Friendship Ambassadors

Haruka Christine

Friendship Ambassador Haruka Christine
Haruka Christine © FDFA

It is an honor for me to be appointed as a Friendship Ambassador. 

I was born in Switzerland of a Swiss mother and a Japanese father. Until I was 16, I lived in Switzerland. Then I moved to Japan. So I feel like both countries are a «hometown» for me. 

Although Switzerland and Japan are geographically far apart, I think they have a lot of features in common. 

As a Friendship Ambassador, I hope I can help connect Switzerland and Japan even more. 

Haruka Christine, born 26 January 1992 in Zurich.

Ms. Christine came to Japan in 2008 and has been working as a TV personal- ity since 2010. She currently appears regularly on «Joho Live Miyane-ya» on Yomiuri TV and on «Hanamaru Market» on TBS. She is fluent in Japanese, German and English.

Tadateru Konoe

Friendship Ambassador Tadateru Konoe
Tadateru Konoe © FDFA

I am very pleased to serve as a Friendship Ambassador for the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan. 

Since I first participated in a parade of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Geneva 50 years ago, I have devoted my life to humanitarian missions of the movement. Switzerland, where I have lived with my family for eight years, is my other home country.

As a Friendship Ambassador, I would like to further strengthen the ties between the two countries by sharing the attractiveness of Switzerland and raising awareness of the humanitarian spirit and actions that led to the development of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Tadateru Konoe, born 8 May 1939.

Mr. Konoe currently serves as the president of the Japanese Red Cross Society, the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies in Geneva and the Japan-Swiss Society.

Mr. Konoe spearheads humanitarian relief operations all over the world, including in the aftermath of Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the current humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Takaji Kunimatsu

Friendship Ambassador Takaji Kunimatsu
Takaji Kunimatsu © FDFA

It is my great honor to be nominated as Friendship Ambassador for the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan.

I will try my best to help Japanese people develop a better understanding of Switzerland as it is in all its aspects―especially putting emphasis on its social stability and its global dynamism.

Former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland.

Mr. Kunimatsu is currently President of Emergency Medical Network of Helicopter and Hospital, working to build a nation-wide emergency medical helicopter (Doctor-Heli) system in Japan, inspired by the Rega Swiss-Air Rescue system of Switzerland.

Kiyomi Mikuni

Friendship Ambassador Kiyomi Mikuni
Kiyomi Mikuni © FDFA

In 1974, I was the culinary chef of the rep- resentative of the Japanese government at the disarmament conference in Geneva, and I visited the Hotel de Ville in the village Crissier in Lausanne. 

It later became the restaurant of Fredy Girardet and earned a reputation as the best in the world. My most vivid memory is of having taken over the restaurant for six years after the death of Girardet. 

In Switzerland, I was living in the Parc des Eaux-Vives in Geneva. There is a rose garden reputed to be the best in the world. The streets, which were cleaned in the morning from 4 a.m., were beautiful. I think Switzerland is a country where you can really live together with nature. 

Paris, London and New York are quite well known in Japan, but Switzerland is not very well known. I would like to widely promote the great food culture of Switzerland, including its red and white wines, cheeses and great culinary ingredients.

Kiyomi Mikuni, born in 1954 in Mashike, Hokkaido.

At the age of 15, Mr. Mikuni decided he would become a cook and learned cooking at the Sapporo Grand Hotel and at the Imperial Hotel.

In 1974, he was appointed Chef of the Japanese Embassy in Switzerland while learning cooking under Fredy Girardet. Following that, he continued to study cooking in various three-star French restaurants.

In 1985, he opened the Hotel de Mikuni in Yotsuya, Tokyo.

In November 2013, his contribution to the promotion of French culinary culture will be officially recognized when Mr. Mikuni is granted the title of Doctor Emeritus by the Tours University in France.

Isamu Tatsuno

Friendship Ambassador Isamu Tatsuno
Isamu Tatsuno © FDFA

In 1969, I realized my dream of climbing the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland, and it was the beginning of everything in my life. I respect those people who first established a bond between Switzerland and Japan 150 years ago, and it's been my honor to be part of its history for 45 years. 

I will continue to do my best to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

Mr. Tatsuno is the CEO of Montbell Co., Ltd.

A renowned alpinist at home and abroad, he is the second Japanese to climb the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland. He is also enthusiastic about canoeing and kayaking, while managing his own mountaineering equipment company.

Kazuki Yamada

Friendship Ambassador Kazuki Yamada
Kazuki Yamada © Marco Borggreve

I am honored and inspired to have the joy of serving as Goodwill Ambassador for the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan. 
Although I live in Berlin, my musical base is in Geneva, as I am Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. In July 2014, I will tour Japan with this glorious long-established orchestra. 

It will be the orchestra's first visit to Japan in 15 years. It is my hope that the richly colored splendid sound, which the orchestra is known for, will be delivered to as many people as possible, and we will be able to play a role as a musical cultural bridge between the nations.

I will push forward with my work to convey the beauty of Switzerland and to widely spread music beyond time, distance and borders.

Kazuki Yamada, born in Kanagawa, Japan, in 1979.

Mr. Yamada graduated from the conducting course at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music.

Mr. Yamada is Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, an appointment which followed his sensational debut with the orchestra in June 2010. In 2009, he won the 51st Besançon International Competition for young conductors, receiving the Audience Award as well as the Grand Prize. In Japan, he holds the positions of Principal Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic and Music Director of the Yokohama Sinfonietta. He is now rapidly establishing a name for himself on the international scene.