Japanese Minister visits UCLan for cultural celebration

2 February 2018

Students celebrate annual Bunkasai Japanese Cultural Festival

Students at the University of Central Lancashire have brought Japanese culture to Preston through the fourth annual Bunkasai Japanese Cultural Festival.

The Japanese Minister for Public Diplomacy and Media, Shinichi Iida, opened the event and spent the day with students who study Japanese language and culture across a number of courses as they shared their appreciation for the country and its language.

Students of J-Soc (Japanese Society), UCLan’s largest paid student society, and UCLan’s Japanese department put on performances as part of the event, including a traditional Japanese sea shanty called Soran-Bushi.  They also set up various workshops around languages and study abroad opportunities and ran cultural stalls sharing Purikura photograph decorating and an Iaido performance to name a few.

Minister Iida was able to speak to the students about Japan’s relationship with the UK.  He said: “I am grateful to everyone in UCLan who worked very hard to make the Japan Day possible. In particular, I am greatly appreciative for the opportunity to make a presentation on ‘Brexit and Japan-UK relationship’."

"Our goal is to make people more aware of what a fantastic country Japan is and it was lovely to welcome the Minister to such a vibrant celebratory event."

“As I underlined in my lecture, people-to-people exchanges are the foundation of any bilateral friendship, and in that regard, the Japan Day is a very important event without doubt.  I was particularly impressed by the young students’ genuine interest in the Japanese culture”.

Emma Laver, the President of UCLan J-Soc, helped to organise some of the student-led activities.  She commented: “The event provides a great opportunity to share Japanese culture with a wider audience who may know very little about it.  Our goal is to make people more aware of what a fantastic country Japan is and it was lovely to welcome the Minister to such a vibrant celebratory event.”

Takako Amano, Senior Lecturer, Subject Leader for Japanese and the Director of East Asia Exchange of School of Language and Global Studies, led the students in organising the two-day event.  It also included guest lecturers, employability workshops and study abroad advice sessions.   

She said: “UCLan boasts the UK’s biggest study abroad programme in Japan with the largest number of partner institutions for student exchanges, so we have a lot to be proud of.

“I want to thank all of the UCLan students and staff who worked hard to make our fourth Japan Day a great success as well as staff from the People First recruitment agency, JTB Europe, the Japan Foundation and Embassy of Japan for their generous support and hard work.  They all made a significant contribution to ensuring we celebrated in style with Minister Iida.”

Watch a student video on the event on YouTube.