BETHANY, W.Va. — The Bethany College Japan Outreach and Japanese Culture Club on Sept. 24 held a cultural presentation on Japanese marriage and wedding customs in Commencement Hall.
The presentation was held as a part of the 25th Explore Japan Event. The annual celebration was initiated in 1988 with a gift from the Nisshin Steel Co., Ltd., located in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, Bethany has provided Japanese language and culture educational events in the Ohio Valley.
The event saw four Japanese presenters show and demonstrate how to prepare traditional Japanese wedding kimonos. In the Japanese culture, a marriage creates a strong bond between two families and the wedding ceremony is considered with care and seriousness. Although Japanese society turned towards the modern, citizens still follow traditional wedding customs.
The four presenters were Fumiyo Iwadachi, Kimono Master Kiyoko Matsumono and her two assistants, Taeko Kobayashi and Sayuri Kamiya. In 2003, Iwadachi began the Handa-Bethany Educational Exchange Program, which has brought high-quality presentations from Japan to Bethany every fall.
Around 100 participants showed up to enjoy the presentation. The three wedding models, Mari Kolanko, Alanna Hunter-Crump and Khristian Smith, are all current Bethany students. Sachiko Wood, lecturer in foreign languages and cultures, Nobuyuki Tanaka, Japan Outreach coordinator and Fujiko Sawtarie, professor of computer science, were also wearing kimonos during the event.
Light Japanese meals were served following the presentation and preparation was led by the club president Chelsea Marshall and the Japan Outreach coordinator Tanaka. The event was supported by the Bethany College Student Activities Council, Japan Outreach, Japanese Culture Club, Mizkan America, Inc. and the Handa-Bethany Educational Exchange Program.
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.