Minato UNESCO Salon for SDGs
“Report on Rome, a fascinating historical capital”
Date: Friday, March 9, 2022
Venue: Minato City Life-long Learning Center
We had the pleasure of having Mr. TARUMI Shuji who has led an exceptionally Rome-centric business career. This gathering started with the opening address of President Nagano of MUA. It was followed by a silent mourning & prayer by all attendees for the Ukrainian citizens who were victimized by Russia’s invasion into their homeland. A total of \17,750 donation was raised from the attendees as relief for refugee Ukrainians, which was passed on to the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.
Mr. Tarumi’s audio-visual presentation included slides after slides of famous scenic spots in Rome, of which he gave most interesting historical and cultural explanations. The followings are a brief bio of Mr. TARUMI and an edited summary of highlight episodes:
Mr. TARUMI’s business career:
In 1974 he joined Mitsukoshi, a prestigious leading department store in Japan, and started to work for its Nihonbashi head store. Following his stint in Singapore Mitsukoshi, Mr. Tarumi received another expat assignment in April 1992 to work at Rome Mitsukoshi in Italy. He worked there for almost six years until February 1998. In March 2011, he completed a life-time employment with Mitsukoshi and retired.
However, in July of the same year, he was employed again to work for Rome Mitsukoshi. His second assignment in Rome lasted almost five years until January 2016. After his return to Japan, he joined NYK Cruises Co., Ltd., which operates a large-size “Asuka II” cruising vessel, and started a new career as a concierge. Rome Mitsukoshi closed in July 2021.
Highlight episodes during Mr. Tarumi’s expat career in Rome
In 1994, there arose a kind of “Italy Boom” in Japan and a large number of tourists came to Rome Mitsukoshi for shopping. One of the driving forces behind the tourist boom was the appreciation of the Japanese yen.
From 2011 to 2013, an increasing number of tourists from mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea came to Rome Mitsukoshi. In response, the staff at the Roman branch started to learn additional five foreign languages on top of Italian and Japanese to express welcome greetings and hospitality.
In Rome, tourists will see stone-paved streets (left photo). The surface is often referred to as “Blue Ocean Waves” but local people describe it as a design of “Tail Feathers of Peacock.” There is a historical theory that the design travelled to Japan from Persia via the Silk Road.
In March 2012, Rome Mitsukoshi held a charity concert (right photo), in an effort to provide relief fund to the Japanese citizens who were victimized by the Great East Japan Earthquake. More than 700 people, including Japan’s ambassador to Italy and the head of the Japanese cultural facility in Rome, attended the charity event. The proceeds (\300,000), along with DVD & CD copies of the concert, were donated to Fukushima City, Ishinomaki City and Sendai City in Tohoku.
During the Christmas season, a beautiful event called “Illumination Festa” (left photo) takes place on a street called Via del Corso where the Goethe House is located (left photo). In 2016, before his return to Japan, Mr. Tarumi could experience what local people call the “Holy Year” when those, who make a pilgrimage to Rome, are expected to receive a special pardon from heaven. It is based on a Catholic belief which originated back in 1300.
At the end of Mr. Tarumi’s presentation, all of us expressed our hearty thanks with a big applause.
(Written by KOBAYASHI T., Vice President, the Membership Committee, and edited/translated by TANAHASHI S., the PR & Internet Committee)