Japan-America Society of Hawaii Holds Fall 2014 McInerny Foundation’s Japan Day

Students learn the art of calligraphy

On September 16, 2014, 134 students representing Hawaii Baptist Academy, Saint Francis School, Waiakea High School, and Waipahu High School gathered at Hawaii Tokai International College for the Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s (JASH) Fall 2014 Japan Day, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation. Over 30 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono/yukata wear, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. Members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific enlivened the atmosphere in the Auditorium with their taiko performance in the Welcome Ceremony. Students then proceeded to their cultural classes for this half-day program, which is now in its 21st year. 

Beautiful yukata are donned by the students

To date, over 5,400 students from 56 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.

Volunteers teach the students how to bon dance

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. Setsuko Tokumine; Mrs. Jessie Nakata of MOA Hawaii; Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA; Ms. Ashley Nishihara of Hawaii Origami Club; 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 Taiko Center of the Pacific for their inspirational 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 are deep in concentration creating their ikebana masterpieces