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NOLA's History With Japan

You may not realize it, but NOLA has had a strong Japanese presence for many years, first contact with Japan being made back in 1884 at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition held in New Orleans. Listed are a few things you may not know about the NOLA - Japan connection:

  • After the devastation wrought during and after Hurricane Katrina, the Japanese donated over $44 million dollars to local relief and recovery efforts.
  • New Orleans' Japanese sister city is Matsue, located in Shimane Prefecture. Matsue was chosen because writer Lafcadio Hearn was active in both New Orleans and Matsue. Hearn was a half-Irish half-Greek immigrant to the U.S. who lived in New Orleans from 1877 to 1890 and wrote for several newspapers in the city. He is often credited with "inventing" the image of New Orleans. Hearn then moved to Matsue, Japan where he worked as a teacher and writer, penning several books about Japanese culture. He married the daughter of a local samurai family. He took a Japanese name and is known mostly by Koizumi Yakumo in Japan.

Birthplace of Lafcadio Hearn
  • An official Japanese consulate opening in New Orleans in 1922 and was open for 85 years, with a 10 year absence during World War II. In 2008, the consulate was moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Japan has a special place in its heart for New Orleans' music, and this has brought a number of premier Japanese musicians to the city. Among others, Papa Grows Funk, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Bonerama, Jeremy Davenport, Kermit Ruffins, and the Brass-A-Holics all feature Japanese musicians.