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Wednesday, February 29,2012

March plan: Honor Japan

MSU hosts a month of Japanese cultural events

by Alyssa Firth

It may not be a huge island, but Japan is a cultural treasure trove. So Michigan State University’s Asian Studies Center is expanding its annual celebration of Japan from one week to a full month. 

 “What we realized is that there’s so much we want to do for the country, and it’s very hard to pack it into one week,” said Leslie Jablonksi, Asian Studies Center development and programming coordinator.

Wells Hall hosts the 19th Annual Michigan Japanese Quiz Bowl this Saturday, at 9 a.m. The event brings together hundreds of students of Japanese descent — from elementary through high school — as well as parents, teachers and volunteers for a competition built around Japanese language, culture and customs.

“The Dolls of Japan: Shapes of Prayer, Embodiments of Love” is on display in the International Center lobby through March 29. The exhibit includes dolls that have their origins in ancient customs or are connected to traditional theatrical or performing arts, such as noh, bunraku and kabuki.

Director Akira Kurosawa’s 1985 film “Ran,” inspired by Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and the legends of 14th-century Japanese author Mori Motonari, screens at 5 p.m. March 14 in 303 International Center. The tale of a noble family torn apart by power plays and backstabbing won an Academy Award for its costume design and was nominated for direction, cinematography and art direction.

All events are free. For more information, visit asia.isp.msu.edu/events, or call (517) 353-1680.

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