About the Program
In 1990, the City of Greenfield and the City of Kakuda, Japan entered into a formal Sister Cities relationship by signing an agreement on September 12. The relationship between Kakuda and Greenfield began in April 1988, when three automobile-allied enterprises (now Keihin Corporation) from Kakuda jointly established IPT in Greenfield.
The first signing ceremony was held in Kakuda City in September 1990. A delegation of three persons, including former Greenfield Mayor Keith McClarnon attended the signing ceremony held in Kakuda Citizen Center.
The following October, another signing ceremony was held in Greenfield. A 20- member goodwill delegation headed by former Mayor Takayama attended the ceremony on special stage during Riley Festival. The festival takes its name from the famous American poet James Whitcomb Riley, who was born in Greenfield.
In August 2000, a 36-member-delegation from Greenfield including Mayor Rodney Fleming, former mayor Patricia Elmore, Sister Cities of Greenfield Inc. president Robert Young, Greenfield Central High School Choir, and the Indiana Dance Force Team, visited Kakuda to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sister City relationship.
The Ceremony included speeches reflecting upon the fruits of the relationship from the first decade and a combined commitment to further development for the 21st century. The official tree of Indiana, “yurinoki” (Tulip Tree) was planted during a ceremony held at Kakuda Central Park. At the “Sister City Exchange Concert,” and “Kakuda Summer Festival,” beautiful harmonies of songs and brilliant dances were performed by the visiting groups, which won great applause from the Kakuda audience.
In October 2000, 45 Kakuda citizens, including Mayor Sato and Chairman Ota visited Greenfield. A commemorative concert was held at Greenfield Central High School. The Kakuda Girl’s High School Karate Club and the Oushu Kakuda Kouzou Daiko (Taiko drums) performed the traditional Japanese arts in front of 1,200 students. Their performance was warmly received and made a great impression upon the students.
A cherry tree marking the anniversary was planted during a ceremony along Pennsy Trail near Riley Avenue. The Kakuda delegation participated in the Riley Festival Parade, attended by thousands of Greenfield citizens, who crowded the streets along the parade route. Taiko and Karate were also performed on stage during the festival and was met with endless standing applause.
A Japanese garden was built along Pennsy Trail in Greenfield to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sister city partnership in 2010. Two trees were planted in a Kakuda park when a group of representatives from Greenfield visited their city for the anniversary celebration.
Since the time of the signing, hundreds of residents from Greenfield and Kakuda have become lasting friends by staying in each other’s homes, attending social gatherings and touring the respective communities. Every year, Japanese students and chaperones visit the homes of Greenfield residents. A return trip by students from the Greenfield-Central Schools is made each June.
The program has been made possible through the generous support of each of the city governments and the Keihin-IPT Corporation. Other organizations, including the Hancock County Community Foundation and several local service clubs have also contributed with donations.