Japan-America Society of Hawaii Holds Spring 2012 McInerny Foundation’s Japan Day

Hawaii Bonsai Association volunteers teach students how to plant their own bonsai trees

Thanks to the generous support provided by the McInerny Foundation, the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) held its Spring 2012 Japan Day on Wednesday, May 2 at Hawaii Tokai International College. A total of 133 students representing Hanalani Schools, Kaiser High School, Kamehameha Schools – Hawaii, and Punahou School gathered for an exceptional opportunity to experience the Japanese culture. The day began with a taiko performance and demonstration by the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. Energized and inspired, the students spent the next few hours absorbing the Japanese culture. Over 40 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, bonsai tree planting, calligraphy, traditional crafts, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono/yukata wear, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. Excitement filled the air as students beamed with pride while making their own cultural creations, coincidentally in time for Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day) on May 5! 

Everyone is in deep concentration learning soroban (Japanese abacus) skills

Since its inception in 1993, over 5,000 students from 56 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, and how these cultural values are perpetuated by devotees of the arts. Through understanding different cultures and customs, we continue to bridge the gap that leads to friendship and cultural appreciation.

Members of the Urasenke Foundation perform a traditional tea ceremony for the students.

Students learn how to make Children’s Day-themed origami

JASH would like to thank all the volunteer experts for their dedication to the program, for without them, this program would not be possible: Ms. Betty Dela Cuesta and members of Hawaii Shin Kobukai; 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 facilities, and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble for their moving taiko performance and demonstration. Please visit the JASH Facebook page for more photos of the event. For more information on this educational program, please contact Kelsey Soma Turek at 469-4646 or via email at ksoma@jashawaii.org.

The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble explains the different instruments used in taiko

Students enjoy the opportunity to wear yukata