Japan House celebrates 20th anniversary


Kenyon Edmond

Japan House director Jennifer Misuzu Gunji-Ballsrud said the cultural center looks to build an annex in the future.

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

Japan House is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its opening this weekend.

The celebration will consist of events such as Matsuri, which is a festival with performances, a tea seminar, student-driven activities and sake tastings to celebrate the anniversary, said Jennifer Misuzu Gunji-Ballsrud, director of Japan House and associate professor in the School of Art and Design.

“We celebrated our 10th anniversary and I thought that it would be ideal to celebrate our 20th because both former directors of Japan House are still strongly involved and participatory in our activities,” she said. “We want to celebrate both the past and the present — and it is only fitting to do it with all three generations.”

According to Andy Blacker, director of communications and marketing for the College of Fine and Applied Arts, FAA will assist with administrative support, volunteers, setup and rental assistance and any large scale printing from their digital lab.

“Japan House offers opportunities for our students, faculty, and community members to expand their horizons and explore diverse cultures,” said Blacker.

Misuzu Gunji-Ballsrud said she thinks students should especially attend Matsuri. This festival celebrates Asian arts and culture with things like food, drinks, music and crafts.

“It is not like any other festival in this town and I feel that it is the perfect event to blend both communities together — the campus community with our broader community,” she said.

For the future of Japan House, Misuzu Gunji-Ballsrud said they are building an annex. The annex will let the Japan House expand its contributions to the University and public, she said.

“For 20 years, Japan House has provided our community with a tranquil setting for the rich study of Japanese aesthetic and traditional arts,” said Blacker. “It is important to celebrate this milestone because the gardens and structures of Japan House are critical to their mission of expanding cultural understanding and embracing tranquility in an immersive and experiential environment.”

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