 33.8% responded “Do not know anything”, and 11.1% responded “Proactively want to use”. The survey was conducted online, and 500 Ehime residents responded.
(April 4, Ehime Shimbun Online)
New Musical KANO Starts at Botchan Theater
The musical titled KANO 1931: 2,000 km to Koshien Stadium started on April 1st at Botchan Theater (Toon City, Ehime Prefecture). The emotional performances and singing captivated the audience, expressing how young people and the people around them deepen mutual understanding through baseball.
KANO, the 17th production by the theater, is an original based on historical facts. Written by Daisuke Habara and directed by Kazukiyo Nishikori, it tells the story of Hyotaro Kondo (1888–1966), a native of Matsuyama City, who served as the manager of the old Chiayi Agricultural and Forestry Vocational School (KANO) baseball club in Taiwan under Japanese rule. He led the team to second place in the National High School Baseball Championship called Summer Koshien in which the school participated for the first time. The play depicts a mixed team of Japanese, Han Chinese, and indigenous peoples, and how they achieved high goals with the club members. The show is scheduled to end in March 2024.
(April 1, Ehime Shimbun online digest)
KANO is the nickname of the old Chiayi Agricultural and Forestry Vocational High School, which no longer exists. The nickname comes from the first two English letters of the two Japanese words Kagi Norin, with Kagi being the Japanese word for Chiayi and Norin being the Japanese term for agriculture and forestry. The story was also made into a movie titled KANO: 1931 Koshien Across the Sea in Taiwan in 2014, and was released in Japan in 2015. Kondo’s coaching at the old Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry Vocational school is said to have laid the foundation for Taiwanese baseball.
“Diamond Princess” Called at Matsuyama Port
On the morning of March 30th, the US-operated large cruise ship Diamond Princess called at Matsuyama Port, its first port call since June 2019. In response to the Covid outbreak on the ship in February 2020, Japan had suspended foreign cruise ships from entering the country since March of the same year, but visits resumed this month. Other ships are scheduled to call at Matsuyama Port and Uwajima Port.
The Diamond Princess is 290 meters long, 37.5 meters wide, and has a gross tonnage of 115,875 tons. On this cruise, the ship departed from Yokohama on March 24th and returned on April 2nd, making stops at Kagoshima, Jeju Island (South Korea), Nagasaki, and Aburatsu (Miyazaki Prefecture), before calling at Matsuyama. About 80% of the 1,900 passengers were foreigners.
To prevent infection, the wharf was closed to the general public. When the passengers disembarked, city employees and officials holding a welcome banner greeted them along with the Matsuyama Castle mascot character “Yoshiaki-kun”.
(March 30, Ehime Shimbun online digest)
IT Recruits from Nepal to Ehime
On March 27, 11 Nepalis, here to work at companies in the prefecture from April, paid a courtesy call at the Ehime Prefecture office.
Eleven companies, including medical and IT companies, have hired 14 Nepalis, as part of the prefectural project to attract IT recruits from Nepal. They came to Japan after receiving Japanese language education in their country for about half a year. One of them, aged 23, working at Coop Ehime, said, “I am impressed by the Japanese customer service and efforts to design products that are easy to use. I want to learn more and provide similar services.”
Ehime Governor Tokihiro Nakamura explained that the prefecture was working to develop IT resources, but there are not enough IT technicians to keep up with the demand. He emphasized Ehime’s appeal, hoping that they would continue to stay here. The director of Ehime CATV, who has recruited some of them, expressed his desire to create an Ehime model where everyone can do their best regardless of nationality, gender, or age.
(March 28, Ehime Shimbun)