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Japan-America Society of Hawaii Japan Day Spring 2022

presents McInerny Foundation’s

Additional funding provided by Freeman Foundation

JASH held its Spring 2022 Japan Day program sponsored by the McInerny Foundation and the Freeman Foundation during the months of April through May via interactive video tutorials featuring bon dance, calligraphy, ikebana, karate, manga, Peace Studies/Sadako Sasaki Story, soroban, and tea ceremony. Approximately 550 students from Asia Pacific International School, Castle High School, 'Iolani School, Kamehameha Schools Maui, King Kekaulike High School, Maui High School, Mililani High School, and Washington Middle School participated in the virtual Japan Day program this spring. 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 7,600 students from 67 different public and private schools have participated in this educational event.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan Day program has been offered virtually since Fall 2020 so that students can experience Japanese culture and art remotely from their classrooms. Thanks to our volunteer instructors, we were able to expand the selection of Japanese cultural activities to include bon dance and ikebana this time in addition to six video segments on calligraphy, karate, manga, Peace Studies/Sadako Sasaki Story, soroban (Japanese abacus) and tea ceremony we previously produced.

Members of the Hawaii Shin Kobukai demonstrate bon dance moves.

Instructor Roy Goshi-Otaguro offers step-by-step instructions to “make flowers come alive.”

The links for these video segments were shared with the schools invited to participate in the Japan Day program. Generous funding from the McInerny Foundation has enabled JASH to produce high-quality videos of select Japanese cultural activities and 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 virtually as well.

Through virtual Japan Day, students are encouraged to follow the video lessons and get hands-on experience in Japanese arts and culture by participating in the activities while they watch. A student from King Kekaulike High School wrote in the post-program survey, “I liked how the history of each activity was included, and I felt like all of the instructors did a good job of explaining their activity. I also enjoyed getting to participate in parts of it and watch professionals do it too.” 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. “I think Japan Day is meant to educate people on Japanese culture and bring people of different generations together to learn from one another,” a student from Castle High School commented.

JASH would like to thank the generous sponsors of Japan Day: The McInerny Foundation and the Freeman Foundation. In addition, a big MAHALO to the volunteer experts for their dedication to the program: Mr. Jordan Silva from the Japan International Karate Center for the karate session; Mr. Kazuo Maekawa, professional manga artist for his manga drawing lesson; Mr. Hideaki Oshima from the Araki Hiroya Soroban School for the soroban tutorial; Mrs. Naomi Hirano-Omizo for Peace Studies/Sadako Sasaki Story segment; Mrs. Hiromi Peterson, Toka for the calligraphy lesson; Mr. Hitoshi Murata from the Urasenke Foundation for the tea ceremony session; Ms. Betty Dela Cuesta, Ms. Lynette Morikawa and members of the Hawaii Shin Kobukai for bon dance instructions; and Mr. Roy Goshi-Otaguro of MOA Hawaii for the ikebana workshop.

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