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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 3, 2011

Bellevue to host gala Sister City gathering

The connection 38 cities in Washington share with counterparts in Japan will be celebrated to the beat of taiko drums at a Sister Cities conference in Bellevue on Oct. 21.

The Sister City concept evolved in the United States from President Eisenhower's "People-to-People" program, established in 1956 to lessen the chance of war by involving people from all walks of life in personal diplomacy.

Seattle and Kobe forged the first Sister City relationship established in Washington. Of the 55 cities in the state with sister cities, a majority have a tie with a city in Japan. Of Bellevue's four sister cities, the southern Japanese city of Yao was the first, with the link made in 1969. Mount Rainier officially has a "sister peak" in Mount Fuji. 

The conference will kick off with a dinner reception from 6 to 9 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 21, in the concourse of City Hall. Performers will include Seattle Kokon Taiko, the Kabuki Academy and dancer Michaela Kusumi. Featured speakers will be Japanese Consul General Kiyokazu Ota and KING 5 News television anchor Lori Matsukawa.

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan in March prompted the Bellevue Sister Cities Association (BSCA) to honor Puget Sound's connections with our neighbors across the Pacific with a gala event. 

The organizers hope to attract 80 to 100 people to the reception, including Bellevue residents who have not previously been involved in Sister Cities activities.

Sponsors include Uwajimaya, Nintendo, Net System, Nichimo International and Ecore Global.

Tickets are $60, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the BSCA. Register. For more information, contact sbarber@bellevuewa.gov.

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