Finnish-Swedish minority celebrated in Tokyo for a week

November 15, 2018
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The Finnish Institute in Japan organized a Finnish-Swedish Culture Week called HALLÅ TOKYO! on 5-9 November to celebrate and bring awareness to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. The week was filled with program focusing on themes such as identity, well-being, female artists and design.


Finnish-Swedish Language Café. Photo: Elina Suominen

HALLÅ TOKYO! started on Monday with a Swedish language café at Finland-themed restaurant Finland Kitchen Talo. At the relaxed event, the participants enjoyed discussing about differences between the Swedish language in Sweden and Finland, among other things.

Kaisa Kepsu speaking at the Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day Seminar. Photo: Elina Suominen

The official Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day “Svenska dagen” was celebrated on Tuesday November 6th, with an academic seminar at the Embassy of Finland. Head of Research at Think Tank Magma, Kaisa Kepsu, was invited from Finland to talk about the identity of the Swedish-speaking Finns, while Associate Professor Erika Takahashi from Chiba University presented her research about the welfare system and eldercare among Swedish-speaking in the Finnish archipelago.

Artist Maria Wolfram. Photo: Elina Suominen

On Wednesday, an artist talk was held with Finnish-Swedish painter and installation artist Maria Wolfram at the newly opened artist residency ALMOST PERFECT. Wolfram discussed her sources of inspiration and how her art is expressed through a female perspective.

Fashion designer Rolf Ekroth. Photo: Elina Suominen

Fashion and textile design was in focus on Thursday at a talk event together with rewarded fashion designer Rolf Ekroth, textile designer Emma Hagman and Japanese textile designer Yuki Kawakami. A few pieces from Rolf Ekroth’s Hyères Fashion Festival collection was also on display at the venue.

Crayfish party at the Embassy of Finland. Photo: Elina Suominen

On the final day of the Finnish-Swedish Culture Week, the Finnish Institute made history and organized the first ever crayfish party held at the Embassy of Finland. Traditional schnapps songs were sung and crayfish from both Finland and Japan were eaten more than anyone could count.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the events! If you missed the Finnish-Swedish Culture Week or the crayfish party, don’t worry as it will be organized again next year, November 2019!