Hekinan — Edmonds exchanges
Since the relationship began in 1988, over 1,000 people have traveled between the two cities. Typically, delegates stay in homes and are given opportunities to meet residents and business owners and experience the respective cultures first-hand. In addition to regularly occurring exchange programs, the following programs are also ongoing:
Works from local artists have been exchanged and are held in the collection of the two cities. Three Edmonds' schools have sister school relationships where pen pals and other activities take place. One Edmonds teacher currently resides in Hekinan, serving as an English teacher at the junior high schools.
Highlights through the Years
In April 2013, Mayor Dave Earling led a 27-person delegation to Hekinan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our sister city relationship and Hekinan's 65th anniversary as a city.
In April 2008, an 18-person delegation led by Mayor Gary Haakenson visited Hekinan to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our sister city relationship and Hekinan’s 60th anniversary as a city.
On Wednesday, October 29, 2008, the Edmonds Sister City Commission and the Hekinan Sister City Association worked cooperatively to produce a cultural fair to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their relationship. The fair at the Edmonds Center for the Arts included performances of taiko drumming and traditional Japanese music as well as demonstrations of origami, calligraphy, a tea ceremony, and many other displays of Japanese culture. A comprehensive photography exhibit by well-known Hekinan artist Kiyotaka Sugiura was displayed and enjoyed by the approximately 300 people who attended. That evening 135 guests, including commissioners who began the relationship, our mayors, and the Consul General of Japan, officially recognized our 20th anniversary at a formal banquet in downtown Edmonds.
In the autumn of 2004, a delegation of 25 Hekinan artists, residents, and officials visited Edmonds to dedicate the "Friendship Tree" on the Edmonds waterfront. Together with the "Crane" in Hekinan, these two works by Steve Jensen are the most visible symbols representing the relationships between these two cities.
Several Seaside Aquarium curators visited Edmonds collecting data and samples for a major exhibit, "Nature in Edmonds," to help celebrate the aquarium’s 20th anniversary.
Sno-Isle Libraries in Edmonds established an active partnership and now the Edmonds Library features a variety of books in Japanese.
Hekinan held many anniversary events during 1998 to celebrate 50 years of incorporation.
The Hekinan City Hall hosts the "Crane" sculpture by Steve Jenson, commemorating the ten-year sister city relationship. To honor the 50th anniversary of Hekinan City, this artwork was placed in Hekinan by the Edmonds Sister City Commission and the Edmonds Arts Commission to promote cultural understanding, goodwill, tourism, and trade between Edmonds, USA and Hekinan, Japan.
The sculpture is an abstraction of the image of a crane, which was chosen by the artist because it symbolizes both good luck and long life, in keeping with Hekinan's theme of "As in the past, and on into the future, Hekinan walks together with everyone". The artwork is constructed out of molded and welded alumimum. It is placed on a concrete seating base in an exterior plaza outside the new Hekinan City Hall. The project was funded through a public/private partnership. Many thanks to the generosity of donors for making this project possible.