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Broadway Square and Fargo Meets Japan are teaming up to bring a day of Japanese culture to the community. Local businesses, organizations and community members are coming together to provide an afternoon of Japanese arts, athletics, culture and food. The program is free and open to the public.

Schedule of Performances

1:00 – 1:40 – Welcome and Origami & Calligraphy demonstrations

1:40 – 2:20 – Karate demonstration

2:20 – 3:00 – Hana Chozu arrangement demonstartion

3:00 – 3:20 – J Pop music

3:20 – 4:00 – Iaido (swordsmanship) demonstration

4:00 – 4:20 – Soran Bushi dancing

4:20 – 5:00 – Japanese toy exhibition (open to the crowd)

In addition to these and other demonstrations on the main stage, visitors can try their hand at traditional Japanese arts, crafts and games at tables around Broadway Square. Japanese food will be available from Sushi Burrito, a proud sponsor of the event. Local Japanese organizations will also be in attendance, providing information and otherwise strengthening understanding and relationships between North Dakota and Japan.

Fargo Meets Japan started as a Facebook group three years ago by Minami and Conrad Klinkhammer. Originally, the group focused on free Japanese language learning for interested community members. Over time classes shifted to include music, media, games and much more. Today Fargo Meets Japan hosts a range of events, classes and experiences to help Fargo-Moorhead residents connect with the local Japanese community. The organization also supports local Japanese-Americans, helping them celebrate and explore their heritage.

Event Elements

Origami folding is led by Minami Klinkhammer of Fargo Meets Japan. Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper. Minami demonstrates how to fold several common origami shapes from the stage. Afterwards, guests have a chance to try origami for themselves at the origami table during the rest of the event.

Calligraphy is also led by Minami Klinkhammer.  Minami will be demonstrating Japanese calligraphy. Then, attendees will have a chance to have their name or a short phrase written in Japanese on a bookmark.

Hidden Teachings Dojo demonstrates traditional karate kata (patterns), weapons, and self-defense techniques and discuss some of the wisdom and history of this ancient martial art.

Karate is an important part of Japanese culture as it fosters a spirit of lifelong personal improvement which can be practiced at any age. Karate is not only about training self-defense; through rigorous training one develops a healthy mind and body which benefits every aspect of one’s life. True karate practitioners also dedicate themselves to building and supporting their communities. They strive to use their hands to help instead of hurt.

Agassiz Dojo is set to provide a demonstration of the following Japanese swordsmanship forms at the Fargo Meets Japan event:

  • Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship),
  • Jodo (sword vs stick) and
  • Kenjutsu (sword vs sword) 

Iaido is the art of drawing and cutting with a Japanese katana (sword). In iaido, a practitioner executes set forms, or kata, against one or multiple imaginary opponents. Each kata describes how a swordsman should respond to a specific situation, such as when you encounter a surprise attack from an opponent seated in front of you or an attack from multiple opponents as you are walking. The roots of iaido date back some 400 years. Today, it is primarily a method of self-refinement.

At the Agassiz Dojo we practice the approved All Japan Kendo Federation seitei iaido katas, as well as the older koryu Musoshindenryu. There are 12 seitei kata, and close to 50 of the MSR kata. There are 12 Jodo kata, and additionally 10 kenjutsu kata. It's a lot! 

Students wear traditional "hakama" uniforms, and practice with either a wooden sword called a bokuto, or with a dull-bladed katana called an iaito. 

Instructor Bradley Anderson currently holds the rank of 4dan iaido and 3dan in jodo and practices with an authentic (sharp) Japanese-made katana.

Check out the Agassiz Dojo website for more info.

Aiko Hatano will demonstrate the traditional Japanese flower art of hana chozu. This is a simple form of floating arrangement that is common at Japanese shrines and temples. It uses fresh, colorful flowers to inspire happiness, joy and healing.

Hatano is the Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Coordinator based at Mayville State University. The Japan Outreach Initiative program is funded by the Japan Foundation, which was created to build stronger links between people, communities, academic institutions and organizations in the United States and Japan. Mayville State University is hosting her during her 2-year stay in the U.S. (summer 2021 - summer 2023). Her goal while she is here is to share Japanese language and culture, connecting people here with those in Japan. She hopes to build sustainable connections that will help continue the exchange programs between Japan and North Dakota into the future. She welcomes the opportunity to join events and visit your community. Feel free to reach out to her via email or Instagram.

Soran bushi dancing will be led by the University of North Dakota Japanese Cultural Association (JCA). Soran bushi is a traditional Japanese sea shanty originating with fishermen in Hokkaido. The rhythmic tune and choreographed movements made the tune popular as part of parades and festivals across the country. The audience will recognize ocean waves, fisherman pulling rope and dragging in nets accompanied by a toe-tapping melody.

Audience members, young and old, can join Aiko Hatano on stage and play with traditional wooden toys including kendama ('sword' ball), koma (top) and daruma otoshi (wooden puzzle in five pieces). These toys remain popular with Japanese children and are fun for all ages. Prizes will be available for the winner of these games!

Superjuice, a DJ with Radio Free Fargo (KRFF 95.9 LPFM), will be providing the musical vibes and performance soundtracks at Fargo Meets Japan. 

Sushi Burrito will be on-stie selling traditional Japanese food and beverage (mugicha).