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Top > Culture > CGJD Topics > 2008

2008 CGJD Topics

National Day Reception



This annual reception was hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm at the Sheraton Denver Hotel.


Nearly 250 people were in attendance including diplomatic representative from several countries, business leaders, and government officials from the jurisdiction that the Japanese Consulate in Denver oversees.In addition, local community members active in Japan-U.S. exchange programs, education, culture, sport, and also media present.


The reception started with Consul General Kubo’s speech, followed by Governor Ritter’s remarks who had just visited Japan in November, to conveying his appreciation for the warm welcome he received in Japan. He also touched on his desire to promote business between US and Japan. Mayor Hickenlooper also spoke about his visit to Japan in May, and the many similarities he discovered during his visit between Japan and Denver. The crowd especially enjoyed hearing about some of his more humorous experiences.


This year’s reception was special in that we had the honor of hosting many high officials.  We hope this is a promise of the relationship between Colorado and Japan to grow and strengthen in the coming years.






Appointment and Reception for Denver County Court Judge

Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, officially appointed Kerry Hada as the new Denver County Court Judge, succeeding recently retired Judge Melvin Okamoto. An appointment ceremony and reception were held in Judge Hada’s honor on Wednesday, December 3rd. Nearly 200 people were in attendance, including Mayor Hickenlooper and Consul-General Kubo, to join in celebrating the appointment.






Music of the Japanese Biwa, Stories From the Tale of Heike

The Consulate-General of Japan at Denver, Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Japanese Association of Colorado sponsored an evening event titled “Music of the Japanese Biwa, Stories from the Tale of Heike” on December 4th, 2008. The event was held at the Old Main Chapel on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder and was free and open to the public.


The very talented and renowned Yoko Hiraoka gave an exceptional performance which included lectures and projected images surrounding the history of the traditional string instrument she played, called the biwa. Ms. Hiraoka performed three of the many classic biwa compositions that make up the Tale of Heike. In addition, she gave explanations about the actual songs she sang and their historical relevance, thus making the performance all the more meaningful to her audience.


Yoko has been a student under master teachers, learning by sight, sound, and feel. Always a student, yet also a senior master performer, she continues to cultivate her talent. It takes time (a lifetime) and dedication to perfect and preserve the art of Japanese traditional music. The music is passed from master to student; then the student becomes a master and passes it onto their student, etc. With the close tutelage and relationship between master and pupil, the integrity of the music is maintained. The style of teaching and the sound of the instrument remain unbroken as it is passed down through generations, retaining this link to history. In this way, Yoko, herself, is a messenger from historical Japan, and on December 4th she successfully and gracefully connected her audience in Boulder to an ancient world through sound.






"JAPAN AT A TURNING POINT", Lecture By Mr. Sadaaki Numata



Mr. Sadaaki Numata, currently the Executive Director of the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and an esteemed former Japanese Ambassador to Canada, visited Denver to give a presentation on economic relations between the U.S. and Japan.This prominent speaker event was co-sponsored and arranged by the Consulate-General of Japan and the Japan-America Society of Colorado.Mr. Numata delivered his presentation on November 3, 2008, hosted in the downtown offices of Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons with about 25 business and community leaders in attendance.


From deep experience in international relations, Mr. Numata described recent transitions undergone by Japan, such as its adaptation to the ‘wired world’ of instantaneous global media communications and the continuing gradual changes and effects of its ‘soft power’ influence on the world stage.Specific topics covered included timely observations of lessons learned from Japan’s own financial problems in recent years, along with the evolving role of Japan as a stabilizing force in the world in terms of its impact on economic, security, and political affairs.The talk concluded with a call for further development, harnessing, and application of the many common values and capabilities shared by the U.S. and Japan, in order to promote soft power solutions for current challenges such as global climate change.Highlighted examples included efforts such as the upcoming visit to Japan by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.



Interested readers can find the full prepared text and supporting data for this presentation by clicking the link below.


“JAPAN AT A TURNING POINT”, By Mr. Sadaaki Numata.







Recent Japanese Events in Wyoming and New Mexico


Mid-September through early October saw several events related to Japan in Wyoming and New Mexico. Consul-General Kazuaki Kubo attended and participated in each of these events, representing the Consulate and offering official remarks. Further details for these events are described below.


Japan Arts Day in Casper, WY


On Saturday, September 20,2008, Japan Arts Day was presented by the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver, ARTCORE of Casper, and Natrona County School District #1. The event was coordinated by Mariko Miller, Honorary Consul-General of Japan, in Wyoming.


The festival, held at Natrona County high school, featured a Japanese taiko drum concert by Taiko with Toni, a Denver-based drum duo made up of Toni Yagami and her husband Lance, and was accompanied by Ms. Junko Shigeta playing the koto, bass-koto and sangen. Following this unique concert, many audience members were able to stay after and enjoy talking with the performers.



2008 Aki Matsuri (Japanese Fall Festival) in Albuquerque, NM


This annual festival was held on Sunday, September 28, 2008, and was hosted by the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League. Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez also attended and offered remarks to the gathering of festival fans.


“Bamboo” was the festival theme this year, which encouraged a focus on “green living” and renewable energy. The outdoor open-air festival featured a great taiko drum performance and a traditional Okinawa Odori (dance). Festival-goers were able to enjoy many Japanese foods and craft items, creating a true matsuri atmosphere.



Festival of Japan in Laramie, WY


This festival was on Saturday, October 4, 2008, organized in Laramie by the Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) and co-sponsored by the International Club of Laramie High School. Laramie Mayor Klaus Hanson also attended and gave a welcome speech to attendees enjoying a day of Japanese culture.


Many Japanese cultural items were on display for this event, ranging from a “Street Fair” in the cafeteria to exhibits of ikebana (flower arrangements) and origami (paper-folding) workshops, and a variety of Japanese foods were available as well. After the street fair, the “main show” featured a taiko drum performance by Mirai Daiko, along with kimono-dressing and karate demonstrations.The many fun activities certainly seemed to be popular, and people very much enjoyed the Festival of Japan!







Japanese Tea Ceremony



"Sho-Fu-Kai", the newly established Japanese Tea Ceremony Guild at Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Botanic Garden, jointly organized a tea ceremony at the Denver Botanic Garden to celebrate the Sho-Fu-Kai 's establishment on Sep. 24, 2008 from 4pm-6pm. Approximately 200 people attended and had the opportunity to observe and participate in the Japanese tea ceremony. 






“Ralph Carr Memorial Highway” Sign Unveiling Ceremony



On Sunday, August 10, 2008, a ceremony was held on the west side of the State Capitol building in Denver to unveil new road signs for the newly-renamed “Ralph Carr Memorial Highway”, a portion of Highway 285 in southern Colorado. The roadway is dedicated to former Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, who went against the federal executive order to place Japanese and Japanese-Americans in internment camps, instead offering them sanctuary. In March of 2008, both houses of the Colorado legislature approved the measure to adopt the new name with a unanimous vote.


Governor Bill Ritter, Japanese-American attorney Kerry Hada and Consul-General Kubo were among the many dignitaries present to commemorate Governor Carr’s contribution to the ideals of American freedom and democracy. All spoke in praise of former Governor Carr, with Governor Ritter commenting on the history and progress of US society. Consul-General Kubo noted the healthy state of US democracy and Japan’s resulting pride in its relationship with the US.


The "Ralph Carr Memorial Highway" is the section of Highway 285 between the New Mexico border/ Kenosha Pass and C-470 in Jefferson County west of Denver. New signs will be posted along the highway in the near future. 






Japanese Consulate Introductory Shogi Class



The Consulate-General began offering a shogi (Japanese chess) class, with the first session taking place on June 17th, 2008. Since then, 7-8 participants have been working hard at learning the art of shogi, including some beginners with no former experience on how to play the game or read the Chinese characters printed on each piece. With the knowledgeable and humorous instruction of Consul-General Kubo, all are now able to respond appropriately to shogi situational problems, and are realizing both the art and fun of the game.


This current shogi class will continue through the month of August. The Consulate is now considering whether the classes may continue, either as a repeated beginner level class again or as an intermediate-level class, or some combination. We will post information on the Consulate website as soon as a decision is made.







  Consul General of Japan Charity Golf Tournament



On Saturday, July 12th, 2008, the Japan America Society of Colorado (JASC) and the Japanese Firms Association of Colorado (JFA) jointly held the 20th Annual Consul-General of Japan Charity Golf Tournament, at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, Denver. This worthy event is a major fundraiser for both JASC and JFA, benefiting various Japan-related cultural and educational programs operated by these organizations.


The day was blessed with beautiful weather, and the approximately 100 participants broke into foursomes and enjoyed playing the wonderful course. The members of the winning foursome were presented with championship trophies by Consul-General Kubo.


Prior to the tournament, a reception was held at the Consul-General’s residence on July 11. Along with a rousing speech from Consul-General Kubo, Mr. Isao Kamitani, President of the JFA, and Mr. Tom Reid, Executive Vice President of the JASC, spoke to help get everyone excited for the next day.







 "Whose America? Who's American?" Reception


On July 3rd, 2008, Consul-General Kubo hosted a reception at his official residence, in honor of The Japanese American National Museum and its national conference, titled “Whose America? Who’s American?”, which was held in Denver from July 3-6. The Consul-General greeted the many attendees with a warm welcome, followed by a congratulatory address from Don Elliman, Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, on behalf of Governor Bill Ritter. Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta also spoke, representing the museum and its conference organizing committee, to convey appreciation to the Denver hosts.

Japanese American National Museum Website







1st Ito Cup Kendo Tournament



The first annual Ito Cup Kendo Tournament was held on May 10th, 2008, at Ito Dojo (a kendo training school at which Mr. Yasuo Ishikawa is an instructor) in Arvada. Ito Dojo was named after Mr. Tsutomu Ito, who taught kendo to children and adults throughout Akita and Hokkaido prefectures over many years. His son, Mr. Koetsu Ito (5th dan), and his wife were in attendance as honored guests from Japan for this first Ito Cup competition.


Also in attendance from Japan were three more respected guests: Mr. Bumpei Iwai (6th dan renshi), Mr. Masakatsu Miura (7th dan kyoshi) and Mr. Akio Isono (7th dan kyoshi). All three are currently active senior instructors with various kendo federations in Hokkaido, and all of them studied with Ito Sensei. They visited Colorado from Hokkaido with Mr. and Mrs. Ito, determined to help celebrate and to make the first Ito Cup competition a successful and continuing event.


The competition included participants from kendo dojos located in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, and from as far away as Arkansas. Each of the matches was very exciting and interesting, as the competitors all showed great effort and positive results of their kendo training. On the day after the competition itself, the instructors from Japan gave a joint lesson for all the competitors.This event also was very much enjoyed and appreciated by everyone involved.


Prior to the tournament, during a welcome reception for the guests from Japan, held at the Consul-General’s residence on May 9, Mr. Isono and Mr. Miura gave demonstrations of Nihon Kendo Kata (a traditional form of kendo). Visitors watched intently at their impressive and enthralling performance.


Finally, on May 15 the three sensei from Japan also gave a rousing kendo demonstration during a visit to Laredo Middle School in Aurora, along with several volunteers from Ito Dojo and Yamakage Dogo (of Longmont). About 400 students were in attendance and their eyes seemed to sparkle during the demonstration, which was followed by an oppoprtunity to try kendo themselves. The students wrestled with the heavy kendo armor but definitely had a good time.


It is estimated that about 100 people currently practice kendo in Colorado. The kendo classes and demonstrations given by these kendo masters from Japan certainly conveyed the special fascination of kendo to students and others who observed this exciting sport during these events. Hopefully this effort will help build interest and increase the number of kendo and martial arts students in this area.








Children's Day Festival in Colorado Springs



On May 3rd, 2008, the “Children’s Day Festival” celebration was hosted by the Japan-America Society of Southern Colorado (JASSC) at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. This is the 23rd year the festival has been in place. The day was graced with good weather and about 250 people attended, which was the highest turnout ever.


Many booths were set up at Palmer Hall, introducing traditional Japanese manga, anime, etc. Children enjoyed listening to kami-shibai (paper picture-story show), trying their hand at origami, calligraphy, and traditional games such as menko and kendama.


After the indoor events finished, the entertainment section of the celebration began outside, in front of Palmer Hall. It consisted of a koto performance (“Sakura Sakura”) by an eight-year old girl, a ninja demonstration by the Ninjitsu Club, a Bon Odori Dance in which everybody partook, a taiko performance by “Hideaki Taiko” from Kyoto and finally concluded with a children’s yukata fashion show.
JASSC Website





Japanese Play at Pikes Peak Community College



On April 27th, 2008, students at Pikes PeakCommunity College in Colorado Springs presented an annual Japanese play.


The play was performed in Japanese by students taking part in Japanese-language courses at the college. The play was written and created by Ms. Rieko McAdams, the Japanese instructor there, who also directed and coached acting for the students.


The play, entitled “Nothing is Impossible”, involves a love story in the Edo Period, with a quite romantic and humorous story line. The students spoke Japanese very well in the play and the audience was fascinated and spellbound. The performance very much showed the results of the students’ great efforts in studying Japanese, despite not having much time to practice.


Dr. Tony Kinkel, the President of Pikes Peak Community College, narrated the play in English, showing a fun and personal side of himself, and shortly thereafter he also was named President of the Year by the Colorado State Student Advisory Council.


Following the conclusion of the play Ms. McAdams served homemade cooking for the cast and participants, including Dr. Kinkel and Consul-General Kubo, who all enjoyed the wonderful food and friendship.






  Nihon Matsuri Street Festival in Salt Lake City



On April 26, 2008, the “4th Annual Nihon Matsuri Street Festival” was held on 100 South (between 200 and 300 West) in Salt lake City, Utah. The street is located in an area where Japanese immigrants and their descendents have lived since the early 20th century. The area has vastly changed due town development, leaving only a church and temple from early days. Hopefully this festival will help maintain the Japanese history of the area. The day was favored by good weather.The nice weather helped encourage people to come out and enjoy the event.


There were two pavilions at both ends of the street and people gave demonstrations on various aspects of Japanese culture there. About 30 booths were set up along both sides of the street selling Japanese foods and Japanese goods. The many booths and high turn out made the street crowded and created a festive atmosphere.


Many people without any Japanese heritage attended. Several of them wore kimonos, showing how high the interest in Japanese culture and Japanese people has become in Salt Lake City.

Nihon Matsuri official Website (This will be updated often.)









Boulder Sakura Tree Planting



On April 26th, 2008, Sakura trees were planted around a municipal office in Boulder. The resisence of Boulder volunteered their time in hopes that they will creat a spot to enjoy cerry blossoms in upcoming spring seasons. This is the 3rd year the cherry tree planting project in Boulder has been in place.


It is actually not very easy to maintain Sakura trees because of the behavior of clay, water drainage, etc. Even though it was very cold the day the trees were planted, there were about 30 people gathered together and planted 13 trees with the hope that trees would grow healthy and strong.


While volunteers were planting this year's Sakura trees, they also enjoyed the satisfaction of the beautiful trees that they had planted in the past.


After the planting, Sushi Zanmai Restaurant provided warm and delicious lunches to all of the volunteers.







Denver Sakura Tree Planting



On April 20th, 2008, volunteers from organizations such as SGI (Soka Gakkai International) and JFA (Japan Firms Association of Colorado) gathered to plant Sakura trees around City Park in Denver. The day was favored by good weather.


The volunteers planted 90 trees along a pedestrian trail which runs Ferril Lake. Big stones and concrete blocks made digging holes a challenge, but volunteers dug with smiles and said, “The harder it is, the better you remember it”.


This is the 20th year the cherry tree planting project in Denver has been in place. Before the planting, the City of Denver held a ceremony to honor and conguratulate SGI on their continuing dedication to the cherry tree planting.


Furthermore, a week after the planting, Consul General Kubo went to the park to see the trees. Some of the trees had already bloomed.





 Entrance and Graduation Ceremony



Japanese School of Denver and Colorado Japanese School each had Entrance and Graduation Ceremonies on April 5th and 6th. Consul General Kubo attended both ceremonies as a guest and conveyed his congratulations to all of the students. Both days were favored by good weather and both parents  and students attended with bright smiles.


There are 17 new 1st-graders students attending the Japanese School of Denver and 7 new 1st-graders students attending the Colorado Japanese School this year. In comparison with last year, the number of new students has grown.





An Evening of Japanese Culture (Nihon Bunka no Yube)



On March 19th, 2008, ” An Evening of Japanese Culture” was hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver along with the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Japanese Association of Colorado at Denver Botanic Gardens.


This event consisted of 3 parts. The first part was a Taiko (Japanese drum) performance by MIRAI DAIKO, an all-women ensemble. The strong performance with cheerful smiles by the 4 women taiko players enthralled the audience.



Taiko Performance Program


  1. Odaiko
  2. Gendai ni Ikiru
  3. Rhythm Dance





The second part was a Koto, Shakuhachi, Shamisen (Japanese traditional musical instruments) performance and Jiuta (Japanese traditional song) performance by DUO SOKYO, made up of Yoko Hiraoka and David Wheeler. The audience enjoyed the performance with the lyric sheet to follow along intermittent lectures by Mr. Wheeler.





  1. Haru no Yo (Spring Night)
  2. Sakuragawa






The third part was “Kimono in Bloom”, a fashion show. It was directed by Professor Masako Beecken (Colorado State University). Her students modeled a wide variety of kimonos on stage. The audience was surprised  because of a diversity of kimonos and dazzled by the show.



Kimono Show


  1. Greeting   10. Komon / Tsukesake
  2. Yukata   11. Kosode Style
  3. Shimauta   12. Hakama
  4. Wool Ensemble   13. Furisode
  5. Town Wear   14. Contemporary Style
  6. Taisho Era   15. Dress & Kimono
  7. Formal Wear   16. Noh Costume
  8. Children (7,5,3) Celebration   17. Wedding
  9. Formal Wear  






40th Doll and Cultural Festival (Hinamatsuri)



On March 1st and 2nd, 2008, the “40th Doll and Cultural Festival” was hosted by SimpsonUnitedMethodistChurch in Arvada. There was an exhibition of Hina-dolls, bonsai trees, ikebana, kimonos, etc. There were also some demonstrations such as tea ceremony, origami and calligraphy.


In the auditorium, many volunteers gave kendo, karate, nihon-buyo, Japanese drum demonstrations.








An Evening with Chie Imaizumi  Jazz Orchestra



On March 19th, 2008, “An Evening with Chie Imaizumi Jazz Orchestra” was hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan along with Metropolitan State University, the Japan Association of Colorado and the Japan America Society of Colorado at King Center Concert Hall. Chie Imaizumi was recently named “The 2007 Rocky Mountain Jazz Artist of the Year” and “One of the Top Rising Star Composers” in the world by Downbeat Magazine.


On the day of the concert Ms. Imaizumi wore a beautiful dress, created from an old kimono. It was a present for this concert from her mother in Japan. The orchestra consists of 11 members. They performed 7 songs including both of the traditional Japanese songs composed and arranged by Ms. Imaizumi (Please see the program below). Ms. Imaizumi's orchestragave an exceptional performance for the audience of 500, for which they received a standing ovation and played a special song as an encore.


Before the concert, incidentally, there was an award ceremony honoring Dianne Reeves who was named “Annual Golda Leadership Award” this year. She lives in Denver and has won 4 Grammy Awards for "Best Jazz Vocal Performance" for her albums. After the ceremony, she gave a speech and talked about her past visit to Japan.



Jazz Program


  1. Round and Round
  2. Fun and Stupid Song
  3. Lonely…
  4. A Change for the Better
  5. Usagi to Kame (Japanese Children’s Song)
  6. Aka Tombo (Japanese Children’s Song)
  Special Encore: Adversity


(Chie Imaizumi’s Biography) 

Chie started her musical career at the early age of four in her native home of SaitamaPrefecture in Japan. At age 18, she began her intensive study of jazz at Sengoku Gakuen College of Music, graduating at the top of her class. Since then, she has continued her success, appearing on several CD releases, performing with famous artists such as shamisen player Masahiro Nitta and receiving awards such as the Herb Pomeroy Award for Jazz Composition while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her latest CD release, “Unfailing Kindness”, appeared in five categories on the ballot for the 50th Grammy Awards.