14 January, 2011

Japanese Calendars Exhibition opens

Published in Pakistan Observer (14 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal


ISLAMABAD: Exquisite calendars and traditional items on display at the Japanese Calendars Exhibition 2011 present a visual sense of Japanese art and culture to the people of Pakistan. The calendar exhibition opened at the National Art Gallery on Thursday was organized by the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association (PJCA) and MEXT Alumni Association of Pakistan (MAAP).

The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr. Chihiro Atsumi, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Syed Ijlal Haider Zaidi, President of the Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association, Islamabad. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Chihiro Atsumi said that the calendar exhibition “provide a vibrant depiction of the Japanese heritage and cultural identity. These calendars reflect images from traditional and modern arts: sports, automobiles, nature, heritage and architecture; Kimono and Ikebana.”

The New Year calendar images not only bring a fresh look to the visitors but also provide an exclusive opportunity to witness the socio-cultural development of Japan. The exhibition depicting the heritage of Japan will be open for the public from 14 Jan. to 30 Jan. 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 Around 140 calendars on displayed in the exhibition portray a variety of subjects such as contemporary and traditional art, gardens, scenery, costumes, people, art, photography, automobiles, wildlife, Ikebana, living styles and historical places, most of which are related to Japan. Since every calendar is a piece of art, the producing companies have tried their best to attract viewers through different subjects and mediums.
The annual Japanese Calendars Exhibition held with the cooperation of Japan Calendars Association is gaining popularity among the people of Pakistan.

The unique part of this year’s exhibition is that, the Embassy also showcased intricate Japanese items like Japanese traditional Dolls, decorative wooden rackets Hagoita, and the New Year ornaments of Kadomatsu at the entrance. The display of these items added more charm to the exhibition, catching the eye of every visitor.

The exhibition is part of the various events to introduce Japanese culture to Pakistanis in order to bring the peoples of the two countries together. Touqeer Nasir, D.G. of Pakistan National Council of Arts and Ms. Musarat Naheed, Director Visual Arts PNCA, Syed Ijlal Haider Zaidi, President PJCA, and Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, President MAAP were also present at the occasion to support the promotion of the cultural ties between Japan and Pakistan.

The traditional items on display at the occasion included the Japanese traditional dolls, the Japanese word of which is “ningyŨ”, literally meaning “human shape”. Many dolls have a long tradition and are still made today, for household shrines, for formal gift-giving, or for festival celebrations. The wooden racket shaped item is Hagoita, which is a kind of badminton, traditionally played during the New Year. The other decorative plant item is called kadomatsu which is a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in pairs in front of homes, to welcome ancestral spirits. They are typically made of pine and bamboo tree sprigs which represent longevity, prosperity and steadfastness.
After the exhibition, few of the calendars were distributed to the lucky visitors through lottery.