Japanese students showcase traditional arts

Assistant Editor, Ho`okele

Students from Japan’s Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU) held an exhibition of Japanese martial arts and cultural arts Feb. 16 at Hickam Gym, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Among the martial arts on display were kyudo (archery), sumo, judo, karatedo, aikido, kempo and kendo. The event also featured traditional Japanese drumming and folk dancing. About 150 students participated in the demonstrations.

NSSU was established in 1893. It is known for physical education and sports, counting many Olympic medal-ists (including 34 gold medalists) as past students, and actor Sonny Chiba. The university works to make sports popular in Japan through the encouragement and promotion of sport culture. Their motto is “Rich and Powerful Lives Based on Physical Education.”

According to Lara Katine, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Morale, Welfare and Recreation special events, the idea for the Feb. 16 exhibition originated with NSSU.

“The university contacted us,” she said. “Last year they did an exhibition at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and they wanted to branch out to other locations.”

Col. David Kirkendall, JBPHH deputy commander, was on hand to view the exhibition.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “Everything was just amazing. Any time another culture comes and shares its traditions with us it is a real privilege.”

Another audience member, Yeoman 1st Class Greg Joseph, US Pacific Fleet, also described the performances as “amazing.”

“It was all so elegant with lots of movement,” he said. “It was fascinating.”

Joseph tried his hand at a bit of sumo during a brief workshop held near the end of the event and was impressed by the athleticism of the wrestlers.

“I had no idea it was so difficult!” Joseph said.

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Yeoman 1st Class Greg Joseph, Commander, Pacific Fleet (right), tries his hand at sumo wrestling during an exhibition of traditional Japanese martial arts held Feb. 16 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Photo Illustration

Yeoman 1st Class Greg Joseph, Commander, Pacific Fleet (right), tries his hand at sumo wrestling during an exhibition of traditional Japanese martial arts held Feb. 16 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Photo Illustration

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ll-4Story and photos by Brandon Bosworth

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Category: Life & Leisure