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A Japanese flag is displayed during a 2015 visit by a Kumamoto wrestling team to Montana.

MICHAEL GALLACHER, Missoulian

Members of Montana’s sister-state of Kumamoto, Japan, will be in Missoula to celebrate 35 years of friendship on Monday.

The Mike and Maureen Mansfield Center and Montana Department of Commerce lead the event, which runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Missoula Children’s Theater. The governor of Kumamoto Prefecture and other Japanese delegates will be present, along with members of the Japan Friendship Club.

“We have a Montana club in Kumamoto that’s been around since the 1980s,” Japan Friendship Club organizer Ian Marquand said. “We get together here to welcome visitors from Japan, or share stories when we travel there.”

Montana has occasionally operated a trade office in Japanese cities, helping state grain, beef and manufacturing businesses find customers in Japan. During the 1990s, many Japanese investors bought ranches and grain facilities in Montana.

Monday’s gathering includes performances by the Missoula Symphony, Dolce Canto, Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre and Missoula Children’s Theater. Admission is free but internet reservations are required. 

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Natural Resources & Environment Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter for The Missoulian.