The Beginning of a Friendship
Exchange between the former Town of Kaya and the Town of Aberstwyth began with the late Frank Evans, a former prisoner of war who experienced working at the old Oeyama Nickel mine during the Second World War. It was initiated when he returned to Kaya in 1984 to attend a memorial ceremony including the unveiling of a memorial stone plaque erected in remembrance of his fallen comrades. Frank took it upon himself to promote peace and create friendships to strengthen the foundation of international cultural exchange between the two towns.
Cultural Exchange Timeline
In 1985, the mayor of Kaya and the president of the town council made the first official visit to Aberstwyth. In 1987, cherry trees sent from Kaya were planted in Aberstwyth as a symbol for peace. In 1990 language students were sent from Kaya to study at the University of Wales. In 1992 the reciprocal exchange of exemplary high school students began as a "bridge of friendship", sending and accepting students on alternating years. This exchange continues to grow stronger year by year..
By the year 2005, this high school exchange had given a total of 33 students from Aberstwyth, 34 students from Kaya and others including the deputy mayor of Kaya and members of the Aberstwyth friendship society, many valuable experiences. Through understanding the history, culture, lifestyles and customs of each others countries, memories were made that are now the pillar of this successful exchange program between our two towns.
Accommodation on the program is provided by home stays. This provides a rich opportunity to share experiences with the host family, learn more about cultural differences, and make international friendships. Continuation of this exchange program will continue to inspire our cultural understanding, and further solidify the friendship shared by our two towns.