This year Kalamazoo and Numazu, Japan celebrate their 50-year-old Sister City relationship. Then-Mayor Paul Morrison suggested the idea in 1963. It was the first Sister City relationship between a Michigan and Japanese city.
A delegation of 43 people will visit Numazu this July to celebrate the 50-year relationship. According to Barbara Blissett, secretary of the Kalamazoo-Numazu Sister City Committee and member for 30 years, “We will be staying with host families and will bring along a Jazz Ensemble from Kalamazoo College. It will be a wonderful experience for everyone.”
Sister Cities promote cultural and educational exchanges and understanding. In the years after World War II, the hope was that such a relationship would heal the wounds of war.
Over the past 50 years, delegations of public officials and students from the two cities have exchanged visits. When Numazu delegates visited Kalamazoo, they brought gifts and souvenirs of their hometown.
- Vase, depicting Japanese landscape; gift from the City of Numazu, 1963
- Geisha Doll, gift from the Japan Rotary Club North, 1973
- 25th anniversary commemorative plate, 1963-1988
- Key to the city; gift from the City of Numazu, 1963
- Inkwell and brush holder; gift from Mayor Ide of Numazu, 1976
- Part of set of Girls’ Festival Dolls; gift from City of Numazu on an introductory visit to Kalamazoo,1962