Life & Style

‘Discover Japan’ showcases several aspects about Japanese culture and tradition

Geisha doll

Geisha doll   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The three-day festival features Japanese artefacts, souvenirs, food and more

Made of wood, with a big head and no arms and legs, the Kokeshi doll has a few painted lines to indicate facial features while the body has floral designs covered with a wax layer. A collection of this traditional Japanese doll will be among the exhibits on display at Discover Japan Festival beginning today.

Japanese dolls come in various shapes and sizes and are integral to the nation’s culture with even a festival dedicated to them.

All dolled up

“There will be geisha dolls, modelled after traditional female entertainers, wearing the kimono popularly worn by Japanese women; paper dolls made from Washi, handmade paper, is another highlight,” says Asok Kumar, chairman, programme committee of the event organised by Alumni Society of AOTS, Trivandrum Centre (ASATC).

He will be exhibiting over 20 Kokeshi dolls from his collection. “I learnt to make the dolls. The dolls will be exhibited by members of ASATC. While some have made it on their own, a few got them as souvenirs from Japan,” he says.

Asok adds that Japan celebrates Girls’ Day every year, during which they showcase a set of ornamental dolls. “The arrangement looks like the bommakkolu we have for Navarathri,” he says. Similarly there is a Boys’ Festival when they display carp-shaped flags, since the carp is revered by the Japanese. Also check out Japanese costumes, umbrellas, souvenirs and the like.

D Ravindran with a Bonsai plant

D Ravindran with a Bonsai plant   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Another highlight of the festival is Bonsai trees exhibited by D Ravindran, a Bonsai enthusiast. Ravindran, who runs a one-of-its-kind bonsai farm at Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district, will showcase a few varieties of Bonsai at the festival such as Australian Casuarina (choola) and Premna microphylla (munja) in addition to different kinds of ficus. The oldest in the collection is the 40-year-old Ficus Nuda.

He will also be demonstrating the techniques of wiring, which helps in shaping the trees in the classical shapes of Bonsai.

Among other elements of Japanese culture and tradition that are part of the festival are Japanese cultural artefacts, utility art work and paintings and photographs. There will also be a demonstration of origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, ikebana, the Japanese system of flower arrangement, and Japanese calligraphy. Discussions on Japanese language and literature have been included. “Washoku, a food festival featuring Japanese dishes will be another attraction,” Asok adds.

The three-day festival begins today at Ayyankali Hall (formerly VJT Hall) at 10 am. Entry is free.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 3:42:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/discover-japan-cultural-festival-in-thiruvananthapuram/article30809997.ece

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