Jean Sakihara

Jean Sakihara

Passing on the Traditions of Kimono Culture at the University of Hawaii Laboratory School

Aisha A.C. Wang
Vol. 19, No. 3, Feb. 6, 1998

“Don’t force,” says Jean Sakihara when people try to drag their friends to attend her kimono culture class. As a teacher of Japanese language and culture at the University of Hawaii Laboratory School, her philosophy is not to force someone to learn, but rather to teach those who are willing.

For 15 years, Sakihara has been teaching Japanese language and kimono culture at the University of Hawaii Laboratory School. UH Lab School’s principal, Dr. Loretta Krause, is a firm believer in offering her students a variety of classes that expand their horizons. Krause believes that offering background material on culture is a valuable way for students to grasp a foreign language. Since 1986, UH Lab School students have participated in a contest to earn a four-week, all-expense-paid trip to Tokyo to study kimono culture at the Hakubi Kyoto Kimono School.

Jean Sakihara (left) leads students in the “Hakubi-mai.” (Hawai‘i Herald file photo)

Jean Sakihara (left) leads students in the “Hakubi-mai.” (Hawai‘i Herald file photo)

The Hakubi Kyoto Kimono Institute, established in 1969 by Takayoshi Mizushima, was set up to teach Japanese women the artistic and cultural traditions of Japan so that those traditions would not be forgotten in future generations. After the institute was established, Mizushima began holding seminars on kimono culture at the UH Lab School to spread Japanese traditions outside of Japan. Mizushima also began the Cultural Foundation in the U.S. to further promote the study of Japanese traditions.

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