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Laura Mam and Yoko Minamino Preform at Opening Ceremony of the Kizuna Festival

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian and Japanese goodwill ambassadors, Laura Mam and Yoko Minamino, performed at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Japan-Cambodia Kizuna Festival on Thursday, 23 February 2023, at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC). The opening ceremony also featured traditional Cambodian Apsara dances and Gagaku, or Japanese imperial court music.

The festival opened with national anthems played by the Japan-Cambodia Kizuna Orchestra, followed by opening remarks from the Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Takei Shunsuke, and Under-Secretary of State and representative of DPM Prak Sokhonn, Chann Ratana.

The audience was then treated to a special performance of Gagaku, or traditional Japanese Imperial Court Music, and the sweet and smooth singing of Japanese monks.

A spectacular and elegant performance of traditional Cambodian Apsara dances was then given by the Secondary School of Fine Arts.

The night finished up with the Cambodian and Japanese Goodwill Ambassadors, singers Laura Mam and Yoko Minamino, giving outstanding performances to a packed audience. Laura Mam was accompanied by a solo guitarist, while Yoko Minamino was backed by the Japan-Cambodian Kizuna Orchestra.

Speaking with Laura Mam after her performance, she said she was very happy to be performing in front of an audience again.

“[It was] really, really wonderful, it was a bit nerve-wracking to be back on stage, but it was fun and Miss Minamino was very, very sweet," she said.

“Today I talked a little bit about dreams and all the dreams we hope for Cambodia," she added. “I’m happy to be back to see the audience again, it was really a wonderful night.”

From 23-26 February, the Japanese Embassy organized many events over the four-day Japan-Cambodia Kizuna festival, allowing many to come and enjoy various aspects of Japanese and Cambodian culture. 

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