Current and alumni Japanese Language and Japanese Society students celebrated their academic successes and the Japanese culture on Monday, 16 February as UCLan hosted its first Bunkasai Festival.
Events and activities were held throughout the day with students showcasing their work, as well as numerous stalls in the Atrium encouraging visitors to learn more about the Japanese culture and to try their hand at various traditional customs.
Esteemed special guest, Minister Hideki Asari, Director of the Information and Culture Centre at the Japanese Embassy in London, opened the festival in the morning and was proceeded by an impressive performance of the traditional Sōran-Bushi dance by students. Displays in the Adelphi Building foyer showcased the work of current and progressed students including essays, drawings and entries for the Haiku competition.
Minister Asari then presented a lecture in Harrington Building informing guests about the Japanese economy, foreign policy, business, technology and entertainment. The lecture, suitably titled ‘Japan: It’s cool, fun and serious’, discussed the current progress of the country in these areas with the Minister also highlighting the success of the nation’s relationship with the UK.
Mr Asari said: “There are big, strong relations between our two countries. Last year, visitors from the UK to Japan reached an all-time high.”
“There is a strong and mature relationship between universities also, but there are always ways to strengthen the links and increase the number of schemes available to international students.”
Winning entrants of the Haiku poetry competition were awarded with a certificate and prize by the Minister, who was impressed with the words written by students.
Leading members of the Japanese Society were also rewarded for their hard-work in organising the cultural festival, with Mr Asari keen to praise their efforts and commitment to bringing the two cultures together.
After sampling traditional Japanese Obento for lunch, the event moved to the Atrium in the afternoon where various stands were set up to inform visitors about the Japanese culture and gave people the opportunity to try out customs such as origami, calligraphy and kimono wearing.
Japanese Language and international students were also on-hand to speak about the universities and major cities in Japan; talking about the many positive aspects of living and studying in the country.