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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan


Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
MCAS Iwakuni residents, Japanese locals bond through calligraphy event

By Lance Cpl. Mason Roy | Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan | January 12, 2018

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents and Japanese locals participated in annual U.S.-Japan joint calligraphy event, “Kakizome,” at Waki Town, Japan, Jan. 6, 2018.

The purpose of the event was to bring the Japanese and American community together by sharing cultural values through art.

“The relationship between MCAS Iwakuni and the people of Yamaguchi prefecture, including Iwakuni City and Waki Town, is very important,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard Fuerst, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni. “These events that Director General Akase and the Chugoku Shikoku Defense Bureau support are extremely valuable to continue to build the relationship that we have here in Iwakuni.”

“Kakizome” is a tradition the Japanese people participate in at the beginning of each year, and it resembles what is known in the Western Hemisphere as a New Year’s resolution.

“Kakizome is the first calligraphy event of the year,” said Yoshi Okada, a retired Japanese language teacher. “People write what they want to do, what they wish for and who they want to be in the future.”

The event also involved a guest performance by the Otake high school calligraphy club. They created a piece of art wishing all of the attendees a wonderful new year.

During the writing portion of the event participants painted words like “friend” and “bond” as a way of bringing two cultures from around the world together. They also had the opportunity to place their favorite calligraphy painting on a wall to be viewed by everyone in attendance.

They played traditional Japanese games like Takoage and Fukuwarai before being served yakisoba and zenzai.

“I loved the Japanese games,” said Okada. “It was really nice to see all of the Japanese and American kids enjoy themselves. I really enjoyed this.”

Shortly after eating, everyone gathered around the stage as participants were called up to tell everyone what they enjoyed the most.
Before going home, participants said goodbye to their new friends next door from cultures far apart.

“We talked about friendship and happiness, and I think in all stages of life they are very important things to learn,” said Fuerst. “We’ve got a great friendship with Japan, and for the young kids, Japanese and American, to continue to foster relationships is very important. It was a great event.”