Taiwan Soka Association Hosts Cultural Exchange Conference
On June 10, 2009, Taiwan Soka Association's Zhi Shan Culture Center in Taipei served as the venue for an exchange conference involving three cultural organizations. Taiwan Soka Association's affiliate, Chin-Shuan Cultural and Educational Foundation, organized the event. Two of the participating organizations, Ming Hwa Yuan Arts and Cultural Group and Guo Guang Opera Company, were from Taiwan, while the third, Minbunren Folk Arts Association, was from Japan.
Panel speakers included Ming Hwa Yuan Director Chen Sheng-fu, Guo Guang President Chen Chao-hu and Minbunren Chairman Takeshi Niikura. Taiwan Soka Association (TSA) General Director Lin Chao, who chaired the discussion, spoke on SGI's efforts to promote peace, culture and education and described it as an organization dedicated to the creation of the highest values. Mr. Lin also expressed hopes that the conference, by facilitating exchange between Taiwan and Japan, would augur a bright future for the traditional folk arts of both cultures.
Mr. Chen Sheng-fu related the history of Min Hwa Yuan, specifically how the company has contributed to the revival of the traditional art of Chinese opera in Taiwan. Mr. Chen said that the art form started to wane in the 1970s with the rise in popularity of television and cinema. Min Hwa Yuan and other opera companies, however, managed to win back audiences by repackaging their performances and reducing ticket prices.
Mr. Niikura of Minbunren said that his company was founded with the purpose of preserving traditional Japanese culture. In addition to being a performing group, Minbunren also conducts classes on folk songs and dance. Guo Guang President Chen Chao-hu described the troupe's efforts to promote international cultural exchange and its active tour schedule, which includes performances in Beijing, Shanghai and Russia.
[Adapted from an article in the June 26, 2009 issue of the Harmony Press, Taiwan Soka Association; photos courtesy of Harmony Press]