Smiles, music and celebration filled the Nobu Villa at The Nobu Hotel in Las Vegas as dozens gathered to celebrate the beginning of the Reiwa era in Japan.
Japan is unique in that it numbers its years by the reigning monarch, in addition to using the western calendar. On April 30th Emperor Akihito abdicated the throne – the first time a Japanese Emperor has done so in modern history – bringing an end to his 30-year reign and the ‘Heisei’ era. The ascension of his son Naruhito to the throne brings in the ‘Reiwa’ era. On this momentous occasion, Caesars Entertainment celebrates alongside the Japanese community to mark the start of Emperor Naruhito’s reign.
“We are honored to celebrate the beginning of this new era with the Las Vegas Japanese community, and I believe that this new era will bring new opportunities for cooperation between Caesars and local communities in Japan.” said Steven Tight, President of International Development, who oversees the company’s campaign to partner with Japan in tourism promotion and economic revitalization through the development of an Integrated Resort.
Caesars Entertainment executives along with guests from the Japanese Consulate General in San Francisco and the Honorary Consul General of Japan in Las Vegas took part in Kagami-Biraki (a sake barrel breaking ceremony).
“The Kagami-biraki ceremony is performed to welcome guests to the celebration,” said Aaron Diec, of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Nevada, who contributed a variety of sakes to the festivities. “It is a traditional way of serving sake during a celebration.”
“The old-fashioned way of producing sake requires you to age it in a cedar barrel. So during the ceremony, the guests of honor gather to break open the barrel with a mallet. The sake is then served to guests in a traditional wooden box for drinking sake, which is called a masu,” Diec explained. “The ceremony represents the opening of harmony and good fortune.”
“The name Reiwa means ‘Beautiful Harmony’ and calls for people to come together to create a better world,” explained Cole Garrett, Senior Manager of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility for Caesars Entertainment Japan.
Over 2,800 Japanese citizens live and work in Las Vegas and contribute to the city’s vibrant and diverse community. Across Nevada, there is a robust Japanese American community with over 22,000 people of Japanese descent in the state. There are Japanese churches, cultural groups, and schools that teach traditional Japanese arts such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement, and a Japanese language school.
“At Caesars Entertainment we value diversity, and I am happy to welcome leaders from the Las Vegas Japanese community,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst, Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at Caesars Entertainment. “One of the keys to the strength in our diverse communities is education,” she continued. “We are especially honored to welcome the Chairman and Principal of Las Vegas Gakuen, the only Japanese language school in Las Vegas which has been educating the youth of our community in Japanese language and culture since 1995.”
In addition to the robust Japanese community in Las Vegas, Japanese Foreign Direct Investment in Nevada supports more than 2,400 jobs in the state, and exports from Nevada to Japan bring in over $245 Million to the state annually.
Caesars Entertainment and Las Vegas will soon have an opportunity to contribute back to Japan’s economy and local communities. Last year, Japan passed a law paving the way for the development of Integrated Resorts (IR) in Japan. Caesars is at the forefront of the campaign to obtain a license in the country and is dedicated to bringing the Caesars brand and years of IR experience to the Japanese market.
Steven Tight elaborated on Caesars efforts in Japan saying, “We are very excited to have the chance to build an integrated resort to Japan with our partners. Caesars Entertainment is building a long-term relationship with the Japanese community. We look forward to being a 100-year partner for Japan, beginning with Reiwa, the era of beautiful harmony.”