The football pitches in Victoria Park will be transformed into a showcase for all things Japanese next month in a major celebration of cultural ties. Matsuri Japan 2005 will cover Japanese culture from tourism to food to pop culture. Matsuri is Japanese for festival, and the event is part of the Japan-Hong Kong Year 2005. Three members of the pop group Morning Musume will take the stage as the trio V-U-Den for a mini-showcase featuring the theme song of the 'Visit Japan Campaign'. Traditional dance groups from Okinawa and Tokushima will perform, and booths will offer traditional games like balloon fishing and golden-fish catching. Seiko Taniguchi, director of the Japan National Tourist Organisation, which is helping to put on the carnival, expects more than 400,000 visitors to join the two-day party on October 22 and 23. 'This will be the third time such an event has been held in Hong Kong,' Ms Taniguchi said. 'Last time, at the Wan Chai Commercial Centre, in 2002, we had 420,000 visits. 'We hope that through this event, Hong Kong people and Japanese people living in Hong Kong can have some sort of cultural exchange between them.' Other than the carnival, an exhibition of Japanese washi (paper) dolls by renowned artist Michiko Tanaka will be held at the Fringe Club between October 20 and 30. Morio Matsumoto, director of public relations and cultural affairs at the Japanese consulate, said the exhibition would be the first large-scale display of the traditional art in the city. More than 20 pieces of the 0.6 metre-tall dolls in both traditional Kabuki and rare Peking Opera outfits will be exhibited. 'While in Japan, artists focus on making dolls in Japanese style. But because [Tanaka] lived in Shanghai before and she has great interest in Peking Opera, her works are different from other artists,' said Mr Matsumoto. He said more than 30 events had been held to celebrate the Japan-Hong Kong Year and that previous anti-Japan sentiments posed no threats to the events' popularity. 'Our impression is that there's an improving understanding between the two cultures, and we believe that these activities can further strengthen our relations,' he said.