Roanoke County Public Library celebrates Japan in partnership with Roanoke Public Libraries and the Friendship Doll Exhibit at the Taubman Museum of Art
Celebrate Japan! is a partner project with Roanoke County and Roanoke City public libraries to celebrate the Taubman Museum of Art’s latest exhibition entitled Friendship Dolls: America and Japan in the 1920s. Between now and the end of May, both library systems will offer a number of Japanese-themed programs for children, teens and adults.
At Roanoke County Public Library, children and young adults can take part in a variety of programs and activities, including Noh masks, fish printing, cosplay, origami, giant paper cranes and popular Japanese movies. There are two fairs. On March 31, the focus will be on Japanese arts and crafts, where you can learn calligraphy, origami, haiku writing and more. The focus of the May 19 event is Japanese flower arranging and incorporating Japanese elements into your own garden. The events on March 31 and May 19 will last from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Submitted by Penny Lloyd, South County Library.
Read on for more information about upcoming events as part of Celebrate Japan! after the jump.
Families won’t want to miss two events being held at South County Library’s auditorium:
Before performing at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., on April 14, TAIKOPROJECT will come to Roanoke and perform at South County Library at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 9. Taiko is an ancient form of Japanese percussion using large drums. Jakob Dorof with Philadelphia CityNews describes a TAIKOPROJECT performance this way: “Brandishing traditional bachi sticks, the musicians circle and attack their wide drums with a violent, artful fluidity that harkens back to taiko’s ancient roots in the martial arts.” Similar performances can be seen at Roanoke City’s Main Library at 11:30 a.m. that day and at the Taubman Museum at 11 a.m. on April 10.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, Jesus Hernandez, a local bladesmith, will perform tameshigiri – an authentic Japanese Sword demonstration using bamboo targets. Hernandez began bladesmithing because of his interest in Japanese swords. He has practiced and taught different forms of kenjutsu over the years. Kenjutsu, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, is a term for classical Japanese sword arts.
A complete list of Roanoke County’s Celebrate Japan! activities is below. All programs are free and open to the public.
- March 20, 6 p.m., South County; Giant Paper Cranes–Teen
- March 27, 4 p.m., South County; Nintendo: Retro Gaming–Teen
- March 29, 4 p.m., South County; Origami–Ages 8-12
- March 31, 10 a.m., South County; Japanese Arts and Crafts Fair–All ages
- April 5, 6 p.m., South County; Fish Printing–Teen
- April 9, 2 p.m., South County; Taiko Project Drummers–All ages
- April 14, 2 p.m., South County; Eastern Steel: A Japanese Sword Demo–Ages 8+
- April 16, 4 p.m., South County; Haiku Workshop–Ages 8-12
- April 24, 6 p.m., South County; Candy Sushi and Movie: Legend of the Millennium Dragon–Teen
- April 26, 4 p.m., South County; Wood Block Prints and Fish Kites–Ages 5-10
- May 3, 6 p.m., South County; Movie: Godzilla A MuVChat Experience–Teen
- May 10, 6:30 p.m., South County; Zen in a Tin–Teen
- May 15, 6:30 p.m., South County; Movie: Sky Crawlers–Teen
- May 19, 10 a.m., South County; Japanese Flower and Garden Festival–Adult
- May 22, 3 p.m., South County; Drop-in Japanese Crafts–Ages 5-11
- May 22, 4 p.m., South County; Nintendo Appreciation–Teen
On March 2, the Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke opened an exhibit entitled Friendship Dolls: Japan and America in the 1920s. The story of Friendship Dolls is a forgotten chapter in America’s history. In an attempt to build a bridge between the United States and Japan during a time of mounting tension between the two countries, the Rev. Sidney Gulick arranged to have almost 13,000 dolls sent from the United States to school children in Japan. The dolls were warmly received and, in November 1927, Japan sent 58 finely crafted dolls and accessories to the United States. Although the dolls sent to Japan were ordered destroyed during World War II, 360 have been found. Three are on display at the Taubman Museum. Forty-seven of the original 58 dolls sent from Japan can be accounted for and three are on display at the Taubman Museum. The exhibit closes on June 9, 2012.