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Snapshots of Japan

An exhibition introduces visitors to the culture of the land of the rising sun


The Japan Festival being organised by the Rotary Club of Trivandrum in association with the Consul General of Japan, Chennai, and the Alumni Society of AOTS offers a window to the Japanese way of life.

It comprises an exhibition of photographs, a display of bonsai plants, Ikebana arrangements and Japanese dolls.

Kabuki and Kathakali

Surprising parallels between the cultures of Japan and Kerala also come to the fore: for instance the similarities between the theatrical form of Kabuki and our very own Kathakali.

"There are only 10 Japanese in Thiruvananthapuram," says Tomojiko Nozoe, executive secretary of a private firm in the city. He has been living in the city for over a year now and feels that the Malayali does not have access to much information about Japan. "I am happy that festivals like this are taking place," he added.

The photographs on display capture various facets of life in Japan. Besides the well-known urban landscapes, there are pictures of green, idyllic locales and that splendid motif of Japan: a cherry blossom tree in full glory. Snapshots of daily life in Japan offer rare glimpses into a culture that blends the ultra-modern with the traditional.

A section titled `Festivals and Ceremonies' is especially spectacular. From multi-hued fireworks against the night sky to the quiet elegance of the Japanese tea ceremony, it spans an entire spectrum of colour.

Pictures of the doll festival show a striking resemblance to the Navarathri `golu'.

Japanese room

A low-seating Japanese room, complete with a arch-way, has been recreated at the festival.

A variety of bonsai plants are on display within this `room from Japan.' Bonsai, well-known to greenthumbs everywhere, is the Japanese art of dwarfing trees or plants and to develop them into an aesthetically appealing shape according to prescribed techniques. Ikebana, the art of arranging flowers aesthetically, was developed in Japan in the 16th century.



Budding ties between Japan and Kerala

Floral arrangements conforming to the principles of this art have also been exhibited.

An exquisite kimono, embroidered with gold and silver thread is on display right next to it.

Dolls made of wood, straw, coir and plaster occupy centre-stage at the Festival.

While some dolls are characters from Japanese myths, others are from Kabuki.

Deftly-crafted figures of animals are also present - a rooster in a kimono was particularly impressive.

GEETIKA CHANDRAHASAN
Photo: S. Mahinsha

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