Japan Knight synthesizes traditions with modern culture

The Japanese Culture Club invited guests to join a celebration of its culture through appetizing foods and entertaining folktales for Japan Knight 2012 on Saturday Dec. 1. Members performed their interpretation of the Japanese legend of Kaguya-Hime: “The Tale of the Moon Princess.”

Japan Knight started off with a lineup of classic Japanese dishes, featuring edamame, teriyaki chicken, nikujaga, or pork with vegetables, caramelized sweet potatoes and more. After everyone enjoyed seconds and thirds, the long-awaited performance began.

The show - written by JCC President senior Akane Ishibashi and Vice President senior Evan Palmer - shares the bittersweet story of a girl and her destiny. An unfortunate couple, played by seniors Sandra Lee and Sue Panurach, find hope and happiness in an orphaned baby they come upon in the bamboo forest. For years they raise the beautiful Kaguya, played by senior Charlotte Hern, and find their luck beginning to change for the better. Despite countless attempts to chase away suitors, the couple fails to stop the lovely Kaguya from attracting the attention of Kazuhiro, played by junior Bryan Alerte. Enraged at the news of a mysterious suitor, the couple arranges for Kaguya to choose one of three princes: Mitsubishi, Honda and Kawasaki. The three princes act as a refreshing comic relief as they try to win the heart of the beautiful bride-to-be. Kaguya sends them on their way, assigning each a seemingly impossible task - promising her hand in marriage to the prince who passes her test.

Afterward, Kaguya reaches an epiphany and realizes she is in love with Kazuhiro. When they finally meet, Kazuhiro finds that he feels the same for her. Together, they watch the traditional Sōran Bushi - a traditional Japanese sea shanty, and two awe-inspiring modern dances. In a strange turn of events, the focus is redirected onto “Sailor Moon” alien soldiers who plot to retrieve their princess back from Earth after years of celestial wars. After an amusing dance involving the “Super Mario Bros.” theme song, they send a messenger to inform Kaguya of her title and their intention to bring her back home. Kaguya’s family and friends are determined to fight for her and Kazuhiro reveals himself as the Emperor of Japan, adding more support for the cause. In the final battle scene, in which the humans face an overwhelming defeat, Kaguya agrees to return to the moon in exchange for the safety of her family and friends. Before her departure, Kaguya gives Kazuhiro the gift of immortality, which he refuses to take. The show ended with a live band performance and a heartfelt compilation video of graduating seniors. Campus Auxiliary Services, Student Association Tech Services and the Alliance for Community Enrichment sponsored the event. At the conclusion of the performance, Ishibashi said, “I’m really thankful to everyone who worked so hard, from decorations to acting and dancing - our hard work paid off for a fun night.”