On Tuesday, May 12, 2009, CSUS Japan Club received "2009 Outstanding Club / Organization" from Student Activities. The Award for Outstanding Organization is given for "collective achievement by a club or organization that consistently demonstrates leadership through exceptional programming and campus or community involvement". Since there are more than 200 student club and organizations, CSUS Japan Club is truly excited with their accomplishment. Also "Japan Culture Night" on April 19, 2009 was given the second place for "Outstanding Program / Event Award." The Outstanding Collaborative Program Award recognizes a program or event that demonstrated exceptional efforts of teamwork between student organizations or between a student organization and an academic department.
1. Describe the organization's membership demographics and purpose
Japan Club was established in 2004 and is considered to be one of Sacramento State's most ethnically diverse clubs with members of various academic fields: Hispanic, Caucasian, African-American, Asian-American, and international students whose majors include Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Business, Criminal Justice, Communication, Kinesiology, Graphic Design, Philosophy, History, Art, English and Asian Studies. During AY 2008-2009, Japan Club (13 officers) initiated and carried out more than 10 events, and assisted 5 events (Halloween event hosted by Japanese language program, International business organization, International program at College of Continuing Education, and Nutrition and Food Club). Each event drew 50-100 participants.
The mission of Japan club is (1) to increase culture awareness and understanding and foster personal growth; (2) to outreach campus and beyond campus community by building a strong community of students from various majors and backgrounds who have interest of Japanese culture. Through these events, Japan Club were able to fulfill these missions.
The specific goals of Japan Club are:
Goal 1. Cultural enrichment
Providing a venue outside of the classroom for Japanese language students to learn more about Japanese culture
Providing Japanese exchange students a comfortable place to practice their English language skills, learn about American culture, and share their cultural heritage
Goal 2. Collaboration with other organizations
Co-hosting joint events related to Japanese culture
Performing traditional dances in other organizations cultural events
Inviting club organization to perform in our cultural events
Goal 3. Personal Growth
Student members who become club officers learn leadership skills in organizing and executing meetings and events
Officers also learn to collaborate with other members in order to effectively coordinate said meetings and events
Goal 4. To reach out to the community
Inviting local performers to participate in our cultural events with traditional Japanese performances such as dances and music
Working together with local organizations (such as the Florin Japanese American Citizens League) in carrying out fundraisers to collect donations for Japanese charities
Collaborating with high school students in joint dance performances and Japanese language practice events
Goal 5. To increase Japanese cultural awareness
Hosting free cultural events that showcase Japanese culture and are open to the campus and the Sacramento area
Goal 6. To strengthen the relationship between US and Japan
Collaborating with national institutions (like the Japan Foundation) to raise awareness of organizations located in the US that provide services for Japanese people and that promote Americans learning about Japanese culture.
2. List and briefly describe the events or programs that the group has sponsored throughout the year.
During AY 2008-2009, Japan Club (13 officers) initiated and carried out more than 10 events, and assisted 5 events (Halloween event hosted by Japanese language program, International business organization, International program at College of Continuing Education, and Nutrition and Food Club). Each event drew 50-100 participants. Japan Culture Night in April 19, 2009 drew more than 200 attendees. The following is the list of major events that the Japan Club carried out. The photo of these events is found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/csusjclub/collections/72157602892036340/
1. Yosakoi performance with Laguna Creek High School at California State Fair, August, 2008
2. J-sports events, where we play traditional children's games such as Daruma san ga koronda, Shippo tori game, etc, September, 2008
3. Japanese Language Program movie night and costume contest in October 2008
4. Career forum, which discussed interview and work practices in Japan, for students with Japanese language speaking skills, November 2008
5. Bonenkai (end-of-year gathering) and Karaoke contest, December, 2008
6. Semester kick-off pool gathering on campus to encourage Japanese language students to become involved with the club, January, 2009
7. Ice cream making event with visiting Nihon University students, February, 2009
8. Origami-a-thon fundraiser for the Hiroshima Children's Peace Monument, March, 2009. The Origami-a-thon aimed to promote world peace by folding one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings, mirroring the feat that Sadako Sasaki accomplished during her struggle against leukemia, a disease she contracted from the after effects of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945. The club accomplished folding more than 1200 paper cranes and sent it to the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
9. Japan Culture Night, the club's biggest cultural event, which is open to the public and includes traditional Japanese performances by local performers, original performances by Japan Club members and Japanese language program students, and presentations about Japanese culture, April 2009. The goal of second Annual Japan Culture Night was to create an opportunity for Sac State and communities in and around Sacramento to experience authentic Japanese culture. In addition, Japan Culture Night aims to promote greater understanding of Japanese culture, and to foster a stronger connection among local organizations and communities. The Japan Culture Night featured the following events: National Anthem America & Japanese; Yosakoi Dance Performance; Sukiyaki song by students who studied Japanese and students from Japan; Japanese Language Program video featuring student best work; Performance by martial art club; Koto (traditional Japanese stringed instrument) and Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) performance; "Radio exercise" (everyday exercise for Japanese); Dance performance (popular dance called Oha Rock + Parapara + Won't Be Long); Folk dance by Minyo Tanoshimi Kai; and Fashion Show. This cultural event drew more than 200 attendees who were not only students and faculty on campus but also high school and community college students, people in the community, and special guests including a Japanese language specialist from the Japan Foundation at Los Angeles.
10. Sushi-making class, co-hosted with Nutrition and Food Club, April 2009
11. Through AY 2008-2009, the officers offered a brief Japanese cultural workshop at General meeting twice a month. The workshops included Japanese customs and manner, annual festivals and holidays, and current news in Japan.
3. How did the organization contribute to learning, campus life and/or the Sacramento State community?
Japan Club continues to establish positive relationships with various clubs on campus through the events mentioned above: a sushi making class co-hosted with the Food and Nutrition Club, a dance performance for the Multi-Culture Night hosted by Epsilon Sigma Rho, inviting the Mikuni's Sushi CEO as a guest speaker with the International Business Organization, joint events with the International Program at the College of Continuing Education, and events to assist incoming students with Global Education.
Also, Japan Club has collaborated with local high schools and the Japanese American community in Sacramento by offering Japanese language practice sessions, coordination joint dance performances, and assisting in outside senbazuru (one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings) making events held by community groups.
Lastly, Japan Club members have also assisted the Japanese Language Program in Sacramento State by encouraging first and second year Japanese language students to continue learning about Japanese language and culture. Events which the Japanese Language program and Japan Club collaborated on included special lectures on culture and language, tea room ceremonies, and assisting visitors from Japanese universities.
Thus, working with people of diversified backgrounds, club officers and members developed awareness and sensitivity towards other cultures and values, the qualities of openness and flexibility, a sense of respect towards differences, and most importantly cultivated their own personal growth.
4. What distinguishes this group among its peers?
Japan Club is solely dedicated to bring Sacramento State's students and faculty, as well as the Sacramento community, together to form a greater understanding of American and Japanese culture.
Japan Club is also very ethnically diverse. Japan Club officers are composed of students from various fields of study such as art, science, business, and engineering. In addition, Japan Club's members are also ethnically, cultural, and linguistically diverse. Indeed, a majority of the club members are non-Japanese. With members coming from different ethnic background, Japan Club is a multi-cultural club that shares a common interest in Japan. Such a diverse background has served to attract an incredible number of Sacramento State and foreign exchange students from different majors and ethnic groups, as well attracting members of different age groups from high school students to working professionals. You can see the diversity of Japan Club members and event participants by visiting the Japan Club photo repository (http://www.flickr.com/photos/csusjclub).
Under the recent budget cuts, the number of Japanese course offerings has been severely reduced, especially when the program only offers a minor program. While the number of students entering the Japanese language program has increased steadily for the last several years, the program resources are very limited. Japan Club members consistently assist the Japanese language program by becoming tutors and classroom assistants throughout the year, developing their own workshops to inform about various aspects of Japanese culture to students who have little knowledge of Japan or any other Asian countries. Thus, Japan Club is serving to complement and assist the academic programs offered by Sacramento State.