Japanese Culture Association teaches students about Japanese history and culture


Devon Sipes/ The Sunflower

Koki Murakami (L) and Alex Limon (R) write Haikus at a Japanese Culture Association meeting on April 15, 2022 at the Rhatigan Student Center.

International exchange students from Japan may be able to find a home away from home in the Japanese Culture Association, as well as have the opportunity to connect and share their culture with other students.

Japan, relative to other countries in the world, has a deep culture with many aspects that hold meaning to a majority of its citizens. 

Considering the cultural background of the United States, those who immigrate to the country from Japan find it difficult to find a community they can relate to or form a sense of belonging. 

However, the Japanese Cultural Association (JCA) offers Japanese Foreign exchange students that opportunity.

“The main purpose is to help the Japanese students feel like they have a place or an organization to go to and have cultural exchange between the American and Japanese students,”  JCA President, Joshua Keese said.  

“It helps the American students learn and look at the world from a different point of view, it helps the Japanese students as far as they might be coming into this country with not much knowledge, they need a lot of help. They need some friends to count on.

One of the main focuses of the organization is to teach Japanese culture and help represent the Japanese community in the city of Wichita.

“It’s very important because the Japanese community in Wichita is very underrepresented currently and I would like to see more people know about it, and like, know some more things about it other than just anime,” Keese said. 

I think a lot of people enjoy anime and that might be a doorway into Japan and getting an interest in what they want. I found so many other things like, the architecture, the trees, the landscaping, and just the people too. They’re very friendly.”

Risa Kojima is an exchange student from Japan and found the organization to be home for her. 

“I knew that there was a JCA,” Kojima said. “My friends wanted me to go to the JCA room and I joined it.”

Cameron Gillespie found the organization to be helpful when it comes to exchanging with international students. 

“I really like interacting with international students,” Gillespie said. “Currently, I’m learning Japanese as a kind of a hobby, taking a few courses in it, so it combines both of those interests.”

Both Kojima and Gillespie have said that they like learning the languages and the cultures from members of the organization. 

For me, everything is new and I really like to learn about American culture and I really like to practice my English,” Kojima said. “Also, I like to help American students study Japanese.”

The organization also focuses on activities related to Japanese culture such as writing Haikus. 

“I enjoy talking through English things with the Japanese students and going through different grammar, because it makes me realize how absurd the English language is,” Gillespie said.  

“I also enjoy talking a bit about culture and learning and comparing and contrasting the differences.”