Traditions of the country of the rising sun, on the Armenian Land

Traditions of the country of the rising sun, on the Armenian LandArmenian-Japanese center “Hikari” was established in Yerevan a few years ago. In 2002-03, on Karine Piliposyan’s initiative, members of the group on needlework of the Armenian National Center of Aesthetics began to be engaged in fine art of origami.

Few people knew about origami in Armenia at that time and almost nobody was engaged in it. Two years later the first major event of this group was held. It was dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On August 6, 2005, members of the Group sent to Hiroshima hundreds of colored "peace lanterns" and 1,000 paper cranes, in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing in 1945. This action was warmly received in Japan and has evolved into an annual program carried out up to this day. Since 2008, the initiative of Armenian children has found international recognition among their peers, and thousands of "peace lanterns" have been sent to Hiroshima from all over the world.

Later (in 2009), NGO "Peace Lanterns" was established in Yerevan based on exactly the same group, and a year later, in 2010, it turned into an Armenian-Japanese center "Hikari."

Currently, the center operates successfully, and with the help of its students spreads culture and national traditions of the country of the rising sun. The center aims at developing peaceful, friendly and cultural relations between the two countries. During these years on the initiative of the center "Hikari" there have been many interesting events: exhibition of Fine and Applied student works of the center, literary and musical evenings, dramatized video series of Japanese medieval poetry, children's plays both in Armenian and Japanese, etc.

These events were organized in different places: in the museums of Yerevan, at the National Art Gallery, in the City Hall, at the State University, at the Chamber Music Hall after Komitas, etc. In 2011-13 the center "Hikari" together with the Japanese Embassy, organized and conducted festival of Japanese films in Yerevan, Gyumri, and Echmiadzin. Permanent participants of all these events are students of secondary schools, boarding schools, orphanages, and HIE students.

This year on March 1-3, i.e. the first days of spring, the center "Hikari" together with the Japanese Embassy in Armenia organized Master classes on fine art of Sumi-E and on Ikebana - the traditional Japanese art of making compositions of flowers, as well as showing the ritual of tea drinking in the exhibition hall of the Artists’ Union of Armenia.

On this special occasion, Ms. Midori Yamada, an Ikenobo school spokeswoman, who is well known both in Japan and abroad, was invited to Armenia to present Japanese Art to the Armenian audience.

This year collection of Japanese kimono was also brought to Armenia for the first time. The collection presented various models of kimono - everyday, holiday, wedding, student, etc.  Armenian girls presented with special solemnity colorful and interesting traditional clothing of Japanese women. This show aroused great interest among the audience.