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Special thanks to the Japanese Business Society of Detroit, japan Society of Detroit Women's Club, Great Lakes JET Alumni Association, và the Consulate General of nhật bản in Detroit for their tư vấn of the 2022 Koi Festival.

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In 2017, the Belle Isle Conservancy hosted the first Koi Festival at the Belle Isle Aquarium.The Koi Festival is a family friendly sự kiện that brings the community together lớn celebrate the Japaneseheritage of the Aquarium’s Koi collection. In alignment with Children’s Day, which is celebrated in nhật bản on the 5th of May, the Koi Festival celebrates the symbolism of the Japanese carp in its native culture & offers aquarium visitors a chance lớn experience elements of Japanese culture. Past activities have included traditional games, martial arts demonstrations,music, và crafts inspired by Japanese traditions along with a selection of Japanese inspired cuisine.

The Koi Festival is back this year, celebrating the Koi with cultural performances, food, & connections to lớn the local Japanese community

how did we get here?

2005The đô thị of Detroit closed the Belle Isle Aquarium. Of the over 4,000 fish and aquatic creatures, only the Koi fish remained because they were owned by the City. The Belle Isle Botanical Society took care of the Koi .



2006Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium (FOBIA) signed a service contract with the Detroit Recreation Department to care for the Koi and move them twice a year between the lily pond and the holding tanks in the BIA basement.

2008FOBIA created the “Koi Transfer - Koi Wrangling” sự kiện with their own volunteers lớn help transfer the Koi to & from the lily pond.



2012FOBIA, along with three other islandaffiliate groups, merged lớn become the Belle Isle Conservancy. The BIC re-opens and manages the Belle Isle Aquarium, now không lấy phí to the public. FOBIA hosts the firstcommunity Koi Wrangle that got the public involved with moving the Koi and helped support their commitment khổng lồ pay for the Koi’s upkeep.

2016The Koi Wrangle grew to be a large community event with hundreds of participants. Năm nhâm thìn hosted the final Koi Wrangle events.


2017The Lily Pond Stabilization project wascompleted, providing an outdoor homefor the Koi year-round. The Koi Festival was introduced in to lớn continue lớn engage thecommunity in place of the Koi Wrangle.

2019Belle Isle Conservancy partners with Consulate-General of nhật bản in Detroit, Grassroots Exchange Network-Japan, & Japanese American Citizen's League khổng lồ facilitate strong cultural programming khổng lồ the community.

Legend of the Japanese Carp

Japanese folklore tells stories of the Koi fish as warriors of the water who, in some tales, ultimately reach their destiny by turning into a dragon after swimming upstream và reaching the đứng top of the falls. According khổng lồ legend, ifa Koi fish succeeded in climbing the falls at a point called dragon Gate on the Yellow River, it would be transformed into a dragon.The fish are regarded as a symbol of perseverance in Japanbecause hey areknown for swimming upstream no matter what the conditions are.

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Koi, more specifically, Nishikigoi, istranslatedfrom Japanese as “brocadedcarp.”Wild koi are native lớn the fresh bodies of water around the Black, Caspian & Aral Seas.Thesefish are colorful, ornamental versions of the common, or Amur,carpnative to lớn the freshwaters of Asia.The Koi is known in nhật bản as the "warrior's fish". Each May for the Boy's Day Festival, beautiful Koinobori streamers in the shape of Koi are flown from poles to lớn represent the Japanese parents' hope that their sons will demonstrate courage và strength. The Belle Isle Conservancy Koi Festival is greatly influenced by the Boy's Day celebrations và traditional Japanese festival games.Thoughcarpdomestication is believed to lớn have begun in Chinaas far back as the 4th century,modern Japanese Koi are believed to lớn date back lớn early 19th-century Japanwhere wild blackcarp(or Magoi, a type of commoncarp) were kept & bred by rice farmersas a food source khổng lồ survive severe winter weather conditions. The result born from this was a vibrantly coloredcarpwith an admirable figure that stood out from the rest with it’s rare beauty.As the farmers developed their breeding operations, they figured out how lớn breed fish of specific màu sắc combinations, and as awareness grewmany started khổng lồ appreciate Nishikigoi lượt thích a fine work of art. The world was not aware of Koi màu sắc variations in nhật bản until the early 1900’s when Koi were exhibited in Tokyo, nhật bản and now, after centuries of breeding there are now dozens of different màu sắc varieties of Koi.Koi can grow up to 3 feet (90 centimeter) in length and weigh more than 12 pounds each. They areomnivorous feeders who will eat food foundat all depths of water.Our collection of Koiare fed a floating pellet, though they will also eat aquatic insects, algae & plants. They can even be trained to eat from your hand.Koi have an average lifespan of 40 years, and it is believed that the oldest-known Koi lived khổng lồ be nearly 230 years old. A fish's age is determined by testing it's scales, which produce growth rings much like a tree.

Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japanis one of 27 Japan-Michigan sister thành phố relationships. This relationship between Detroit và Toyota was established in 1960 on the basis that both places were considered to lớn be "motor cities"and had interestsin investing in the automobile industry. A student exchange program was established five years later in 1965.

The Metro Detroit area is home to a thriving Japanese và Japanese-American community và there are significant connections to japan throughout the city. A couple of those connections are right here on Belle Isle. Just outside of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is a stone lantern that was presented to lớn the city of Detroit by the Mayor of Toyota City và Toyota đô thị Council members lớn commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Detroit + Toyota Sister đô thị relationship. The lantern is inscribed with the Japanese word for "friendship" & was presented on September 21, 1985. There is a second lantern located inside of the Aquarium's Koi pond.

The cherry blossom treesthat border the lagoon near the James Scott Memorial Fountain were gifted khổng lồ the đô thị in 1994 by the Japanese Business Society of Detroit and citizens of Toyota.InNovember of 2014, a U.S. Forest Service grant was awarded khổng lồ replace the trees after they'd been destroyed by insects anddisease. The Greening of Detroit organized over 100 volunteers khổng lồ plant the new, disease resistant trees with tư vấn from Belle Isle Conservancy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The cherry blossom trees are a popular attraction each spring.


Hart Plaza

Further along the riverfront just south of Belle Isle is Hart Plaza, whichwas designed by the Japanese-American artistIsamu Noguchi(1904–1988). Noguchi is well known for his sculptural work, most of which is kept at the Isamu Noguchi Museum. However, as a spatial designer, the bulk of his completed work in this category is behind privategates. Hart Plaza is considered lớn be his most impressive spatial commission và is also his earliest. The three other public spaces that Nagochi has designed arethe Japanese American Cultural & Community Center Plaza in Los Angeles, California (1980); Bayfront Park in Miami, Florida (1986); và the privately managed California Scenario in Costa Mesa, California (1981). Hart Plaza also includesthe stainless steel Dodge Fountain & Twisting Pylon sculpture, both designed by Noguchi.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) launched a permanent Japanese art gallery in early November.

The collection features both traditional & contemporary works. According to lớn museum director Salvador Salort-Pons, the contrast between new và old demonstrates that Japanese art is an ongoing tradition. The exhibit provides context khổng lồ objects by placing them in their original settings such as tea rooms, domestic rooms, & temples, and seeks khổng lồ explore how the works can impact space to lớn inspire both stillness and movement in the viewer. One of the pieces featured is a lacquered sculpture of a Rakan, or disciple of the Buddha, another is a sixteenth-century Samurai helmet. It also features digital components, such as an interactive tea ceremony table & a shortfilm of traditional Noh Theater produced in collaboration with Tokyo’s Kanze Kyukokai Theater. The nhật bản Business Society of Detroit, which also organized a nhật bản Cultural Developmentprogram at the DIA lớn promote friendship between the US & Japan, contributed $3.2 million toward the gallery.

Iconic ArchitectureMinoru Yamasaki, a Japanese-American architect who practiced in Michigan for 40 years,was one of the world's best-known architects in the early 1960s.He isthe mind architect behindseveral iconic Detroit buildings including the One Woodward building whichishis first skyscraper, and the only one he designed prior to the World Trade Center. The building originally housed the Michigan Consolidated Gas Comapny.

Curbed Detroit lists Yamasaki's most important architecture in và aroundthe City. Kiểm tra it out the listhere.

Toyota thành phố (fmr Koromo City and Koromo-Cho) was the center of the silk trade in nhật bản during the Meiji Era (1868-1912). At the same time that the industrial landscape shifted away from silk, automobiles began to rise. So, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, which made looms to lớn produce silk, established an automobile division focused on making cars. In 1937, Kiichiro Toyoda, the eldest son of Sakichi Toyoda (of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works), started Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (now Toyota Motor Corporation) in Koromo-Cho. Toyota aspires to be a low-carbon city. Amongst other initiatives, the commitment lớn sustainable development through public transportation infrastructure has made it an environmental model city.

The relationship between Detroit & Toyota continues to be one of the most active of Detroit's Sister city connections. As a gesture of goodwill, the two cities established a rapport through exchange:

Every other year the two cities exchange students that learn about the industries of both cities.