Happy news came from Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo on the morning of June 23, with the announcement that the giant panda who makes her home there had given birth to twin cubs during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
To mark the occasion, the nearby Taito Ward branch of the famous Tokyo department store Matsuzakaya joined in the celebration.
The day following the panda twins’ birth, the store displayed colorful hanging banners, typically used in Japan on special celebratory occasions.
In this case the banner read: “Congratulations on the birth of the baby pandas!” There were also pictures of the cubs’ mother Shin Shin (15 years old), father Ri Ri (15 years old), and sister Xiang Xiang (four years old). All three are residents of the Ueno Zoological Gardens.
Matsuzakaya’s idea was to ring in a celebratory mood, and bring visitors to the zoological park, a location that has seen a significant drop in visitors since the onset of COVID-19.
On top of the banners, the department store started a “Happy Panda Sale” from June 23. Panda-enthusiasts also receive a commemorative panda sticker with their shopping during the sale.
The Ueno Tourism Association head, Tadao Futatsugi, participated in the celebration, commenting on June 23: “With the state of emergency, the number of visitors at Ueno has decreased significantly. But this is wonderful news. We hope that people will join us to celebrate, just as they did with [the birth of] Xiang Xiang, and heighten the mood in Ueno.”
(Read the related Sankei Shimbun article here in Japanese).
Author: The Sankei Shimbun