Japanese High School Students Get Sneak Preview of Tanka Exhibit

January 18, 2013
Japanese high school students view exhibit of poetry and photography about the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Japanese students view "Voices from Japan: Tanka--After the Tsunami" exhibit.

More than 50 high school students from Japan received a sneak preview of the Dilena Takeyama Center’s upcoming exhibit “Voices from Japan: Tanka—After the Tsunami” on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

The exhibit, which opens Jan. 28 in the Art Gallery of the Cesar Chavez Student Center at San Francisco State University, features poetry written by Japanese citizens who survived the 2011 Great Earthquake and Tsunami. Written in the tanka form and exhibited in both Japanese and English, the poems capture powerful feelings of loss and hope felt by the Japanese in the wake of the disaster. The exhibit also includes original photographs, video, calligraphy and other elements that bring to life the human impact of the tragedy.

The Dilena Takeyama Center was asked to host the students as part of an 11-day U.S. tour sponsored by the Laurasian Institute of Seattle. The purpose of the program is to promote understanding about the current situation in Japan and recovery efforts after the earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011. The program encourages greater understanding between the youth of Japan and the United States and fosters long-term and ongoing interest in one another by providing firsthand experiences with the culture of the other. The students in the group represented Toyo University’s Ushiku High School and Tsukuba University’s Harukaze High School, both from Ibaraki, and Touno Ryokuhou High School from Iwate.

While here, the students wrote messages and prayers that will be incorporated into the exhibit. They also met with a group of SFSU students who belong to the Japanese Students Association, who talked about their experiences about studying here.

“Voices from Japan: Tanka—After the Tsunami” will be on exhibit from Jan. 28 to Feb. 14. Admission is free. An opening reception featuring performances by Brenda Wong Aoki, Mark Izu and Aoi Yamaguchi will be held Thursday, Jan. 31. To RSVP for the free reception, please see the Eventbrite invitation at http://tankasanfrancisco.eventbrite.com/#.