May 23, 2022
An hour and a half drive from Ankara, you will find a small village called Kaman (Kırşehir Province). Kaman is the village with deep ties to Japan, with the "world's oldest ironware and glass" being excavated by the Japanese archeologists, and the Japanese government and JICA also providing support to museum and other facilities.
On May 18th and May 23rd, a two-day event at the Archeological Museum was held for promoting local development of the village.
Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum
As the number of labors migrating from rural areas to urban areas is increasing in Turkey, Kaman's population also declined from 60,000+ in 2000 to 34,000 in 2021. The rate of population shrinkage in Kaman is the worst in the province, and it leads to a serious situation.
Kaman has strong and unique ties with Japan. Led by Dr. Sachihiro Omura, Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, an affiliated institute of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan, has been conducting archeological excavation at Kaman-Kalehöyük since 1985, and in 2017, the world's oldest ironware was excavated. Recently, 5,600-year-old glass, which may be the oldest in the world, has also been excavated in the area. The Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum was founded in 2010, with a financial cooperation by the Government of Japan. Furthermore, the largest Japanese-style garden outside of Japan, "Prince Mikasa Memorial Garden" was built near the museum in the memory of excavations in Kalehöyük launched by the Japanese Prince Mikasa with the aim to create a recreation area for the locals.
In the past, JICA has provided the support to the Kaman village through dispatching senior volunteers and experts, and providing trainings in Japan for the archaeological surveys and management of the museum and the Japanese garden.
Currently, local residents of Kaman are engaged in the operation of these archeological excavation sites and Japanese gardens.
Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Prince Mikasa Memorial Garden
To commemorate International Museum Week, on May 18th and 23rd, the event for the promotion of the Kaman was held with the cooperation of the Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum, JICA, the Embassy of Japan in Turkey, the Turkish Japanese Foundation, and local administrations. The First Lady Mrs. Emine Erdoğan also participated in the event.
The First Lady Mrs. Emine Erdoğan receives the explanation from Dr. Omura
At the event, local folk songs and dances were performed, and participants were served with meals unique to the region. In addition, local women performed a play on the theme of the life in the Hittite Empire to shed the light on Kaman's historical and cultural uniqueness, which has a rich history of more than 5,000 years.
Moreover, JICA supported a series of glass craft workshops for local women prior to the event, in connection with the recent excavation of 5,600-year-old glass and for the sake of future income sources for local vulnerable people. In addition to the exhibition of the products from the glass craft workshops, there were demonstration of glass crafting at the event, which provided participants with an opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the region.
Demonstration of glass crafting
Play by the local residents
To celebrate the friendship between Kaman and Japan, Japanese traditional culture such as Japanese tea ceremony, Kendama (traditional Japanese skill toy), Origami (the art of paper-folding) was introduced at the event. Participants commented that they enjoyed the activities very much, and they hoped that the Museum would host such an event again. They left with a question: "when will it be the next event?"
Introduction of Origami
Introduction of Japanese Tea Ceremony
Mr. Izzet ESEN, the director of the Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum, who was involved in the event from the planning stage, said:
"JICA, Embassy of Japan, Turkish Japanese Foundation and other partner organizations such as Kirsehir Governorship, Kaman Municipality and Kaman District Governorship made great effort to realize this event. The drama play which was realized by the villager women became a success story for them. Especially the glass workshop that was supported by JICA was very beneficial for villager women. They created many glass products in such a short period of time. Perhaps this may give them a motivation to carry out this activity for their future income. We would like to extend our cooperation with JICA in the future. "
We hope that this event led to the promotion of Kaman's attractiveness and its unique history and culture, and the encouragement of the entire region.