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Bunka No Hi on Nov. 16 in Hilo

The Hilo-based Japanese Community Association of Hawaii will sponsor its biennial Japanese Culture Day, or Bunka No Hi, on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Sangha Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the continuing theme of Mottainai2! Mottainai is a Japanese word that means, “no waste,” or “it is a shame to waste.” Admission is free and everyone is invited.

According to Larry Isemoto, co-chair of the event, “this year, we are very excited to start the day with a short parade at 10 a.m., which includes the omikoshi, a portable shrine.

“Many will remember the International Festival of the Pacific parade that the Japanese Chamber sponsored for four decades,” said Isemoto. “The sailors from the Japanese training ship would dock in Hilo for the festival, and participated in the parade by carrying the omikoshi, with enthusiasm and spirit, shouting ‘wasshoi, wasshoi.’ The omikoshi has been stored in Hilo for many years and we felt it was time to bring the omikoshi to life again.

“Several members of the San Francisco Taru Mikoshi groups will be helping with carrying the omikoshi. This group has been in existence for 45 years and has religiously been a part of the annual San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival — a colorful parade in San Francisco’s Japan Town.”

The parade grand marshal will be Hanako Kuwaye, the widow of Yasuo Kuwaye, who will represent her late husband, who passed away earlier this year. He was one of the early organizers of the association and was committed to the preservation and perpetuation of Japanese culture and arts. For this, Kuwaye was recognized by the Japanese government with an imperial decoration.

Also featured in the parade will be the 2013 Japanese Cultural Treasures, Puna Taiko, Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, Taishoji Taiko, Waiakea Judo Club, Hilo Kobukan Kendo Club and others. The parade route will be along Kilauea Avenue, from Aupuni Center to the Sangha Hall at 10 a.m. Bunka No Hi will follow.

According to JCA President Hiroshi Suga, “the program will include honoring of our 2013 Japanese Cultural Treasures, recognition of our JCAH members, 90 years and older; entertainment by Taishoji Taiko, demonstrations by Waiakea Judo and Hilo Kobukan Kendo clubs.”

Demos and displays will include a tea ceremony, mochi-tsuki, bonsai, ikebana, Mottainai newspaper corsage, nuno zouri and kumihimo. There will be a book sale and autograph signing by Arnold Hiura of Papaikou for “Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands.” Food booths will sell specialties from various regional areas of Japan.

“In addition, Akihiko Izukura, a world-renowned natural textile artist from Japan, will do a special workshop on natural dyeing and a display of the life cycle of silkworm,” said Bunka No Hi co-Chair Jan Higashi.

“Experienced calligraphers will be on hand to write your name or message for a fee. You can try your hand with mokuhanga, Japanese block printing, which will feature a horse for next year, which is the Year of the Horse.” A limited supply of Mottainai2 T-shirts will be on sale.

“Shichi-go-san kimono dressing and picture taking is a very popular activity. Kimono dressers, under the leadership of Sakae Kaya, will dress girls ages 3 and 7 in beautiful kimono, while boys age 5 will be dressed in a hakama.” There is a fee, of $35 for JCAH members and $45 for nonmembers, which includes dressing, a photograph taken by an expert photographer and two 4x6-inch photos. Contact JCAH for more info.

“We are pleased to offer the Mottainai Recycled Art Contest once again. There will be four categories; age 9 and under; ages 10-17, adults 18-plus, and a special award for People’s Choice,” said Higashi. Winners will be announced and prizes presented at the event. For entry forms and rules, call JCAH.

New this year, will be Seijinshiki dressing and photography for three lucky single girls age 20, who will be dressed in a furisode, the most gorgeous form of kimono named after its long swinging sleeves. It is the most formal kimono for unmarried women. In Japan, Seijinshiki is coming-of-age day, usually celebrated the second Monday in January. People celebrate this day to welcome the young men and women who have turned, or will turn the age of 20, during the current year, as new members of society.

Ceremonies are held in every city, town and village. The people who have reached the age of 20 get the right to vote and also are allowed to smoke and drink. The lucky three single girls will be dressed by Keiko Fujishita, an expert kimono dresser and teacher from Tokyo who graduated from the Sodo Kimono Academy. There is a fee of $50-60, which includes dressing, picture taking and photos.

Application forms and rules for Mottainai recycled art contest, Shichi-go-san dressing, and Seijinshiki are available via email at jcahawaii@yahoo.com or by calling the JCAH office at 969-6437.


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