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Biden Welcomes Japanese PM Kishida to Symbolic State Dinner

Biden hosts Japanese PM Kishida for state dinner bursting with symbolism

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hosted a spring-themed state dinner at the White House, honoring Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his wife, Kishida Yuko, in a symbolic gesture of the deepening relationship between the United States and Japan. The event, held in the East Room, commenced with the Bidens’ entrance accompanied by the tune of “Hail to the Chief.”

In his opening remarks and toast, President Biden light-heartedly remarked on the early blooming of Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms for the occasion, symbolizing renewal and new beginnings cherished by both nations. He shared a touching anecdote about receiving letters from Japanese students who, like him, struggled with stuttering, emphasizing the commonalities between Japan and the United States in values and commitments to democracy.

Highlighting the historical evolution of their alliance from former adversaries to close allies, Biden emphasized the strength of their partnership, particularly in the face of challenges posed by China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The commitment to enhancing military cooperation was underscored earlier in the day, signaling a pivotal moment that would shape the future for both nations.

Biden Welcomes Japanese PM Kishida to Symbolic State Dinner

Biden Welcomes Japanese PM Kishida to Symbolic State Dinner (Credits: The Washington Post)

Prime Minister Kishida echoed the sentiments of unity and shared history between the two countries, referencing President Kennedy’s words on the Pacific Ocean as a unifying force. Despite attempts by his staff to omit the quote due to its frequent usage, Kishida emphasized its enduring relevance, particularly in the current geopolitical landscape.

Among the distinguished guests were notable figures from both countries, including actor Robert De Niro, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, and business magnates Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook, alongside former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Japanese dignitaries, including billionaire Masayoshi Son and JAXA astronaut Hoshide Akihiko, added to the event’s significance.

The dinner menu featured a fusion of culinary delights, with a first course inspired by a California roll, followed by dry-aged Rib eye steak as the main course, and a delectable salted caramel pistachio cake accompanied by cherry ice cream for dessert. The decor, themed around spring, transformed the venue into a vibrant garden, symbolizing hope, renewal, and growth, with guests surrounded by flowers and symbolic butterflies from both nations.

The evening’s entertainment featured American musician Paul Simon performing hits like “Graceland” and “Slip Slidin’ Away” in the State Dining Room, adding to the ambiance of the occasion. Prime Minister Kishida became the fifth world leader to be honored with a state dinner by the Bidens, following leaders from Australia, India, France, and South Korea, marking another milestone in diplomatic relations.

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