Toowoomba’s sister city relationship leads all the way to the Tokyo Olympics

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio hosted a civic reception at City Hall this week to welcome a bespoke Kimono which celebrates Japan’s links with Australia.

The Imagine Oneworld Kimono Project is creating a collection of 196 kimonos representing each country competing in the 2020 Olympics.

Mayor Antonio said the kimonos will be presented at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to welcome athletes from all over the world

“Through our sister city relationships with Takatsuki, we have been chosen as the only city outside of Japan to receive a sneak peek of their Country’s kimono,” he said.

“The 25 year sister city relationship between Toowoomba Region and Takatsuki City has been symbolized in the design by the inclusion of the Takatsuki emblem and the Australian Coat of Arms.”

Takatsuki resident and Kimono craftsman, Mr Yasunobu Yokomori, who was selected to coordinate the creation of a Kimono to represent Australia, has devoted many hours of toil to see the project to fruition.

“The concept behind the IMAGINE ONEWORLD Kimono Project in Japan is to promote a united world through the beauty and art of the traditional Japanese kimono.

Takatsuki City and Imagine Oneworld are sharing the kimono with the Toowoomba region (at Grand Central, near Woolworths) from 7-12 August.  The exhibition includes a video presentation on the design and creation of the kimono, and on Saturday 12 August, at 11am, the kimono will be modelled and Mr Yokomori will explain the process and the kimono in more detail.

“Local students carried out extensive research about Australia and produced 28 drawings to be used as inspiration for the design of the kimono.  In November 2016, experienced craftsmen began working on transferring the designs, which include the platypus, Australian and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Flags, and a boomerang onto the Kimono silk, followed by the gold leafing which was completed in February 2017.  Finally the embroidery finishes were added and the Kimono was completed in March 2017,” Mr Yokomori said.

Former Toowoomba Olympians Karen Robinson (Smith), Justin Anlezark and Darren Lange were also on hand to take in the creativity and beauty of the Kimono.

Mayor Antonio said the Kimono’s visit was incorporated with an annual Takatsuki Study Tour to Toowoomba which started in 1993 and is run by the Takatsuki International Association.  “Students from Junior and Senior High schools from across Takatsuki are participating in the program.   We estimate this visit alone, injects more than $30,000 into our local economy,” he said.

The group is hosted by the University of Southern Queensland Access College English and Language programs section.   

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