Yokota honors host nation traditions during Japan Culture Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrett Smith
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Yokota community celebrated Japan Culture Day by partaking in Japanese traditions at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26.

Over 600 Japanese employees and members of the Yokota community came together to  help celebrate and bring good fortune into the new year. 

Japan Culture Day was hosted by the Japanese Welfare Association, a committee dedicated to providing morale, welfare and recreation activities for Yokota’s Japanese employees and local community. The JWA has been hosting this event since 2013 at Ofukuroya, the Japanese dining facility for local Japanese employees on Yokota Air Base.

JWA was founded in 1947 during the recovery process from World War II and was founded for the purpose of quality life for local national employees. Today, they help bring both U.S. and Japan communities together to share Japanese traditions. 

“The event was a resounding success, and I am immensely grateful to all who contributed to its accomplishment,” said Kazuhito Urano, Japanese Welfare Association president. “Your support and dedication made this event possible, and I extend my heartfelt appreciation to each of you.”

Participants enjoyed many festivities including a drum performance from the Samurai Taiko Team, mochi pounding, kimono wearing, a tea ceremony, as well as ‘Kagami-biraki’, a sake barrel opening from distinguished guests.

This event also offered 300 bowls of traditional Japanese dishes containing mochi named ‘O-Zoni’ and ‘O-shiruko’, and a chance to win a prize for the first 300 guests. Ofukuroya offered a special menu for guests to enjoy new Japanese meals.

This event also invited distinguished guests, such as Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th Airlift Wing commander, Col. Brett Cochran, 374th AW deputy commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Dunn, 374th AW command chief.

“Thank you to Urano-san and the Japanese Welfare Association for inviting me here today to celebrate the new year,” said Roddan. “Through this event, I wish everyone the best of luck and further development of the U.S. and Japan friendship.”

Yokota Air Base values the communities from both on and off-base, making sure to integrate frequently to continue their partnership, as well as boost morale and knowledge in the community.