Ceremonies of 11 November 2021
- 18 November 2021
- Posted by: Mathieu Lecacheur
- Category: Secondary
Last Friday, the 4th, 2nd and 1st grade students of the Lycée Français International de Kyoto (LFIK) took part in the ceremony commemorating the Armistice of November 11, 1918 in front of the war memorial erected in the Kobe foreigners’ cemetery.
The event, organised by Mr Jules Irrmann, Consul General of France in Kyoto, who presided, brought together the military attaché of the French Embassy, the Consul General of Germany, consular counsellors, delegates of associations as well as individual French people from Kansai. Representatives of the Kobe City Council, Japanese friends of France and journalists were also present. Twenty-two high school students participated, accompanied by Boris Colin, our headmaster, as well as Romain Lanners and Romaric Roynette, History and Geography teachers.
The speeches of the Consulate General of Japan were given in the presence of the President of the Republic.
The Consuls’ speeches recalled in particular the dramatic events of the First World War, but also the immense effort undertaken in the second half of the 20th century to build the European Union around shared values, of which Democracy and peace are fundamental pillars. They reaffirmed that yesterday’s enemies, Germany and France, are now united by an unbreakable friendship.
Four of our students then gave speeches to the audience, in French and Japanese. In particular, they recalled the history of those Europeans who had settled in Japan since the second half of the 19th century, including Frenchmen, who returned to Europe in 1914 to join the army of their respective countries. Those who fell on the field of honour were never able to return to their adopted country where they had founded their lives and their families. It is their names that appear on the monument’s stele.
Enthusiastically, the journalists of the MBS channel then interviewed our young people. A drink and lunch was served to us in the adjoining chapel, consisting of delicious sandwiches, quiches and pastries prepared by the Bigot bakery and offered by the consulate. Our students then sang the European anthem, known as the hymn to joy, whose words, sung to an aria composed by Beethoven, are an invitation to humanist values, peace, freedom, fraternity.
The procession of the students was followed by a ceremony in the chapel.
The procession of participants then moved to the French cemetery square where a second ceremony took place. It recalled the memory of the eleven French sailors murdered by samurai in March 1868 in Sakai, near Osaka, while escorting the then French Consul.
The speech of the Consul General of Japan was also held.
The speech by Consul General Jules Irrmann, recalled these sad events which occurred in the tense context of the late Edo period, when Japan was just opening up to foreigners, while the shogunal power was contested by feudal factions and the emperor’s party. LFIK students then took the floor to read the biography of one of the sailors in this case, Charles Pierre Guillon, who died at 22.
One of our students held throughout the ceremony the national flag lent to the LFIK by the association le Souvenir français, while his classmates explained its history. A museum piece, this flag dates from the Second World War and bears the crest of the First French Army, nicknamed Rhine Danube, led by General de Lattre de Tassigny in 1944-1945, which took part in the landings and fought for the liberation of France against the Nazis.
The representative of the Souvenir Français association, who is also a member of the LFIK, said that the flag had been loaned to the LFIK by the Souvenir Français association.
The representative of the Souvenir français then briefly presented the activities of this association, which promotes in particular the transmission of the national memory and the values of the Republic to the younger generations. Two students from LFIK laid a wreath of blue, white and red flowers in front of the memorial erected for the deceased sailors.
The ceremony took place in the afternoon.
The ceremony ended with a Marseillaise sung with fervour by our students and by all the participants to this ceremony.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)