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

The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble provides a stellar taiko performance

Thanks to the generous support provided by the McInerny Foundation, the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) held its Fall 2012 Japan Day on Wednesday, November 7 at Hawaii Tokai International College. A total of 132 students representing Kalani High School, King Kekaulike High School (Maui), La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls, and Lutheran High School of Hawaii gathered for an interactive experience with the Japanese culture. The day began with an inspirational taiko performance and demonstration in the Welcome Ceremony, led by master drummer Kenny Endo and seven members of the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. Senses awakened, the students proceeded to their cultural classes for the next few hours. 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. The students had a newfound appreciation for the arts as they compared craft creations and class stories with each other throughout the day. 

Since its inception in 1993, over 5,100 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.

A student perfects her ikebana creation

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 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 524-4450 or via email at ksoma@jashawaii.org.

The Pokemon Ondo is a hit in the bon dance class

The Pokemon Ondo is a hit in the bon dance class

Students learn the art of calligraphy