The 2016 Year of East Asia City of Culture opened on March 26 in Nara, a historical city in Japan. The ceremony is cosponsored by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs and Nara city. China's Ningbo, Japan's Nara and South Korea's Jeju were awarded the title of 2016 “Culture City of East Asia”.
During the ceremony, artists from Xiao Bai Hua Art Troupe performed classic Shaoxing Opera The Butterfly Lovers, a tragic Chinese love story. Japanese artists performed Gigaku, an extinct genre of masked dance-drama. Korean artists performed traditional folk music. Their brilliant performances brought the audience a feast of oriental culture.
Ningbo's deputy mayor Zhang Minghua and Governor of Jeju Province Won Hee-ryong attended the ceremony.
A series of cultural events will be held in Nara through the year, including food festivals, cultural forums and exhibitions.
The East Asian City of Culture campaign aims to promote cultural diversity in East Asia, enhance cultural understanding between the three countries and build a sense of unity in the region.