Attendees absorbed Japanese culture with artistic calligraphy, colorful ikebana, kimonos and rhythmic taiko at the Japanese Culture Club’s eighth Annual Culture Expo last Saturday.
This year’s theme, “Journey Through Japan,” highlighted Japan’s southern island of Okinawa up to the northernmost main island, Hokkaido, by educating attendees through activities.
“We’re trying to introduce the various parts of Japan to the general public because it’s not just Tokyo or Kyoto. There’s so many other places, and we are trying to introduce the various regions,” said Lisa Li, president of the Japanese Culture Club.
Nadeshiko Kai Japanese Culture and Traditions is a nonprofit organization that promotes and teaches people about Japanese kimono culture. Attendees were able toy don fashionable kimonos.
“The kimono was more difficult than I thought. It was more complicated. It was very fresh and a nice experience to try to wear them, and really just walk around in it. Feel how it feels like,” said Jade Kim, a biochemistry major.
Throughout the five-hour long event performances highlighted Japanese culture through the beating of taiko drums with every act that was performed on stage.
“It is not just sushi or ramen that Japan is famous for; they have many other redeeming qualities and great things their culture has to offer, and that’s where the outside performers come in,” Li said.
Jonathon Torres and Satoko Kakihara served as emcees for the event, with Kakihara translating in Japanese. As a Japanese professor at Cal State Fullerton and an avid attendee of the club’s culture expo for the last four years, Kakihara said the club members’ efforts paid off with the success of the event.
“Because I’m not a student, it’s so cool to watch the club members work really hard,” Kakihara said. “I see all the work that they’ve been putting into materializing this really amazing form, and there are people from the community coming to watch, and so I really like that.”
Torres, the Association for Inter-Cultural Awareness representative, said that even though he’s never been to Japan, the event allowed him and other people to explore the cultures and identities from the different regions.
“The students and the club members made this extra effort to pick out various parts of Japan that people might not be familiar with, so whether you’re a student or just visiting the event, you get to see things outside of just Tokyo, outside of just Kyoto,” Kakihara said.
Even though the club is one of the smaller clubs on campus, they hosted the event through extensive planning.
“I hope that people can leave just feeling like this was not bad for a student organization. I hope that people have fun and enjoy the event in general and appreciate the hard work we put into it,” Li said.
This year’s event served as an exposure to detailed Japanese artwork and traditions, but it was also an example of the dedication that students put into presenting their passion for the Fullerton community.
“There are a lot of amazing events on campus that are put on by students,” Kakihara said. “If they can take advantage of that and support our students and all the efforts that they make, that’ll be my wish.”
Christian Aguilar contributed to this article.