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First lady talks with students to enhance cultural ties in Japan

YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Republic of China's first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) spent time with students at the Yokohama Overseas Chinese School in Japan Tuesday during a trip to push for closer cultural ties between Taiwan and Japan.

Chow, who was visiting Japan as honorary leader of the Vox Nativa children's choir, was welcomed by the school's principal and some 20 elementary school students, who sang a Chinese song to welcome her.

During her two-hour visit, Chow introduced works by renowned Chinese artists, including the late calligrapher Wang Hsi-chih (王曦之) and poet and calligrapher Su Shih (蘇軾), through storytelling and slide shows.

Among the works she introduced were Su's “The Cold Food Observance (寒食帖),” often considered his finest calligraphic masterpiece, and Wang's “Timely Clearing After Snowfall (快雨時晴),” also considered one of the calligrapher's best pieces.

“The Cold Food Observance” was produced during Su's exile in China's Huangzhou in 1082. It was taken to Japan after 1860 and in 1923, a Japanese collector risked his life to save the calligraphy during the Great Kanto Earthquake. The work was purchased by Taiwan's National Palace Museum (NPM, 國立故宮博物院) after the Second World War.

The two masterpieces and other cultural treasures from the NPM are currently on display at the Tokyo National Museum and will be exhibited there until Sept. 15.

Chow attended a preview of NPM exhibits at the Tokyo museum a day earlier. She returned to Taiwan Tuesday after a six-day trip to Japan.

Meanwhile that day, the Vox Nativa children's choir, made up of indigenous children from across Taiwan, performed six songs at the Yokohama school.

The Yokohama Overseas Chinese School was established in 1897 by Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father of the Republic of China. The school accepts people of Chinese descent.

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