Martial Arts

Martial Arts Workshops

Martial Arts Workshops

11:00 am – 2:00 pm • Library Plaza (outside)

Attend these workshops to try your hand at these martial arts and learn from the experts.

11:00 am   Tosa No Shugyo Dojo – Sojutsu — Tora Lawson
11:00 am   Aikijuku Dojo – Aikido – Neil Segal
12:00 pm   Kansas City Kendo Club — Kendo — John Drakey
12:00 pm   Martial Arts Fan —Tessenjutsu — Lori Bushner
1:00 p.m.   Misogi-Ryu – Karate – John Hileman


Shakuhachi Workshop<br />

Shakuhachi Workshop

David Kansuke Wheeler

Noon • MTC 234

Learn how to play the Japanese bamboo flute from master David Kansuke Wheeler.

Taiko Workshop

Denver Taiko

3:55 pm • Yardley Hall

Learn all about Taiko drumming from the experts, members of Denver Taiko. This is a hands-on workshop for those wanting to learn the basics of Taiko drumming.

K-State Yosakoi Dance Club

Yosakoi Dance Workshop

Kansas State Yosakoi Dance Group

2:00 pm • Polsky Theatre

Enjoy trying the Yosakoi style of dance, which is highly energetic and combines traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music.

Japanese language

Japanese Language for Beginners

Japanese Language Workshop for Beginners

Kotoko Grass

11:00 am • MTC 234

Yosei Sugawara

1:15 pm • MTC 126A, 2:30 pm • MTC 234

Attend a Japanese language workshop to learn about the Japanese language, and with the aid of the instructor, learn some basics of the language. This workshop is for those who are interested in Japanese language – no previous knowledge of the language is required. You will learn basic words, everyday greetings and writing systems and how to write their names in katakana (one of the four Japanese writing systems), and how to read and pronounce hundreds of loan words (like “anime,” “cosplay,” “hip hop” and “double bacon cheeseburger”) in Japanese.

Dr. Kotoko Grass is an Assistant Professor of Japanese at Johnson County Community College.

Dr. Yosei Sugawara is an Assistant Professor of Japanese at Johnson County Community College.

Introduction to Reading Japanese

Tracie Whiting-Kipper

3:45 pm • MTC 212

Come to this workshop and venture into the world of written Japanese whether you are a student or just curious. Explore the different writing systems, how they came to be, faster methods to learning them, as well as resources and tools to help you explore the written world of Japanese.

Kanji Made Easy

Tracie Whiting-Kipper

2:30 pm • MTC 212

Is it possible to learn to read Kanji in less than a year? Try out the Heisig method of Kanji acquisition in this fast-paced and fun session while exploring the written word from authentic sources. True beginners and seasoned students will all find ways to expand their reading levels from average to extraordinary.

Japan Foundation’s Marugoto Course Books

Tracie Whiting-Kipper

Noon • MTC 212

In 2010 the Japan Foundation released its Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Standards. This was followed with the start of its Marugoto program in 2013. Each year more material is being developed in line with the Common European Framework of Reference and focusing on language competencies through the communicative language teaching methodology.

Come discover the new language levels of the Japan Foundation Standards and how to access the new coursework program for self-study and formal class learners.

Tracie Whiting-Kipper is the former Coordinator for International Relations on the JET Program who was assigned as the English Manager of the Nagano Olympic News Agency for the Nagano Olympic Committee. She was the former Economic Analyst for the Consulate General of Japan at Kansas City. Tracie Whiting-Kipper is currently the Japanese Language & Culture Lecturer at the Kansas City Art Institute.

KCAI was the recipient of the Japan Foundation’s prestigious Salary Assistance Grant for her innovative courses. She has served on the Board of the Heart of America Japan America Society, and as a committee member of the Independence Sister City Committee, and member of the Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Fun with Japanese (For elementary school age children)  

Etsuko James

12:20 – 1 p.m. • MTC 126A

Who wants a head start in learning Japanese?
This workshop is for elementary school age children. Participants will learn to say various everyday phrases and how to read some basic Japanese, all through fun activities.

Guardians, please stand by at the site the whole time. (Limited to 13 children due to the classroom size.)

Haiku Example

Haiku Workshop

Frank Higgins

Noon, 2:30 pm • MTC 232

By looking at models of both classic and contemporary haiku, we’ll try to find ways to put those qualities into our own writing.

Frank Higgins is the author of several plays, including Black Pearl Sings! which became one of the most professionally produced plays in America, and The Sweet By ‘n’ By, the latter produced with Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow. His work has been seen in New York and across the country at the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Old Globe Theatre, Ford’s Theater in Washington DC, Northlight Theatre in Chicago, Kansas City Repertory Theater, Virginia Stage Company, the Barter Theater, and other places. 
His plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing Company, and Pioneer Drama Service. His one act play The True Death of Socrates is included in the Best American Short Plays series. Scenes from his play Gunplay: A Play About America were read on Capitol Hill prior to Congress passing the Brady Bill. He has also written plays for young audiences, including Anansi the Spider and The Middle Passage, and The Country of the Blind. He has also published five books of poetry and haiku, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, and the Haiku Society of America.

Karuta and Conversation Workshop

JIAH–Japanese Instructors Association of the Heartland 
Kotoko Grass, Yuka Naito, Dianne Daugherty

1:00 pm, 2:00pm, 3:00 pm • GEB 256

The 2024 Heartland Japanese Language Contest will be held on March 9th, 2024.

For fun, and to prepare, JIAH will host:

  1. Karuta tables for future contestants who want to practice their character recognition skills
  2. Conversation tables with KU international students from Japan to practice their conversation skills.

Members of JIAH are instructors of Japanese at high schools and colleges in Kansas and Missouri. JIAH meets every 3-4 months to discuss Japanese pedagogy, upcoming Japan-related events, etc.

Instructors outside Kansas and Missouri are welcome to join. 

Visual Arts

Japanese Calligraphy

Calligraphy Workshop

Ami Kitada, Yuka Naito

Noon, 1:15, 2:30, 3:45 pm • RC 183

Participants will experience Japanese calligraphy by writing Japanese characters using calligraphy brush and ink.

Ami Kitada is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Kansas. Dr. Yuka Naito Billen is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Japanese at the University of Kansas. 

This workshop is for ages 13 and older.

Origami Workshop

Beginners Origami Workshop

Tracey Whitman

Noon • GEB 254

Fold and build the simple – bit impressive – Sonobe cube. No complicated squash, rabbit ear, or petal folds involved! This is for rank beginners whose origami skills don’t extend much past folding a receipt in half or dog-earing a page in a book.

Unit, or modular, origami, involves folding identical pieces that are eventually put together to become one figure. Perfect as a team building exercise! Bring a partner with you – or make a new friend during the session.

Tracey Whitman is a local high school teacher with an interest in origami.

Suggested for children ages 10 and older as well as teachers and others interested in origami. Please come join us at the Origami workshop!

Leveling Up! Intermediate Origami

Michaela Blank

2:30 pm • GEB 254

Have you ever wanted to make an origami dragon before? Well today is the day! In this intermediate origami workshop, you will be learning how to fold a simple dragon and be introduced to more complicated folds such as rabbit ear, petal, and sink folds.

With many of the same folds used in crane and bird models, this workshop is recommended for people that have previous experience folding cranes or flapping birds and have a serious knack for origami.

Michaela Blank is an origami hobbyist with 10+ years of folding experience.

Where the Theatre Meets Origami: Kabuki-themed Origami

Michaela Blank

3:45 pm • GEB 254

In this 90-minute-long workshop participants will use their folding skills to make two of following kabuki themed origami models: a Kimono and a traditional Hannya mask.

Although the models are not overly complex, we still recommend that participants have previous folding experience and basic folding skills. Due to a limited number of helpers with origami experience, and seats available, we will be limiting the number of attendees to 30.


Zen Meditation Workshop

Dr. Sarah Aptilon

1:15 pm • MTC 212

In this workshop we will explore the basics of Zen meditation and how to practice it. In Japan, Zen ideals are woven into the fabric of daily life, from tea ceremony etiquette to automotive assembly line production to the prevalence of non-verbal communication. As we try out Zen practice, we will discuss several concepts that help to illustrate how Zen is understood in Japan, including impermanence, “mind-to-mind transmission,” and imperfect beauty.

A Kansas City area native, Sarah lived and practiced at a Buddhist monastery in Kyoto for seven years, where she studied and taught meditation and led workshops and retreats. She offers meditation classes at Turning Point through the University of Kansas Health System and teaches a weekly meditation class for the JCCC Student Wellness Program. She also serves as a senior consultant for Japan Intercultural Consulting, leading multicultural teambuilding and cross-cultural communication seminars throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

Sarah is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Johnson County Community College, where she teaches courses on world religions, Asian religions, and Japanese culture. She earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University and a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University.

Japanese Games

Go and Shoji Game

The Games of Go and Shogi

Steve Woodsmall
Greater Kansas City Go Club (Daniel Gentry)

11:00 am–6:00 pm • MTC 217

Come to this workshop to play actual games, see demonstrations and competition games, and hear a brief discussion of the history and rules of “go” and “shogi.”

Learn about the game “go” that inspires laughter and anger, love and obsession; that creates and destroys worlds. Based on three simple rules, it is the game that inspired the world-famous series “Hikaru no Go.”

Steve Woodsmall is an international attorney who lived and worked in Japan for 12 years. He learned to play “go” and “shogi” during that time.

Daniel Gentry has played “go” for over 23 years and has achieved a ranking of Shodan. Daniel started playing “go” in 1999 and has taught and promoted “go” at the KC Japan Festival and in the Kansas City area for many years.