Japan Week at Bellevue College Begins Today!

Photo Courtesy // BC Japan Week

Every year, the Japanese Culture Exchange Club at Bellevue College puts together Japan Week, complete with events every day to spread the word about Japanese culture and heritage for the students at BC. In the past they’ve had different workshops and discussions about representation in media, which they have maintained despite the unfortunate shift to remote meetings due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Anime fans are intimately familiar with the immensely popular “Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer” series that exploded onto the scene in 2019. On Monday, Sep. 25, BC alum Kaho Hemmi will be leading a discussion on the era of Japan that “Demon Slayer” represents, known as the Taisho Era, which took place in the early 20th century.

Japanese dietician Sayuri Barritt is hosting a session on Tuesday, Sept. 26 about the Japanese dietary practices that are said to lead to longer, happier lives. Washoku, the traditional food culture in question, extends beyond the food that the Japanese people would eat and into the practices surrounding the production and preparation of such foods, going so far as to use special tableware.

On Wednesday, Sep. 27, a trio of speakers (Eileen Yamada Lamphere, Sharon Sobie Seymour and Liz Dunbar) are hosting a remembrance gallery surrounding a darker era of Pacific Northwest History. Immediately following the Pearl Harbor disaster in World War II, Asian-Americans became a persecuted group within the boundaries of the United States. This presentation will particularly highlight the “Puyallup Assembly Center,” a concentration camp for Asian-Americans in the State of Washington for about half of 1942.

Mira Pomerantz and Alejandro Llamas of the Hyogo Business and Cultural Center are committed to fostering a sister-state relationship between the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan and Washington State in the United States. Explore Hyogo through this presentation, including Kobe City, which was the birthplace of the Japanese Black Cattle, which produce the famously rare Kobe beef.

After not happening last year, the Taiko workshop through the School of Taiko is returning. Taiko is a specific form of Japanese drumming, brought overseas to Seattle in 2009 by Ringtaro Tateishi, a co-founder of the school and the presenter of an in-person Taiko workshop. He is now a traveling Taiko drummer who performs across the country to further expose Japanese culture to us in the United States.

All of these events must be registered for before they start this week, and you can find all of the links and additional info here(https://studentweb.bellevuecollege.edu/japan-week/2023-weekday-schedule/). Also check for Saturday’s (Sept. 30) event schedule for the dozens of events that are taking place on campus. It takes a great deal of effort by the Culture Exchange Club, advised by BC professor Anne Matsumoto Stewart, to put this on every year to help us understand Japanese culture better than we did before.