Jun 25


WITLife is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

Last night I had the chance to preview the Samurai in New York: The First Japanese Delegation, 1860 exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.  There was a reception to celebrate its opening hosted by Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya and those affiliated with the museum.  In his opening remarks, he detailed how descendants of members of the original 70-plus person delegation were in attendance.  One was a woman who currently makes her home in New York, and another was a Buddhist monk who had traveled from Japan.  It was a wonderful tribute to the original delegation to have these representatives present.

The exhibit itself, though limited in scope, contains some interesting artifacts.  Evidently they had been loaned from institutions in Japan as well as private collections.  This samurai delegation was the first group to leave Japan in over 200 years, and they captivated New Yorkers during their two-week stay.  It was a whirlwind of parades and balls and continuous newspaper coverage of the delegation’s visit, and many of these original articles are on display.  There are also recreations of room interiors from that time, showing how New Yorkers lived.  Other interesting artifacts reveal the influence the delegation had on fashion and other fields.  I particular liked a hybrid dress whose style is Western but whose pattern is clearly Asian.

For those interested in learning more about this historical moment in time, there are a series of events commemorating the 150-year anniversary being held at the museum this summer in conjunction with the exhibit.  The topics range from sushi to sensu (folding fans), and all are free with admission (for a complete list, scroll down to the bottom of the link above).  The exhibit runs through October 11 so make sure to check it out.

In other samurai news, yesterday Japan’s soccer team known as Samurai Blue pulled a 3-1 victory over Denmark to proceed into the next round of the World Cup!  This is the first time they advance on foreign soil (the last time was in 2002 when the event was held in Japan).  Their next opponent is Paraguay, and coach Takeshi Okada has indicated that this is only the start for these modern samurai.

Comments are closed.

Page Rank