Katsucon Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI)
We are very pleased to announce the premier of an exciting new aspect of our convention. While this has been and always will be an anime convention, we’ve noticed over the years that our attendees are not only interested in anime but also in Japan’s rich culture, arts and history. We firmly believe that our attendees are the best convention attendees in the world and we feel that it is our mission to give and teach you everything that we can. It is to that end that we bring you the Katsucon Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI). The JCI will have classes, separate from the regular programming, which will be focused on Japanese arts (Asian brush painting, the art of Kimono, Kyôgen acting/movement, etc.), Japanese culture (spoken and written language, tea ceremony, traveling in Japan, etc.) and Japanese history (samurai, ninjas, monarchy, etc.).
Classes will be held each day of the convention. You will have the opportunity in the next couple of days to review the online class schedule. A few classes will limit the number of hands on participants and for those classes we will have an online form for attendees to sign up with. While these classes may have a limited number of hands on participants, other than the fire marshal’s maximum limit of people in a room, there is no limit to the number of attendees who can attend the class in order to watch and learn. An announcement will be made on both the website and our Facebook page letting everyone know when both the schedule and the form are up.
Charles Dunbar is a knowledge otaku. In 2011, he received his MA in socio-cultural anthropology, and has traveled extensively, presenting lectures on fandom dynamics, Japanese culture and sacred practice in media, folklore and mythology. By day, he edits fiction, indulges in the occasional JRGP (he is an avid Poke-holic), and is currently compiling a book on the impact and representations of Japanese sacred culture in media. You can read some of his wild ramblings on www.studyofanime.com.
Chin Hamaya Culture Center – Taiko Drumming & Culture
Chin Hamaya Culture Center began in the United States in 2010. In 2004, The Chin Family moved to Okinawa, Japan (by orders of the USMC) and discovered a love for the culture and country. They began training in the martial arts of Seidokan Karate and Taiko Drumming with Nix Hamaya Daiko – a professional taiko drumming group. They were able to come to the United States with their Okinawan taiko group in 2008 to perform at the Kennedy Center and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. While in Okinawa, Rodd and Cole were able to become professional shisa dancers (the dragon or lion dog). They were the first Americans to be asked to do so. The Okinawan people presented a Shisa to the Chin family with the colors of purple and white to represent peace and unity in hopes that they would continue to share the Okinawan and Japanese cultures. This is the only Okinawan made shisa to EVER leave the island. While on island they achieved popularity through performances, being interviewed, being featured in newspapers and magazines and performing for many Okinawan government officials as well as the local people. The purple and white shisa became a favorite among the Okinawan people. Upon arriving back in the United States they began their dream of “Peace through understanding each other’s culture”.
Chin Hamaya Culture Center is located in Charles County, Maryland. They teach adults and children the art of taiko drumming no matter the ability, disability, race or religion. Thru the help of an after school program at Piccowaxen Middle School, they were able to expand the group and begin teaching on a regular basis. To date they have 25 performers of all ages and abilities. Currently they have students ages 4 to 55. We just recently added practices once a month in Rockville, MD with 55 new members!
Chin Hamaya Culture Center supports cultural and educational activities that bring to light the richness and diversity of Okinawan, Japanese and other cultures. Included in this mission is the dedication to foster community among the diverse cultures and those persons interested in cultural heritage. Chin Hamaya Culture Center is a base to utilize, enjoy, learn and discover cultures from around the world.
The Comiku Girls
The Comiku Girls, Akiko Meigetsu & Li Izumi, are celebrating their 10-year anniversary attending the convention circuit along the eastern seaboard and beyond. Each has had a pencil (or brush) in their hand since they could hold one, & have been telling stories since they could talk. At conventions, they are artists, cosplayers, & Japanese cultural panelists. In 2004, we debuted our popular Japanese Tea Ceremony Panel, and have continued to create unique panel options in the decade since.Akiko has a Ph.D. in Biology from Duke University. She has studied Brush Painting with Chinese master, Cong Yuan, and watercolors with artist Luna Lee Ray. She has been painting in water media for more than a decade.Li has a B.A. in East Asian Studies and a Master’s degree in Classical Japanese Language and Literature from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She spent 4 months in Akita, Japan living and going to school, where she studied, among other things, how to wear a kimono, calligraphy, and tea ceremony.
Holly A. Blumner
Associate professor of theater, film, and media studiesand coordinator of Asian Studies. Japanese theater and film, Asian theater, theater history and criticism, performance.
Holly A. Blumner received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian theatre from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her B.A., in theatre and biology, is from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Holly studied kabuki for four years in Kyoto and at Waseda University. While in Japan, she studied the traditional performing arts nihon buyo (classical Japanese dance) and nagauta (long song) singing. She was a commentator/translator for the English “Earphone Guide” kabuki performances in Tokyo. Research interests include play translation, anime and manga, theatre for youth, theatre history, and dramatic criticism. She has presented papers at several national conferences, and her translation of the playDomo Mata–Matahei the Stutterer is published in Brilliance and Bravado: Kabuki Plays on Stage, 1697-1770.
Jamie Rosenberg has been a student of Japanese language, culture, and history for 13 years, and has spent half of his adult life living and working in Japan.He is currently a master’s degree candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and is studying Japanese historiography at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Kuniko Kanawa is a certified Kimono consultant, Kimono model, Edo Tsumami Kanzashi artisan, and also a founder of Washington D.C. Kimono Club. In 2007, Kuniko officially became a certified Kimono consultant of All Japan Kimono Consultant Association after graduating from Sodo Reihou Kimono College. This certificate is approved by the Ministry Of Education/Science and Economy/Industry. Since then, she has been offering the Kimono dressing service, teaching Kimono classes/workshops, and producing Kimono shows/dressing demonstration and so on. She also works as a Kimono model, treasuring six years of classical Japanese dance training under Hanayagi style by great instruction of Hanayagi Wakana sensei. In the same year, she became a professional Edo Tsumami Kanzashi artisan through…