Japanese culture celebrated at local festival

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – People of all nationalities were welcomed at Lexington’s Japanese Culture Festival on Saturday. The Japanese American Society in Kentucky says there are 206 Japanese companies in Kentucky with around 6,000 Japanese people here on visa. The Japanese American Society in Kentucky says it knows how important it is to honor its culture.

“Especially now because we’re in COVID times it’s so hard to experience cultural exchange and so days like today are very very important because it really just helps us spread culture within the community, cultural awareness and start to teach people of all ages how to really interact with people from other cultures,” says festival volunteer Lilli Hanik.

Though held at a smaller scale than in years past, organizers set up stations to give everyone a broad view of what Japanese culture is like. From food to crafts to traditional wardrobe, even a game to teach the skill of using chopsticks.

“it’s just exposure and giving her the opportunity to see the diversity that there is across the world and in the U.S. and in Kentucky where we live,” says Jordan Baeker Bispo in regards to bringing her daughter to the festival for the first time.

Organizers say Japanese culture focuses a lot on friendship and they hope the festival brought people together and made them smile.

“We’re one human, we’re people, one together, we share a lot together. Though oceans separate us, mankind is the same,” says David Carpenter, President and CEO of the Japanese American Society. “We’re together and we’re bonded to do that. So, you know the relationships and the friendships are a lifetime long-time experience.”

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