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Japan-America Society of Hawaii Japan Day Fall 2019

On October 24, 2019, JASH held its Fall Japan Day program, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation and the Freeman Foundation. Approximately 200 students from Kailua High School, Kapaa High School, King Kekaulike High School, Konawaena High School, Lahainaluna High School, Maui Preparatory Academy, Molokai High School, Nanakuli High School, University Laboratory School and Washington Middle 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. Additional funding from the Freeman Foundation allowed more neighbor island schools to participate as well.

(L-R) A student enjoys folding origami; Students learn how to wear yukata

The morning started out with a vibrant taiko demonstration by Taiko Center of the Pacific. 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, Maui and Molokai 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 schools also visited other areas on Oahu – such as the University of Hawaii at Manoa, East-West Center and Byodo-In Temple – before flying back to their respective islands.

(L-R) Students participate in a seminar on Life Skills and Personal Success; Students practice calligraphy strokes

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) Students practice bon dance moves; Students learn some basics of ikebana

(L-R) Students learn about the intricacies of tea ceremony from members of the Urasenke Foundation Hawaii; Students pair up to practice karate moves

JASH would like to thank the generous sponsors 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 Hiromi Peterson, also known as Toka and members of Toka Shodo Calligraphy (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, Lynn Masumoto 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 the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii for leading the tours of the Okage Sama De Gallery for the neighbor island students, and the Taiko Center of the Pacific for their inspirational taiko performance and demonstration. Special thanks go to Consul General Koichi Ito and Mrs. Ito for attending. Finally, we appreciate volunteers, Christina Chun, Yuki Dames, Ayumi Jampel, Hisako MacQueen, Carrie Oda and Toyoko Okawa for helping us that day.

(L-R) Students enjoy learning how to use the soroban; Members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific perform at the opening ceremony

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