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Japan Day blends two cultures, creating one Misawa community

A Japanese storyteller stands in character during a traditional Japanese play at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The Japanese storytelling was a performance consisting of traditional dances, songs played with traditional instruments and acting for the 32nd Annual Japan Day, which shared Japanese culture with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A Japanese storyteller stands in character during a traditional Japanese play at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The Japanese storytelling was a performance consisting of traditional dances, songs played with traditional instruments and acting for the 32nd Annual Japan Day, which shared Japanese culture with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A collection of Noh masks line the entrance to the 32nd Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. Noh masks were traditionally used in Japanese theatre for hundreds of years and have numerous types with different meanings in Japanese culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A collection of Noh masks line the entrance to the 32nd Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. Noh masks were traditionally used in Japanese theatre for hundreds of years and have numerous types with different meanings in Japanese culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Alsvig, the 35th Fighter Wing command chief, gets a bite for good luck from a Japanese lion at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The dance of the lion is fabled to dispel evil and calls in good luck. This traditional lion dance performance was one of many Misawa service members had an opportunity take part in during Japan Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Alsvig, the 35th Fighter Wing command chief, gets a bite for good luck from a Japanese lion at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The dance of the lion is fabled to dispel evil and calls in good luck. This traditional lion dance performance was one of many Misawa service members had an opportunity take part in during Japan Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

The Wa-wa-wa Club performs with koto strings during the 32nd Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The Wa-wa-wa Club plays a variety of classical Japanese music with symphonic Japanese instruments across the Aomori prefecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

The Wa-wa-wa Club performs with koto strings during the 32nd Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The Wa-wa-wa Club plays a variety of classical Japanese music with symphonic Japanese instruments across the Aomori prefecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A Japan Day attendee writes his name in “katakana” during an art class during the 32nd Annual Japan Day festival at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. Japanese calligraphy is the ancient Japanese practice of artistic hand writing. “Katakana” characters are commonly used for words from foreign languages. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A Japan Day attendee writes his name in “katakana” during an art class during the 32nd Annual Japan Day festival at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. Japanese calligraphy is the ancient Japanese practice of artistic hand writing. “Katakana” characters are commonly used for words from foreign languages. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A Makibano Kids drummer plays a taiko drum during the 32nd Annual Japan Day festival at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. This was one of 16 performance groups that traveled across the Aomori prefecture to attend the Japan Day event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A Makibano Kids drummer plays a taiko drum during the 32nd Annual Japan Day festival at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. This was one of 16 performance groups that traveled across the Aomori prefecture to attend the Japan Day event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Kazumasa Taneichi, center left, the Misawa City mayor, and U.S. Air Force Col. Jason J. Cockrum, center right, the 35th Operations Group commander, cut the ribbon marking the beginning of the 32nd Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The Misawa International Club and Misawa AB leadership held their first Japan Day in 1988 to strengthen the community and share Japanese heritage. Conducting annual bilateral events reinforces the more than 60-year relationship that helps preserve peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Kazumasa Taneichi, center left, the Misawa City mayor, and U.S. Air Force Col. Jason J. Cockrum, center right, the 35th Operations Group commander, cut the ribbon marking the beginning of the 32nd Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 6, 2019. The Misawa International Club and Misawa AB leadership held their first Japan Day in 1988 to strengthen the community and share Japanese heritage. Conducting annual bilateral events reinforces the more than 60-year relationship that helps preserve peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

The Misawa International Club and Misawa Air Base leadership held their first Japan Day in 1988 to strengthen the community and share Japanese heritage. Thirty-one years later, these sentiments remain as the base and community celebrated the event again on April 6.

Bilateral events like Japan Day reinforce the two countries' more than 60-year relationship, helping to preserve peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region while providing people an occasion to connect with each other.

“I look forward to this event every year,” said Housei Kimura, a local Japanese volunteer. “It gives the local community the opportunity to showcase our wonderful Japanese culture with Team Misawa members.”

Sword fighting, taiko drums, koto string instructions, origami and local folk music performances are some of the various entertainment exhibits Airmen and their families took part in.

"I’m amazed at how much there is to the Japanese culture," expressed Kelly Toliver, a 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight administrative specialist. "My kids enjoyed the Japanese schools taiko drums performance and ate the authentic Japanese food. It’s a rare treat that gave my children a better understanding of the culture."

With 19 stage shows, 34 displays and more than 180 Japanese performers, attendees experienced a variety of Japanese culture and activities.

"The goal is to bring the Japanese culture on base in one day," said Housei. "We have something for everyone; kids, families and individuals can all enjoy a piece of Japan.”

Japan Day continues to serve as one of many bilateral events Misawa Air Base holds each year, highlighting a strong tradition of sharing cultures and blending communities.