TOKYO, June 02 /ITAR-TASS/. A Russian Culture Festival, which has already become regular, begins in the Japanese capital on Monday. The festival's opening ceremony, which will take place at Tokyo's hotel Imperial, will be attended by Sergei Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament, Mikhail Shvydkoi, special representative of the RF President for international cultural cooperation, as well as Yevgeny Afanasyev, the Ambassador of Russia to Japan.
The programme for the Russian Culture Festival in Japan this year will begin with a performance of Maria Maksakova, soloist of the opera troupe of the Maryinsky Theatre, as well as an exhibition of the photographs of Japan of Meiji Era (1868-1912) from the assembly of Russian collector Pavel Khoroshilov. The distinguishing peculiarity of the present review is that its opening ceremony will be held twice in Tokyo on Monday and on June 21 at the port of Niigata on the coast of the Sea of Japan, the city which is well known for its strong economic and cultural contacts with Russia.
Within a period from June to December, performances by prominent Russian music groups and Russian folk song ensembles will be held throughout Japan; exhibitions of works of painting will be arranged, and acted films and animated cartoons will be shown.
The Grand State Circus troupe, which has become popular with local audiences and which takes part in the Festival for a fourth year in succession, will tour Japan in July and August.
Japanese lovers of Russian arts will also be able to attend performances of the Moscow Youth Chamber Orchestra, the Vocademia ensemble, and the Mikhailov String Quartet.
Hideo Nagatsuka, chairman of the Japanese organizing committee of the Festival, in an Itar-Tass interview earlier, expressed confidence that this year the Festival would be utterly successful. "By all estimates, we shall surpass last year's indicators," Mr. Nagatsuka said. "At that time the events of the Russian Culture Festival attracted 1.45 million people in Japan. The Festival events took place in 62 towns and settlements". This year Festival events will take place already in 80 populated areas of Japan.
The Russian Culture Festival is held in Japan for a ninth year in a row. Over the period, more than 11 million Japanese people attended the events held under the Festival's auspices.