Cherry Blossom and Prince Genji: Traditional Japanese Culture in Ashgabat

Cherry Blossom and Prince Genji: Traditional Japanese Culture in Ashgabat

Arslan KEMALOV

Today, the International University for the Humanities and Development (IUHD) hosted a cultural event entitled “Cherry Blossoms and Genji’s Tale” dedicated to traditional Japanese culture.

And if the flowering of cherries is more or less clear, Prince Genji is the hero of one of the greatest works of Japanese classical literature, a monogatary novel, which is a tangle of three genres: painting, poetry and prose. It was this combination that distinguished the current action.

The event, which took place in the conference hall of the university, was opened by the introductory speech of the rector of the IUHD Esen Aydogdyev and the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Japan to Turkmenistan, Mr. Takahiko Katsumata. They noted the active development of cultural dialogue between the two countries, as well as the expansion of cooperation in the scientific and educational spheres.

Then Executive Director of the Research Institute of Traditional Art of Japan Hori Kiyoko spoke. Concerning the aspects of the event, Ms. Kiyoko stressed that it is part of a broad cultural exchange, and the team of the Research Institute headed by her has been presenting her ideas around the world for a long time. The exhibition itself consists of three parts: the art of calligraphy, the tea ceremony and the display of kimono – the traditional clothing of the Japanese.

First, the ancient Japanese art of calligraphy, which the Japanese call Shyodo, was presented. The masters of this craft Shimizu Keiko and Hayakawa Tatsuya demonstrated different genres of traditional writing, in particular, calligraphy in the Japanese Kan alphabet, in Kanji hieroglyphs, and also in the style of abstract letters. The guests also briefly told about the history and significance of this art. A fascinating process of putting hieroglyphics on canvas using traditional instruments left the audience delighted.

The next part of the event was the traditional tea ceremony – Sado. Three masters of this art showcased all its splendor, simultaneously explaining its history and strict etiquette. Japanese monks considered tea very healthy and believed that this drink brings longevity.

Then followed a show of traditional Japanese clothes – a kimono. On stage, the master demonstrated a female kimono, designed for official events. It consists of 12 layers, and its weight can reach 20 kilograms.

After the demonstrations were over, the guests invited the audience to the exhibition, where everyone could literally touch the elements of Japanese culture. Those who could, tasted tea prepared on the basis of tea etiquette, took a picture with a kimono and got an exclusive drawing with a calligraphic inscription of their name.