The Japanese Student Association and members of the Himeringo Little Apple Japanese Society hosted the 20th Central Kansas Japanese Festival Sunday in the K-State Student Union.
Between 12-4 p.m., approximately 100-150 people watched performances of Aikido, a Japanese form of martial arts, a proper Japanese tea ceremony, a Yosakoi dance performance by the K-State Japanese Yosakoi Dance Club and other displays of culture. Tables lined the walls of the Union ballroom with interactive activities for participants, including calligraphy, chopstick battles, origami and others.
Kaho Okayama, senior in geology, said she has been a member of the Japanese Student Association for three years.
“We want to spread the Japanese culture to people here in America,” Okayama said.
Arashi Nakashima, sophomore in animal sciences and industry, has been the president of K-State’s Japanese Student Association for a year. He said the association serves to not only educate Americans on Japanese culture, but also to give students with an interest in Japan an opportunity to learn more about it at K-State. Nakashima said there are often students who have two parents from Japan, but they have never lived there themselves.
“Being a member of the group gives students who have never been to their homeland a chance to learn about their country and about themselves,” Nakashima said.
The K-State Japanese Yosakoi Dance Club started in 2005 when Seiji Ikeda, K-State alum, returned from a visit to Japan where he learned Yosakoi, according to members of the club. The club has been performing at festivals and events ever since.
Yosakoi is as style of dance that was created in Japan after World War II. Moves inspired form everyday activities such as fishing were added to traditional music that was sped up to create the modern style of Japanese dance, according to club members.
Takayuki Kijima, sophomore in athletic training and member of the Japanese Student Association, said the association puts on a food festival every year, but its main event is the Central Kansas Japanese Festival.
“It’s significant to be here in Kansas and not in California or New York because there is very little Japanese culture here,” Kijima said. “We want to spread our culture to people who have a connection to Japan as well as people who don’t.”