2018 Japanese Cultural Festival

The 2018 Japanese Cultural Festival was held on Saturday, November 03, 2018 at the Japan Information & Culture Centre, Embassy of Japan. The Japanese Cultural Festival is an event that seeks to promote mutual friendship and understanding between Kenya and Japan by showcasing various Japanese cultural aspects to the Kenyan people.

The main event during the morning session of the festival was an Ikebana demonstration and workshop. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. The demonstration and workshop was facilitated by Ms. Ikuyo and Michiyo Suzuki who run the BAHATI Flower Shop. The sisters showed the members of the audience how to make the “Tateru-katachi” style of arrangement which is the basic rising form.

Ms. Ikuyo and Michiyo Suzuki talking about the different flowers that will be used during the Ikebana demonstration

Members of the audience creating their own “tateru katachi” (basic rising form) flower arrangements

The main event during the afternoon session of the festival was a talk by various contemporary artists in Kenya who have used Japanese concepts, tools, supplies and techniques in their work. Ms. Joy Mboya, the Executive Director of the Go-down Arts Centre and Mr. Kevin Oduor, the Vice Chairman of the Kuona Artists Collective both gave a general introduction on the contemporary art situation in Kenya. Following the introduction, a panel discussion was conducted with the participation of artists from both The Go-down Arts Centre and the Kuona Artists Collective on the theme “Japanese Touch in Kenyan Contemporary Art”. The panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Joy Mboya.

Mr. Kevin Oduor, the Vice Chairman of the Kuona Artists Collective giving his comments about the situation of contemporary art in Kenya

The Panelists: Ms. Mary Ogembo, Mr. Michael Soi, Ms. Mari Endo, Mr. John Silver Kimani and Ms. Joy Mboya

Various other activities ran concurrently with the main events. In the Library, an origami session took place. Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. Participants were taught how to fold various objects using a piece of paper. Running alongside the origami session was an art exhibition. The items on exhibit included various collections from Kenyan artists which had a Japanese touch. The exhibiting artists were Mr. John Silver, Ms. Becky Kapten, Ms. Mari Endo, Mr. Gor Soudan, Mr. Erick Gitonga, Mr. Dennis Muraguri, Ms. Patti Endo and Mr. Meshack Oiro.

The origami session

The art exhibition

In the Conference Room, the movie “Pop in Q” was screened. After the movie screening, a Japanese language session was held.

The Embassy Courtyard played host to a variety of activities. Several booths being manned by young people engaging in Japanese pop culture were set up. In addition to this was a shodo booth which allowed participants to try their hand at Japanese Calligraphy and a kimono booth which gave the audience the opportunity to wear the traditional summer dress, yukata.

The screening of the movie Pop in Q

Some of the various booths setup

Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) Booth

Kimono (Traditional Japanese Attire) Booth

A cosplay dance and runway also took place midmorning. Cosplay is short for costume play and involves dressing and acting as popular characters from manga, anime, video games, television and film.
The cosplay dancers
The cosplay dancers
Some of the participants during the cosplay runway

The final activity which took place in the Courtyard was a martial arts demonstration. The martial arts karate, judo and aikido were demonstrated by practitioners of the arts who practice at the Embassy of Japan premises.

The martial artists warming up in preparation for the demonstration

The karate teacher getting ready to lead the demonstration