Sister City Takatsuki visit includes two ‘enduring friends’

Ishida Family with TRC Councillors Takatsuki

When the Takatsuki delegation visits Toowoomba this week it will include two delegates who have supported the Sister City relationship for more than 14 years.

Mr Haruo Ishida and Mrs Mitsuko Ishida have been enthusiastic and loyal supporters of the cultural and business opportunities between our regions.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said that Mr and Mrs Ishida were enduring friends of Toowoomba and two of the strongest supporters of our Sister City relationship with Takatsuki.

“In 1994 Toowoomba and Takatsuki started an Assistant English Teacher (AETs) program – Toowoomba people would work and live in Takatsuki for 12 month periods, including some for three or four years. 

“Over the 20 years of the program Mr and Mrs Ishida have been a host family to more than 70 visiting Assistant English Teachers,” Mayor Antonio said.

“Mr and Mrs Ishida would welcome the teachers into their home on arrival and assist them to settle into the new lifestyle in Takatsuki as well as holding regular dinners with them.

“This dedicated couple was presented with the keys to the city and made honorary citizens in recognition of their support of our AETs and the Sister City Relationship in August 2002 by then Toowoomba City Council Mayor Dianne Thorley.

“The Ishidas continue to play an active role in the relationship, by welcome our visiting delegation into their home for dinner and being part of the fundraising committee for the Taiko drums.

“Last week a small Toowoomba Region delegation attended the Wadaiko Festival, a traditional drumming festival in Takatsuki, where the drums were ceremonially presented to our region.

“The Takatsuki community raised more than $5,000 (around ¥500,000 ) to purchase eight Taiko drums as a donation to the Toowoomba Taiko Group.” 

Toowoomba Regional Council Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Tait, who accompanied the delegation, said the gesture was a most generous donation to our community by our Sister City, Takatsuki.

“The gesture shows the importance that the people of Takatsuki place on the relationship with our Toowoomba Region,” Cr Tait said.

“The ‘Donate Taiko to Toowoomba’ committee was formed by the community of Takatsuki with support from the Council, to purchase the drums.

“The Takatsuki community really got behind this campaign to provide for a need in our region.

“As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Sister City relationship the Takatsuki Taiko Drum Group visited Toowoomba to share their love of Taiko drumming with our community. 

“Following the visit a Toowoomba Taiko Group formed and has been learning the Taiko drumming techniques through videos provided by the Takatsuki Daiko Drum Group,

“The Toowoomba Taiko Group did not have access to actual Taiko drums and instead practised on large pots taped with packing tape.

“Takatsuki put a call out to their community for donations for the purchase of Taiko drums as a gift to the Toowoomba community and the drums were purchased.

“While Toowoomba Regional Council will be the custodians of the drums, they will be made available for use by the Toowoomba Taiko Group. 

“The Toowoomba Taiko Group will benefit greatly from having access to high quality drums for their use.”

Cr Tait said the small delegation of Toowoomba business people and the Toowoomba Taiko Group travelled to Takatsuki to receive the drums on behalf of the Toowoomba Region.

“During our visit we met with the Mayor and Councillors of Takatsuki and were guests at the Wadaiko Festival where the community presented us with the Taiko Drums,” Cr Tait said.

“Local business owner Jeff Brady joined the delegation to investigate pre-packaged products and local recipes from Takatsuki for his Kajoku Restaurant.”

Cr Tait said the purpose of the Sister City program was to enhance cultural exchanges between the cities and to foster strong business opportunities.

“The Sister City relationship with Takatsuki is now in its 26th year and the tremendous generosity of the people of this wonderful city displays the strength of the ties that bind our two communities,” Cr Tait said.

“This week there will be a demonstration of the new Taiko drums at the Empire Theatre.”

Toowoomba Taiko Group is a group of Japanese expatriates and enthusiasts who meet to learn the discipline of Taiko drumming.  The Toowoomba Taiko Group is part of the USQ Martial Arts Club and currently meets weekly.

The eight donated Taiko Drums will be on display at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery from the 8th March for 3 weeks.

For more information about Toowoomba Region Sister City relationships, visit

For information about the Toowoomba Taiko Group go to

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