Day one of the World Government Summit (WGS 2017) took off with a Wake-Up Call session on Japanese skills, hosted by Dr Jun Mitani, professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and Ms. Harue Oki, Ikebana professor in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The World Government Summit 2017 started on its first day with a special morning session on Japanese skills to energise and inspire attendees.

The ‘wake-up call’ session saw two Japanese experts discuss aspects of Japanese culture and their current day implications, with a focus on art.

Opening the session, Dr Jun Mitani, professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan spoke on Origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, and demonstrated several Origami creations using traditional handmade Japanese paper. She also took the audience through modern paper styles of different shapes.

Dr Mitani, who’s also a specialist in computer science, took the opportunity to highlight the combination of traditional techniques and advanced technology.

Detailing how several new creations are possible using the two techniques, she said: “By using computer technology, we are able to move away from our limitations and design many new forms that could not have been possible previously. Science enables us to be very precise with where to cut and fold. So, by combining traditional origami with advanced technology, we can use the principles of Origami in industrial design and industrial engineering as well.”

Harue Oki, professor in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, then introduced the attendees to Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement that originally began as a Buddhist offering, and has transformed into a disciplined art form.

“The composition of flowers displays nature’s beauty and natural simplicity using empty space, directing the gaze of the observer from the fillers and objects to the main subject of the composition. This is a form of asymmetric beauty,” she said.

Oki, who learnt the art at the Ohara Ikebana School in Japan, one of the leading Ikebana institutions in the country, demonstrated two arrangements — the Rising Form, where the main stem reaches up to the sky, and the Rimpa Style that is a testament to 17th century Japanese style of painting.

The World Government Summit has drawn the participation of more than 4,000 personalities from 139 countries around the world. It features 150 speakers across 114 sessions that highlight the world’s most pressing challenges and showcase best practices and cutting-edge solutions to deal with them.