Japan Cultural Festival

Ambassador Takata making an opening speech
Secondary school students learning the art of paper folding -origami

A festival was held to promote Japanese culture and enhance mutual understanding between Kenya and Japan on 25th February at the Japan Information and Culture Centre (JICC), the Cultural and Public Affairs section of Japanese Embassy.

Started three years back, the Japan Cultural Festival is an annual and major event organised by the JICC as part of its mission of promoting better understanding of Japan and its culture. This year, the festival attracted over 600 people all over Kenya, the largest number ever received in the Festival.

Demonstration of tea serving: the venue was crowded and many had to stand
KIMONO demonstration and lecture
This year, traditional tea ceremony and Kimono (Japanese traditional garment) dressing, which had fascinated a large number of participants in previous events, were featured again among other things.
Audience leaning the basics of  Karate
Aikido techniques demonstrated
Two types of Martial Arts, Karate and Aikido, were also demonstrated but in interactive manners. Martial Arts is the most popular cultural activities of Japan in Kenya, and when the JICC held an workshop exclusively lecturing Japanese Martial Arts back in November, over 500 Kenyan kids gathered to the JICC from all over Nairobi. This Festival was received by the fan as another precious opportunity to experience the technique and knowledge of the Art.
Opening of the Speech Contest
A contestant making a speech in fluent Japanese
Tasting of Japanese food was another attraction of the Festival. Sushi and other popular dishes were prepared in front of participants before being served. Japanese Speech Contest was held simultaneously on the day, co-hosted by Japanese Language Teacher’s Association of Kenya. 26 contestants competed on a theme of their choice from ‘Favourite Japanese Word’, ‘Kenya’s Attraction to Share with Japanese People’ and ‘Most Surprising Incident in My Life’. There are about 1,000 Kenyan students learning the language at Universities such as Strathmore University, USIU and other various institutions. The number of learners is considered quite high in Africa, and every year the Contest received crowds of Kenyan learners, some even all the way from Kakamega, and because of at the site it was felt that the fever to study the language seem rampant in Kenya.