Flower plaque brings a taste of Hong Kong culture to trendy Tokyo shopping centre, as trade delegation visits city
- Hong Kong-made structure was created by a local shop owner and shipped over to the Japanese capital
- A 300-member trade delegation from Hong Kong, including the city’s chief executive, is currently visiting the country
A crimson flower plaque lined with light bulbs and erected inside one of the trendiest shopping malls in Tokyo showcased Hong Kong’s cultural heritage on Thursday.
Choi Wing-kei, 43, the second generation owner of Wing Kei Flower Store (HK), spent five days working on the 5m by 5m flower plaque in Hong Kong before dismantling it, exporting it to Tokyo and reassembling it at Kitte shopping centre.
The flower plaque, which is hand-painted with dragons and a phoenix, is composed of an iron frame instead of the normal scaffolding, while fabric and wires were deployed to replace the traditional paper, nails and glue due to stringent hygiene and safety requirements in Japan.
“This is a century-old heritage in Hong Kong, which truly represents the city,” Choi said in front of the flower plaque, which attracted dozens of onlookers. Flower plaques, known as fa paai, have traditionally been used to celebrate weddings and festivals, especially in rural Hong Kong.
“Our masters hand painted the dragon and phoenix, which is an art on the verge of extinction.”
Choi was part of the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s push to promote the city in Tokyo over the four days to Sunday. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is among the 300-member Hong Kong trade delegation in the Japanese capital – Hong Kong’s biggest overseas trade mission so far.
Lam said Hong Kong played a key role in the tourism industry in the Greater Bay Area, an emerging economic zone formed by the city, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong province, with the recent opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the high-speed rail link connecting the city with Guangzhou via Shenzhen.
“There are now new reasons to visit Hong Kong, or stay a bit longer,” Lam said of the two mega projects that have opened within the past month or so.
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Japanese people are the third largest group of visitors to Hong Kong after mainland Chinese and Taiwanese tourists. The Tourism Board forecast earlier that inbound visitors would grow 3.6 per cent this year to about 60 million people. Mainland Chinese visitors still account for the bulk of tourists, at about 75 per cent.
The tourism promotion drive also showcased a collection of Hong Kong’s living heritage to Tokyo such as Hong Kong’s egg tarts and milk tea as well as the local delicacy of dim sum.
Yoshihiro Seki, Japan’s state minister of economy, trade and industry, said at a Hong Kong trade symposium earlier on Thursday that one in every three Hongkongers visited Japan and they welcomed more Hong Kong visitors.