10th Japanese Cultural Festival Report


5th November 2016 10:30~16:30

H. E. Ambassador Toshitsugu Uesawa giving his opening remarks
Guest speaker Mr. Nicholas Moipei giving his remarks
On the 5th of November 2016, the Embassy of Japan held the 10th Japanese Cultural Festival, an annual event which aims to provide valuable background information on Japanese culture and way of life to the members of the public. This festival was officially opened by H. E. Ambassador Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Kenya.
The chief guest of the event was Mr. Nicholas Moipei, Chairperson of the Kenya Cultural Centre. The other guests were: Mr. Masanori Sakanashi, General Manager, East Africa Marubeni Corporation; Mr. Hirotsugu Hirata, the Nairobi Japanese School Principle and Mr. Katsuji Nakamura, Chairperson, Japanese Language Teachers Association in Kenya.
Kilimani Primary School performing to the audience
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Uesawa mentioned that the Japanese Cultural Festival is a venture aimed at enhancing cultural exchange between Kenya and Japan. He mentioned that 10 years ago, in 2007, when the first Japanese Cultural Festival was held, only 50 people attended. Half of those who attended were from the Japanese community. But as the years have gone by, the audience has grown steadily. In his remarks, he appreciated the effort young students have made in the Japanese Music Festival. The Ambassador also mentioned that for the very first time Karate would be introduced in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
This year’s main event was the Japanese Music Festival, a Japanese chorus competition, which had participation from 7 groups. The groups that performed were: Kenyatta University A team singing Ringo no uta (Song of Apple); Moi Forces Secondary singing Sekai ni hitotudake no hana (Only one flower in the world); Utalli College singing Sukiyaki Song Ue o Muite Arukō (a Japanese-language song that was performed by Japanese Singer  Kyu Sakamoto); State House Girls Secondary singing Mirai ni tsugu (Message to join together to the future);Kenyatta University C team singing Nawatobi (Jump rope); Kilimani Primary School singing Muramatsuri (Village Festival); Kenyatta University B team singing, Hana wa saku (Flowers bloom).
A cross section of the audience during the Japanese Music Festival
Guest performers, Nairobi Chamber Chorus entertaining the crowd
Nairobi Chamber Chorus also participated in the music festival as a special guest. The group entertained the audience with two songs: Malaika and a Japanese song called Akatombo.
Mr. Sakanashi, GM of Marubeni Corporation presents a prize to the winning team from Kenyatta University
The Japanese Music Festival received generous support from three Japanese companies: Mitsubishi Motors, JKUAT Nissin Foods Ltd and Marubeni Corporation. Top winners and participants of the Japanese Music Festival received prizes provided by the three Japanese companies.
An ongoing Karate session
A group displays their origami cranes
The afternoon session started off with a martial arts demonstration, which kicked off by a Karate demonstration. Master Tamura, 6th dan, and his students showed Kihon ido (basic shifting), Kata Seienchin & bunkai (applications), kumite (sparring) and finally a Kata (form and order) demonstration. Karate was followed by an Aikido demonstration. Aikido club members under the instruction of Mr. Kitayama, 3rd dan, presented different techniques of Uke (receiver of technique) & Tori (executor of technique).
The next session in the afternoon was the screening of an anime film ‘Children who chase lost voices,’ created and directed by Makoto Shinkai. The same director created ‘Your Name (Kimi no na wa) one of the most hit anime films in Japan today. This marked the last event of the cultural festival.

Other concurrent events during the festival were origami, Japanese traditional games and a Japanese dolls exhibition, which ran all day. This year’s Japanese Cultural festival was attended by about 400 people.