April 3rd proved to be a very eventful day for 105 students representing Aiea High School, Farrington High School, Lahainaluna High School (Maui), and McKinley High School. These students participated in the Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s (JASH) Spring 2013 Japan Day, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation and held at Hawaii Tokai International College. Over 40 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, traditional crafts, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono/yukata wear, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. Master drummer Kenny Endo and four members of the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble livened up the Welcome Ceremony with a flawless taiko performance and demonstration. Inspired and energized, the students proceeded to their cultural classes. Throughout the hallways and in the classrooms, students excitedly compared their cultural creations and class anecdotes, wishing the day would not end!
Now in its 20th year, over 5,200 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 and respecting 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, for without them, this program would not be possible: Ms. Betty Dela Cuesta and members of Hawaii Shin Kobukai; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.