On Saturday Dec. 3, the Geneseo community was treated to the culinary and theatrical talents of the Japanese Culture Club as a part of Japan Knight 2011: "The Tengu Legend Murders."
Upon entering the Union Ballroom, guests were invited to grab a pair of chopsticks and chow down on the food prepared by club members and other volunteers. Dinner consisted of traditional Japanese dishes, featuring staples like miso soup, Nikujaga (a beef and vegetable stew) and simmered pumpkin, with green tea ice cream and dango (sweet rice flour balls) with peaches for dessert.
Though dinner was delectable – many guests headed back for seconds – the murder mystery show that followed was certainly the main event. In a delightful meta-mockery of Japan Knight written by senior club president Kye Shibata, the members of JCC acted as members of the fictional Japanese Student Society performing a show for their annual culture night. After the Sōran Bushi dance – a traditional Japanese sea shanty – the club members dispersed to find senior treasurer Danielle Seickel, who also happened to be the show's star, dead on stage. The mythical Tengu, which resembled a devilish bird, had struck.
The next two hours passed in a whirl as two more murders were committed – those of junior Charlotte Hern (Seickel's jealous understudy) and of a nosy student journalist played by junior Anton Nguyen – and club members were falsely accused of killings.
After several more dance and band numbers featuring various genres of Japanese music, police had apprehended junior Evan Palmer as the murderer. In the show's final scene, however, junior Taketo Igarashi revealed the true killer: senior Sara DiTursi, a suspect that had been dismissed early on, but had in fact been scheming with Hern to get her the lead part. Despite a slip-up with lines played off by a hug between Igarashi and Shibata, Igarashi's deductions resulted in DiTursi's exit in handcuffs.
DiTursi, who has been a member of the club for four years, said that she didn't know she was to be the murderer until recently. "Only me, [Shibata] and [Igarashi] knew; everyone else found out on the night of the show," the sneaky killer explained.
Sophomore Bruno Villazhiñay attended the show to support his friends, and said he couldn't pick a favorite part. "All of it was really awesome. I thought they did a really great job," he said.
Campus Auxiliary Services, Student Association Tech and the Alliance for Community Enrichment sponsored the event.