Katsucon Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI)
Ever had an interest in Japanese Culture? Ever wanted to learn about Japanese folklore, taiko drumming, or traditional Japanese crafts? The Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI) at Katsucon has you covered! The JCI specializes in classes that explore Japan’s rich culture, crafts, and history.
We have expanded from last year’s two panel rooms to a full wing of fascinating programming. This year’s two workshop rooms will be filled with classes teaching traditional hands-on Japanese crafts from morning until night and our four large classrooms will cover a large breadth of incredible, informative programming with teachers from around the world. We will also be premiering our own Chibi educational track for the kids which will feature the return of Kamishibai with Jamie, puppetry, origami, taiko drumming and basic martial arts.
Whether your interest is in travel, language, folklore, art, history, kimono, traditional dance or even hands-on craft workshops, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Katie Chaplin has been teaching Japanese crafts in the UK since 2006, but this is the first time she has been to the USA! Katie started out as a silk painter in the 2003. Obsessed with Japanese culture, her business Japan Crafts was founded in order to share what she has learned with other people. She travels to Japan twice a year to meet friends and business contacts, and to learn new crafts. In the UK she gives talks and craft workshops, has a range of ‘Makeaway’ craft kits and sells fabrics at major shows throughout the year. You can find the Japan Crafts booth in the Artists Alley, where Katie’s daughter Ebony will help you find the perfect kit to try a new craft.
Jamie Rosenberg has been a student of Japanese language, culture, and history for 14 years, and has spent half of his adult life living and working in Japan. He is a recent graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and has studied Japanese historiography at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Kuniko Kanawa, an owner of Atelier Kanawa is a certified Kimono consultant, Kimono model, Edo Tsumami Kanzashi artisan, and a founder of the Washington D.C. Kimono Club.In 2007, Kuniko officially became a certified Kimono consultant of the 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 attaining her certification, she has been offering her Kimono dressing service, teaching Kimono classes/workshops, and producing not only informative but entertaining Kimono fashion shows which feature Kimono dressing demonstrations. She also works as a Kimono model, utilizing the six treasured years of classical Japanese dance training in Hanayagi style under the exceptional tutelage of Hanayagi Wakana sensei. Using her skill as a Kimono model and as a photographer, she provides Kimono photo shoot services relating traditional Japanese cultural events throughout the year.In the same year, through intensive training by Kazuyo Hozumi, one of the few Edo Tsumami designated masters in Japan, she became a professional Edo Tsumami Kanzashi artisan as well. As a classically trained successor of this disappearing traditional handicraft, she creates both traditional and modern designed Tsumami Kanzashi, including custom orders. Her beautiful creations can be purchased online at http://atelierkanawa.com
. Kuniko occasionally participates in craft shows and currently offers beginner’s workshops at the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C.In early 2013, she founded the Washington D.C. Kimono Club. The Club welcomes anyone who loves Kimono and Japanese seasonal cultural events. Members can participate in Japanese seasonal cultural events in Kimono, attend Washington D.C. Kimono Club workshops at discounted price, participate in Kimono shows/dressing demonstrations as a model, and participate in the Ms./Mrs./Mr. Kimono of the year contest. For more information about the club, please visit http://www.atelierkanawa.com/#!wdc-kimono-club
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.
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.
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
Robert V Aldrich is a novelist and serialist who specializes in literature for fans of anime, video games, comic books, and adventure of all types. He’ll be speaking as part of the JCI, talking about the History of Japanese Martial Arts as well as the Japanese-American Interment camps during World War II. He’ll also be hosting an Intro to Martial Arts class. You can learn more about him at his website, TeachTheSky.com
Caroline Holbrook plays an active role in the local Japan community, serving as one of the Committee Chairs for the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival organized by the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. She recently completed her graduate program at the George Washington University and received her Masters of Arts in Education and Human Development (M.A.Ed.H.D.) in International Education focusing on Japan. Her research has covered topics important to Japan including the history of Japanese education, internationalization and study abroad, English foreign language education, education in emergencies and disaster preparedness education, cross-cultural training and education, and the role of Japanese popular culture in language education. When she’s not working for various Japanese programs or events in the area and can pull herself away from tumblr, Caroline is part of a cosplay group and is plotting an international students of Japan book and pod cast series!
Sarah Rempe first traveled to Japan with her family as a child and has been in love with the country ever since. After that first trip Sarah decided she had to learn more so she went back to Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student. Currently she works for JTB USA, INC., one of the largest Japanese travel management corporations in the world.
Holly A. Blumner is an associate professor of theatre, film, and media studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Her research interests in Japanese theatre include kabuki, kyôgen, and festivals. While living in Japan she studied traditional performance styles of singing (nagauta), kyôgen, and Japanese classical dance (nihon buyo). She was a commentator/translator for the English “Earphone Guide” kabuki and bunraku performances in Tokyo. At SMCM, she also directs English language Japanese theatre performances.
Japanese politics and culture scholar, feminist writer and blogger with an interest in sexual minorities (LGBT) and yuri history.
Living in the Kanto (Tokyo) Region of Japan, she has lived nearly all of her post-undergraduate adult life in Japan, returning briefly to the United States for graduate coursework periodically. Her day job is serving as an advisor to new and recent members of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme acting as Assistant Language Teachers. She is currently a master’s degree candidate in Government with an emphasis on Japanese culture and politics and is writing her thesis on a conceptualisation of kokutai, Japanese ultra-radical nationalism, 1825-1945. Her favourite era of Japanese history is the very short Taisho Era.
She really likes taiyaki.
Lawrence Brenner is one of the foremost academics and documenters of fandom, cosplay, and convention cultures. Since entering fandom and conventions Lawrence has worked to help others outside of fandom understand it.Lawrence has been a part of producing pop culture events at the Japan Society in New York, Kinokuniya Bookstore, Drom, and other major venues. Lawrence’s works have appeared and been featured on Nerd Reactor, Bleeding Cool, Cosplay In America, Comics Alliance, Comic Book Resources, Japan America, The Mary Sue, VentureBeat, and an increasing list of outlets.Lawrence is also a content creator for Crunchyroll and he has worked to document presentations in fandom from comics legends, to other academics, on advocacy, on anti-bullying, and cosplay presentations from cosplay creation, to the issues that cosplayers face, to the amazing global culture that cosplay is.
Lawrence has presented at the Japanese Consulate in New York, at Anime Expo on the “The Rise of The Cosplay Economy,” among other venues, and he is looking forward to presenting at Katsucon this year.To see Lawrence’s work and learn more about him:
Peter is a Washington, DC area resident who has been practicing the art of Bonsai for about 14 years. He has also been a member of the Kiyomizu Bonsai Club, which is part of the Potomac Bonsai Association, for approximately 9 years. Over the last 8 years, Peter has participated in the Potomac Bonsai Association’s Spring Festival, held at the U.S. National Arboretum, either showing his own trees or assisting visitors to the show. Peter is constantly expanding his knowledge of the art of bonsai by attending talks, shows, club meetings and Association events and interacting with other bonsai enthusiasts.