JASH Holds Spring 2014 McInerny Foundation’s Japan Day

Hawaii Shin Kobukai members teach the students how to bon dance

Ninety-two students representing Castle High School, Kapolei High School, and Maui Preparatory Academy gathered at Hawaii Tokai International College for the Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s (JASH) Spring 2014 Japan Day on March 28, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation. Over 35 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, kimono/yukata wear, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. Everyone was in for a treat as members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific led by taiko master Kenny Endo performed a few pieces. Students then proceeded to their cultural classes for this half-day program, which is now in its 21st year. 

Students enjoy writing Japanese calligraphy

To date, nearly 5,400 students from 57 different schools 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.

Mr. Hideaki Oshima makes learning math fun by using soroban!

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 teacher Mrs. Setsusen Tokumine and her volunteers; Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA; Mr. and Mrs. Hideaki Oshima from Araki Hiroya Soroban School; Ms. Ashley Nishihara and members of the Hawaii Origami Club; 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 Taiko Center of the Pacific for inspiring the students with their 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

Students experience wearing Japanese yukata