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'Kentoshi' ship replica

A REPLICA of a "Kentoshi" ship from Japan will sail along the Huangpu River on Saturday, Japan Pavilion Day. The ship arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Japan's former Prime Minister Yukio Hatayama will attend the pavilion day ceremony as the representative of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Hatayama will be in Shanghai from today until Sunday.

Kentoshi refers to Japanese students who came to China to study its culture and political system during the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907).

Japanese Emperor Mikado sent more than 10 groups of students to China during the Asuka and Heian periods. The students eventually made great contributions to Japanese society during the Heian Period.

The Kentoshi were regarded as a symbol of friendship between Chinese and Japanese people.

The replica ship strictly copied the size and appearance of the Kentoshi ships of ancient times. The ship is 33.6-meters long and 9.2-meters wide. The exterior is made of wood, while the interior is made of steel. Several ancient Japanese-style huts have been built on the ship.

The ship is fully equipped with sails, oars, anchors and rudders. It cost about 9 million yuan (US$1.3 million) to build.

The ship started its 12-day journey in May from Osaka, Japan. Several Japanese actors and actresses, including Ken Watanabe, will play the role of ancient Japanese students. He will promote Japanese movies and TV dramas in the Japan Pavilion next week.


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