NYANZA – Residents of Nyanza District were on Saturday left in awe after Japanese volunteers treated them to the Asian nation’s traditional dance and games.
Carrying her baby on her back, Marie Rose Umulisa, a resident of Gakenyeri village in Busasamana Sector could not hide her excitement.
“I love games and dances, and it was the first time I saw a performance from Japanese people. It is wonderful,” she noted.
During their cultural festival, known as the “Nihon Matsuri”, Japanese dancers and actors/actresses exhibited dances, music, drama, martial arts and clothes.
They performed the ‘Nancyu Soran Bushi” (a traditional work song of Hokkaido herring fishery workers), karate, kendo (the Japanese swordsmanship), Aikido (the Japanese art of self defense) and kung-fu, among others.
They were later joined by students attending technical training at the Nyanza Vocational Training Centre, who showcased Rwanda traditional dances.
It is the third time that such a festival has been held in Rwanda
It is the third time that such a festival has been held in Rwanda.
The annual ‘Matsuri (festival)” aims to promote cultural relations between Rwanda and Japan, according to Kobayashi Hiroyuki, the Rwanda Resident Representative for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
He said: “This is something important in bridging relationships and building friendship between two nations”.
One of the Japanese volunteers working as a teacher at Nyanza Vocational Training Centre, Mami Sato, noted that the festival helps the local community to understand the Japanese culture.
“I noticed that Rwandans do not know a lot about Japan…because they don’t have a chance. I think this festival is the first step for Rwandans and Japanese to know each other,” noted Sato, who has lived in the country for the last one and half years.
Currently, there are 45 Japanese volunteers in Rwanda, mainly serving in the health and education sectors.
By Jean Pierre Bucyensenge, The New Times