The Spring 2011 Japan Day was held at Hawaii Tokai International College on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, thanks to the generous grant provided by the McInerny Foundation. A total of 122 students representing Campbell High School, Kailua High School, Lanai High School, Molokai High School, and Sacred Hearts Academy were provided with the unique opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture through various cultural classes including bonsai tree planting, calligraphy, traditional crafts, ikebana flower arranging, kimono wear, soroban (Japanese abacus), and the tea ceremony. For many students, especially those from the neighbor islands, this was their first exposure to the culture and an invaluable experience for all. Everyone was in for a treat with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble’s inspiring performance and taiko sound demonstrations in the Welcome Ceremony!
Since its inception in 1993, over 4,800 students from 54 schools statewide have experienced Japan Day. This unique program is one of two programs offered by JASH to Hawaii’s high school students, with the other being the Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition. Japan Day provides students with hands-on experience with traditional Japanese arts and culture while reinforcing and complementing what is taught in the classroom setting. Japan Day also illustrates how art and culture in different societies can influence and enhance people’s lives. Through understanding different cultures and customs, we continue to bridge the gap that leads to friendship and cultural appreciation.
JASH would like to thank all the volunteer experts for their dedication to the program: Mr. Jim Meyer and the Hawaii Bonsai Association, calligraphy master Mrs. Shokyoku Hashiro and Mrs. Setsusen Tokumine, Mrs. Kikuji Yonesato and members of the Kikufu Nippon Bunka Kenkyu Kai, Mrs. Jessie Nakata of MOA Hawaii, Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA, Mr. and Mrs. Hideaki Oshima from Araki Hiroya Soroban School, and Mr. Yoshibumi Ogawa, Mr. Hiroaki Yoshida, and members of Urasenke Foundation. We would also like to thank Hawaii Tokai International College for the generous use of their auditorium and classrooms for this event, and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble for their moving taiko performance and demonstration. For more information on this educational program, please contact Kelsey Soma Turek at 469-4646 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.