A contingent from Appleton that includes two of its most renowned artists arrived in Japan in renewal of a strong, decades-old relationship with its sister city.
Mayor Tim Hanna is joined by Cory Chisel and Adriel Denae this week in a visit to Kanonji, Japan, which has had a sister city relationship with Appleton since 1988.
The relationship was forged in effort to share cultures — and that underscores the importance of Chisel and Denae serving as ambassadors.
“The arts and music is a language that cuts through cultural barriers,” Hanna said in an interview prior to the trip.
Chisel and Denae have earned national acclaim as musicians and have provided fertile ground for creative endeavor in Appleton and beyond as co-founders of the Refuge Foundation for the Arts.
The arts, meanwhile, have been a big part of the international partnership’s tradition.
The Appleton Boychoir paid a visit to Kanonji in 1988. In 1999, a group of students from Kanonji arrived here to do a homestay with members of the boychoir.
The partnership between cities remains an active one after more than 30 years and in spite of the more than 6,400 miles of separation.
A group of students from Kanonji will arrive in Appleton in late July and will take in Mile of Music as part of their visit.
Hanna looked forward to a visit with Kanonji’s mayor, who has served his city for just about as long as Hanna has led his.
The world has changed significantly since the two cities became cultural partners. It’s a smaller world than it was then, though coming together is no less important.
“The best type of diplomacy is person to person and we could use more of that in the world,” Hanna said.