Armenian President visits Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation in Tokyo

On a working visit to Tokyo, President Armen Sarkissian visited today the Memor7ial Foundation of Shibusawa Eiichi, well-known Japanese businessman and philanthropist, a friend of the Armenian people.

Shibusawa Eiichi founded the Armenian Relief Fund in Tokyo in 1922, which provided significant assistance to Armenian Genocide survivors, especially in moving to the US and other countries via Japan. Henry Morgenthau, the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, also played a role in establishing the foundation.

The most influential figure of the time, Shibusawa is considered the “father of Japanese capitalism”, he played a leading role in the development of modern Japanese society, and was the founder of Japan’s first modern bank, as well as the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was involved in the establishment of about 500 enterprises and economic organizations, as well as in the establishment of social security and educational organizations. The portrait of Shibusawa Eiichii will be on ¥10,000 banknote from 2024.

At the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation, President Sarkissian met with Koichi Kabayama ,director of the Foundation, and Masahide Shibusawa – the great-grandson of Shibusawa Eiichi. Expressing gratitude on behalf of the whole Armenian people for the invaluable support provided to the Armenian people by Shibusawa Eiichi and his foundation, the President noted that Japan is an example for us. “As a nation, you have lived through difficult times, you have had losses. At times you thought that you lost everything, and then you recovered, you built your homeland. I hope we will start a new page in the Armenian-Japanese relations, which will be focused on the future, new technologies, new ways. It is with this mission that I am here,” Armen Sarkissian noted.

Touching upon the activities of Shibusawa Eiichi, President Sarkissian noted that the life and activity of the great Japanese businessman, philanthropist are an inspiring message for the deepening of the Armenian-Japanese relations.

Afterwards, President Sarkissian presented Masahide Shibusawa with the “Henry Morgenthau” commemorative medal of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. “Your great-grandfather was a big businessman, one of the founders of the Japanese economy. He is the one who saved a large number of Armenians. And it’s not just about saving lives. The most important thing is that the people survive and are reborn if they have hope. No matter how difficult it is today, if there is hope, you can survive, if there is hope, you can rebuild, if there is hope, you can go on with your life. You will have hope, if you are strong, you will have hope, if you have friends as in 1915, after the Genocide. We had friends, one of whom was Ambassador Morgenthau, and the other was your great-grandfather,” said the President.

The President also got acquainted with the activities and programs of the foundation and toured the museum. President Sarkissian and the director of the foundation discussed the prospects of intensifying cooperation in both business and humanitarian spheres, and spoke about the directions of implementing joint programs. President Sarkissian invited the director of the foundation Koichi Kabayama and Masahide Shibusawa to visit Armenia.

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