PHOTOS: Attendees share in Japanese culture during Bunka no Hi

By Carolyn Bick

Though she didn’t celebrate Bunka no Hi herself, when she lived in Japan, Arisa Nakamura now celebrates the modern holiday alongside the community and her fellow Japanese Cultural and Community Center staff and volunteers.

This year marked the organization’s 14th annual celebration of Bunka no Hi, which Nakamura said was originally a celebration of the Emperor Meiji’s birthday, changing in 1948 to commemorate the post-WWII Japanese constitution. While it’s still a national holiday in Japan, it’s now about celebrating and sharing Japanese culture and art, she said.

“Our program is for everyone who has no background of Japanese culture, or Japanese-American culture and history,” she said of the Nov. 3 celebration at the cultural center. “Everyone can learn something new. I love to see people enjoying Japanese culture and history.”

Throughout the day, visitors filtered through the many rooms of the cultural center, some trying their hands at origami and lucky cat-making, while others munched on Japanese curry with rice and mochi treats from a bake sale table. Outside, other attendees sipped on Japanese-brand drinks, as they watched members of The School of TAIKO perform in the sunny garden on the cultural center’s grounds.

But in and amongst the festivities was also a somber element. A room dedicated to the Japanese and Japanese-Americans interned at the Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho, during WWII, invited attendees to read about the experience with a simple sign and an open door.

Brian Cullen, sister Jennifer Izutsu, and their mother Colleen McKay peered down at a small, black-and-white photograph, above a list of names.

“There he is. Block 21,” Cullen said, taking out his mobile phone to take a picture of the photograph. He, his mother, and his sister were looking at their then-infant father, who had been interned in Minidoka.

Their father stood away from the table, hands behind his back, face expressionless as he watched his family.

 

Bunka_no_Hi_2019_11
Lynn Miyauchi, of the Japanese Consulate in Seattle, teaches celebration attendees to tie different knots, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_01
People make lucky cats, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_03
A kimono is on display, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_05
Jack Lim, left, and Lisa Wellman, center, look at objects on display, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_06
Volunteers pose for a picture with a mascot, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_08
Members of The School of TAIKO perform, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_09
Brian Cullen takes a picture of an old photograph of Minidoka Internment Camp’s Block 21, in which his Japanese-American father was interned in WWII, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_16
Origami items are on display, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_15
A woman arranges tea ceremony items, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
Bunka_no_Hi_2019_18
People watch a young woman perform tea ceremony, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

 

Featured image: A young person writes their name, during Bunka no Hi at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

We'd Like to Hear Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s