A re-enactment parade of “Korean envoys” goes through the streets of Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Aug. 24. (Shinjiro Sadamatsu)

SHIMONOSEKI, Yamaguchi Prefecture--Even dampened relations between Japan and South Korea couldn’t rain on an annual parade here that has symbolized the goodwill of citizens of sister cities in the neighboring countries.

About 100 residents of South Korea’s Busan paraded through central Shimonoseki along with about 60 Japanese on Aug. 24.

“The ocean between the two countries is choppy right now," said Son Chae-hak, a specially appointed professor at Pukyong National University, who played a senior envoy in the parade. "In spite of that, people are able to have a relationship rather than walk away from each other. I was deeply touched by that.”

The parade is a re-enactment of “Korean envoys,” a diplomatic mission that visited Japan during the Edo Period (1603-1867) at the behest of a Korean dynasty at the time.

Shimonoseki was where the envoys first set foot on the main island of Honshu.

The re-enactment was first held in 2004 as a cultural exchange between Shimonoseki and its sister city Busan. This year’s event marked the 16th anniversary and was held as a main attraction of the local Bakan Festival.

Usually, in the past, Busan city officials, including its mayor and vice mayor, had participated in the parade to play senior diplomat characters.

But they canceled this year’s participation, due to the escalating tensions between the two countries.

Until early August, the event's organizers in Shimonoseki hadn’t received a reply from Busan about whether the envoys would participate. However, that didn't stop the residents of Busan from making the trip to join in the festivities.

The parade participants played lively music with traditional instruments and walked along the 3-kilometer route that included the coast of Kanmon Channel.