24 February 2015
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has welcomed a Japanese Minister to Preston for a cultural festival known as Japan Bunkasai 2015 to celebrate student success in Japanese language and culture at the University.
Minister Hideki Asari, the Director of the Japan Information and Cultural Centre, visited Preston in what was the first school and student society collaboration of this kind.
He spent the day with students celebrating their academic achievements, language skills and knowledge of Japanese culture through a variety of creative activities. This included study abroad exhibitions by returnees from Japan, displays of critical essays in Japanese and Haiku-poems, Big-Issue Japan fund raising, transgender awareness through Origami, Sōran-bushi dances and street performances and a Kabuki face painting workshop.
"I was very impressed by the high level of Japanese language used by many UCLan students and their keen interest in learning about and working with Japan, which will certainly benefit them in this globalised world. "
During the event participants enjoyed a boxed Japanese lunch called Obentō. The Minister also spoke to staff about the “strong and mature relationship” between Japan and the UK.
Minister Asari said: “Let me thank the people of UCLan for their very warm hospitality and for giving me the chance to meet many enthusiastic students. I was very impressed by the high level of Japanese language used by many UCLan students and their keen interest in learning about and working with Japan, which will certainly benefit them in this globalised world. My appreciation also goes to the University for helping to maintain and strengthen this excellent environment for them.”
The Japan Bunkasai 2015 was organised by the UCLan Japanese Society, Japanese language students and graduates, and funded by the Student Experience Fund through the School of Language, Literature and International Studies (SoLLIS).
“We are delighted to welcome Minister Asari to the University. It’s a great opportunity for our students to showcase their Japanese language skills."
The Director of UCLan’s East Asia Exchange and Senior Lecturer in Japanese, Takako Amano, led the students in organising the event.
She said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister Asari to the University. It’s a great opportunity for our students to showcase their Japanese language skills and they have worked hard to show what top quality modern foreign language students we have here at UCLan.”
Rob Micklethwaite, the UCLan Japanese Society President who accompanied the Minister on his tour of the University, said: “It was a big honour to meet him. His visit boosted our motivation and confidence in Japanese. We also learnt a lot through the preparation and running of this huge event. We cannot wait for the Japanese Bunkasai 2016.”
View images from the event on Flickr.