Japanese Culture Association prepares to roll out Japan Fest


Matt Cooper

Representatives from left to right: Davis Peck, Irena Kutilek and Akari Yoshioka. Kutilek brandishes a sign encouraging students to stop by Japan Festival on Wednesday April 21 at the RSC.

JCA’s annual Japan Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday in the RSC. In front of the RSC on the east patio, a demonstration in Kenjutsu — the Japanese art of Samurai swordsmanship — will be shown by martial artist Tora San.

The event is held annually in partnership with the RSC. Visitors this coming Wednesday will be entreated to Yaki-Soba Noodles, Boba Tea and a lecture spearheaded by the JCA in RSC 265.

“It’s so much to do and we try to make this better every year,” JCA Vice President Irena Kutilek said.

JCA President Davis Peck commented on the diversity of the festival.

“Even if you’re not into Japan — because there are so many things to do — you will probably find something that interests you,” Peck said.

Calligraphy, origami and lessons of the popular Asian board game “Go” will also be available at Japan Festival.

In line with the growth of the festival and the Japanese department, in fall 2018, WSU will be offering a Japanese minor through the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Peck noted that the implementation of a Japanese minor at WSU has been an effort on the part of JCA strictly for the benefit of future students.

“The people taking Japanese right now aren’t really affected,”Kutilek said.

Kutilek has been involved with the organization since it evolved from the preceding Japanese Student Association in 2013.

“I’m graduating and won’t be eligible for the minor,” Peck said. “The irony being now that people who pushed the hardest for Japanese to become a minor won’t benefit from it.”

With Japanese being one of three world languages in highest demand for translators in the U.S. (The other two being Chinese and Arabic according to a recent study conducted by Day Translations), a Japanese minor study at WSU is surely an asset.

In unison with the minor, both Peck and Kutilek want students to know that this program and this student group is open to everyone.

Not unlike other student organizations on campus, JCA serves to integrate Japanese students who arrive from abroad with life and culture at WSU and the surrounding area.

Freshman Akari Yoshioka from Osaka told of her initial experience with JCA and Vice President Kutilek upon arrival in Wichita with fellow students from Japan.

“On the first day, Erina came to pick us up at the airport,” Yoshioka said. “I was so nervous but meeting her was nice. She connected me to other Japanese and people who were studying Japanese culture so I could adjust quickly.”

JCA is open to the campus at large as well. Peck noted that the organization serves as a platform for anyone even minutely interested in the Japanese culture and language.

“We give non-Japanese students an opportunity to meet people from Japan, work on their Japanese and for people from both countries to learn more about each other’s culture.”

JCA holds instructional “Conversation Time” meetings every Friday on the second floor of the RSC from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.


As a part of the new Japanese minor the following classes will be offered to WSU students:

ANTH 516: Japan: People and Culture

ANTH 298: Japanese Travel Seminar

ENGL 345: Middle Eastern and Asian Literature

PHIL 590T: Japanese Philosophy and Film