Nearly 700 people participated in Nippon Culture Day, which returned to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus this fall after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nippon (the Japanese word for Japan) Day is an annual event featuring an array of workshops providing high school and college students an opportunity to learn about Japanese culture.

People around tables in the Campus Center Ballroom
Participants enjoy games and booth activities inside the Campus Center Ballroom

On October 28, the celebration organized by the Japanese section of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL)in the College of Arts, Languages & Letters featured traditional and contemporary activities such as origami (paper folding), hanafuda (card game), calligraphy and tea ceremony.

The free event was held at the Campus Center Ballroom and the East-West Center’s Jaku’an Tea House. The Center for Japanese Studies and the Center for Okinawan Studies co-sponsored the event aimed at providing students with a newfound knowledge of the historical roots and meaning behind the traditional Japanese arts and crafts.

Person performing a tea ceremony with an audience
Tea ceremony workshop at Jaku’an tea house

“Our university has been a premiere center for the study of Japan for the past one hundred years. In this sense, we see the Nippon Culture Day as a precious opportunity for learning and community building,” said Pier-Carlo Tommasi, a professor in the EALL department.

The Hawaiʻi Language Roadmap Initiative, which was launched by UH to promote the development of a multilingual workforce, brought in Hawaiian Airlines and Outrigger to offer students career counseling and employment opportunities. Vice Consul Miho Sakai of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu also made a special appearance.

Students on stage playing koto
Koto performance by UH Mānoa students