Hilo’s Japanese Community Association of Hawaii will hold its biennial Japanese Culture Day, or “Bunka No Hi,” on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Sangha Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year’s theme is “Okage Sama De,” the Japanese phrase meaning, “I am what I am because of you.” Admission to the event is free.
The festivities will begin with a short Omikoshi parade at 9 a.m. The parade will start at the Aupuni Center on Kilauea Avenue and end at Sangha Hall. The mikoshi is a portable shrine that is carried at many festivals in Japan.
Former Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi and his wife Jean will serve as the parade’s grand marshals. Gov. Ariyoshi will also host a “talk story” session at Sangha Hall.
The Bunka No Hi program will begin at 10 a.m. One of the highlights of the program will be the introduction of JCAH’s 2017 “Japanese Cultural Treasures” and recognition of JCAH members 90 years and older. Entertainment will includes performances by koto sensei Darin Miyashiro and his Hilo students, Taishoji Taiko and a special dance presentation by a visiting delegation from Izu Oshima Island in Japan. In 1962, Izu Oshima became Hawai‘i Island’s first sister-island through an agreement established between former Hawai‘i County Mayor Thomas Cook and Oshima Mayor Toyonosuke Fujii.
Bunka no Hi will features numerous demonstrations, including ramen eating, Japanese style, by Sun Noodles president and owner Hidehito Uki from Honolulu. That will be followed by a ramen slurping competition. Other demonstrations will include soroban calculating by Hideaki Oshima of the Araki Hiroya Soroban School, aikidö by Hilo Shin Shin Toitsu, and a food demo by Mark Pomanski of Hilo’s Moon and Turtle restaurant. Experienced calligraphers will also be available to write your name or a message for a fee.
Shichi-go-san kimono dressing and picture taking is another popular component of Bunka no Hi. Experienced kimono dressers will dress girls ages 3 and 7 in beautiful kimono, while boys, age 5, will be dressed in a haori and hakama. The cost is $40 for JCAH members and $50 for non-members. The fee includes the dressing, a photography session, two 4- x 6-inch prints in a frame and a digital copy of the photos. Applications and details can be found on Japanese Community Association’s website at www.jcah.org.
Other displays and demonstrations will include bonsai by Moku Honua Bonsai Kai, tea ceremony by Urasenke Hilo Shibu, washi chigiri-e by Lily Nakao-Sensei and her Hilo students, shibori and oshibana by Kim Springer and shishu by Stephanie Nagata. Food concessions and a limited number of event T-shirts will also be available for sale.
The Japanese Community Association of Hawaii is a nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 400 families. It was formed 45 years ago to promote and perpetuate Japanese culture and arts in East Hawai‘i and to foster international relationships with Japanese citizens and organizations. For more information or to join, visit www.jcah.org.