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Sakura Festival 2017

Right to Left: Clark Students Aeva Lindsay, Megan Cross, and Michelle Ha perform the Sakura Sakura traditional dance at the Festival. (Andy Bao/The Independent)

Clark College hosted its 12th annual Sakura Festival in Gaiser Hall on April 13. The Sakura Festival, which first occurred in 2005, celebrates not only the coming of Spring but the relationship between Vancouver and its sister city of Jōyō, Japan.

The event opened with the dedication of a new peace pole outside Frost Arts Center. The peace pole, which can be found in more than 180 countries internationally, is inscribed with the words “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in English, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Clark’s pole, planted by a partnership of the Clark College Foundation, Vancouver Rotary Club, and the Jubitz Family Foundation, was dedicated by Clark’s President Bob Knight and trustees from the partner foundations.

Yukiko Vossen of Washington State University Vancouver held a koto performance, followed by a welcome speech from Knight. Knight recognized Kageyama and former Vancouver Mayor Bruce Hagensen for planting the cherry trees. Knight also read aloud two letters from the mayor and city council of, Vancouver’s sister city Jōyō, congratulating Clark for their planting of the peace pole.

Kageyama then took the stage to describe his experiences in Vancouver, and his inspiration to donate the trees.

The speeches were followed by an array of performances to celebrate Japanese culture, as well as tea and cookies for the crowd. The Clark College Women’s Choral Ensemble opened with two songs, followed by a performance from Japanese dance group Dance Leo. Clark students then performed the traditional Japanese dance, “Sakura Sakura” . The event was concluded by a thunderous performance from the Takohachi Drum Group.

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