Sep 20, 2019
IMG_9537: Masahiro Sakaida (left) and Mei Fukata (right), performs the Yosakoi dance in the Satellite Student Union during Japanese culture night for Amerasia Week on April 3, 2017. Yosakoi dance originated in Japan and is performed at festivals and events all over the country. (Khone Saysamongdy/ The Collegian)

Dancing into Amerasia Week with Japanese culture night

The first night of the annual Amerasia Week kicked off at Fresno State by celebrating Japanese culture in the Satellite Student Union on April 4.

This year, the Amerasia Organization observed its 47th year of Amerasia Week. Other on-campus organizations such as the Japanese Student Association (JSA) and Malaysian Student Organization (MSO) also participated in the many activities of Japanese Culture Night.

The night started off with the lion dance, performed by students from MSO. Five students performed percussion instruments, while another four wore two giant lion costumes as they jumped off the stage and danced among the crowd.

“What stood out to me the most was the dancing of the [lions] because of the colors and how much they both had to work together in order to create the effect of a live [lion],” said Yolanda Milan, a third-year art major and member of JSA.

Two members of the JSA, Lennin Pizano and Mutsumi Ogaki, hosted the event most of the night and presented on Japan, filled with fun facts and statistics. Afterward, audience members participated in an online quiz which tested their knowledge of certain facts about Japan.

One performance was an energetic dance featuring the “Soran Bushi,” a traditional work song first sung by fishermen from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

“It took about a month for us to get ready, and as we prepared some of our members didn’t know the traditional dance,” said Ogaki, an international student and fourth-year criminology major. “So we got to learn more about Japanese cultures as we prepared for the event.”

Ogaki said that in regards to the Soran Bushi dance, she also ended up learning more about the history behind the dance, because she initially learned the dance as a child.

The night ended with the Koi Dance. Five students performed a choreographed dance from a popular television show in Japan. Audience members were pulled on stage to dance along with the rest of the performers.

“My favorite section [of the event] is seeing everyone being able to perform [and] fulfill all of the hard work they’ve been putting lots of hours into,” said Pizano, a sixth-year sociology and anthropology major.


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