Festival marks links between Medway & Japan

Arts and crafts were among the activities on offer for festival-goers

A festival celebrating the links between Medway and Japan has been taking place in Gillingham. Visitors have been taking part in traditional Japanese events where they can learn more about the links between two very different countries.

The bond between Medway and Japan began with a man called Will Adams. He was the first person to establish trading links between Britain and Japan. Adams was born in Gillingham, joined the Navy and set sail as Chief Navigator on flagship Hope in 1598. In 1600 his ship ran aground on the Japanese Island Kyushu. He was eventually appointed as a trusted aide and diplomatic advisor because of his knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation.

Mike Cundy, Kyudo teacher, demonstrating the Japanese martial art of archery

Events taking place today include martial arts, traditional Japanese dance and music, and crafts such as calligraphy and origami.

A dancing display was put on for visitors
Origami classes were part of the festival's schedule

There will also be a history exhibition on display, created by St Mary's Magdalene Church at Gillingham Green, where Will Adams was christened.

Watch a report by Jenna Verdicchio below.

The interviewees are: Verne Sanderson from Medway Council; Mike Cundy, a Kyudo teacher; and Megumi Shimamura, and Origami teacher.