Posted: Sun 26th Feb 2023

Were you part of the Japanese Youth Exchange? Theatr Clwyd wants to hear from you!

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Feb 26th, 2023

The Japanese Youth Exchange that took place from 1990 to 2019 has left an indelible mark on the people of Flintshire.

The project saw Welsh students welcoming families from Murata, Japan, into their homes, where they spent two weeks exploring the county and celebrating Welsh culture.

The Welsh students, in turn, travelled to Japan to learn and practice the Japanese language while embracing the country’s unique culture.

Initially sponsored by Optec, a Japanese company with a facility in Buckley, the program received additional support from several local organisations over time.

The project has provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for many participants, but sadly, it came to an end in 2022 as further funding was not available.

The board of trustees expressed their appreciation of the project, saying, “The youth exchange was a wonderful opportunity for all involved, friendships were made, and many bonds developed. It would be great for these memories to live on through the Theatr Clwyd project proposed here.”

Theatr Clwyd has been working to keep the memory of the exchange alive.

The Trust has supported Theatr Clwyd in celebrating the stories and memories of those involved in the 29-year program.

In July 2023, the venue will host a festival of events that will celebrate stories and relationships from around the world, working with schools across Flintshire. As part of this festival, a performance or exhibit will be created using memories from the exchange.

The venue is eager to hear from anyone involved in the Japanese Youth Exchange.

If you have a favourite memory, story, picture, or video, they want to hear from you! The final piece will be shaped by the accounts given.

Theatr Clwyd’s Company Councillor, Chris Holmes, participated in the exchange and spoke fondly of the experience.

He said, “Having the experience of participating in the Japanese youth exchange when I was just 16 years old was such an honour and privilege.”

Holmes went on to say, “I was able to experience a completely new culture and way of life which has stuck with me to this day and helped me to share our own culture. I developed a friendship with my partner who I am still in touch with today with both him, his wife and little family.”

The entire event has left Holmes with many beautiful memories, including teaching Yasushi the basics of playing rugby in Betws y Coed, only to find out three months later that he had taken part in a game in Japan for the first time.

The event was a beautiful experience for Holmes and is one he will always cherish.

If you have a story to share or were part of the exchange in any way and would like to get involved, please visit the Theatr Clwyd website at or email [email protected] for more information.


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