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Education Grantees 2012

Clearview Elementary. Clear Lake, MN.
Japan Comes to Clearview
Project Director: Dr. John Bowden
A four part project featuring 1) a ten day workshop series for 150 elementary school students on concepts of nature in Japanese art. Students will work with artist in residence Susan Armington, studying traditional Japanese art through stories, gardening, cultural symbols, foods and festivals. Students will create their own koinobori and used mixed media to create their own 3D Japanese garden. 2) Interactive presentations from St. Cloud State University International Exchange students from Japan who will describe their daily life in Japan, food, music and what elementary school is like there. 3) Artist Susan Armington will lead a curriculum development workshop for teachers on Japanese traditional arts, helping them to create their own lesson plans. 4) An unique inter-generational aspect in which students will share their learning and read books about Japan to local Seniors at a Retirement Center.

Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden. North Salem, NY.
US-Japan Children’s Art Exchange Exhibition & Associated Cultural Exchange Programs
Project Director: Lorraine Laken
The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden will conduct a cultural exchange art exhibition and several educational workshops for students, as well as a one-day seminar for area K-12 teachers in cooperation with Creative Connections, a non-profit international cultural exchange specializing in innovative arts-based exchanges between classrooms in the US and their peers around the world. The cornerstone event will be a US-Japan children’s art exhibition titled, “You Are Not Alone”.  The exchange will focus on Japan in the post 3/11/2011 era, a time of rebuilding, recovery, and continued challenges.

Japan Day, Inc. New York, NY.
Cherry Blossoms for Central Park
Project Director: Ayumi Manabe
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the cherry trees given by Japan to the U.S., the Cherry Blossoms for Central Park project aims to provide an accessible learning environment within Japan Day 2012 where participants can learn what cherry blossoms (sakura) mean in Japanese culture, and the impact the flowers have on the people and society of Japan. Recognizing sakura as a symbol of enduring cross-cultural friendship, the project will also serve to raise awareness of the long and vital history of the US-Japan relationship. The project’s missions will be delivered through activities which are organized around three key Japanese traditions: language, calligraphy and origami.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Minneapolis, MN.
Harukaze Festival
Project Director: Aki Shibata Pliner
The Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), in partnership with the Japan American Society of Minnesota, will host the Harukaze Festival, a celebration of Japanese Paper Arts. The festival occurs on the opening day of “Shin Jidai, Contemporary Japanese Book and Paper Craft”, a major exhibition in MCBA’s world-class main gallery, and will formally launch additional events including special teacher workshops, programs including master artists and customized classes in the adult education program. The Festival will welcome over 400 visitors to a day-long community open house to participate in activities for youth and adults; artist demonstrations of traditional forms including sumi-e, suminagashi, and origami; and “Wishes for the Sky”, a unique installation of kites.

Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. Blacksburg, VA.
Luminous Lantern Screen
Project Director: Aki Ishida
Architect and educator Aki Ishida and students at Virginia Tech will design and install a screen of illuminated lanterns during the American Institute of Architects (AIA) ceremony in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This year’s theme is “Engage”, with the goal to engage the local public, university, chapter member architects and farmer’s market vendors. The screen will become a marker for the event and give the public viewing access. Inspired by traditional Japanese lantern festivals, the installation will educate the public on the use of light and shadow in Japanese architecture, and celebrate the ephemeral, fleeting nature of materials traditionally used in Japanese rituals and events. The design will also engage local farmers through the use of agricultural materials for constructing the lantern screen. Tours will be conducted for local K-12 students and market vendors with presentations made to architects and designers attending the ceremony.

Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS.
Enduring Spirit of Japan: 2012 Update
Project Director: Nancy F. Hope
The University of Kansas will host a workshop for elementary, secondary and community college educators on some of the challenges now facing Japan, such as its aging population, food and energy needs, and relationship with the United States. The workshops will also introduce some traditions and cultural practices such as textile decoration and calligraphy. These topics will accord with state and national curriculum standards for world history and geography, art, and world languages. Presentations by selected scholars with expertise in these topics will reach a national and regional audience of K-14 educators via streaming internet video and face-to-face interaction on the day of the event. All participants, virtual and local, will receive curricular resources to encourage individual study and sharing about topics presented with their students and colleagues afterwards. 

Japan-America Society of Tennessee (JAST). Nashville, TN. 
Japanese Bon Festival 2012
Project Director: Yuki Matsuda
During this two-day festival, Japan experts, JAST members, and college students will set up various learning stations and stage performances to teach the history of the Japanese Bon festival, tea ceremony, and various forms of prayers and customs to pay respect to deceased people. The K-12 students can walk around the beautiful Japanese garden at the Memphis Botanic Garden to find various learning stations and to experience a picture-story show, interactive poster demonstrations, stage performances, and hands-on craft projects. A Taiko group will also perform at the grand-finale of the festival, in which the whole community participates in the Bon dance to pay tribute to those who became the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan.

JapanFest, Inc. Alphretta, GA.
JapanFest 2012
Project Director: Yoshi Domoto
JapanFest, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the understanding and appreciation of linkages between Japanese and Americans residing in the Southeastern United States, through an annual festival of Japanese culture and friendship entitled JapanFest. JapanFest brings a taste of Japan to the South, educating Americans on Japan’s rich history and traditions as it promotes understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture through hands-on workshops, performing arts, demonstrations, and exhibitions by local Japanese or Japan-related artists and organizations. With close to 150 participating artists, experts, exhibitors and vendors, and dozens of scheduled activities throughout each day of the festival, attendees are able to experience Japan through a range of entertaining and educational events. As one of the largest Japanese cultural festivals in the southeast region, JapanFest serves as one of the primary means through which Southerners are exposed to many facets of Japanese culture.  

University of Texas San Antonio, East Asia Institute
. San Antonio, TX. 
Savor Japan: A Series of Sensorial Experiences
Project Director: Mimi Yu
This four-part series, designed for the audience to watch, listen, taste, and feel Japan, will include the following themes: 1) Obon and the Japanese funeral. This event will feature a short lecture with film clips on Buddhism, memorial services for ancestors, and a hands-on lantern-making activity. 2) “The Departures” film screening and panel discussion. American audience members and Japanese nationals will have the opportunity to dialogue about cultural conceptions of “departure.” 3) Celebrations on life in Japan. This will include short lectures with video clips on various Japanese holiday traditions and customs, followed by hands-on activities. 4) Sounds of Japan. Audience members can listen to traditional instruments such as the koto and shakuhachi flute. Traditional plays such as Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku will also be explored. All events will be free and open to the public. 

Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego. San Diego, CA.
Winter Camp Program
Project Director: Seiko Pinckaers
The Japanese Friendship Garden will host a two-week long Winter Camp program, giving K-12 students the opportunity to acquire an in-depth knowledge about Japanese culture, art, and garden design. The first week will focus on Japanese arts and culture, during which the children will explore ikebana (flower arrangement), traditional craft-making, Japanese tea ceremony, and calligraphy. The second week will focus on garden horticulture, enabling students to learn the elements of Japanese garden design and its symbolisms. A Master Gardener from Japan will also come to provide a hands-on workshop about the role of Japanese culture and traditions in Japanese garden designs. The camp program will be open to the public, and anticipates serving 100 students from local schools and youth centers. 

Theatre of Yugen. San Francisco, CA.
TEN: Traditions Engaged Now
Project Director: Jubilith Moore
Theatre of Yugen’s Traditions Engaged Now (TEN) will consist of a 6-week afterschool program for 160 youth from four San Francisco schools. Founder Yuriko Doi’s penultimate work, Mystical Abyss, will be incorporated as a focal point. TEN will consist of a 6-week residency with teaching artists from the Mystical Abyss collaborative team, a matinee performance of the play, and multiple opportunities for students to share and reflect on the experiences with the artists. This integrated educational outreach program composed of workshops, lectures, talks and educational materials is designed to introduce students to the mythology, art and mark of Japan’s ancient Jomon period as well as the history, play structure, dance movement, vocal music and marks of Noh. 

Northeast Council of Teachers of Japanese (NECTJ) – Boston. Boston, MA.
Japan Day for K-12 Japanese Language Learners 
Project Director: Tomoko Graham
NECTJ-Boston will co-sponsor the Japan Day for K-12 Japanese Language Learners in New England with the Museum of Fine Arts and Consulate-General of Japan in Boston. On November 8th, approximately 200 students from high schools in New England will participate in a day-long event to celebrate their learning of the Japanese language and culture in a community-based environment. To promote K-12 Japanese education, school administrators, parents, college teachers, and local professionals are invited to observe young learners showcasing the language programs in New England. 

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. New York, NY.
DOJOJI: The man inside the bell
Project Director: Tisa Chang
DOJOJI: The Man Inside the Bell is a world premiere production and collaboration between American playwright Ernest Abuba and Japanese master choreographer, Sachiyo Ito, directed by Pan Asian Artistic Producing Director Tisa Chang. DOJOJI is a new theatrical version of a well-known legend and Buddhist parable that will nurture further understanding of Japanese arts and culture for diverse audiences. Pan Asian will hold five advance workshops to train the cast and creative team in techniques that will be demonstrated during School Matinee performances and form the basis of Study Guides that are distributed as excerpts to more than 2,000 principals and art liaisons from NYC public and private schools. The study guides will also be distributed as complete packets to as many as 500 students and teachers participating in School Matinee programs. 

Ruth Eckerd Hall. Clearwater, FL.
1,000 Cranes Second Half Tour 
Project Director: Julia Flood
A Thousand Cranes is a production by the Eckerd Theater Company (ETC), a theater-for-young-audiences company that offers touring productions for many rural and underserved populations across the United States. A Thousand Cranes is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, focusing on the difficult issues of facing illness and death and how one person can impact many others with hope. It offers lessons on Japanese culture and traditions as well as on bereavement. The historical context of the play will give students an opportunity to make a personal connection to events of the past. Teachers and student guides will prepare students to see the performance and offer activities and discussion topics for classroom use after the production. 

Honolulu Festival Foundation. Honolulu, HI.
Pacific Harmony 
Project Director: Masakazu (David) Asanuma
The Honolulu Festival Foundation (HFF) will sponsor a three-day festival to promote multicultural understanding, economic cooperation, and ethnic harmony among people from Pacific Basin countries, especially Japan and the United States. The focus will be on the sharing of unique culture and tradition from the Ainu people, the indigenous Japanese people from Hokkaido. It will showcase their music, dance and traditional artifacts. Three Ainu artists from Sapporo, Shiraoi and Lake Akan will perform their traditional music and dance, and six from Biratori will show their traditional objects of industrial art. Students from all over Oahu will also have opportunities to perform alongside the visiting Ainu artists.

Black Mountain Center for the Arts. Black Mountain, NC. 
Our Friends from Japan 
Project Director: Rita Vermillion
Local students will learn about Japanese culture through fiber arts, storytelling, traditional ceremonies and handicrafts. Local fiber artist and arts educator, Norma Bradley, will be an artist-in-residence for the entire third grade at the Black Mountain Primary School for a full two weeks, working with both teachers and students as they learn about Japanese culture through design. As a final project, they will collectively produce a wall hanging for display in their school. Students will also learn about Japanese characters, clothing, crafts and more as they relate what they learn to the North Carolina third grade curriculum for Social Studies. Bradley will be assisted by an Ikebana teacher from Japan, who will demonstrate the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony at the culminating celebration in April when the completed community art quilt is dedicated to the school.

Florida International University. Miami, FL.
Viva Japon! 
Project Director: Asuka H. Mashav
In collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan in Miami, Florida International University will hold a Japanese cultural and educational event on the FIU campus, aiming to provide local K-12 and college students with a rare opportunity to experience a wide variety of Japanese arts and culture in Miami. Over the course of a two day event, attendees will be treated to a local Ikebana group’s flower arrangement exhibition at FIU Green Library and various performances by Koto players, martial artists, Soran Bushi dancers, and Flamenco performers, all of which will be accompanied by Taiko drummers from Fushudaiko, a South Florida Taiko troop.  

One to World, Inc. New York, NY.
Film Screening: Cats of MIRIKITANI
Project Director: Asya Dinets
Through a film screening of The Cats of MIRIKITANI, One to World aims to promote increased mutual understanding and awareness of the painful effects of war on individuals and the healing power of art and friendship, with specific reference to Japanese Internment during WWII and Post 9/11 anti-Arabic and Muslim activities. The event will unite a multicultural group of constituents in meaningful dialogue including Fulbright Scholars and self-sponsored international students, prominent business people, educators and philanthropists. A question and answer session will immediately follow the film, and will feature the insights of Director, Linda Hattendorf, as well as Japanese artist, Rober Shimomura. During the pre and post receptions, attendees will be invited to mingle and continue the conversation in a space that will also have select pieces of Jimmy Mirikitani’s art on display.  

P.O.W.E.R. Mentor Program at Alabama A&M University. Normal, AL.
Knowledge in Bloom
Project Director: Dr. Rachel Dunbar
The central focus of this project is to expose minority children from low income backgrounds to Japanese cultural traditions, with an aim to increase their cultural competency and understanding of diversity. Children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama (BGCNAL) have been paired as mentees with students from Alabama A&M University (AAMU) for a mentorship program. Together, mentors and mentees will conduct group discussions on the origin and Japanese cultural significance of the cherry blossom tree, participate in a Japanese language class, attend the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival in Nashville, TN, and plant cherry blossom trees at two BGCNAL Club locations as part of an ongoing gardening project.

White Oak Library. Romeoville, IL.
Teen Japanese Culture Month
Project Director: Cynthia Shutts
White Oak Library is hosting a Teen Japanese Culture Month to enable teens, families, and community members to learn more about Japanese culture. Endeavoring to assist Romeoville teens in expanding their knowledge of Japanese culture and to foster a better understanding of how every cultural group has unique strengths, the library will host a month-long series of presenters, films, and food tastings. Highlights include a presentation by Josh Elder, writer of the popular manga series entitled Mail Order Ninja, a sushi-making workshop, and multiple nights of free anime screenings. Their final event involves hosting a Japanese film festival for teens and adults, surveying both new and classic Japanese cinema.