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Japan Week 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011 @ 11:04 AM Karen Hood

Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now in it’s 19th year, Japan Week is a community festival celebrating the rich variety and beauty of Japanese culture. Beginning with the opening ceremonies on April 16, there are events spread out across the next nine days that explore many aspects of Japanese culture from calligraphy and painting to food, martial arts, and even the anime and cosplay that has become so popular with many American teens. For a full schedule of activities, click here.

The history of the Japanese community in Spokane goes back to the late 1800s, when many Japanese immigrated to the United States to work on the railroads and in the mines. Although many returned to their home country when they were no longer needed for these jobs, by 1910 there were 1,000 Japanese and first generation Japanese-Americans living in Spokane. Over the next 25 years the population dwindled as new laws, both state and federal, were introduced to ban Asians from owning land and immigrating to the US. Many Japanese immigrants had left their families behind, and now that their families were prohibited from joining them in the US, they returned home. By the beginning of World War II, less than 400 Japanese remained in Spokane. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, Spokane saw a large influx of Japanese from Western Washington and Oregon who were fleeing government internment camps. After the war, some of them returned to their previous homes while others remained in Spokane. Since that time, the Japanese population has been integrated into Spokane’s general populace, but they continue to honor their heritage through Japan Week and other cultural events throughout the year.

Japan Week is fun for the whole family, with activities that will appeal to all ages. Take your kids to Manito Park this Sunday afternoon for the Children’s Festival, where they can make crafts, learn how to play Japanese games, and more. Or take everyone to see the kendo martials arts demonstration which is sure to thrill. Your anime-loving teen can learn how to draw manga and participate in cosplay while you and your spouse enjoy a sushi cooking class. Whatever you choose to do for Japan Week this year, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time learning about and enjoying the multifaceted aspects of Japanese culture.

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