MSSU hosts “Japan Day” to educate community on Japanese culture

JOPLIN, Mo.–Missouri Southern State University is giving the four-state community a chance to experience the rich culture of Japan, right here in Joplin.

“This fall semester we have been celebrating japan with about forty different activities… a lot of cultural events, but we decided to take one single day and kind of put it all together with a japan day,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, Director of the institute of international studies.

This japan day was organized by Chieko Hedin, who’s originally from Tokyo.

“I’m from Tokyo. moved in states in 1982…just wanted to show there’s a lot of things that are misleading about japan. Japanese food culture, so I thought, show what I know about,” Hedin said.

Hedin adds that she wants people to know that there’s more to japan than what people may see in pop culture.

“Way back in when I was in teens when I came to states first time, people asked me if we wear kimonos, but I was wearing jeans, and so she said, “Oh do you wear jeans?” So that’s the misunderstanding of it.” 

Japan day participants were able to bridge those learning gaps, while also appreciating the culture of Japan.

“I learned a little bit about how Japanese people dress regularly and traditionally…Japan’s just culture and everything is really amazing and a lot of people just kind of get facts wrong about things in japan. it’s just cool to learn about you know,” said Emma Palmer, a participant at the event.

For some, like Karmyn Page, activities at japan day even helped them with their self-esteem.

“Like to dress up and go out in public and do things like this. it really breaks out my confidence…the character I’m in is actually from a Japanese anime and so I figured I could dress up as the character and have her personality like fit with uh going on around her.”

Whether participants came to sample the Japanese food, or show off their Japanese-inspired style, there was plenty of education throughout.