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Wittenberg’s East Asian Studies Club Presents Chinese New Year Celebration And East Asian Festival

February 4, 2011  
 Filed in Arts and Culture, Community, Events

Springfield, Ohio For more than four decades, Wittenberg University’s world-renowned East Asian Studies (EAS) program has introduced the community to a wide variety of languages, religions, classical civilizations, philosophies, histories and cultures. As 2011 begins, the tradition continues as the EAS calendar offers multiple events for the greater Springfield and campus communities to come together to gain a newfound appreciation of both China and Japan.

The calendar begins with a Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration and East Asian Studies Festival Event from 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church, 712 N. Fountain Ave.  The program, planned by the EAS Student Club with children in mind includes snacks, performances, workshops and games. Associate Professor of Languages Shelley Chan, club advisor, and Fulbright TA scholars Emiko Ishii from Japan and Jiajia Zhao from China have been instrumental in the planning and implementation of the public event.

Opening with an introduction to the tradition of the Chinese New Year by Tom Kaiser, director of Wittenberg’s East Asian Institute, and Howard Choy, associate professor of languages, guests will be presented with “red envelopes,” with their symbolism of good luck for the coming year. A variety of workshops are scheduled, including jianzhi, or Chinese paper cutting, calligraphy and dumpling making from scratch led by Professor of Political Science and Director of the EAS Program Bin Yu.

Performances by students include a cello solo of “Nanni Boy” by Taylor Williams, class of 2014 from Shaker Heights, Ohio, and a Chinese long sleeve dance, “Jasmine Flowers,” featuring Haley Beckett, class of 2014 from Norwalk, Ohio, Kathryn Mauch, class of 2014 from Oakwood, Ohio, and Sarah Boedicker, class of 2014 from Medina, Ohio. Additional entertainment, snacks and games will be available, along with cultural displays of traditional items from both Chinese and Japanese collections.

Other events taking place throughout the afternoon include a performance of “Kaeru no Uta” (Frog’s Song) by the Japanese 112 class, and a PowerPoint presentation titled “Cool Japan” by the Japanese 412 class.

The Chinese New Year and East Asian Studies Festival celebrations mark the first of several events on the spring calendar planned by the EAS program and supported by co-sponsorship across many disciplines and departments including Art, English Languages and Literature, International Studies, History, Sociology, Green Wittenberg, East Asian Institute, Student Development, Thomas Library, PAST, Music and the Faculty Endowment Fund Board. All events are free and open to the public.

A two-day visit by ceramicist Gary Erickson begins with a lecture titled “Jingdezhen Porcelain: Traditional Chinese Methods and Modern Arts” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, followed at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, with a demonstration. Erickson’s organic-abstract sculpture has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Southwest School of Art and Craft in San Antonio, Texas, and Gallery 101 in Melbourne, Australia. His work is in several private and corporate collections including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

Aiko Kojima Hibino discusses “The Politics of Food in Japan,” at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Kissell Auditorium, Koch Hall. Hibino is currently completing her dissertation at the University of Chicago in the Department of Sociology on the relationship between food, activism and nationalism in Japan.

At 7 p.m. Friday, April 15, Kiku Hibino presents a “Sound Art” performance in Founders, located on the lower level of Wittenberg’s Benham-Pence Student Center. Hibino studied electronic music composition and media art at Keio University at Shonan Fujisawa before coming to the United States in 2001 to pursue further study. He received a master’s degree in media arts and technology at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2003, where he studied microsound electronic music composition.

A display of Tibetan Children’s Literature will be available in the lobby of Wittenberg’s Thomas Library from Tuesday, March 1, through Sunday, May 1. A lecture titled “Cultural Survival: The Significance of Tibetan Children’s Literature in the Preservation of Tibetan Tradition and Language” by Patricia Schiaffini is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in Ness Family Auditorium, Hollenbeck Hall. Schiaffini’s articles on different aspects of sinophone modern Tibetan literature and modern Chinese literature, as well as her interviews with prominent Tibetan writers, have appeared in the Journal of International Affairs and World Literature Today, among others, and she co-edited the book Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change with Lauran Hartley. Schiaffini is president and founder of the non-profit organization Tibetan Arts and Literature Initiative (www.talitibet.org), which supports projects that promote Tibetan culture and language in Tibetan areas within the People’s Republic of China.

An appearance by Yoko Hiraoka titled “Tale of Heike Performance and Lecture” takes place from 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 29, in the Wittenberg Student Theatre at the Springfield Center for the Arts at Wittenberg University, 107 Cliff Park Road. Hiraoka, a senior master performer of Biwa, Koto, Shamisen and Jiuta voice, is a native of Kyoto, Japan, and studied classical and modern koto and shamisen music from an early age. She studied Chikuzen 5-string Biwa for many years with Kõka Suga, the head of Kõmyõji-ryû Chikuzen Biwa and direct disciple of Yamazaki.

Written By: Phyllis Eberts

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