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Japan-America Society of Hawaii Holds Spring 2019 Japan Day

On April 23, 2019, JASH held its Spring Japan Day program, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation and the Freeman Foundation. Over 200 students from Damien Memorial School, Hanalani Schools, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kaiser High School, Kalaheo High School, Kamehameha Schools Hawaii, Kauai High School and Maui High School gathered at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Manoa Grand Ballroom to enjoy the day’s activities. Held twice a year, Japan Day is JASH’s longest running educational program which is offered free to Hawaii’s middle and high schools. Since its inception in 1993, over 6,700 students from 65 different public and private schools have participated in this educational event.

Generous funding from the McInerny Foundation has enabled JASH to expand the Japan Day program to include more schools, thereby impacting more students. This year, additional funding from the Freeman Foundation allowed more neighbor island schools to participate as well.

The morning started out with a mesmerizing taiko demonstration by Taiko Center of the Pacific, led by Kenny Endo. Following the opening ceremony, students attended four of the nine cultural sessions presented by more than 40 volunteer experts on bon dance, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), karate, kimono/yukata wearing, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), tea ceremony and a seminar on Life Skills and Personal Success. Following the Japan Day program, neighbor island students from the Big Island, Kauai and Maui were given private gallery tours of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s (JCCH) exhibit, Okage Sama De: I am what I am because of you. Neighbor island teams also visited other areas on Oahu – such as the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Byodo-In Temple – before flying back to their respective islands.

(L-R) ) Students enjoy folding origami; Students participate in a seminar on Life Skills and Personal Success

Japan Day provides students with hands-on experience in traditional Japanese arts and culture while reinforcing and complementing what is taught in the classroom. 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.

(L-R) A member of Hawaii Shin Kobukai shows students bon dance moves; Students carefully observe the steps of tea ceremony

(L-R) Karli Hamada Sensei gives step-by-step instructions for ikebana; Student learns how to use the soroban

JASH would like to thank the donors of Japan Day: McInerny Foundation and the Freeman Foundation. In addition, a big MAHALO to all the volunteer experts for their dedication to the program: Betty Dela Cuesta and members of Hawaii Shin Kobukai (bon dance); calligraphy master Setsuko Tokumine, her assistants Joyce Wong and Stanley Hashiro (calligraphy); Dawn Kanno and her niece Karli Hamada of MOA Hawaii (ikebana); Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA (kimono/yukata wearing); Ashley Nishihara and Scott Macri of Hawaii Origami Club (origami); Hideaki and Yasuko Oshima from Araki Hiroya Soroban School (soroban); Earl Okawa, President Emeritus of JASH (Life Skills); Hitoshi Murata and members of the Urasenke Foundation (tea ceremony); and Jordan Silva and Randee Chang of Japan International Karate Center (karate). JASH would also like to thank Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii for leading the tours of the Okage Sama De Gallery for the neighbor island students, and Kenny Endo and the Taiko Center of the Pacific for their inspirational taiko performance and demonstration. Special thanks go to Consul General for attending. Finally, we appreciate the help of our JASH volunteers, Colleen LaClair, Ray Tabata, Yukiko Takaishi and Sandy Takeda for helping us that day.

(L-R) Students pair up to practice karate moves; A student smiles as she finishes writing “love” in kanji

Students pose in yukata after learning the art of kimono-wearing

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