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All Blacks All Blacks

New Zealand Says 'San Kyu' to Japan

As Japan prepares to host thousands of rugby fans, New Zealand has come together with their national rugby team, the All Blacks, and Jacinda Ardern, prime minister, New Zealand, to say a heartfelt and culturally significant ‘Thank You’ to the Japanese people.

Part of a campaign – New Zealand says 39 – the All Blacks have expressed a deep gratitude on behalf of their country, to the people of Japan for looking after their team and fans as they arrive for the tournament.

New Zealand Says 39 acknowledges at its heart the deep connection between the two nations and the shared passion and pride in hospitality toward others - called omotenashi in Japan and manaakitanga in New Zealand.

The number 39 in Japan means [San Kyu] and is a cultural symbol that is meaningful, recognisable and respected as meaning thank you.

Jamie Tuuta, chair, Tourism New Zealand Board, who spoke at the event, said, “We know that to the Japanese hospitality (omotenashi) is as important as manaakitanga is to us in New Zealand, and so we are here today to acknowledge that and send a message from all of New Zealand to Japan, to thank them for looking after our team and our fans. We might have come for the rugby, but these kinds of events are really about the people to people exchanges, about our countries coming closer together and about the sharing of cultural values.”