Japanese Club is involved in events that teach Japanese culture to the members of Knox College, and facilitates connections between Japanese exchange students and the American community. Annually the club hosts activities open to all of Knox campus, and participates in larger cultural events such as the International Fair and Asian Heritage Week.
Like most clubs and organizations of Knox College, Japanese Club does not require members to pay dues or fees. Almost all events are open and free to the public--that is, students are not required to be members of Japanese Club to attend events--although mandatory sign-ups may occur prior to the event if there are concerns for space and material restraints. However, being a member allows access to private gatherings, discussions, and meetings that are not publicized.
Events and Activities
Carnival of Clubs
Main article: Carnival of Clubs
During the first week of classes, Knox College traditionally hosts the Carnival of Clubs, where students can learn about and sign-up for the various clubs on campus. Japanese Club makes an annual showing to this event, and recruits students for the club mailing list. If students miss this opportunity to join the mailing list, they can usually e-mail the president of Japanese Club to be added to the club.
Main article: International Fair
International Fair is one of the most important events that Japanese Club participates in each year. Usually the club volunteers for the I-Fair lunch, cultural display booths, and Parade of Flags. The cultural booth often features origami demonstrations and items from Japan, including books, magazines, and toys. In the past, Japanese Club has prepared dishes like onigiri, yakisoba, and sushi for the I-Fair cooking contest.
Asian Heritage Week
For Asian Heritage Week, Japanese Club prepares a campus-wide free dinner and sponsors other events occuring during the week. The club has traditionally played a very active role in organizing and planning events for the week. Past events have included bringing Korean poet Ed Bok Lee to campus and providing a dinner of sushi and tempura.
Japanese Club Table
Japanese Club Table is held once a week to foster friendly relations between club members. While some official business may be discussed, it is intended to be a time for members to share a meal and learn more about each other. The table is commonly held in the Gizmo, although students sometimes gather at a Galesburg restaurant or at one member's house/apartment.
History of Japanese Club
Purpose of the Club
Japanese Club was initially created as an organization for those interested in Japanese popular culture, primarily anime, manga, and video games. However, since 2003, popular culture became the territory of such organizations as Anime Club and the Gaming Information Network. As more specific organizations formed and handled pop cultural activities, the purpose of Japanese Club shifted to promoting awareness of other aspects of Japanese culture, including traditions and holidays, cuisine, and non-animated films.
Past Club Leaders
During the 2003 to 2004 academic year, Japanese Club was led by Sujan Niraula (Knox '04). As the first year in which the club split from its anime roots, Japanese Club hosted such events as a showing of the movies Versus and Shichinin no samurai, private dinner parties with members, and trips to Peoria for Asian food.
In 2004 to 2005, leadership of the club was passed to Christopher McLaughlin (Knox '05), who studied abroad in Japan during his Knox career, and later acquired a teaching position in Japan. Club t-shirts were printed during his time as president, and activities were primarily cooking-related and led by Yuko Sorano (Knox '06). In Spring 2005, Japanese Club joined other Asian cultural organizations in hosting Knox College's first Asian Heritage Week.
From 2005 to 2007, Japanese Club was led by Katherine Chi (Knox '07). During her presidency, club activities diversified beyond the usual dinner and movie events, attempting to incorporate discussions or presentations that explained the significance and meaning of different practices and traditions in Japan. The club hosted such events as a "Horror Movie-Fest" (involving a discussion on the influence of Japanese films on American horror culture), Ohanami, Glass Loots (fashion show), and trips to Anderson Japanese Gardens. Formal leadership positions were established for secretary, treasurer, and event organizers. Japanese Club also acquired its first bulletin board in Seymour Union, and became involved with other groups on campus, including Contribute, the Center for Intercultural Life, and a discussion group for the future Asian Cultural Center.
Current Japanese Club Leaders
- Co-President: Mariko Toyoji (Knox '08)
- Co-President: Andoryu Kama (Knox '08)
- Secretary: Makoto Kobayashi (Knox '10)
- Treasurer: Kate Tanquary (Knox '10)
- Event Organizer (Cooking): Yumi Kusunoki (Knox '10)
- Event Organizer (Posters and Advertising): Saori Moriizumi (Knox '10)
- Event Organizer (Miscellaneous): Maaya Ikeda (Knox '10)
- Faculty Advisor: Ryohei Matsuda