CHICAGO — For those looking for a lesson on Japanese art and culture, chances are you can find what you’re looking for at the Japanese Culture Center of Chicago.
Through the windows of some Chicago businesses, what may seem like floral arrangements are actually part of a Japanese art exhibit known as ikebana.
“The idea was generally to view them from the outside, in. So pre-June 11th people could have this opportunity to safely enjoy the art, of course learn about Japanese culture and of course support the local businesses,” JCC president Stephen Toyoda said.
It’s one of the many traditional evens and classes put on by the center, which dates back to 1977.
“I guess my reason or inspiration to share Japanese culture is from our founder, who is also my father, Fumio Toyoda. He was sent here actually from Japan to help share Japanese culture,” Toyoda said.
The Japanese Consulate General said events like this are important in building relationships and knowledge of Japan.
“We have a long history of ikebana as well as long history of tea ceremony so this is very important and I think is one very specific aspect of Japanese culture, so I hope everybody can enjoy that,” Kenichi Okada said.
Okada is the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago.
For the JCC, all of the events and classes they hold are part of the traditional Japanese curriculum to use the whole mind, body and spirit.
“So not just physically training for martial arts, not just sitting meditation, you have to put it all into practice. That’s why we do calligraphy, meditation and martial arts, to have that real holistic approach,” Okada said.