March 18 2013 12:00 AM

MSU's Asian Studies Center salutes Japanese culture with a month-long series of events


Wednesday, Feb. 22 — The month of March isn’t only for celebrating women’s history at Michigan State University this year: The Asian Studies Center is honoring the culture of Japan with a slew of events on campus.

Japan has been recognized by the center every year, but the event is now expanding to become a month-long celebration. Students in the hospitality business class Meeting and Event Planning and Management have planned the schedule for Japan Month for the first time this year.

“What we realized is that there’s so much we want to do for the country, and it’s very hard to pack it into one week,” said Asian Studies Center development and programing coordinator Leslie Jablonksi.

The celebration kicks off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Monday to introduce “The Dolls of Japan: Shapes of Prayer, Embodiments of Love,” which will be displayed in the International Center lobby through March 29. The exhibit includes Japan’s representative dolls that have their origins in ancient customs or are connected to traditional performing arts; some are produced by contemporary craftspeople. Kuninori Matsuda, Consul General of Japan in Detroit, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

Professor Ethan Segal lectures on the aftermath and the challenges of post-tsunami Japan in the past year from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, in 303 International Center. Director Akira Kurosawa’s 1985 film “Ran,” inspired by Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and the legends of 14th-century Japanese author Mori Motonari, screens in 303 International Center at 5 p.m. March 14.

Wells Hall hosts the 19th Annual Michigan Japanese Quiz Bowl on Saturday, March 3, starting at 9 a.m. The Quiz Bowl brings together hundreds of students of Japanese descent — from elementary through high school — as well as parents, teachers and volunteers for a competition built around Japanese language, customs and cultural events.

Two community events feature a variety show put on by the Japanese student groups on campus. The first takes place at 8 p.m. March 27,
at 132 Hubbard Hall; a second is held March 29 at Wexford Montessori Magnet School, 5217 Wexford Road in Lansing (time is to be announced).

Hospitality business students are planning a month-long celebration of South Asia in April. For more information, call
(517) 353-1680, or visit