Taste of Japanese culture Saturday at Kauai Museum

LIHUE — The public is invited to sample a portion of the Hawaiian multi-cultural “stew” on Saturday at the Kauai Museum.

Doors are open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. for the sixth annual Japanese Cultural Fair at the Kauai Museum as part of its monthly Ohana Day celebration.

Admission for kamaaina and those attired in Japanese clothing is free. On Ohana Day, the normal admission rate is also discounted.

“Many different peoples came to Hawaii from around the world to work in Hawaii’s plantations, both sugar and pineapple, resulting in a rich stew of multicultural heritage we enjoy in the islands, today,” said Melisa Paterson of the Kauai Museum. “The sixth annual Japanese Cultural Fair allows people to share some of the food, activities, and crafts of the Japanese people who arrived in Hawaii more than 100 years ago.”

In addition to the potpourri of entertainment, food and activities, the Kauai Museum is exhibiting part of its 19th century Kabuki Theater Prince Collection in the main gallery.

Roy Miyake, a volunteer with the museum, will supplement the historical display with the set of pictures showing Kauai Japanese Americans who were interned at a Santa Fe, N.M., camp.

Miyake is attempting to get as many of these people identified as he can and is asking the public to help identify these families.

The Holomua Family and Community Education Club of Lihue will be offering bento lunches for sale and lead lessons in Hanafuda cards as well as other plantation era games.

The public can also participate in learning and making of toro nagashi, or floating lanterns, which traditionally mark the end of the bon season by guiding the souls of departed ones.

Contemporary practices utilize the toro nagashi ceremony to celebrate the departure of souls on other memorial events, such as the Memorial Day floating lantern ceremony on Oahu, which draws thousands of people.

The lantern workshop is available for $25.

Highlighting the day are musical performances as well as a mini-bon dance where everyone is invited to participate in some of the traditional folk and more contemporary dance tunes from the current bon dance calendar.

Kyle Chew will open the entertainment portion at 11 a.m. with a performance on the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute, in the main gallery.

The Ryukyu Koten Afuso Ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichi Kai, Kauai, will offer a performance of its sanshin group starting at 12:30 p.m.

The sanshin, originally from China, found its way to Okinawa in the 16th century and eventually to Japan where it is known as the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument with a sound similar to a banjo.

Hawaii’s Okinawa community is responsible for preserving many antique instruments and compositions while their homeland and old growth of forests were heavily damaged in World War II. On Kauai, the efforts are led by Hui Alu with its president, Kent Yamauchi.

The Kauai Museum, 4428 Rice Street in Lihue, celebrates Ohana Day on the first Saturday of each month.

Visit www.kauaimuseum.org, or call 245-6931 for more information.

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